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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday November 26 2017

Apple's jaw-dropping 'spaceship' campus is open — take a look from above
It's been a long few years, but Apple's $5 billion campus, with its famous "spaceship" building, is finally finished — mostly.
Several good pictures, and a video.
9 accessories that’ll help you get more out of your MacBook
The 20 best smartphones in the world
The Apple iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8 are first, second and third, respectively.
Google Pixel 2 XL and Google Pixel 2 are fourth and fifth, respectively.
Further down the list are Apple iPhone 7 and plus, and iPhone 6 and plus.
iPhone X: Everything you need to know about Apple’s top-of-the-line smartphone
Macworld evaluated the iPhone X, and what we found is that Apple delivers not just a great phone; the iPhone X brings back the feeling of the original iPhone, that rush of holding the future in the palm of your hand.
I've been an iPhone user for 10 years — here's what happened when I switched to the Google Pixel 2 for a week
Even though I've been an iPhone disciple for, like, 10 years, I feel like that's just because it's been a force of habit and not really because I felt like iPhones were the best phones. And now that I'm comfortable with the Android operating system, I might be ready to make the switch.
I've been using my iPhone X for nearly a month, and I've decided I hate it
The phone has one crucial flaw, however — it's nearly impossible to use with one hand.
The difficulty has changed the way I use my phone for the worse, so I'm selling mine.
I had assumed that using the new phone would be identical to using my previous phone, but I didn't account for the drastic effect of the larger screen.

A weird thing happened: I would envy people I saw with older iPhones.
Macs Don't Get Enough Love
Which is surprising, because Macs have been experiencing a renaissance. After seeing a -14% and -17% contraction in units sold and sales volume in fiscal 4Q16, respectively, growth has been picking up very fast (see graph below). Last quarter, Mac revenues skyrocketed by about 25% over unimpressive year-ago results.
Apple has a significant advantage [over Windows PCs], in my view, as it has been the only computer maker to successfully carve a niche in the market that cannot be easily pursued by other manufacturers.

With its own operating system and a unique user experience that is now being complemented by the seamless integration among Apple devices (I envy my wife's ability to text my iPhone from her MacBook Air), the brand is becoming stickier within Apple's user base.
Apple has expanded its desktop and laptop computer portfolio. Notice how, today, Macs come in many different flavors and prices ranging from $499 (Mac mini) to an astounding $3,999 (8-core Mac Pro). This will be crucial in ensuring solid growth rates in the foreseeable future. Interestingly, this is the same reason why I believe the iPhone will fare better in the near future than it did in 2016, as the product offering has expanded to become more appealing to both the lower-end (iPhone SE starting at $349) and higher-end consumer (iPhone X for as much as $1,299).
The smartphone business is currently dominated by one brand: Apple. Not in units shipped, but in the commanding lead that Apple holds in industries and markets that matter commercially. That's why Apple has been making virtually all of the money in the phone industry.
Today's iPhone, iOS and App Store is a lot like Microsoft's Office suite in the 1990s: everyone wanted to copy it, or better it in some respect, but it was impossibly difficult to unseat because it was a package of very good tools that resisted encroachment by one new word processor, spreadsheet or email package. Apple is now the Office of mobile personal computing. And iPhone is reaching a spectacular level of broad competence, expanding upon an app ecosystem and hardware integration that was already effectively impossible to compete with.
When net neutrality ends, all internet carriers will soon be able to gouge you in ways you can't currently imagine!
Video: Everything you need to know about Apple's iMac Pro in under 6 minutes
This video talks lots of technical stuff.  It’s aimed at highly technical nerds — as is the iMac Pro itself.
iPhone jailbreaking is pretty much over
While Apple has largely negated the need for jailbreaking by continually adding useful features and flexibility to iOS over several updates in recent years, it’s also become increasingly more difficult to jailbreak iPhones, both for hackers and users alike.

