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Tom Briant

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Thursday, 4-27-2017

Put to the Test: Samsung Galaxy S8+ Versus Apple iPhone 7 Plus
The Galaxy S8+ is a wonderful smartphone, but I will be returning mine. I fell in love with it at first, but Samsung’s latest can’t replace my iPhone 7 Plus. My iPhone may not be as good looking, but gets the job done more efficiently. I may change my mind with the Galaxy Note 8, but I will not be divorcing my iPhone 7 Plus—at least for the next five months.
After two weeks with the Galaxy S8, I still think the iPhone 7 Plus is the world’s best phoneImage
There’s one more reason I could never ditch my iPhone 7 Plus for a Galaxy S8Image
The Apple Watch.
How to reset passcode on iPhone, iPad or iPod
A step-by-step guide on what to do when you've forgotten your iPad, iPod or iPhone passcode. Fix and restore your iOS device with iTunes.
The key thing to note, though, is that unless you made a backup of your device before you forgot your passcode, you might lose some of your recent data.
iPad (2017) review

The iPad Air 3 may be dead, but the new iPad is a worthy successor
The way to buy a MacBook Pro less expensively is to head to the refurb section of the online Apple Store. There has been a constant turnover of older Mac machines on this page for many years. The machines generally come with a $200-$300 discount depending on the model, but Apple will still offer a twelve-month warranty and the option to purchase Apple Care for the same price as those who buy their MacBooks new.
Macbook Pro 2017 long-term review: Full thoughts on Apple’s 15-inch Touch Bar laptop
We’ve spent over three months with the latest Macbook Pro model and our long-term review reveals the highs and lows of that time with Apple’s super-powered laptop.
It’s a great computer if you are one of the most demanding users.
But if you want something for browsing the web and checking out cute cat videos on YouTube, buy a cheaper MacBook.
Apple earnings: As users spend more, services revenue grows
Software and services—comprising iTunes, the App Store, iCloud, Apple Care and Apple Pay—continued a steady climb by adding $4.5 billion in revenue last year, a 22.3% gain.
This Apple Store just got robbed for the second time in six months
Of all the retailers in your average US mall, Apple Stores are probably near the top when it comes to the value of the goods on display, surpassed only by jewelry stores.
Why Thieves Who Stole $24,000 of Gear From an Apple Store Might Be Disappointed
Seventeen iPhones, three iPads, and two computers were stolen from an AppleStore in Corte Madera, Calif. on Tuesday—totaling $24,000 worth of products.
It's not clear if the stolen products will even function. According 9to5Mac, Apple has added a “kill switch” to its store demonstration devices—meaning they are deactivated once they're removed from the store’s wi-fi network. That's why the display devices aren’t bolted to tables with steel cables anymore.
Thefts should soon drop off as soon as word gets around to thieves that there’s no point in stealing them.
Why I Go Offline for 12 Straight Hours Each Day
I  go offline from 8pm – 8am every day.

This means that I disconnect from email, social media, and internet for 12 consecutive hours each day.

It greatly increases my overall productivity and peace of mind.
Keeping this schedule enables me to prioritize the things that are most important in my life — my family, my health, and my work. If I was always connected and attached to my phone or computer, I am sure that each of those three buckets would suffer.

Q.  What Is Ethereal?
A.  A competing crypto-currency to BitCoin.
Q.  Should I Buy Ethereum?
A.  All cryptocurrency investing is risky – any one of them, including Bitcoin, could completely collapse at some point.

Q.  Didn’t I Hear That Ethereum Was Hacked?
A.  The Ethereum code itself was not hacked, but a grand and bold experiment called the DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) was.
     We've seen this play out with Bitcoin as well. Individual Bitcoin exchanges have been hacked because of weak security.
     But the Bitcoin code has never been hacked.
Although it may seem puzzling to have many different cryptocurrencies ( tracks more than 800), each has distinct features.

Virtually all of them, including Ethereum, are based on Bitcoin's code. Bitcoin is "open source," so anyone can copy it, modify it, and release it as a new cryptocurrency.

While Ethereum's code is based on Bitcoin's, it has several significant differences.

Elon Musk’s new company, Neuralink, is working on linking the human brain with computers to create a product that can help people with severe brain injuries.  Musk said that he thinks that can happen in just about four years.

How to erase yourself from the Internet
The European Court of Justice has ruled that there’s a controversial “right to be forgotten” on that continent, but it’s difficult to scrub your digital existence. “There are ways if content violates a web host’s policy, but it’s not often successful,” says Joseph Torrillo, vice president at Reputation Management. “It’s a very labor intensive and drawn-out process.”
There are however, smarter methods if you can live with having some negative stuff out there. “If you can’t get rid, dilute,” says Don Sorensen.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap for Sunday, 4-23-2017

