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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving and Why Apple won't bring back oodles of jobs to the US manufacturing sector anytime soon

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours throughout the United States. If you’re not an American, please, we’ve got plenty today. So sit down and enjoy the feast.


Now to the topic of my title. President-elect Trump told the New York Times that he had talked to Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple. He told Tim that he wants Apple to bring back manufacturing of iPhones to the US. 

Tim apparently hasn’t enthusiastically complied with Mr. Trump’s requests. I doubt that he can. I doubt that Mr. Trump’s chosen tools, the carrot of a proposed corporate tax cut and the stick of increased tariffs on imported goods from China, would do the trick in any case.


Apple has spent decade building up its supply chain in Asia. If Mr.Trump believes that all that effort could be uprooted and transplanted to America within his 4 year term, I feel this won’t happen. 


Apple and more importantly, its manufacturing contractors, would have to find and train an American  work force comparable to the current Chinese work force. 

Apple and its manufacturing contractors would have to build physical facilities to build the massive volume of iPhones. 

Most importantly, they would have to change the manufacturing processes designed for China to fit an American work force. 



Besides, who does build cell phones in the United States to begin with? Or any kind of consumer electronics? Samsung doesn’t. Hewlett-Packard doesn’t. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday, November 20, 2016


Apple’s New MacBook Pro: Fast and Light, but Not for Everyone
I tested the new MacBook Pros — which cost $1,500 to $2,800, depending on the model — while gathering reactions to the new computers from engineers and information technology professionals over two weeks. I concluded that while the new laptops are capable enough for many professionals, there is no need to rush to buy one.
The jury is still out on whether the Touch Bar will be a must-have. When switching back to a laptop with a normal keyboard, I didn’t feel as if I was missing anything. But much like the iPhone on Day 1, the Touch Bar is essentially a blank slate, and the onus is on app developers to make it more compelling.
How to use Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro 2016
It's pleasingly intuitive to customise the functions that appear in the Touch Bar.
Apple Watch Series 1 review
Bottom line:  Apple Watch Series 1 has everything most people need at a lower price than Apple Watch Series 2.
WatchOS 3 is much-improved software over last year.
Which Apple Watch should you get?
John Hancock insurance is subsidizing the cost of the new Apple Watch
How does a health insurance company go about trying to help address health problems before they arise? Getting people moving is a start. After all, there are plenty of long issues that can be avoided or lessened by living a more active lifestyle.
Apple Watch Series 2 wins Wearable of the Year at TrustedReviewsAwards 2016
Apple’s second-generation Apple Watch only launched two months ago, but it’s already impressed us with its nippy Apple S2 processor, water-resistant design, and built-in GPS.

Here's a whole community of Apple HomeKit-powered smart homes
California home builder KB Home wants to use Apple HomeKit's connected home controls to sell houses -- and it's unveiling the first "HomeKit-enabled community" to help make the sale.
Pricing for a three-story, four-bedroom townhouse starts in the low $900,000s. Of course, this is California we're talking about, where real estate is  expensive to begin with.
10 hidden iPhone tricks Apple never told you about
Apple agrees to repair iPhone 6 Plus 'touch disease' malfunction ... for a price
Under a new policy, Apple will repair iPhone 6 Plus devices affected affected with the touch screen problems for a service fee of $228.95.
iOS 10 Problems: This iPhone Lock Screen Exploit Lets Hackers Access Your Sensitive Info, But Here's A Quick Fix - See more at:
Quick Fix:
If you do not want people to bypass the lock screen security of your iPhone with this exploit, here's what you can do: disable Siri from your iPhone's lock screen.
An NYC attorney has renewed a call for Apple to reverse its encryption
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Thursday that he wants Apple's encryption to go back to how it was in early 2014. Back then, police could basically extract any information they wanted after getting a warrant.
"Doing nothing about this problem will perpetuate an untenable arms race between private industry and law enforcement," Vance said on Thursday. "Federal legislation is our only chance to lay these arms aside.”
Vance said he's got 423 "lawfully-seized Apple devices" that his employees can't do anything with. Forty-two of those devices "pertain to homicide or attempted murder cases”.
You can enroll in thousands of online classes for $10 each with this pre-Black Friday deal

This article lists only 15 of the courses, but there are thousands more that you can buy from Udemy.
The offer expires on November 25, 2016.
On Tuesday, Google launched a new app called Photoscan that lets you easily digitize your old family photos and store them in the Google Photos app.