Jailbreaking will be relegated to a hobby for nostalgic veterans who’ve grown up patching previous versions of iOS on older devices. And while Apple saw the practice as detrimental to its business and to its product experience, it in fact represented the incredible enthusiasm, curiosity and tenacity of scores of fans who wanted more from the company’s gadgets.
Two Major Cydia Hosts Shut Down as Jailbreaking Fades in Popularity
Apple's cat-and-mouse game with jailbreaking has been ongoing for over a decade, and it may be finally winning the battle given advancements in iOS security and decreasing interest in jailbreaking.
Two out of three of Cydia's major default repositories are no longer active as of this month. ModMy recommends developers in the jailbreaking community use the BigBoss repository, which is one of the last major Cydia sources that remains functional.
The closure of two major Cydia repositories is arguably the result of a declining interest in jailbreaking, which provides root filesystem access and allows users to modify iOS and install unapproved apps on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
"What do you get in the end?" asked Cydia creator Jay Freeman, in an interview with Motherboard. "It used to be that you got killer features that almost were the reason you owned the phone. And now you get a small minor modification." 
iPhone X Diary: Putting the camera to the test, and being even more impressed
All in all, I’d say the iPhone X is easily $500-600’s worth of camera. So consider you’re buying that plus an iPhone costing the same amount.
For me, the real test of an iPhone camera is how annoyed I am if I spot a nice photo opportunity when I don’t have a standalone camera with me. The answer with the iPhone X is ‘hardly at all.’
Any recent iPhone is a fantastic camera in bright sunlight, so I’m concentrating here on the real test of a camera: low-light performance.
12 iPhone X Tips and Tricks You Need to Know
8 things we love about the Apple iPhone X – and 6 we don’t
This $5 Apple Pencil Hack Changed How I Use The iPad Pro

A repurposed clip keeps Apple’s stylus within reach, which means you’re way more likely to use it for note-taking, sketching, and more.
A Digital Whiz Kid Asks “What’s a Computer?” in Apple’s Spot for iPad Pro
Slide Show:
20 Apple Watch Tips to Help You Work and Play Better
OnePlus’s Face Unlock is faster than Apple’s Face ID, but that doesn’t mean it’s better
OnePlus's technology doesn’t use a 3D sensor to scan the user’s face, and doesn’t let you authorize payments via Apple Pay and can’t be used to unlock certain apps, like mobile banking.
iPhone X users can now use Face ID to make purchases on eBay
eBay announced it now supports Face ID for purchases on its IOS app. The announcement makes eBay the first third-party app to allow Face ID to authenticate purchases.
How to Use the Dock With iOS 11 on iPad
Apple Watch Series 3 Review 
Physically, the Apple Watch might not have changed much, but there’s no doubt that both Apple and the consumers now see the smartwatch as a fitness-focussed device, with everything else intended to complement those functions. Apple has admitted this has been in response to user feedback based on how people were actually using the Watch out in the wild.
Apple claims all-day battery life with the Series 3, and the Watch constantly topped that expectation during our review period. We easily got two days of life out of each full charge.
• Great battery life
• Improved performance
• Altimeter
• watchOS 4 adds useful features
• LTE version not available in India
It’s been two full months since Apple released iOS 11 to millions and millions of devices worldwide, and the software is still just buggy as hell. Some of the glitches are ugly or just unexpected from a company that has built a reputation for flawless software. Shame on me for always expecting perfection from an imperfect company, I guess. But there are some really bad bugs, so bad that I can’t use the most basic features on my phone.
How a Smaller Government Made the iPhone Possible
Ten years and 11 generations later, Apple’s invention demonstrates the power of free markets

From 1913 to 1984, the United States had a government-sanctioned telephone monopoly, in some form or another, with very heavy government involvement in the industry.
That anti-competitive system created by government massively slowed development in residential telecommunications.
Had residential telecommunications been left in the hands of government and AT&T, it’s unlikely that anything like an iPhone would exist today.
Who could possibly have imagined that in 23 years’ time, America would go from having the same old AT&T, 1940s-style phones in so many homes to having iPhones in so many pockets? The old rotary dial phones were put there by a company both heavily regulated and heavily favored by the government, a government and a company both disinterested in innovating.

The iPhone, in contrast, was made popular by companies, engineers, and consumers, who moved too quickly for the government to even be able to understand what was happening, let alone to have enough time to try regulating it.
How Apple and Microsoft Won the Personal Computer Revolution of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s
Platform and ecosystem.
Both Apple and Microsoft are ecosystem companies. They got there by very different paths, and have very different ideologies as to why they’re there and how they make money from being there.

In late 1974, Gary Kildall's CP/M as revolutionary for microprocessor based systems, and was the foundation on which the personal computing revolution launched forward.
In 1977, things changed again. It began to occur to some of the more prescient people in the industry that consumers, in the main, didn’t want science projects - they wanted computers that were more appliance-like. So, in 1977, we saw three new market entrants: the TRS-80, the Commodore PET, and the Apple II.