An iTunes-Free Way to Back Up Your iPod
How to back up your iPod (or iPhone) to your Mac without using iTunes.
Apple has hired Steven Keating, an MIT doctoral student who gained notoriety for making a 3D printout of his own brain tumor.
Keating has publicly shared his commitment to helping patients gain access to their own health data, a mission that seems in line with Apple's approach to the sector (despite its notoriously closed approach). As I previously reported, the iPhone maker recently acquired a personal health data startup called Gliimpse, which is designed to help people aggregate their medical information.
Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Talks Innovation, Microsoft, and Being Introverted
Includes a brief video.
Why Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak doesn't trust money
Why Woz is a fan of the Apple Watch
Apple iPad review - World's greatest tablet just got more affordable
Includes a video.
After being one of the original Facebook Instant Article pioneers back in 2015, the Guardian has pulled its content from both Apple News and Facebook’s Instant Articles format.
The Guardian is pushing its paying membership system and as a result it needs to be able to push readers back to their own site. By controlling how, and where their readers access the content, The Guardian is then able to better monetize on the work they produce.
British Publication "The Guardian" pulls out of Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple News
They had gone all-in on Instant Articles, running every single Guardian article via the format for the last year. It was one of first U.K. media owners to adopt the Facebook format, alongside BBC News in the spring of 2015. The Guardian was also among the first publishers to join the Apple News app when it launched in the U.K. in October 2015. It ran all its articles in the app.

A Guardian News and Media spokesperson confirmed the removal, and issued the following statement to Digiday: “We have run extensive trials on Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News to assess how they fit with our editorial and commercial objectives. Having evaluated these trials, we have decided to stop publishing in those formats on both platforms. Our primary objective is to bring audiences to the trusted environment of the Guardian to support building deeper relationships with our readers, and growing membership and contributions to fund our world-class journalism.”
The move is a clear sign of displeasure in how these platform-publishing initiatives have treated the business needs of the Guardian. Many publishers have complained the money they make off visits to IA pages, for example, do not measure up to what they get on their own sites.
How to use your iPhone or iPad as a wireless hotspot
The personal hotspot feature on your iOS device can bail you out when a broadband connection isn't available. Here's how to set it up.
Includes a video.
The 5 Best Apps for Recording an Electric Instrument with Your iPhone or Android
We tested several apps that let you record instruments and apply effects by using a setup that included an Epiphone Les Paul, an inexpensive adapter, and a few different smart devices. Suffice it to say, we found five apps, two for iOS (Apple), two for Android, and one for both.
Save YouTube Videos Directly to Your iPhone's Camera Roll

Setting Up iCloud Family Sharing Isn't Easy, but It's Worth It
Once you’re done, every person in your household should have their own Apple ID, but they’ll be able to download purchases under a “master” account from iTunes, iBooks, and the App Store.
Siri not working? Try these troubleshooting fixes
If Siri isn't working for you, the first thing to check is whether your device is able to run Siri.

Siri is available on the iPhone 4s and later, on the iPad 3 and later (including all iPad Pro, iPad Air and iPad mini models, and the iPad 2017) and on the 5th- and 6th-gen iPod touch models. Plus every Apple Watch model and the 4th-gen Apple TV, and any Mac able to run macOS Sierra.
If it's not working at all, Siri might be switched off.
How to take control of iOS autocorrect
Most autocorrect errors are funny.
Here’s the good news: You actually have a lot of power over the autocorrect feature on your iOS device.
After all, your iPhone and iPad are trying to learn from you. There are several tactics you can use to prevent misunderstandings.
Apple Now Offers iWork, iMovie And GarageBand Free For All iOS And Mac Devices
According to MacRumors, Apple has decided to no longer charge for iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers and Keynote on iOS and macOS. Prior to this change, Apple was offering these apps free for customers that purchased a new iOS device or Mac computer. Apple also bundles some of these apps on certain Mac computers and iOS devices so you may already have it installed. If you do not have one of these apps on your device, then you can download it from iTunes (iOS) or the Mac App Store (OS X / macOS).
The MacRumors web site has direct links for downloading the apps.
Pick up a refurbished 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to save some real money
• 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, 2.0GHz dual-core Core i5, 8GB LPDDR3 RAM, 256GB SSD, Intel Iris Graphics 550: Normally $1,799, refurbished price $1,529
• 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, 2.9GHz dual-core Core i5, 8GB LPDDR3 RAM, 512GB SSD, Intel Iris Graphics 550: Normally $1,999, refurbished price $1,699
• 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, 2.9GHz dual-core Core i5, 16GB LPDDR3 RAM, 512GB SSD, Intel Iris Graphics 550: Normally $2,199, refurbished price $1,869
Apple’s controversial MacBook Pro Touch Bar is slowly becoming more useful five months later
To the disagreement of many, I still contend that Apple’s Touch Bar is a compelling concept that holds a significant amount of untapped potential.
App support for the Touch Bar has improved significantly over roughly the last five months.
iPhones Go the Way of the Selectric
In principle, the iPhone is becoming something similar [to the IBM Selectric typewriter]: a tried-and-true model that simply matches customer needs.
Apple is acknowledging that smartphones have transitioned from elite niche products into mature technologies, owned by everyone and upgraded infrequently. And that means that boring reliability — not innovation — will define the iPhone's future.
True, the cheaper phones won't look as good. But they do everything that late smartphone adopters want, and that's good enough.
"Good enough" doesn't sound great for Apple and other phone makers, which prosper off the relentless upgrade cycle. But many well-known products have followed the same path, from ground-breaking innovation to reliable, profitable, "good enough" staples.
If Apple wants to maintain its reputation as an innovator, it should acknowledge the iPhone as the mature product it has become, and redirect its vaunted creative energy to something new.
Apple Watch users flood first responders with false calls
Apple iWatch users are being blamed for a spike in false 911 calls that have plagued the system, wasting valuable time for first responders in the tri-state area.
Rescue workers in the county were pestered by nine of the false alarms over a one-week period, two weeks ago, due to user-error.
Accidental “wrist dialing” — in which the gadget automatically calls 911 without users knowing — is a headache for operators, who urged people to dismantle the setting that automatically triggers the false alarms, emergency responders said.
Most people simply aren’t aware they have enabled the setting.  It’s a consumer awareness problem. People just don’t know they’re doing it.
Accidental wrist dialers should stay on the phone and admit the screw-up instead of hanging up on 911 operators, who are required to track down disconnected callers.
How to secure your Apple and iCloud accounts
Several good hints.
Beware Apple iCloud Users Phishing scam Hitting [Sonora CA] Area
Dozens of citizens have called the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office to report an Apple iCloud users phishing scam.

