The MacValley blog
Welcome to the MacValley blog, your first stop for all the latest MacValley news and views.
The MacValley blog
Editor: Tom Briant
Friday, October 28, 2016
Yes, I believe that the touch interface is the way to go with working with your computer. Like the steam engine, automatic transmission, and color television, all of us will go through many iterations to get the darn thing right.
As I drove down Ventura Boulevard in the Valley the other day, every bus kiosk showed an ad for Dell’s XPS 13 notebook computer. It proudly proclaimed that it came with a touch screen, whereas the MacBook Air did not. Dell and Microsoft push this hard, that your modern notebook computer must come with a full-screen touch interface. Or you’re just not one of the cool kids.
Hmm. I’m not longer a kid and have never been cool (although I do own Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue album). But I have been around several spins of this planet and several orbits around our sun, so I’ve seen a trend or two come and go.
Apple likes the touch interface, too. They have a whole bunch of computing devices designed for a touch interface. I am sure they have observed how people use a real full-screen touch interface.
To wit, they must have asked, “When do people touch the screen?” and “Where do people touch the screen?” Do they run their fingers all over the screen, or do they concentrate on certain areas?
I am presuming that they found that users only touched the screen a few times and they touched the same areas over and over again when they did.
They also found that people like to touch buttons on a horizontal surface when they sit down. When they stand up, they prefer a vertical surface. My example of this is the light switch on the wall. Do you prefer to use it when you sit down or when you stand up?
So, people only touch a small part of the touch screen and they touch the same part over and over again. They also prefer to touch it when it lies on a horizontal surface.
And so the Apple Touch Bar was born. It lies in a convenient space on the keyboard, it can become whatever set of icons you need to touch for a given purpose. It serves the same purpose as the use of iPads as second screens for your notebook. It’s just more convenient.
I am sure that you will see similar touch bars on Windows PCs soon. Of course, they’ll have to pay a small fee to use Apple’s patent.
Now who’s the cool kid?
Editor, MacValley Blog
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Apple squashes bugs with Mac OS Sierra, Apple Watch and Apple TV updates
For the most part, it's just bugfixes, but the iPhone 7 Plus gets the nifty new Portrait Mode for its camera.
WatchOS 3.1 should let you replay the cool effects in the Messages app on your Apple Watch, in addition to squashing some bugs.
tvOS 10.0.1 includes general performance and stability improvements.
iOS 10.1 fixes issue that lets Apple iPhones get hacked by just receiving a picture
Similar issues affects Macs and Apple TV, and all of Apple’s products have received the new update
Apple issues macOS Sierra 10.12.1 update
Apple on Monday released an update to macOS Sierra. Version 10.12.1 is now available for Mac users for download through the App Store app. (It’s a good idea to back up you Mac before installing the update.) The update is 1.25GB.
WatchOS 3.1 update is now available for Apple Watch users
The WatchOS 3.1 update brings small changes to the device, mostly focusing on fixing bugs.
IBM announces 100,000 Macs at Jamf 2016
Very interesting video that compares using Macs in the corporate world vs. using Windows PCs.
Deep dive: The Apple Watch Series 2 delivers on last year’s promise
This year's Apple Watch Series 2 -- unveiled last month when the iPhone 7 was previewed -- builds on last year's model and addresses most, but not all, of the issues early adopters faced. With the inclusion of GPS, a faster system architecture, better water resistance and support for more activity profiles -- including swimming and wheelchair support -- the Series 2 turns the Apple Watch into a more complete fitness band. And the system's overall responsiveness, in concert with watchOS 3, largely delivers on last year's first-generation promise.
How Google embarrassed Apple
This week didn't look good for Apple.
Google's new Pixel phone launched to positive reviews, largely because of the phone's new digital helper called Google Assistant.
Assistant is noticeably smarter and more capable than Siri, a stark embarrassment for Apple, which had a five-year head start on Google.
I expect Apple to improve Siri soon, but for now, Google Assistant is clearly in the lead.
The iPod turns 15: a visual history of Apple's mobile music icon
A look back at 15 years of iPod history
To iPod on its 15th birthday: Thanks for revolutionizing digital music
The World-Shaking iPod Just Turned 15 Years Old
Apple's first music player seems like a relict of the past, but it's impact should not be overlooked.
