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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Tuesday 12-5-2017

I wrote about how much I hate my iPhone X — and an army of Apple fans attacked me online
Both my inbox and my  Twitter notifications flooded with reader responses, almost all negative and condescending.
I was prepared for the criticism — but not how ridiculous it all was.
iPhone X Face ID mini review: Better than Touch ID, or a step in the wrong direction?
Before he bought his iPhone X, the author was worried about how reliably Face ID would work.
Two weeks into iPhone X ownership, he decided his concerns were misplaced.
Face ID performs far better than the author was expecting.
Face ID is incredibly easy to set up.
Face ID isn't 100 percent secure. The same is true, though, of Touch ID, which can be tricked with synthetic fingers made from prints lifted from the touch screen. But for 99 percent of the time, it is secure enough.
iPhone X TrueDepth Camera Data Raises Privacy Concerns
In a piece for the Washington Post, Geoffrey A. Fowler is pressing the question of whether and how Apple should be sharing this data with app makers, because of what they can do with that information. Using an app called MeasureKit, Fowler's been able to see the face-scanning data Apple shares with developers.
Apps Might Have Too Much Access to Face ID Data on iPhone X
Like Touch ID data, your Face ID biometrics aren’t stored online or provided to apps directly. However, apps do have access to some less sensitive Face ID data for features like Animojis. This could end up being a much greater privacy concern than the standard front-facing cameras on other phones.

Third-party apps get access to the 3D wireframe data from the iPhone X True Depth camera system. That means they can track the real-time movements of your mouth, eyes, and even subtle changes in facial expression.
After being informed of this potential privacy headache, Apple moved to require apps that use Face ID must have a privacy policy.
Shutterfly lawsuit tags Illinois as battleground in facial recognition fight
A lawsuit against photo-sharing site Shutterfly, which seeks class-action status, joins a string of suits here from consumers around the country who have accused companies of mishandling their biometric information, which includes facial, fingerprint and iris scans.
The state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act is considered the strictest law of its kind in the nation. The 2008 law mandates that companies collecting such information obtain prior consent from consumers, detailing how they’ll use it and how long it will be kept. It also allows private citizens to sue.
Biometric data include biological or physical characteristics, and that’s concerning to people because those are permanent, said Christopher Dore, a partner at Chicago law firm Edelson who is not involved in the Shutterfly lawsuit. If your identity is stolen, you can get a new credit card, but if biometric data is hacked, “you can’t get a new face,” Dore said. “You’re stuck with it.”