The scam works this way, according to sheriff’s officials, when an Apple iCloud user answers the phone they get a pre-recorded message alerting them that their account has been hacked.
Sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. Andrea Benson notes, “This is the latest in a long line of phishing scam aimed at tricking unsuspecting victims into believing that they have been hacked, personal data has been stolen or personal data is at risk.”
This spoof Apple site illustrates the sophistication of today’s phishing attacks
Most phishing attacks – links that send you to a fake website in the hope that you’ll login with your real credentials – are usually easy to detect. Emails are often generic, rather than using your registered name. Grammar is poor or the wording is weird. The email will threaten closure of your account if you don’t take urgent action, and so on.

If you did miss all these clues and click on the link, the URL would show that it’s not really the site that it claims to be. But one demonstration site created by a Chinese security researcher shows how it’s possible to visit a fake website that seemingly shows the correct URL in a browser window.
The trick employed by the site is to use Unicode characters that look the same as the appropriate ASCII characters for the site impersonated.
It is possible to register domains such as “”, which is equivalent to “а”. It may not be obvious at first glance, but “а” uses the Cyrillic “а” (U+0430) rather than the ASCII “a” (U+0061). This is known as a homograph attack.
This Apple Phishing Site Is As Sneaky As They Come
Both Google and Mozilla recently introduced protections against a particularly nasty form of web-based phishing. It's called a homograph attack, and it can be nearly impossible to detect.
Homograph means using a foreign language letter instead of an English letter in a name.  For example the English letter “A” looks much like the Cyrillic letter “A”.
It's obvious how dangerous this scam can be, but you shouldn't panic. Chances are good that your browser is protecting you. Edge, Internet Explorer, and Safari won't show the address as
For technical details on this, click the link below.
Can Self-Driving Cars Ever Really Be Safe?
autonomous vehicles are basically computers on wheels, and computers crash all the time. Besides that, computers get hacked every day. So you gotta ask, “Can self-driving cars ever really be safe?”
No. Self-driving cars can never totally be safe. They will be safer than human drivers! So much safer that it’s worth a few minutes to understand why.
90 percent of all traffic accidents can be blamed on human error.
Nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression, or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year. Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 29% of the total vehicle traffic fatalities in 2015. And finally, of the roughly 35,000 annual traffic fatalities, approximately 10 percent of them (3,477 lives in 2015) are caused by distracted driving.

Remove human error from driving, and you will not only save a significant number of lives, you will also dramatically reduce the number of serious injuries associated with traffic accidents – there were over 4.4 million in the United States during 2015.
“Anything that can be hacked, will be hacked.” Is this going to be an issue? Yes, but it’s also going to be an arms race. I’m betting on the good guys, but to be fair, hacking across every digital touchpoint is a never-ending battle. We will do our best to combat the bad guys.
As for computer crashes, yes, it is possible for the computer that runs your self-driving car to crash, but it will happen so infrequently that, by the numbers, you will be significantly safer in an autonomous vehicle than if you were driving yourself.
The 5 Jobs Robots Will Take First
The 5 Jobs Robots Will Take Last
How upgrading humans will become the next billion-dollar industry
“The greatest industry of the 21st century will probably be to upgrade human beings,” historian Yuval Harari, author of the fascinating new book “Homo Deus,” told MarketWatch.
Our bodies and brains, after all, still run on the same hardware and software that evolved some 200,000 years ago.
These advances will likely “lead to greater income inequality than ever before,” Harari said. “For the first time in history it will be possible to translate economic inequality into biological inequality.”

