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Tom Briant

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday 3-5-2017

10 reasons why not even the best Android phones can get iPhone users to switch
1.  Software updates: This was easily the reason that was cited most frequently.
2.  Customer support
3.  Water resistance
4.  Premium hardware
5.  iMessage
6.  Continuity
7.  Apple Watch
8.  Apps:  Apple’s iPhone almost always gets apps first, and the user experience is nearly always superior on iOS.
9.  Simplicity
10. Battery life
Apple’s iPad Keyboard Sucks. Get One of These Instead
New Apple iOS Releases Have A Great Secret Feature
A discovery by developer and accomplished hacker Steve Troughton-Smith has revealed Apple has been hiding new functionality in iOS for several releases without saying a word.
Use 'Print' to Create PDFs of Notes, Webpages & More on Your iPhone
Thanks to a tip discovered by Redditor htmlarson, you can actually turn notes, webpages, and other documents into PDFs on your iPhone, then easily upload the file to any compatible service.
Check this web page or a new list of free iOS apps every day.
New iPhone 8's Secret To Success Will Not Be Innovation
Apple’s skill is not about finding and launching innovative technology, it is about implementing existing technology in new and accessible ways.
That in a broad stroke is how each new iPhone is put together. The best elements from the mobile world, synthesized into a single smartphone, with a polish on the user experience.
Innovation? Arguable. Implementation? Definitely.
Was I wrong to think an Apple Watch might improve my life?
A charming story.
The Apple Watch is Winning
The Apple Watch sold 5 million units in its first holiday season, which is more than twice that of the iPhone on its release. Further yet, Apple Watch sold an estimated 11.6 million units in 2015 which wasn’t even a full year. The iPhone sold 5.3 million units in its first year. That turns out to be 117% greater sales from the first Apple Watch when compared to the first iPhone.
Apple products are rarely big hits on first release. The first iPod was a dud, really. The first iPhone wasn’t a real success either. When Apple releases a product, it adjusts quickly and responsively.
Also has an interesting graph of iPhone sales since its introduction in 2007.
Here’s A Birds-Eye View of Apple’s Massive New ‘Spaceship’ Campus
After years of construction Apple employees will finally begin to move into the tech company’s new campus starting in April.
Apple’s been cagey, their spokespeople won’t nail down exactly how much their new home is going to cost. Most estimates put it in the neighborhood of $5 billion.
“They didn’t invent the cell phone, but they revolutionized it,” said neighbor Eric Blanco. “That’s what they do. They stir things up, spice it up, take it up a notch. So, the spaceship is just historic.”
Apple’s Devices Lose Luster in American Classrooms
“At the end of the day, I can get three Chromebooks for each of the Mac devices I would have purchased,” said Steve Splichal, the superintendent of Eudora Public Schools.
Over the last three years, Apple’s iPads and Mac notebooks — which accounted for about half of the mobile devices shipped to schools in the United States in 2013 — have steadily lost ground to Chromebooks, inexpensive laptops that run on Google’s Chrome operating system.
The rise of Google’s Chromebooks has disrupted the momentum of Apple, which has been marketing its computers to schools for some 40 years.
The Chromebook has beaten out classroom competitors on pricing, usability and other factors.
Apple's Macs and iPads fall to third place in US classroom use
Versus 2015, Macs fell a percentage point to just 5 percent of devices in the American K-12 segment, while iPads shrank five points to 14 percent, Futuresource Consulting said. Apple's combined 19 percent put it below Windows' 22 percent, and well distant of the 58 percent owned by Chromebooks.
Google's Chromebook platform has proven popular with schools for a number of reasons, among them up-front price —Chromebooks can sometimes cost less than $200.
Making Your Phone Take Dictation
Third-party apps and services that convert spoken words into text files on iOS devices are plentiful in Apple’s online store, but depending on when you need the transcribing to happen, you may not need to download anything extra. For example, the Siri assistant software built onto iOS can open the iPhone’s Notes app and transcribe your words as you speak them.
Picking a New Phone Plan? Here Are Your Best Bets
Shopping for a phone plan can be as daunting as picking a health insurance package. The rates and options constantly change, and it feels impossible to make simple comparisons between carriers.
The best phone plans we recommended a year and a half ago are now obsolete because the wireless carriers have completely changed their offerings.
As enticing as that may sound, unlimited is ideal for a small set of people. For everyone else, you may be paying for more than you need...
This article contains several different recommendations, each based on different needs for different customers.
My 5 favorite iPhone games to play during my commute
6 dangerous toys that are not child's play
These toys allow outlaw hackers to spy on your children and access personal information about them over the internet.
The 43 best websites for learning something new
Free College (online)
At the moment, the in-person college experience is superior to taking classes online.  But that advantage of in-person college over online classes won’t last forever. The in-person experience will stay largely as it is, but online lessons will keep improving indefinitely.
A physical college is largely limited to using the professors it has. But an online system such as Whenhub can improve forever. It isn’t even a fair contest in the long run.
If the country wants free college for everyone, this is the disruptive path it will probably have to take. In ten years, I can’t imagine a scenario in which physical colleges are still competitive with online options, on price or performance.
I Watched Neil deGrasse Tyson Take On a Science Skeptic
Good Interview.
‘Artificial Intelligence’ Has Become Meaningless
It’s often just a fancy name for a computer program.
I asked my Georgia Tech colleague, the artificial intelligence researcher Charles Isbell, to weigh in on what “artificial intelligence” should mean. His first answer: “Making computers act like they do in the movies.”
Writing at the MIT Technology Review, the Stanford computer scientist Jerry Kaplan makes a similar argument: AI is a fable “cobbled together from a grab bag of disparate tools and techniques.” The AI research community seems to agree, calling their discipline “fragmented and largely uncoordinated.”
Isbell’s more traditional take—that AI is machinery that learns and then acts on that learning—also has merit. By protecting the exalted status of its science-fictional orthodoxy, AI can remind creators and users of an essential truth: today’s computer systems are nothing special. They are apparatuses made by people, running software made by people, full of the feats and flaws of both.
Television is Training Me to Not Watch Television
Way back in olden times when there were only a few television channels, I enjoyed watching television. I was happy with it most of the time. But in recent years, my television has trained me to stop watching it. 