The iPod turned 15 years old yesterday [2016-10-23]. To recognize this monumental day, we took a stroll through the Entrepreneur archives, only to come across a 2006 article, Age of the iPod, which looks at the undeniable success of the portable music player from its birth in 2001 to 2006.
Why I Bought an Apple iPod Nano in 2016
The author also wrote about his experience with it.
The difference between iPhone users and Android users
after explaining briefly that I was the editor of a tech news site, I would ask iPhone users “why do you use an iPhone?” and Android phone users “why do you use an Android phone?”
I made sure to never mention a rival platform at all. It’s subtle, but the question “why do you use an iPhone and not an Android phone?” is a bit leading compared to simply asking, “why do you use an iPhone?”
In about three months I ended up asking 219 different people this question, including 112 iPhone users and 107 Android users.
So, how many Android users mentioned their disapproval of Apple or of the iPhone among in their response? 51.
Of the 112 iPhone users I polled, a total of six people said something negative about Android or about a specific Android phone manufacturer. Not a single person make a negative blanket statement about Android users in general.
Here's the one thing keeping me from dumping my iPhone for Google's Pixel
Apple is strategically using iMessage lock-in to keep customers from moving to Android, which is bad news for would-be iPhone switchers.
The Google Pixel is the first Android phone that I'd happily swap for my iPhone. In fact, that's exactly what I would have done this week, without missing a beat.
Well, except for one, and it's a doozy. Everything about the Pixel experience "just works," except for its lack of support for Apple's iMessage.
iPhone 7 Plus vs. Pixel XL camera showdown: Low-light video comparison
The 10 best paid iPhone apps on sale for free – as of 2016-10-25
11 paid iPhone apps on sale for free – as of 2016-10-24
The internet is still actually controlled by 14 people who hold 7 secret keys
Every three months since 2010, some — but typically not all — of these people gather to conduct a highly secure ritual known as a key ceremony, where the keys to the internet's metaphorical master lock are verified and updated.
The people conducting the ceremony are part of an organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN is responsible for assigning numerical internet addresses to websites and computers.
If someone were to gain control of ICANN's database, that person would pretty much control the internet. For instance, the person could send people to fake bank websites instead of real bank websites.
To protect DNS, ICANN came up with a way of securing it without entrusting too much control to any one person. It selected seven people as key holders and gave each one an actual key to the internet. It selected seven more people as backup key holders — 14 people in all. The ceremony requires at least three of them, and their keys, attend, because three keys are needed to unlock the equipment that protects DNS.
5 Creative and Out There Uses of Social Media
So where can you turn to to plan your next vacation? Instagram.
Recruit top talent? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify and YouTube.
Report city updates and local crimes? Twitter.
How a Bunch of Hacked DVR Machines Took Down Twitter and Reddit
And Spotify, and Github, and The New York Times.
The websites were not targeted individually. Instead, an unknown attacker deployed a massive botnet to wage a distributed denial-of-service attack on Dyn (pronounced like dine), the domain name service (DNS) provider that they all share.
“The internet wasn’t down,” Andy Ellis added. “Packets were still getting through.” Only one DNS provider was ever blocked, he said. The rest of the infrastructure still worked—even if Twitter, Reddit, Spotify, and the Times were all, for a time, essentially inaccessible.
Chinese firm admits its hacked products were behind Friday's massive DDOS attack
Botnets created from the Mirai malware were involved in Friday's cyber attack
A Chinese electronics component manufacturer says its products inadvertently played a role in a massive cyberattack that disrupted major internet sites in the U.S.
According to security researchers, malware known as Mirai has been taking advantage of these vulnerabilities by infecting the devices and using them to launch huge distributed denial-of service attacks.
Mirai works by enslaving IoT devices to form a massive connected network. The devices are then used to deluge websites with requests, overloading the sites and effectively taking them offline.
This Is The Chinese Firm Whose Cameras Took Down The Internet On Friday (2016-10-21)
while the origin of the attack is still unknown, we're getting a better idea of how the attack was executed.
The attackers hijacked CCTV cameras made by Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology Co. using malware known as Mirai.