Such a divide could give rise to a new version of “old racist ideologies that some races are naturally superior to others,” Harari said. “Except this time the biological differences will be real, something that is engineered and manufactured.”
This is what the next generation of tech-augmented work for humans will look like
Wearable human controlled robots.
Reader comment to a different article on artificial intelligence and robots:
The "you don't need to worry about AI for many years" will at some point change to "it's too late to stop us."
But go on, immerse yourself in the convenience of self-driving cars, consumer robot applications and whatnot. I'm sure it will all work out fine.
Another reader replied to the above comment:
Regarding your first sentence, you beat me to it, exactly what I was going to say.  The goal is to put the people back to sleep before they can stop this insidious take over of our humanity. 
Artificial intelligence is just that---artificial. Why do people prefer the artificial to the real? If we trash our intelligence for a fake intelligence, we trash everything.
You Don’t Have Free Will – but You Might Get It Someday
I don’t believe in the superstition of “free will” because the laws of physics don’t stop at your skull. Whatever is happening in your brain is the result of cause and effect, and perhaps some randomness. But “free will” isn’t a real thing, except in our imaginations.

But it might be a real thing soon.
With our current fully-organic brains, we do whatever the physics and chemistry of our brains tells us to do. You might want to lose weight, but your brain is telling you to eat that ice cream at midnight anyway, so you do. Your urges are simply stronger than your rational mind.
But what if a microchip in your brain could reverse that situation? Suppose you programmed the microchip to allow your rational mind to overcome your irrational urges.
Interesting reader comments.
Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria
“Somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25 million books and nobody is allowed to read them.”
When the library at Alexandria burned it was said to be an “international catastrophe.”
When the most significant humanities project of our time was dismantled in court, the scholars, archivists, and librarians who’d had a hand in its undoing breathed a sigh of relief, for they believed, at the time, that they had narrowly averted disaster.
Google’s secret effort to scan every book in the world, codenamed “Project Ocean,” began in earnest in 2002.
In August 2010, Google put out a blog post announcing that there were 129,864,880 books in the world. The company said they were going to scan them all.
Authors and publishers filed suit against Google, alleging, as the authors put it simply in their initial complaint, “massive copyright infringement.”
It only took a couple of years for the authors and publishers who sued Google to realize that there was enough middle ground to make everyone happy.
At the heart of the settlement was a collective licensing regime for out-of-print books.
The objections came in many flavors, but they all started with the sense that the settlement was handing to Google, and Google alone, an awesome power. “Did we want the greatest library that would ever exist to be in the hands of one giant corporation, which could really charge almost anything it wanted for access to it?”
The irony is that so many people opposed the settlement in ways that suggested they fundamentally believed in what Google was trying to do.
There's $29.4 billion in cryptocurrencies — here's which ones people are using the most
Interesting chart.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Apple received a permit to test self-driving cars in California | Macworld

Apple received a permit to test self-driving cars in California | Macworld: ""



At least somebody’s behind the wheel on the 405!

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Find My iPhone helps nab a thief at Coachella with 100 phones in his backpack | Macworld

Find My iPhone helps nab a thief at Coachella with 100 phones in his backpack | Macworld: ""



A word to the festival bound.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


How to turn your Mac into a digital video recorder for over-the-air TV | Macworld

How to turn your Mac into a digital video recorder for over-the-air TV | Macworld: ""


Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for 4/16/2017


iPad Pro Review Addendum: 1-year later, still sketching’
I’ve been making use of a 12.9-inch original iPad Pro since March of 2016. Since then there’s been no single smart device (other than a smartphone) that I’ve used so consistently.
The main thing I use the iPad Pro for is illustrating pictures using Adobe Illustrator Draw. While other drawing apps have caught my attention for short periods of time, no one app has felt so solid and worked so well.
The reason I continue to use the iPad Pro instead of switching to the Tab S3 is simple: the iPad Pro is bigger.
The Apple Pencil is too small for my hand when I’m drawing for extended periods of time. But I was able to fashion myself a custom-fitted grip. Once I increased the diameter of the Apple Pencil, my issues with cramps disappeared.
Battery Life is one of the primary reasons why I continue to use the iPad Pro so consistently.
AW comment:  Very good “wrap-up” at the end of this article.
Apple hires secret team for treating diabetes
Steve Wozniak is no stranger to predictions. In 1982, he said portable laptops would emerge. And he has strong opinions on how we'll live in 58 years.

"Apple will be around a long time, like IBM (which was founded in 1911)," Wozniak said in an interview on Friday. "Look at Apple's cash ($246.1 billion, as of the end of its last fiscal quarter). It can invest in anything. It would be ridiculous to not expect them to be around (in 2075). The same goes for Google and Facebook."