It lets you use a smart phone to scan old paper photos.
Smartphones' sleep-destroying effect isn't just because of blue light
A pair of new studies shows the flood of light isn't the only problem; it's the flood of information, too.
Defeating Malware With Its Own DNA
Malware DNA, also known as "malware provenance”...
Every malware variant has an immutable part derived from its predecessors all the way back to its original malware family. For example, CryptoWall 3.0 shares the same genome with CryptoWall and the previous CryptoDefense.

The technique is not only very accurate, but also very fast. It can identify malware at machine language speeds and even detect zero day malware -- that is, previously unseen malicious programs.
Up to now, malware fighters have been struggling to stem the tide of malware crashing over their systems.
"We've got stacks of Band-Aids," Igor Volovich told TechNewsWorld. "We keep adding more and more bandages, and we stop the bleeding for a while, but we never really fix the root cause."

“All zero day malware is a variance of previously seen malware,” said Arun Lakhotia.
"They're mostly not new malware code -- they're mostly variations of previous malware," he told TechNewsWorld.
That's where genetics enters the picture.
Two-thirds of the world's internet users live under government censorship
The report from Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank, finds that internet freedom across the globe declined for a sixth consecutive year in 2016.
Booming e-business and tight censorship: China wants to have the internet both ways
President Xi Jinping voiced the idea of “cyberspace sovereignty”, an unambiguous announcement that Beijing will step up its censorship and control of the internet.
The problem for Beijing is that it wants to contain the role of the internet in fanning radical social changes, in the way social media facilitated the Arab Spring movement. But it also wants to use the internet to upgrade its economy.
restricted information flows hurt economic activities.
Over 300 million AdultFriendFinder accounts have been exposed in a massive breach
Adult dating service company Friend Finder Network has reportedly been hacked, with over 412 million accounts, e-mail addresses and passwords from their websites made available on criminal marketplaces.
Welcome to the Dark Net, a wilderness where wars are fought and hackers roam.
The Dark Net exists within the deep web, which lies beneath the surface net, which is familiar to everyone. The surface net can be roughly defined as “anything you can find through Google” or that is otherwise publicly indexed for all to see. The deep web is deep because it cannot be accessed through ordinary search engines. Its size is uncertain, but it is believed to be larger than the surface net above it. And it is mostly legitimate. It includes everything from I.R.S. and Social Security data to the internal communications of Sony and the content management system at The New York Times. It includes Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and text messages, along with everyone else’s. Almost all of it is utterly mundane.

Through the eyes of a master hacker turned security expert, William Langewiesche chronicles the rise of the Dark Net—where weapons, drugs, and information are bought, sold, and hacked—and learns how high the stakes have really become.
The Dark Net occupies the basement. Its users employ anonymizing software and encryption to hide themselves as they move around. Such tools offer a measure of privacy. Whistle-blowers and political dissidents have good reason to resort to them. Criminals do, too. White fades quickly through gray and then to black in the Dark Net.
The real action on the Dark Net is in the trade of information. Stolen credit cards and identities, industrial secrets, military secrets, and especially the fuel of the hacking trade: the zero days and back doors that give access to closed networks.
A short-lived back door to the iPhone operating system may sell for a million dollars.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday 11/13/16

13-inch MacBook Pro review: Too many tradeoffs

The entry-level 2016 MacBook Pro—the one without a Touch Bar—compromises on graphics, ports, and RAM speed.