The attack, which took down sites including Twitter, Spotify and CNN for long stretches, underscored how hackers can marshal an increasing number of online gadgets, collectively known as the Internet of Things, to disrupt the internet on an unprecedented scale.
“Mirai is a huge disaster for the Internet of Things. XM have to admit that our products also suffered from hacker’s break-in and illegal use," Xiongmai said in its e-mail.
Seems the "internet of things" has it's downsides.
Vulnerability Is the Internet’s Original Sin
On the day (perhaps not long from now) when the entire internet crashes, no one will be able to say that we didn’t see it coming. The denial-of-service attack on the morning of Oct. 21—which shut down Twitter, Spotify, Netflix, and a dozen other websites—offers a preview, in miniature and against relatively trivial targets, of how the day of doom might unfold.
The weapons amassed for this attack were, literally, toys—baby monitors, music servers, web cameras, and other home devices.
The malware was simple: a program called Mirai.
How one rent-a-botnet army of cameras, DVRs caused Internet chaos
Welcome to the Internet of Evil Things. The attack that disrupted much of the Internet on October 21 is still being teased apart by investigators, but evidence thus far points to multiple "botnets" of Internet-connected gadgets being responsible for blocking access to the Domain Name Service (DNS) infrastructure at DNS provider Dyn. Most of these botnets—coordinated armies of compromised devices that sent malicious network traffic to their targets—were controlled by Mirai, a self-spreading malware for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
The attack on Dyn further demonstrates the potential disruptive power of the millions of poorly protected IoT devices. These items can be easily turned into a platform for attacking anything from individual websites to core parts of the Internet's infrastructure.
the worst thing about Mirai is that it leverages the horrible security decisions made by a handful of manufacturers of Internet-connected devices. And despite growing public alarm, these IoT devices and their shortcomings will likely persist on the Internet for years.
Mirai simply uses a hard-coded library of default usernames and passwords to log in to the devices it discovers. This is the equivalent of walking through a parking lot, checking for unlocked car doors, and finding the keys sitting on the driver’s seat.
Incessant Consumer Surveillance Is Leaking Into Physical Stores
Retail is on its way to a future of personalized everything—even prices.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Once hackers have this information from a router that hasn’t been updated, they can steal your files, peek through your webcam or worse. They can start sniffing data that’s passing to and from your router. They can record all your online activity, including usernames and passwords. They can even reroute your traffic to fake websites.
Routers can also be taken over to perform illegal activities, such as denial of service attacks or piracy. The scary part is you might not even know your router is compromised and being used for nefarious deeds.
If you’re not regularly updating your router with new firmware, you’re ripe for attack.
Verizon customers were complaining of spotty service
The study was performed on 50 healthy adults, who wore an electrocardiogram (EKG), Fitbit Charge HR, Apple Watch, Mio Alpha, Basis Peak, and a chest strap for several hours.
Facebook is leaking valuable younger users
Snapchat and Instagram climb with teens as Facebook stumbles
Facebook has been struggling to bring in younger users for several years now and it looks like the problem is getting worse.
According to Piper Jaffray Companies, a recent survey of 10,000 U.S. teenagers showed that 52% used Facebook at least once a month this fall, compared to 60% who used it monthly in the spring.
This is how you're compromising your identity on Facebook
The main reason is over-sharing — publishing information about yourself or your family that would be useful to criminals.
Fraudsters are getting cleverer and more aggressive—but the government is cracking down.
Locker-type scams mostly being launched from overseas, where attackers can more easily avoid getting in trouble for infecting American computers. Hacking charges in the U.S. are no joke.
Instead, domestic scammers prefer operating in a legal gray area that can keep them from getting in too much trouble if they wind up in court. If they provide genuine tech-support services and can confuse less-than-savvy judges with technical minutiae, they can escape punishment, the Malwarebytes researcher said.
1) Cameras Will Be Invisible
2) Your Past Will Be Omnipresent
3) We’ll Let Spies In
how easy it is to spy on people through the gadgets in their homes
4) Machines Will Decide Our Fates
We’re creating a world size robot.
Such automation may increase efficiency, but it won’t eliminate injustice.