Woz shared some other predictions on what type of planet we can expect in 2075.  Click the link below to read about them.
How I Made My Own iPhone - in China
AW comment:
Very interesting to watch this guy go all over town to buy the parts at various places.
WOW.  See China's grey market work remarkably well. And see the expertise of the Chinese people!!
And the time lapse parts of the video that show him assembling the smart phone are awesome.
Questions for and Answers from the guy who built his own iPhone
This Guy Built A Working iPhone Out Of $300 In Spare Parts
Overall, Scotty Allen said it took him about two months to gather the components and put together the phone and that the parts for it cost roughly $300, though he spent over $1,000 on parts and tools he didn't end up needing. He said he ended up with five extra phone backs, two screens, several batteries, bare logic boards, chips, and soldering stations from when he tried to make his own logic board. The base price for an iPhone 6S is $550.
Watch how a man built an iPhone for $300
An engineer says he bought everything at public phone parts markets in Huaqiangbei, China. And he's made a video to prove his case.
He discovered that building an iPhone is little different from building your own desktop computer. It's just that everything is much smaller.
How to make an iPhone 6s from spare parts
How one man built his own iPhone out of spare parts
Building an entire phone out of replacement parts? That’s a hard task, especially when you’re working in Shenzen and barely speak the local language.
If the video teaches you anything, it’s probably that assembling the phone is the easy part: it’s trying to find the right shops for each part that’s hard.
The future is already here — just not very evenly distributed.
— William Gibson
Eight reasons to consider the Apple iPhone 7 Plus over the Galaxy S8 Plus for business
Best & Worst Laptop Brands 2017
Because of its modest review scores, expensive products and lack of ports, Apple fell all the way down to fifth place after receiving top honors every year since the Best and Worst Brands debuted in 2010.
Reader Comment:
Very impressive, but the downfall of these laptops is the operating system, Microsoft Windows.
In 2009 I threw the complete Windows IT systems out and changed my complete office to Apple.
Result, not one minute of downtime, no more blue screens, OS updates possible without the need to reinstall all the programmes. This increased productivity! Since the change I have never looked back.
I am not married to Apple but they produce thetop quality products I need for my business.
If the top laptops in the said test were equipped with the Mac OS and were as reliable as the MacBooks I have in my office then I might be inclined to consider using one of these but only as a test.
7 tricks to free up space on your iPhone
1. Stop storing texts forever
2. Don't double-save photos
3. Stop the Photo Stream
4. Clear your browser cache
5. Delete downloaded music
6. Delete downloaded podcasts
7. Delete your reading list
How to clear storage space on your iPhone without deleting any apps
How to create a folder on your iPhone or iPad
7 easy ways to make your iPhone videos look pro
Apple might replace your damaged iPad 4 with an iPad Air 2
If you happen to own an iPad 4 and it’s damaged, taking it to an Apple Store for servicing might land you an iPad Air 2 as a replacement.
Now, it’s important to note that taking in a damaged, five-year old iPad is not guaranteed to net you a shiny newer model. Apple Insider has clarified that this is not a hard-line policy from Apple, rather store managers can decide if an in-stock iPad 4, iPad Air, or iPad Air 2 is used as a replacement for servicing.
Apple has a new iPhone menu that makes it way easier to manage your iCloud account
Apple took various important settings — like account security, passwords, credit cards, and photo — and put them in a single, easy-to-access menu atop the Settings app.

All of these options were available before, but they were scattered around the iPhone's settings.
4 easy ways to keep your iCloud password safe
Where Are My iCloud, iTunes & App Store Options After iOS 10.3 Update?
Apple Shuffled a Few Things After iOS 10.3 – Moves iCloud and iTunes & App Store to a New Location
How to power the MacBook Pro with an eGPU using Nvidia’s new Pascal drivers
Nvidia has released its long-awaited Pascal beta drivers for the Mac. These drivers make it possible to use graphics cards from the company’s popular 10-series lineup, which include the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, among other hardware.

This release has major implications for legacy Mac Pro, Hackintosh, and eGPU users. It means that we can now use the latest Nvidia hardware to drive our machines graphically. It means taking a relatively underpowered computer like the 13-inch 2016 MacBook Pro, and running games at high settings with respectable frame rates.
The new macOS Pascal drivers can be downloaded directly from Nvidia.
You can start the download by clicking a link in the article.
How the iPhone and Apple Watch can save your life
Apple has emergency features built right into the Apple Watch, iPad and iPhone, and they can easily contact 911 or help you get out of trouble. We have a few tips that might help keep you alive, and they're particularly important as we head into the summer and start to spend more time outdoors hiking, heading to the beach and into the mountains. 

Here's how to prepare your iOS devices for emergency.
If you own an Apple Watch, there's an SOS feature you need to know about.
SOS feature saves Apple Watch wearer after car flips over THREE times following a T-bone collision
A good story.
Why Hidden 'Darknets' Are More Resilient to Attacks Than the Internet
Darknets — the often seamy counterparts of the internet that are accessible only through special programs that help to ensure privacy and anonymity — may be far more resilient to attack than the internet, a new study finds.

Darknets are computer networks of hidden services. The most popular darknet, and the one that most people think of, is the Tor network.
Basically, the internet is a centralized network that makes it easy to run and search for online services, whereas Tor is a very decentralized network.
"The internet is designed to maximize speed and performance, whereas the darknet is designed to maximize anonymity," said study lead author Manlio De Domenico.
The decentralized nature of the Tor network makes it far more resilient than the internet to targeted attacks and random failures, the researchers said.
"More research will be required to understand how to better attack this type of networked system," De Domenico said.
Why I Deleted My Social Media
Recently, I decided to delete all my social media accounts… I know, I’m crazy right?! Had you told me 6 months ago that I would be social media free, I would have laughed.