My cable company now offers hundreds of options.
My experience of watching television has turned from consuming to hunting…and hunting…and hunting. Until I give up in frustration or run out of time.
I see no hope of television surviving in the long run if they stick with their current business model of training their customers to hate the entire television experience.
For non-controversial topics, my Twitter-driven traffic for a tweet to my blog would be 200-300 per minute in the half-hour after a tweet. On this topic, it hovered between 10-14.

As many others have documented, Twitter throttles back the tweets of people who hold political views they don’t like.
That’s why I am building my own podcasting studio in my home. I’ll be spreading my creative content across multiple platforms to try and claw-back my freedom of speech.
Former Convicted Hacker on How to Protect Your Data
Why hackers breach data with relative ease, and why we should never link our devices.
Your child’s teddy bear could now be vulnerable to hacking
Wi-Fi connected teddy bears are plush, huggable, talkative — and, in some cases, hackable.

Advertised as “a message you can hug,” CloudPets toy company allows parents to record and send messages through the accompanying app to their child’s teddy bear.
Now, two million of those intimate recordings between parents and children have allegedly been exposed to potential hackers, along with 800,000 emails and passwords to their accounts.
Uber's Secret App for Tracking Cops Sounds Creepy as Hell
Uber’s very bad year just got worse. The New York Times is reporting that the company used secret internal software as well as good old-fashioned cyberstalking to identify law enforcement officials who were investigating Uber’s business practices. The situation is even crazier than it sounds.
The basic idea behind Greyball involved spotting and thwarting authorities who were using the Uber app as part of sting operations, often in cities where the service had been deemed illegal.
Cameras have been shown to reduce crime by 51% when used in parking lots, and the incidence of speeding by 65% and up to 44% for fatal car accidents. When used by police officers, body cameras reduced the use of force by officers by 60% and citizen complaints by 88%.
The Government’s Secret Wiki for Intelligence
Analysts reportedly tucked classified information about Russian hacking inside Intellipedia for safekeeping.
Built on the same software platform as Wikipedia, Intellipedia's articles are often cribbed directly from the free encyclopedia, but with sensitive classified information added by analysts.
During the final weeks of the Obama administration, officials began to worry that the results of ongoing investigations into Russia’s election-related hacking might get swept under the rug once President Trump took office. They decided to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for congressional investigators to find later, according to a report from The New York Times.
Guard yourself against tax-refund fraud
New cases of tax-identity theft have dropped sharply following coordinated efforts by tax agencies and preparers, but filers need to stay vigilant.
Victims are often unaware of the crime until a computer rejects the real return. Correcting the problem is often onerous and can take months.

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