5) Society Will Be Safer but Creepier
Half of American adults appear in facial recognition databases — and police are using them with almost no oversight
On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union, along with 51 other advocacy groups, wrote a letter decrying the technology — which is being used by a growing number of law enforcement agencies across the country — for its lack of oversight and potential to disproportionately affect communities of color.
So far, no state has passed a comprehensive law regulating police departments' use of the technology, according to the report by the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University's law school.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Monday, October 10, 2016
Congratulations on buying a new Mac! If you’ve come over from Windows, I have some advice for you. Please read all the way to the end.
So, in no particular order, are my tips for newcomers to the Mac.
Q: I’d like to have the time announced on the half hour. Can the Mac do that on its own, or do I need to get another program?
A: The Mac can announce the time on the hour, the half hour, and the quarter hour. Just go to the Date & Time preference pane in the System Preferences app. The System Preferences looks like a gearbox in your Dock.
Click on it to open it. You will see several rows of icons for various preferences. You want the Date & Time preference
Click on this clock face icon and you will see the preferences for Date and Time. You want the Clock option on the far right hand tab:
Now I’ve set my talking clock to the quarter hour option, but if you click on the double arrows to the immediate right of the time announcement, you can pick from hour, half hour, and quarter hour.
You’ll need to click on the lock icon in the lower left-hand corner to save this choice.
Q: I’ve become used to an external keyboard and mouse on my Windows work machine. Can my new Mac notebook use an external keyboard and mouse?
A: Yes, they can! In fact, you can plug an external USB keyboard and mouse into a Mac or Windows notebook to start working right away.
If you own a favorite PS/2 keyboard, you can just buy a PS/2 to USB adaptor that you plug the keyboard and mouse into. The USB end goes right into the Mac’s USB ports.
You have to make some adjustments, though. The Windows key now becomes the Command or Apple key. You can go into the Keyboard Preferences, though, to set up your keyboard to fit your style of computing.
Once you’ve opened up the Keyboard Preferences, you should go to the Modifier Keys. Change Command Key to use the Alt key. Change those essential 4 keys to fit your personal style.
Once you click one the Modifier Keys button, the panel to modify the 4 keys slides down from the top:
Here I’ve changed it so that Command key (actually the Windows key on a Windows keyboard) and the Option key (The Alt key on a Windows keyboard) swapped places. Click on OK to confirm your choice.
For even finer control, you can try the Karabiner app available here. Now it doesn’t work with 10.12 right now and they’re working on it.
Q: My HDTV has extra HDMI ports on it. Can I use one of them to use the HDTV as a second monitor?
A: Yes, you can! You need the appropriate cable between your Mac and the HDTV. Monoprice.com has the best prices on cable, but you can find a good selection at Frys’ stores here in the Valley.
Now you’ll need to make adjustments between your Mac and your HDTV. Here’s a support article from Apple on this topic.
Q: I learned a lot of handy keyboard shortcuts working on my Windows machine. Do these shortcuts transfer to the Mac easily?
A: Yes, the Mac and Windows share a lot of keyboard shortcuts. I wrote an article on this topic here.
Q: I’ve downloaded a lot of Grateful Dead concerts in the lossless .flac format. But iTunes doesn’t support the .flac format! What can I do to hear these concerts on my Mac?
A: Unfortunately, the Mac doesn’t support the .flac and .ogg formats. The best explanation of this is that Apple doesn’t want patent trolls to sue them claiming patent rights. Apple has nailed down legally the rights to the formats it does support on iTunes.
That said, plenty of 3rd party music players supporting .flac and .ogg. I can suggest Videolan’s VLC player, as well as the Cog, Vox, and Clementine players. They’re all free to try (although donations are appreciated).
Q: I’d like to record the sound and video from my Mac. Does the Mac include that capability or do I need to look to 3rd party apps?
A: For basic sound and video, you can use the Mac’s built-in QuickTime Player to record sound and video.
Use Movie if you record from an external camera, such as a USB web cam. Use Audio Recording to capture all the audio on your Mac. Use Screen Recording to capture your Mac’s screen.
Q: I’m getting older and I often need the text and numbers on the screen magnified. My Windows machine could do that if I held down the Control key and pushed the mouse’s wheel forward. What about a Mac?