Gone: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat

But I’m staying active on Messenger (school) and LinkedIn (writing)

Facebook, Google, Instagram, etc have tried to make our lives simpler by creating algorithms which predict what we want to see. Yes, this is nice and convenient, but it's also creating a bubble where we remain safe and unchallenged.
When Your Mail Moves Itself
A reader asked:
When I check Gmail on the web, my messages all arrive in the inbox, but then move themselves to All Mail within a few minutes. What causes this?
The author answered:
A mail filter or an account setting in your Gmail preferences may be causing incoming messages to move into the All Mail area.
How to protect your eyes if you stare at screens all day
Teachers are making millions selling their lessons plans online
Despite worries from some educators, online marketplaces are booming, driven by rising standards and the willingness of teachers to pay out of their own pockets for classroom-tested materials.
Some school districts have language in their teaching contracts that bar teachers from selling their lesson plans.
Am I Shadowbanned on Twitter?
Earlier this week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey contacted me to discuss my ongoing public observations that Twitter appears to be “shadowbanning” me because of my writings about Trump. Jack introduced me via Direct Message to Del Harvey, Twitter’s Head of Trust & Safety, for the official answer.

The official answer is that no one, including me, is shadowbanned on Twitter. It has never happened.
Anecdotally, the evidence is overwhelming that I am being shadowbanned. But anecdotal evidence isn’t real evidence because it can look identical to confirmation bias.
The Six Main Arcs in Storytelling, as Identified by a computer with artificial intelligence (AI)
1. Rags to Riches (rise)
2. Riches to Rags (fall)
3. Man in a Hole (fall then rise)
4. Icarus (rise then fall)
5. Cinderella (rise then fall then rise)
6. Oedipus (fall then rise then fall)
AW comment:
Compare this to Joseph Campbell’s story arc for the Hero’s Journey from his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.
A Wikipedia page shows a revised version of Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.
Note that Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey inspired a young George Lucas to write his first Star Wars script.
There's a dark secret at the heart of artificial intelligence: no one really understands how it works
An artificially intelligent computer learned to drive a car by watching a human driver do it.
Information from the vehicle’s sensors goes straight into a huge network of artificial neurons that process the data and then deliver the commands required to operate the steering wheel, the brakes, and other systems. The result seems to match the responses you’d expect from a human driver. But what if one day it did something unexpected—crashed into a tree, or sat at a green light? As things stand now, it might be difficult to find out why. The system is so complicated that even the engineers who designed it may struggle to isolate the reason for any single action. And you can’t ask it: there is no obvious way to design such a system so that it could always explain why it did what it did.
There’s already an argument that being able to interrogate an AI system about how it reached its conclusions is a fundamental legal right. Starting in the summer of 2018, the European Union may require that companies be able to give users an explanation for decisions that automated systems reach.
From the outset, there were two schools of thought regarding how understandable, or explainable, AI ought to be. Many thought it made the most sense to build machines that reasoned according to rules and logic, making their inner workings transparent to anyone who cared to examine some code. Others felt that intelligence would more easily emerge if machines took inspiration from biology, and learned by observing and experiencing. This meant turning computer programming on its head. Instead of a programmer writing the commands to solve a problem, the program generates its own algorithm based on example data and a desired output. The machine-learning techniques that would later evolve into today’s most powerful AI systems followed the latter path: the machine essentially programs itself.
It was not until the start of this decade, after several clever tweaks and refinements, that very large—or “deep”—neural networks demonstrated dramatic improvements in automated perception.
Amazon Is Making It Easier for Companies to Track You
Jeff Bezon describes how Amazon’s cloud-services clients can use the company’s pre-packaged deep-learning frameworks—including the systems that power the Amazon Echo; Amazon Polly, the company’s text-to-speech program; and Amazon Rekognition, its facial recognition software.

Clients have access to these technologies through a simple API, Bezos says, meaning developers for a range of companies can tap into Amazon’s suite of A.I. programs without having any machine learning expertise themselves.
This is a big deal for a few reasons. Mainly, because it means Amazon is enabling countless organizations to track its users more precisely than ever.
Google may be quietly tracking everywhere you go — here's how to turn it off
Location History is exactly what it sounds like: It's a comprehensive history of locations you've visited, as tracked by your smartphone's GPS. Think about that for a second. Every dinner round a friend's house, every boring commute, every late-night takeaway run — any time you went anywhere with your smartphone, it's on there, going back years.
It's actually really useful — if you're comfortable with the privacy trade-off.
You can deactivate it entirely.
For Internet Privacy, VPNs Are an Imperfect Shield
When Congress voted to overturn online privacy rules last week, Steve Wilmot, a Los Angeles songwriter, reacted like many worried consumers: He looked into signing up for a technology service known as a virtual private network (VPN).
But while VPNs are worth considering, they are an incomplete and flawed solution. For one thing, they often slow down internet speeds significantly. Some apps and services may also stop working properly when you are connected to a virtual network.

Still, VPNs are among several tools for better protecting your digital privacy.
VPNs help cloak your browsing information from your internet provider.
VPNs are especially handy [and highly recommended] when you are connecting to a public Wi-Fi network with which you aren’t familiar.
More and more people are using VPN services to protect their privacy online — here's how they work
Internet privacy was once again thrust into the limelight recently when President Donald Trump signed a bill that would allow internet service providers to sell your browsing history to third parties like advertisers.
A VPN essentially hides your internet activity from your internet service provider, which means it has nothing to sell to third parties.
Most VPNs also hide identifying details about your computer from ISPs.
VPN services aren't perfect.
They can slow down your internet speed.
For an extra layer of protection, choose a VPN whose servers are based outside the US. That protects against the possibility of legal entities in the US trying to access your browsing history through court orders.