Note that in this time, Microsoft was just another software house. They had a key product, Microsoft BASIC , which very nearly everyone ran.
The thing that killed all of 8080/Z-80 computers, both CP/M and otherwise, was really the advent of the Intel 8086. It was significantly faster, addressed more memory, and was a 16-bit CPU.
SCP wrote QDOS (for Quick and Dirty Operating System). It was shipping in September 1980.  Microsoft bought QDOS.
And the world as we know it changed, fundamentally.
MS-DOS, the renamed and spiffed up version of SCP’s QDOS.
But that’s not where it got solidified.
Rod Canion and his band of merry men in Houston (the founders of Compaq) set out to make a computer that was 100% compatible with the IBM PC. Your software for the IBM PC would 100% run on the new machine from Compaq. When they pulled it off - and no one really thought they could - it set the market standard.
Apple had been paying attention during all of this, and knew that ecosystem was key.
They sell powerful high-margin hardware with some very basic programs, but count on heavy involvement from a deep and robust developer community to really fill user needs. They have a fully integrated ecosystem. It’s all full circle. Fully closed.
Microsoft on the other hand is all about the software. All your third party applications, beholden to Windows.
Both Apple and Microsoft are ecosystem companies. They got there by very different paths, and have very different ideologies as to why they’re there and how they make money from being there.

But they’re very much both about ecosystem, and being the platform.
Apple: Sure, we banned VPN iOS apps in China, but, um, er, art!
iGiant didn't want to aid censorship, but $10bn in revenue is $10bn in revenue
Apple said in a letter [PDF] to Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ted Cruz (R-Zodiac) that while it did cave to China's demands it axe VPN apps from its software store, it only did so in order to continue selling other products that helped advance human rights and speech on the mainland.

"We believe that our presence in China helps promote greater openness and facilitates the free flow of ideas and information," explained Apple's vice president for public policy Cynthia Hogan.
Taylor Swift Schools the Music Industry Once Again, While Streaming Services Wring Their Hands
Every time Taylor Swift releases an album, she decides how to make it available -- and streaming service executives claim she's completely wrong.
Swift's new album, Reputation, sold 1.212 million copies in the U.S. last week.
At some point -- maybe soon, maybe not -- Swift will let streaming services offer all of Reputation.
By holding out, Swift is following a path marked by the Beatles, AC/DC and other superstars, who came late to the iTunes game. They, too, were criticized. But they, too, realized that the right time to start selling $1.29 songs comes when it gets harder to sell $15 CDs.
Technology companies hate this.
Justin Rosenstein belongs to a small but growing band of Silicon Valley heretics who complain about the rise of the so-called attention economy: an internet shaped around the demands of advertising.

These refuseniks are rarely founders or chief executives, who have little incentive to deviate from the mantra that their companies are making the world a better place. Instead, they tend to have worked a rung or two down the corporate ladder: designers, engineers, and product managers who, like Rosenstein, several years ago put in place the building blocks of a digital world from which they are now trying to disentangle themselves.
But those concerns are trivial compared with the devastating impact upon the political system that some of Rosenstein's peers believe can be attributed to the rise of social media and the attention-based market that drives it. Drawing a straight line between addiction to social media and political earthquakes like Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, they contend that digital forces have upended the political system and, left unchecked, could even render democracy as we know it obsolete.
"The technologies we use have turned into compulsions, if not full-fledged addictions,” Nir Eyal writes. "It's the impulse to check a message notification. It's the pull to visit YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter for just a few minutes, only to find yourself still tapping and scrolling an hour later." None of this is an accident, he writes. It is all "just as their designers intended.”
It was not just shady or bad actors who were exploiting the internet to change public opinion. The attention economy itself is set up to promote a phenomenon like Trump, who is masterful at grabbing and retaining the attention of supporters and critics alike, often by exploiting or creating outrage.
"The dynamics of the attention economy are structurally set up to undermine the human will," James Williams says.
Because of Social Media, There is no winning for marketers in the age of Trump, a divided America and the constant social media outrage loop
The outrage cycle has always been a constant feature of social media.
The outrage cycle today runs on a loop. A marketers finds itself in the middle of a hot-button ideological issue – whether it asked to be there or not. There is backlash. And then there is counter-backlash to that backlash. Until another brand find itself in the thick of a similar maelstrom, and the cycle kickstarts all over again.
Basically, there is no winning for brands in today's hyper-polarized and divisive environment. Take a stand on a hot-button issue, and get pummeled by the conservatives. Or don't, and get roasted by the progressives. Markerters — already wary of entering the political fray — now find themselves are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Almost everything is a potential minefield.
Tech firms are speaking up against the FCC's plan to kill net neutrality
The FCC is planning to kill net neutrality — and some tech companies are starting to speak out.
The plan is expected to pass, and if it does, it will mean ISPs and telecoms firms are able to charge companies for access to "fast lanes," or even block certain apps altogether.
If you want to see what America would be like if it ditched net neutrality, just look at Portugal
"In Portugal, with no net neutrality, internet providers are starting to split the net into packages,” Ro Khanna wrote. "A huge advantage for entrenched companies, but it totally ices out startups trying to get in front of people which stifles innovation. This is what's at stake, and that's why we have to save net neutrality."
Here's what Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak thinks of the net neutrality battle — and why it matters
How to make secure passwords you can actually remember
Begin with a sentence, for example "Cats do not like cucumbers.”
Take away the spaces between the words and it becomes "Catsdonotlikecucumbers.”
Thats a very long password.
So instead, use the first two letters in each word of the sentence.
They are Ca, do, no, li, cu.  Take away the spaces to get “Cadonolicu”.
After that, change some characters to other symbols.
For example, change the “i” to an exclamation point “!” and turn one “o” into a zero “0”.
This transforms “Cadonolicu” into “Cad0nol!cu”.
AW comment:  “Cad0nol!cu” is NOT memorable.
And remembering a dozen passwords can make your head spin.
In that case, forget about the manual method above and use a “Password Manager” app to place the burden of remembering all those passwords onto your computer. When you use a password manager, you only need to remember one password — the one that opens up the password manager.  Once open, the password manager app will let you see all those passwords that
you can’t remember.
Why we can’t trust smartphones anymore
A new class of security problem is caused by smartphone makers that create vulnerabilities deliberately without telling customers.
Facial Recognition is the Ultimate tracking technology
The biggest danger is that authoritarian governments will use the technology to surveil and control their populations. Stanford University researchers made an algorithm that guessed someone's sexual orientation from a picture of their face with 81 percent accuracy; humans managed only 61 percent. In countries where homosexuality is illegal, that could be a dangerous weapon.
How does face recognition technology work?