A: Yes, you can do the same on a Mac. Just set it up beforehand using the Accessibility Preference Pane on your Mac.
You’ll find many options if you need help viewing your Mac.
Q: I have old files from back in the ‘90s in Word for Mac, Wordperfect for Mac, and Appleworks format. What can you suggest to read these files and convert them into modern formats?
A: For old formats from the ‘90s and even ‘80s, I can recommend LibreOffice 5 from The Document Foundation. It can read a slew of these old formats.
Now if you still have these on floppy disks, you have a problem. OS X 10.11 and onward don’t recognize floppy disks and floppy drives. Neither, for that matter, does Windows 10. Get either a Mac or a Windows machine running an earlier operating system version so that you can read these disks and copy them onto a USB flash drive. See, that old Windows XP machine in the corner has a purpose!
The latest version of Ubuntu Linux, 16.04, will read floppy disks. You can run it from a DVD on a Windows machine.
Now if you have old video formats, I recommend the VideoLAN VLC player, which I referenced above. It has versions for Macs going to the PowerPC days of 10.4.
For old image formats, I can recommend the $40 Graphic Converter from Lemkesoft.
Q: So,what advice would you give to a new owner of a Mac to begin with?
A: First off, backup, Backup, BACKUP! Always have a backup drive because inevitably your Mac’s hard drive or SSD will fail. The odds, though, are that two drives won’t fail at the same time.
Make use of the Time Machine backup built into the Mac’s operating system. Apple put it into the software for you to use, so don’t waste the opportunity. Go over to Costco, Fry’s, Staples, Best Buy, or Amazon to get yourself a large external USB backup drive.,
Second, if you want to try out the next version of macOS after the one that came with your Mac, learn how to boot from an external hard drive. I can see I have another article to write on this topic. Which brings me to #3
Third, if you have questions about your Mac and macOS, don’t hesitate to use the Google, Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo search engines. As a matter of fact, you can just type your question into the Address Bar in Safari and press Enter. Chances are you’ll find several people who ran into the same problem you did, solved it, and posted their answers to the Internet.
Just like I’m doing now.
Editor, MacValley Blog
Apple iPhone 7 Review: Ready Or Not, This Is The Future
After using the new devices for a week, what’s most remarkable is that Apple managed to change things up without completely ruining the iPhone’s trademark polish. In fact, let’s get it out of the way right now: The new iPhones are good.
Aesthetics aside, the real changes begin with the home button. Apple has swapped its iconic physical home button for a solid-state sensor.
I don’t love the button, but I do think it prepares us for a future where the button is embedded in the screen.
The twin cameras are a big improvement.
Life after death for Apple’s Xserve
Some of our readers still get use out of hardware Apple left behind.
Apple put the final nail in the Xserve’s coffin in January 2011 when it officially stopped selling rack-mounted servers. Instead, the company started pushing server customers toward Mac Pros and Minis. On Sept. 20 of this year, Apple lowered that coffin into the ground when macOS Sierra dropped software support for the systems. And while Xserves running El Capitan will keep getting security updates for a couple of years and the current build of the macOS Server software still runs on El Capitan, the hardware will soon be completely buried.
Apple's X-serve computers had some advantages that don’t exist any other computers — even Apple’s latest computers.
To some corporate users, those advantages are so important that they will have to buy non-Apple computers
to replace any X-serve computers they are forced to retire over the next two years.
How to stop Apple from automatically downloading new software for your Mac
There are reasons why you might not want to upgrade your operating system — to keep compatibility with certain software, for example.
Or to delay upgrading a fews days. There have been a few instances when Apple pulled an upgrade back a few days after release due to users experiencing the effects of a flawed upgrade.
Steve Wozniak: Apple was right to drop iPhone 7 headphone jack
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has changed his opinion of Apple dropping the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, revealing he now thinks Apple was right to make the move to using the Lightning port for audio.
This contradicts how Wozniak previously felt,
4 reasons why you should choose iPhone over Android
One reason is guaranteed software updates for years.
For example, the latest iOS 10 even works on the iPhone 5, which launched four years ago.