Monday, April 10, 2017

How to send and receive text messages on your Mac - Macworld UK

How to send and receive text messages on your Mac - Macworld UK: ""


Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for 4/9/2017

Apple just released this beautiful drone video of its new 'spaceship’ campus

New Report: Apple's Mac Is No Longer Virus-Free

So says McAfee — a company that sells anti-virus software.

McAfee says that the number of malware cases affecting Macs grew by 744 percent in 2016.
Most of the cases are advertisement software (adware), which is merely annoying, vs. destructive ransomware or intrusive spyware.
The 744% growth sounds alarming -- but it's still nothing compared to the amount of malware for Windows that McAfee identified.

Nearly 640 million malware instances were found overall by McAfee -- with the vast majority of these coming from Windows. The Mac malware is still a drop in the ocean in comparison.

Apple will reportedly drop 32-bit app support entirely with iOS 11 this fall

Apple has slowly been cracking down on 32-bit iOS apps, but it appears that it will make a drastic change come this fall. This means that many OLD apps will no longer work.

Apple AirPods: Review

They’re expensive, but the work well with Siri and are very convenient.

Apple to ditch the current Mac Pro design

In a rare admission of a misstep, executives conceded the unusual design limited Apple's ability to offer meaningful upgrades and failed to meet many pro users' needs.

Apple Says It Is “Completely Rethinking” The Mac Pro
There's a new Mac on the way for pro users, but it isn't hitting shelves anytime soon.

The Mac Pro, Apple’s marquee desktop machine, hasn’t been refreshed since 2013. But lest you think it was forgotten, the diminutive black obelisk is top of mind at Apple these days — specifically how to reimagine it in a way that will appeal to professionals frustrated by its seemingly stalled evolution. To that end, there is officially a new Mac Pro in the pipeline, but it's going to be a while before it arrives.

Though not unprecedented, these are rare admissions for Apple, which has historically taken a “people don't know what they want until you show it to them” approach to product design.

Apple pushes the reset button on the Mac Pro

The news, if you want it straight: Apple is acknowledging that the Mac Pro they introduced in 2013 has run aground on the cleverness of its own design, and they’re re-thinking the entire machine. In addition, they’ll be releasing a new external display — something it had previously opted out of.

But none of that is coming this year.

Fifteen percent of all Mac customers, Phil Schiller says, use “pro” category apps multiple times a week. Basically, they use apps in a professional capacity. Thirty percent of Apple’s Mac customer base use pro apps less frequently than once a week but still do use them. And the vast majority of customers who define themselves as pros use Apple’s notebooks.

Sorry about the last Mac Pro, Apple promises major redesign

Includes video.

“We’re in the process of completely rethinking the Mac Pro,” said Phil Schiller.

The Mac Pro’s problems were twofold. First, it was trying to be a one-size fits all for pro customers who happen to spread across an incredibly diverse set of creative and computing disciplines (photos, video, music, science, development and coding).  Second, it wasn’t customizable enough to allow customers to address their widely diverse needs themselves.

For some time now, Apple’s been on a sort of Pro user listening tour, trying to understand those who own the Mac Pro and those who have rejected it. Apple has also paid attention to the chatter in Internet forums where some Mac users wondered if Apple still cared about them.

The Mac Pro Lives

Let’s say you’re Apple. You’re faced with the following problem. Three years ago you launched a radical new lineup of Mac Pros. For multiple reasons, you haven’t shipped an update to those machines since. At some point you came to the conclusion that the 2013 Mac Pro concept was fundamentally flawed. 

What do you do? There are really only two options at this point.

The first would be to suck it up and wait until the next-generation Mac Pros are ready to be announced, and suffer in silence while more and more people point to the current Mac Pro’s stagnation as proof that Apple is abandoning the Mac Pro market.

The second would be to bite the bullet and tell the world what your plans are, even though it’s your decades-long tradition — a fundamental part of the company’s culture — to let actual shipping products, not promises of future products, tell your story.

Apple chose the latter.

My takeaway is that the Mac’s future is bright. Mac sales were up in 2016, once again outpacing the PC industry as a whole, and the new MacBook Pros are a hit, with sales up “about 20 percent” year over year. The Mac is a $25 billion business for Apple annually, and according to the company there are 100 million people in the active Mac user base worldwide.

Yes, those numbers are all peanuts compared to the iPhone, but everythingis peanuts compared to the iPhone.

Apple's high-end desktop is back from the dead

Until now, the  Mac Pro desktop was the closest Apple had to a forgotten product. The cylindrical desktop tower, intended for a professional content creation audience, was introduced to much fanfare in 2013, but it's remained essentially unchanged ever since.

But Apple has finally given professional Mac users who've felt left out in the cold for the past few years reason for optimism.
The company revealed that an entirely new Mac Pro desktop design is in the works.