2016 MacBook Pro Sales Defy Critics: Tops All New Laptops With Shoppers

In the first five days of availability, US online shoppers spent more on the new MacBook than any other laptop in 2016.

Interesting chart.

How Successful Is Apple's New MacBook Pro?

In its first five days on sale, Apple’s MacBook Pro has outsold the total sales of every major Windows-powered laptop.

The MacBook Pro has sold almost four times as many units as Microsoft’s Surface Book, nine times as many units as the Asus Chromebook Flip, and ten times the Lenovo Yoga 900.

Well played, Apple.

All of the indications are the future sales are assured, at least in the medium term.
Short- and medium-term prospects look rosy. Long-term will be a question for another day.

Early adopters seem to like the new MacBook Pro Touch Bar

Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar notebooks swiftly surpassed sales of almost every other decent quality notebook in the first five days availability.

The MacBook Pro is a lie

Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptops are not designed for professional use.

Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pros carry on the Pro moniker dishonestly. At least we should all hope that's the case — because if Apple actually believes that these new laptops are suitable and sufficient for intensive professional needs, then the company's long and happy relationship with creatives may be heading toward a calamitous breakup.

What the New MacBook Pro Means for the Future of iOS

The Touch Bar demystifies the concept of shortcuts for repetitive tasks and provides fast access to all types of functions within applications that will support it. This is why the Touch Bar matters. Once people start using it, Touch Bar will be viewed as a logical next step in UIs for laptops.

Easily Remove Geotag Data Using Mac’s Preview

If you’re using Mac OS X Yosemite, your Preview app has some new EXIF scrubbing capabilities. Simply open up your photo in Preview, go to Tools in your menu bar and select Show Inspector, hit the (i) icon for the info panel, select the GPS sub tab, and you’ll see a “Remove Location Info” button.

Steve Jobs Knew Tim Cook Would Kill Apple’s Innovation By Focusing on Sales and Marketing

In 2011, Apple lost more than Steve Jobs. They lost their unique, rebellious nature. With Steve in charge, they had a win-at-all-costs attitude, that went against business norms and the expectations of their investors and board.

By letting systems for optimization and heavy focus on profits lead the company, a lot of the creativity dies. Instead, they are more focused on incremental improvements to their existing devices.

Quite frankly, Apple’s time as the world’s foremost innovator may be over.

Steve Jobs knew this would happen when he appointed Tim Cook as CEO. In a video, Jobs talks about sales and marketing people taking over companies and pushing the creative, product oriented people out of the decision-making forums. He goes on to say, “As a result, the companies forget what it means to make great products.”

Innovative connections aren’t made through systematic processes. Innovation stems from controlled chaos.

Your iPhone has a hidden signal strength meter

Apple now sells refurbished iPhones

Apple already sells refurbished Macs, iPads, MacBooks, and Mac accessories, among other products, but this is the first time the company’s putting refurbished phones up for sale.

How to find my phone: How to track a phone - locate a lost Android, lost iPhone or lost Windows Phone

If you've lost your phone it's not necessarily gone forever. But don't wait until you lose your phone to prepare: you'll need to configure it now to enable you to find a lost Android, iPhone or Windows Phone. Here's how to set up phone tracking and how to find your phone.

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

Comparing three top smartphone cameras: Google's Pixel, iPhone 7 Plus, Moto Z

Become more productive with music scientifically designed to help you focus

not all music is created equal.

Brain.FM is an audio streaming service that's been created with the help of neuroscientists to provide music that's scientifically designed to boost your productivity and help you focus - whether you're trying to study, sleep, or simply relax.

In firing human editors, Facebook has lost the fight against fake news

In January 2015, Facebook updated its news feed to “reduce the distribution of posts that people have reported as hoaxes”. The problem is that people are easily fooled by fake news, and a plethora of tricky-to-distinguish fake news sites have emerged.