Android phones rarely get that kind of support.
iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 6s Speed Test Video Shows How The A10 Fusion Chip Compares To The A9 Processor In Performance And Speed [Video]
AW comment: I had to watch the video twice to understand it.
The video shows an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 6s side by side, both performing the same series of tasks.
In the beginning, they are performing tasks simultaneously but, as the video progresses, the iPhone 7 completes each task faster.
Near the end of the video, the iPhone 6s is still working on tasks that the iPhone 7 completed some 30 seconds earlier.
Apple Watch Series 2 vs Series 1: Which One to Choose?
If you want GPS, get Series 2, as Series 1 doesn’t have that.
For running and swimming, the Series 2 is likely justified regardless of the venture. If you're simply utilizing it for getting notifications on your wrist and experimenting with consistent Apple Watch applications, you will be okay with a Series 1.
The Apple Watch 2 could change the way you swim
The Apple Watch Series 2 is water resistant to 50 meters [but not the Series 1].
This article discusses how the Watch, and how two new apps for it, can help you keep track of the details of all the swimming you do.
Swim.com already has tens of thousands of users tracking their swim workouts.
The Apple Watch Series 1 is just as fast as Series 2
Apple’s spaceship glows to life at Campus 2 in latest drone flyovers
Apple unveils new store design in Indianapolis
Four years and one embarrassment later, Apple Maps is genuinely worthy of challenging Google Maps
Apple Maps is finally at a point where you can ignore Google and not totally feel like you’re missing out. It’s a robust, convenient, and delightful little app.
Crucially, it’s also accurate (unlike the first version).
The FBI wants to crack another iPhone after Minnesota stabbings
FBI special agent Rich Thorton confirmed that the agency is trying to crack an iPhone belonging to Dahir Adan, a 20-year-old Somali immigrant who stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall last month.
That iPhone is a newer model than the iPhone used by Farook (the San Bernardino shooter), and it will be difficult, if not impossible for the FBI to access the data in it.
It's unclear at this point how much progress the FBI has made -- only time will tell if it'll try to force Apple to help somehow, or how Apple will response if the government comes knocking.
FBI statement raises prospect of second legal battle with Apple over locked iPhone
We don’t yet know which iPhone model is involved, nor which version of iOS it is running, both factors that would play a significant part in determining how easy or difficult it is to crack. But given the history, we’re expecting this case to fade quietly away as the FBI finds a way to access the phone without Apple’s assistance …
As latest govt surveillance on Yahoo revealed, end-to-end encrypted Facebook Messenger chats now available to all
While some have questioned the need for strong encryption to protect simple chats between friends, the continuing revelations of mass surveillance by governments does make the issue a matter of principle for some. Just yesterday it was revealed that Yahoo likely allowed the government to scan all of its users’ emails. And, as I’ve argued before, we all have perfectly innocent things to hide.
Facebook began testing Secret Conversations – Facebook Messenger chats protected by end-to-end encryption – back in July, promising a wider rollout later in the year. The company has now told Wiredthat the rollout is complete.
Thanks to this article, I finally understand why the messages on each Apple device are separate copies. It always annoyed me, ie if I delete a message on my phone, it's still on my Watch. But it makes perfect sense now.
No matter the encryption they say they have, I will never trust Facebook or Google with my privacy.
Unfortunately, Google is almost impossible to avoid. They can track your web usage simply through ads that appear on pages that you visit. They can harvest personal data on you even if you do not have a Google account via your friends that communicate with you through the Google services they use. This is why Google getting into the data transmission business is extremely scary; ISP in some areas, just announced WiFi routers, etc.
Monday, October 3, 2016
Using the 2x setting in iPhone 7 Plus's Camera app doesn't always mean the telephoto lens will take the photo.
Apps are what killed the BlackBerry
It was THE status symbol for anyone in the early 2000s, and its physical keyboard made it instantly recognizable, but now the BlackBerry is dead.
But it wasn't the slowdown in the smartphone market or intense competition from Chinese companies which killed the BlackBerry, it was apps.
BlackBerry's announcement on Wednesday that it would not longer be making its own hardware, shows that it too completely missed just how important software, apps and the ecosystem surrounding them would be.