If you're still tempted by the current version of the Mac Pro, know that it's a very interesting desktop with some notable features and and an impressive aesthetic. But, it's also less flexible than what a design or creative pro might need.

EXIF is a file standard for photos — the EXIF data is the supplementary file that’s attached to, for example, a JPEG whenever you take a picture. It includes things like copyright information, camera settings, a thumbnail, and the date and time the photo was taken.

Exif Editor is a $10.99 desktop app for Mac that exists for the sole purpose of editing the metadata on photographs.

The 99 cent iPhone app EXIF-fi lets you view and edit the metadata for any photo on your phone.

AW comment:
  Skip the soap opera discussion in the first half of this article.
  Scroll down just a little over half way down the article to read about Mac and iOS software.

This might be the best reason to always buy an iPhone

I reliably upgrade to a new iPhone for $125 every year, without any special deals or promos or financing. It relies on the very slow depreciation of iPhones compared to all other devices. I’ve always found that iPhones hold better value than other smartphones, but it’s been difficult to back up my anecdotes with data, until now.

Data from phone reseller Decluttr shows how quickly phones from different manufacturers lose their value.
The graph in the article is very interesting.

Fixing Your iPhone’s Battery Drain Issues Following a Software Update

Software updates are great, but one of the downsides to them is that they can drain your battery afterward due to old or out-of-date settings from previous versions. But don’t fret as there is a way to fix this without going to buy a new battery.  Just follow the steps below and your phone will be back to normal in no time at all.

How I added four hours of battery life to my smartphone every day for free

Five tricks to improving your iPhone’s battery life.

iPhone thieves leave selfies, video in victim's iCloud

After realizing her phone had been stolen last week, Bianca Dabi wrote off the device and figured she'd never see the phone or the people who took it again.
Then, the pictures showed up.

Whoever took Dabi's phone outside an ATM in Dallas last week apparently started taking photos and videos of themselves and their friends. What they didn't know is, those photos went to the cloud, where Dabi was seeing them pop up with regularity.

iCloud helps nab kidnappers at South Florida Denny’s

The victim of a South Florida kidnapping can thank iCloud for the arrest of his abductors.

Authorities used the victim’s iCloud account on the iPhone that had been stolen to trace the men back to a Denny’s in Coral Gables. A search of the suspect’s car revealed the victim’s stolen property and the men were arrested.

Apple has a solution to underpowered MacBook Pro graphics: fix it yourself

Some people criticized the MacBook Pro’s lack of sufficient RAM and its inferior graphics card. But users quickly discovered they can use external GPUs to turn them into even more powerful computers.

The Disposable Society And My MacBook Pro

My 105 year old typewriter works perfectly. It still works great. I can still buy the ribbons it requires and if it needs servicing, there are still places that will service manual typewriters, even those that are more than 100 years old.

My seven year old MacBook Pro doesn’t work anymore.
It cost several thousand dollars. It was the top of the line.
Its battery failed and it can’t be replaced.

The Apple “genius” said: “Tech gets old fast.”
And worthless..” I interjected.
“And worthless,” he agreed.

MacBook Air 13-inch gets a big price cut, is now $799 new

It was priced at $999 USD, but as of now Best Buy has it listed for $799 USD, a $200 price drop.

AW comment:
Apple often cuts prices of products it plans to discontinue.  The low price won’t last long.

I broke up with my beloved Fitbit for the Apple Watch. Here's what happened
After logging nearly 6.7 million steps with her Fitbit, I switched to the Apple Watch and haven't looked back.

Here are my Top 5 favorite things about the device — and not all of them are fitness-related.

"Be Calm, Robots Aren’t About to Take Your Job, MIT Economist Says”

David Autor knows a lot about robots. He doesn’t think they’re set to devour our jobs.
As an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who focuses on the impact of automation on employment, he’s in a good position to know. He’s surrounded by people creating many of the machines behind the latest wave of techno-anxiety.

His is “the non-alarmist view,” he says.

The 50-year-old believes automation has hurt the job market—but in a more targeted way than most pessimists think. He also doesn’t see the automation wave killing a wider array of jobs as quickly as many predict. Machines are invading the workplace, but in many cases as tools to make humans more productive, not replace them.

A recent study put out by PwCestimated that as many as 30% of UK jobs could be "susceptible to automation by robots and AI" by the early 2030s — with 38% in the US at risk, 35% in Germany, and 21% in Japan — although it believes jobs will be created elsewhere in the economy to help offset this.

Are we doing enough to prepare? Absolutely not, says Bob Moritz, global chairman of consultancy firm PwC.

Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation

journalists and even expert commentators tend to overstate the extent of machine substitution for human labor and ignore the strong complementarities between automation and labor that increase productivity, raise earnings, and augment demand for labor.

an economic reality that is as fundamental as it is over- looked: tasks that cannot be substituted by automation are generally complemented by it.

productivity improvements in one set of tasks almost necessarily increase the economic value of the remaining tasks.

Cyborgs at work: employees getting implanted with microchips

The syringe slides in between the thumb and index finger. Then, with a click, a microchip is injected in the employee's hand. Another "cyborg" is created.

Now here are some interesting comments about this story:



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