It scans faces, either in person or on a photograph, and measures distinguishing facial features such as eye position, eyebrow shape, and nostril angle. This creates a distinctive digital "faceprint" — much like a fingerprint — which the system then runs through a database to check for a match. Law enforcement agencies have had faces on file for decades.
Doctors have already started using facial recognition to help them diagnose rare genetic diseases that produce distinctive facial characteristics; as the technology improves, they should be able to do the same for more common conditions, such as autism. Shops will soon be able to identify individual customers as soon as they walk in the store, and try to sell them specific items based on their interests and previous transactions.
Tricking high-end facial recognition systems isn't easy. But there are ways to get the better of less-advanced facial recognition systems.
But there's one major flaw in all these anti-surveillance techniques: They make you stick out like a sore thumb. "The very thing that makes you invisible to computers," says tech writer Robinson Meyer in The Atlantic, "makes you glaringly obvious to other humans."
Former Obama cybersecurity commissioner gives some timely safety tips
MarketWatch Question:
Many consumers are afraid of identity theft, but they are hesitant to take any action to protect themselves. What do you suggest? 

Eric Cole Answers:
Minimize and reduce what you’re not using.
Don’t click on e-mail attachments. That’s the number one method of compromising a system.
Get rid of apps you don’t use.
Don’t give out personal data.
Don’t use debit cards - they don’t have the same protections as credit cards.
Cisco, a major internet infrastructure company, is linking up with Interpol to share data about the cyber criminals it finds on its network
• The data includes information and analysis about security threats that Cisco already aggregates through an existing research arm, Cisco Talos.
• The company said it won't share information about customer vulnerabilities. 
• It's a warm nod to law enforcement in an industry that generally requires search warrants before it shares any data.
Companies like Apple and Twitter, for example, generally require warrants before they will share any data with law enforcement.

Cisco, however, is billing this partnership as a necessary step toward tackling global cybersecurity challenges.
Fake Symantec Blog Caught Spreading Proton macOS Malware
In February this year, HackRead published a detailed report on Proton malware which targets macOS.
On November 20th, the IT security researchers at Malwarebytes Labs discovered attackers using fake Symantec blog website to deliver Proton malware against unsuspected macOS users.
The analysis went on to explain how CoinThief was discovered in 2014 and how users can protect themselves against this threat by installing “Symantec Malware Detector,” a program that does not exist. In reality, the download file was Proton malware created to infect devices and steal data.
“Since Proton is designed to steal login credentials, you will need to take some emergency actions post-infection,” said Reed. “You should treat all online passwords as compromised and change them all. Be sure, while you’re at it, to use different passwords on every site, and use a password manager (such as 1Password or LastPass) to keep track of them. Since 1Password vaults are a target of Proton, be sure that you don’t store your password manager’s master password in your keychain or anywhere else on the computer. That should be the one and only password that you memorize, and it should be strong.”

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