A High-Stakes Bet: Turning Google Assistant Into a ‘Star Trek’ Computer
The company calls its version of this all-powerful machine the Google Assistant.
It is a high-stakes bet: If this new tech fails, it could signal the beginning of the end of Google’s reign over our lives. But if it succeeds, Google could achieve a centrality in human experience unrivaled by any tech product so far.
If the Assistant or something like it does not take off, Google’s status as the chief navigator of our digital lives could be superseded by a half-dozen other assistants.
There is the mismatch between Google’s ambitions and Assistant’s current reality. Danny Sullivan, the founding editor of Search Engine Land, told me that so far, he hadn’t noticed the Assistant helping him in any major way.
Social Media Got You Down? Be More Like Beyoncé
Most people treat social media like the stage for their own reality show, but Beyoncé treats her public persona more like a Barbie — she offers up images and little more, allowing people to project their own ideas, fantasies and narratives about her life onto it.
This strategy isn’t just for the rich and famous. It’s a useful way to think about how we could all behave online. Why fret about oversharing, or undersharing, or to what extent our online selves are true to our actual self? We could instead use social media as a prism through which we can project only what we want others to see. We can save the rest for ourselves — our actual selves.
The Obama administration is planning to relinquish American control over a central portion of Internet governance.
The implications of this move range from control by an international bureaucracy to totalitarian regimes locking up entire portions of the Internet, according to experts.
Lots of speculation in this article as to how bad this will be for both the internet and the U.S.
This is not a surprise nor something Obama cooked up in the dead of night. If the US Congress wanted to intervene it has had years to do so and has intentionally not done so.
The author supports blocking this move, simply because he's not convinced that anyone has done the homework to prevent this from turning into yet another multinational boondoggle.
the current screamfest has exactly nothing to do with corruption and everything to do with imaginary bogeymen that do not exist.
Computers, phones, and other digital devices increasingly are made to be thrown away—which is bad for both consumers and the environment.
The increase in consumption of electronics has two major adverse ecological effects. First, it significantly increases mining and procurement for the materials needed for production of gadgets. And second, discarded devices produce large quantities of electronic waste. That waste could be reduced through reuse, repair, or resale. Whether it ever will be is an open question.
There was a time when households would keep televisions for more than a decade. But thanks to changes in technology and consumer demand, there is hardly any device now that persists for more than a couple of years in the hands of the original owner.
Manufacturers have also used software updates to privilege newer models of smartphones and computers, invisibly pressuring consumers to buy new devices just to maintain parity of experience.
Electronic waste is a global ecological issue. It raises concern about air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, information security, and even human exploitation.
Google's Project Shield defends free speech from bonnet scourge
Cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs’ web site suffered a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. Hackers conscripted hordes of connected gadgets like digital video recorders, routers and digital cameras into a botnet, which overwhelmed Krebs' website.
The security needed to ward off the attack would have cost Krebs up to $200,000 a year, but Google's Project Shield was able to fend off the DDoS attack for free.
Krebs' page was back up and running on Sunday.
The attack shed light on a little-known but important service offered by Google, one designed to protect journalists, news sites, election-monitoring sites and human-rights advocates from cyberattacks.
For now, the protection is available only to a select group.
The pair, whom he identifies as Itay Huri and Yarden Bidani, both 18, were arrested in Israel at the request of the FBI six days after Krebs posted his blog and are now under house arrest.
If Krebs’s suspicions are true, it means that malicious actors with relatively modest means can summon up giant botnets comprised of IoT devices and deliver unheard of volumes of DDoS traffic.
Protect yourself from scammers by doing this one thing every time your bank calls
Excellent advice to avoid being scammed people who make fake calls about “your credit card problem”.
Down the rabbit hole, part 1: Making my life private and secure
Is it possible to make private all of your computers, smartphones, data and communications and still remain digitally connected? I’m going to find out.
The goal here is to find the right balance between privacy and security—and still enjoy the fruits of a hyper-connected, always-online, digital-to-the-hilt world—all while documenting the whole endeavor.
Down the rabbit hole, part 2: To ensure security and privacy, open source is required
If my goal is to secure all of my computing devices, I need access to the source code in order to do a complete and effective security appraisal of the software I am running.