Google punishes web backsliders in Chrome

When Google flags sites for hosting malicious code or unwanted software, or running some kind of scam, users see warnings in Chrome and other browsers. The alerts appear as long as Google believes the site poses a threat.

But after making changes to align their sites with Google's "Safe Browsing" terms, webmasters may ask Google to lift the virtual embargo.

Not surprising, some took advantage of the mechanism for lifting the warnings. Sites would cease their illicit practices, but only long enough to get back into Google's good graces. Once Google gave the all-clear, the once-dirty-then-clean site would have a serious relapse and again distribute malware or spew phishing emails.

Google now punishes repeat offenders with a 30 days penalty before lifting the virtual embargo.

Programming human beings to build a hate-free Internet

How do we minimize certain types of speech without also quashing the free flow of ideas and creative collaboration that this radically democratized system of mass communication can unlock?

Some social networks are discovering that they can use their code to “program” people to do the right thing, that when their customers are prompted to reflect on antisocial behavior they tend to check themselves. Perhaps people aren’t inherently selfish and rude, after all. They just need a reminder, and perhaps a carrot or two.

… an algorithm that delivered rewards and penalties to individual players whenever it flagged certain behavior, along with a pop-up window explaining why the chosen words were or weren’t conducive to successful teamwork.

It proved to be a remarkably successful case of Pavlovian conditioning. Reports of verbal abuse at League of Legends immediately dropped by 40%.

Facebook and Twitter … have tended to rely on centrally controlled censorship as the go-to weapon against abusive behavior.





Sunday, November 6, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-Up for Sunday 11-6-2016

Apple — New Products — Full Announcement

New version iOS 10.1

New Watch OS 3

New Nike Plus version of the Apple Watch

New version of Apple TV

New Macbook Pro (26 minutes into the video — if you want to skip the other stuff)

Three models of new MacBook Pro, including prices — 75 to 79 minutes into the video.

MacBook Pro Review:  The Air Apparent

I’ve got some good news and some bad news.

The good news: Apple has finally updated its Pro laptop line with some genuinely new and powerful options. 

The bad news? Apple isn’t just giving, it’s also taking away.

The new MacBook Pro is precision engineering at its absolute finest.

I wrote this entire review on the 2016 MacBook Pro and I frankly don’t want to go back to typing on my Air. It’s a universally better experience.

The absolute biggest upgrade is the display. The new Pro’s 2560 x 1600 display is gorgeous, from literally any angle, and it matches the wider color gamut of the latest iPhone 7 models and Apple’s 5K iMac.

It has a much more powerful processor and smoother graphics to go along with a significantly improved keyboard and a titanic trackpad.

While the display, build quality, and looks of the new MacBook Pro are beyond reproach, they’re no longer beyond the competition.

First Look: The no-Touch Bar MacBook Pro still delivers speed, style

For price-conscious buyers, this model still represents a good choice.

At $1,499, the base model's price lines up well in Apple's notebook strategy, as it costs a couple of hundred dollars more than the MacBook, and it's $300 less than the cheapest MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar.

Interesting list of pros and cons.

Hands on: MacBook Pro review

To say the new MacBook Pro is a massive improvement over the previous model would be an understatement. It's more portable and more powerful, not to mention more enjoyable to use. But it's tough to justify the premium for that Touch Bar, no matter how cool it is.

AW comment:  The video in this article merely repeats Apple info.

This article includes a price list for all three of the new MacBook Pro models.

Apple’s new MacBook Pro is expertly timed

It takes skill to pick the right new technology just as it’s becoming economically viable.
Example: Just when larger capacitive touchscreens were becoming viable, Apple struck. That’s as true of the iPhone in 2007 as it is of the iPad in 2010.

There’s no doubt that Apple deliberately shifted its schedule so that its downbeat earnings call could get buried in enthusiastic coverage of the MacBook Pro with a shiny new touch strip.

New MacBook Pro Hands-on: Touch Bar Is NOT a Gimmick

The MacBook Pro is supposed to be for serious work, but the new Touch Bar is a lot of fun. Actually, it's a lot more than that. After spending just 20 minutes with the new 13-inch ($1,799) and 15-inch ($2,399) models, I've found it be a real time-saver.

Apple MacBook Pro (2016) hands-on review

It’s been four long years since the MacBook Pro saw a major update, and even that one - the Retina Display - was seen as very overdue when it arrived.

It’s going to take some mental recalibration to get used to the new Touch Bar controls, but my first impressions are that once you do, you’ll notice a genuine increase in overall productivity.

The Force Touch trackpad is also way larger than that of the previous model, so gesture controls don’t have to be cramped affairs. In fact, the new MacBook Pro is probably going to be the first MacBook you can comfortably use without having to reach for a mouse just because you feel restricted.

The MacBook Pro's Touch Bar Solves a Nonexistent Problem

The MacBook Pro's Touch Bar is a pathetic stopgap to having a full touch screen, but fanboys will probably love it.

AW comment:  The author of this article has been one of Apple’s most annoying critics for decades.

Apple cuts USB-C adapter prices in response to MacBook Pro complaints

Apple is cutting prices for all of its USB-C adapters following a week of complaints about the MacBook Pro’s inconvenient port situation.

The new MacBook Pro only has USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports, so the vast majority of the peripherals people use today will need adapters to work. Someday, all those devices will likely use USB-C, but that day is not today and the Pro users interested in Apple’s new computers have been vocal about the problem.

Apple provides a soft(er) landing for MacBook Pro buyers with deep discounts on peripherals and dongles

Apple is addressing the sudden and wide inexplicable fear of dongles driven by the MacBook Pro’s USB-C only approach with a store-wide discount on adapters.

The discounts range from 20%-40% on a variety of Apple and third-party products from both Apple’s online and retail stores.

Apple is ditching its iconic startup chime with the new MacBook Pro

While the Apple product line has changed drastically since 1998, there’s one thing that has remained the same: the chime that signals that your computer is booting up. But with the new MacBook Pro, the distinctive, F-sharp major startup chime is no more.

Using iMac As Monitor Requires Very Specific Cable

To use the new 27-inch iMac as an external monitor requires a very specific cable to work: a Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable, to be exact.

It does not work with a HDMI cable or a DVI cable, even when they are strung between a pair of Apple-branded Mini DisplayPort adapters.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the issue on the web and even at Apple’s retail stores.

Apple’s Future HQ — November Update

Apple’s Future HQ — Official Video

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

10 hidden iPhone gestures you probably don’t know about

Is Jailbreaking My New Apple iPhone 7 a Good Idea?

Well, that’s a tricky question to answer. We will list a few advantages followed by some disadvantages.

One thing is for sure, if you care for security and privacy more than anything else, you’d definitely want to stay away from jailbreaking your iPhone.

AW comment:  For most people, jailbreaking is more trouble than it’s worth.
                      But if you’re a nerd, it may be worthwhile.

Here’s a video of an iPhone being jail-broken, presumably by the person(s) who wrote the software.
That software has not been publicly released, so you can’t jailbreak your iPhone yet.
And it’s anyone’s guess when (or even if) it will be released.

Apple takes more than 100 percent of smartphone profits after Samsung's Galaxy recall

A new estimate shows Apple took 103.6 percent of the profits from all smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2016.

How is that even possible, you might be wondering? Well, the fact that the smartphone industry continues to operate largely at a loss means that Apple can manage to capture profits beyond the 100 percent mark.

Forget market share, Apple’s iPhone is still making the most money by far

“Tim Long estimates that Apple accounted for 103.6% of smartphone industry operating profits in the third quarter,” Investor’s Business Daily reports.”Its share is over 100% because other vendors lost money in the business, resulting in Apple having more smartphone profit than the industry netted overall. In the year-earlier period, Apple grabbed 90% of smartphone profits, Long said in a research report Thursday.”

If Android manufacturers are still struggling to turn a profit when they’re dominating from a marketshare perspective, one has to wonder if any company will ever be able to come close to catching up to Apple.

Microsoft Designed the Touch Bar Long Before Apple's MacBook Pro

Microsoft started developing the technology, but later stopped in 2009.

The reason?  Microsoft didn’t sell computers then.

Now, though, Microsoft is decidedly in the hardware game,and many say the company’s Surface event last month overshadowed Apple’s Mac show.

MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar tech was a Microsoft idea first

Apple might have just gotten to the Touch Bar with its new MacBook Pro, but according to a new report, Microsoft was working on similar adaptive keyboard technology as early as 1999.

Ultimately, the job of the successful tech company is not just to be first with a particular idea, but to implement it in a way that makes sense at a time that fits with user requirements.

Why I like Windows 10 a lot more than the latest, greatest Apple MacOS

Apple’s recipe for success has become boring

Apple had long been a tech design keystone in both hardware (predominantly) and software (more or less), but seeing what Google was aiming at made Apple’s new software approach seem childish to my eyes.

And, beware: I say ‘childish’ not because of its execution — an entirely different matter — but rather in its scope. From that moment on I started reading about this upcoming post-mobile “cross war” between the two behemoths: is Google going to become good at design before Apple nails services? Almost 30 months later, I honestly feel like the answer to that question is yes.

Microsoft has also gotten much more aggressive at Apple’s own hardware game, in fact: look at Surface. They may have not cracked it with the first iterations — or, arguably, yet — but the Pro 3 and Pro 4 are fantastic devices. Bold, ambitious, beautiful and new, dare I say. Rings a bell?

I feel like Apple has, at least partially, lost its way.

Has Apple become boring?

Two authors debate.

We put Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana through a marathon of tests to see who's winning the virtual assistant race — here's what we found

None of them are at a place we could comfortably call "good." There is a ton of work to be done.

The problems here are large and sweeping.

All that said, if I had to take one, I'll give Google Assistant the slight edge.

How smartphone light affects your brain and body

The light from a smartphone has a similar effect to the sight of the morning sun, which causes the brain to stop producing melatonin, a hormone that gives your body "time to sleep" cues.

This can lead to sleep problems and even health problems.

Facebook is finally getting serious about its ‘Snapchat problem’

Snapchat represents an existential threat to Facebook because it has managed to redefine how people share through photos and videos. While Facebook has become an essential utility for connecting people, Snapchat has popularized a new way of communicating that's highly visual, ephemeral, and fun.

If it's too late for Facebook to own Snapchat, then it's going to do the next best thing: copy it.

Federal officials approved broad new privacy ruleson Thursday that prevent companies like AT&T and Comcast from collecting and giving out digital information about individuals — such as the websites they visited and the apps they used — in a move that creates landmark protections for internet users.

By a 3-to-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission clearly took the side of consumers. The new rules require broadband providers to obtain permission from subscribers to gather and give out data on their web browsing, app use, location and financial information. Currently, broadband providers can track users unless those individuals tell them to stop.

How the Internet Is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth

For years, technologists and other utopians have argued that online news would be a boon to democracy. That has not been the case.

The root of the problem with online news is something that initially sounds great: We have a lot more media to choose from.

Psychologists and other social scientists have repeatedly shown that when confronted with diverse information choices, people rarely act like rational, civic-minded automatons. Instead, we are roiled by preconceptions and biases, and we usually do what feels easiest — we gorge on information that confirms our ideas, and we shun what does not.

We all tend to filter documentary evidence through our own biases.

Today dozens of news outlets routinely fact-check the candidates and much else online, but the endeavor has proved largely ineffective against a tide of fakery.



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