People are also concerned — and rightfully so, Dore said — about what companies amassing databases of biometric information will do with it.
“Once this info is loose, the possibilities are kind of endless,” he said. “Technology for facial recognition being built into cameras is not that hard to get your hands on. … It’s going to start showing up in more aspects of our lives.”
The iPhone X's Face ID:  What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Apple Mac security issue may reoccur
Apple produced a patch to fix the security bug less than a day after it was first reported.
The bug let anyone obtain high-level access to a Mac simply by typing the username "root" and leaving the password field blank.
The bug would still be present on a Mac that:
• was running High Sierra 10.13
• applied the security patch
• upgraded to High Sierra 10.13.1
• had not been rebooted
Apple's support page about the loophole stresses the importance of making sure that the security patch is "applied properly".
Apple just announced the 2011 Mac Mini is obsolete
Apple declared the 2011 Mac Mini "obsolete" on Monday (December 4, 2017), which means Apple and authorized repair centers will no longer be able to repair the tiny Mac desktop.
If you've got a 2014 Mac Mini, Apple will still repair it.
Steve Jobs and Apple learned a huge lesson from the failure of the original Macintosh
Clinical trial puts Apple Watch's heart monitoring prowess to the test
Apple hopes to show its watch can effectively detect atrial fibrillation.
Heart doctors and traditional medical technology companies appear to be keeping an open mind so far as Apple launches a massive 500,000-person research study to see whether the Apple Watch can detect signs of the potentially serious medical condition called atrial fibrillation.
Unlike a traditional clinical trial, which requires meeting with a doctor, participants in the Apple Heart Study can enroll just by downloading an app in the U.S. and having internet access on their phone.
Apple has encouraged the development of medical-research apps by releasing an open-source software framework called ResearchKit, which has been used to design apps related to everything from autism to melanoma to postpartum depression.
Hacker culture traces back to an illegal device made by Apple's co-founder. Now it's for sale.
Long before the iPhone, there was the blue box.
On Wednesday, one of Mr. Wozniak’s blue boxes goes to auction for the first time at the Bonhams New York gallery on Madison Avenue. It’s been valued at between $30,000 to $50,000.
“If it hadn’t been for the blue boxes, there would be no Apple. I’m 100 percent sure of that,” Mr. Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson in 1994.
Apple will stop accepting 32-bit Mac apps starting January 1, 2018
Starting January 1, all new apps submitted to the Mac App Store must support 64-bit architecture, while existing apps must be updated to 64-bit by June 2018. Apple recommends that if you distribute your app outside of the App Store you should update your app to run 64-bit as well. This is due to the fact that macOS High Sierra will be the last macOS release to support 32-bit architecture.
Apple Admits Video Platform Defeat to YouTube
Apple launched an official support channel on YouTube, a de facto admission of defeat in the video platform space to YouTube. The videos on there are typically slick Apple productions. They feature tips on “How to update iOS on your iPhone or iPad” and “How to mute or leave a group conversation”. In a week they have collectively racked up more than 100,000 views.
John Gruber put it this way: “…this is a sign of just how dominant YouTube is. Everyone publishes video on YouTube, even Google’s biggest rivals — Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon.”
Apple Support Comes to YouTube With Official Channel
Face ID not working on iPhone X after updating to iOS 11.2? A reboot should fix it
Some iPhone X owners are reporting that Face ID is not working after updating to iOS 11.2, which was released this morning. The iPhone X instead shows an alert that says it is ‘unable to activate Face ID on this iPhone’. Luckily, the fix seems to be very simple — reboot your phone.
If Face ID does not work after a hard restart, contact Apple Support.
Face ID for iPhone X has stopped working for some users with the iOS 11.2 update: Here's how to fix it
In addition to the Face ID discussion, this article has a list of new features in iOS 11.2.
Apple iOS 11.2 Starts Causing Problems
Apple iOS 11.2 is arguably the most rushed release in iOS history. It was pushed out early to combat a serious restart bug and arrived with its headline feature unfinished, an inaccurate update description, missing security information and - as my iOS 11.2 Upgrade Guide warned - a lot of bugs.
The biggest takeaway once again is atrocious battery life.
Apple SVP Federighi says Touch ID was not intended for multiple users, and Face ID isn’t either
One difference between Touch ID and Face ID (besides the obvious fact that one is a fingerprint sensor and the other is a facial recognition system) is that the former inadvertently supports multiple users, while the latter does not.
Touch ID allows multiple users to sign-in using their individual fingerprints on the same device. If Federighi is right (and he should know), nothing similar will be available for Face ID, at least for a few years.
iOS 11 Encrypted Backup Change Reduces Security, Boosts Data Safety
Digital forensics firm Elcomsoft revealed this week that Apple has changed how encrypted iOS backups are protected, reducing security to improve the overall user experience.
Does this change represent a real risk to the average Apple user?  Yes, but that answer has to be understood in the proper context. In absolute terms, Apple’s change is a step backward for iOS security, but the nuances of real-world usage suggest that Apple believes it’s a net improvement for protecting user data from loss.
While I wish that Apple hadn’t made this change, and I do consider it a hit to my personal security, I can see where Apple is coming from and how the company may see it as enhancing the safety of user data. Let me explain.
Why You Should Lock Your iPhone with a Password, Not a PIN
If you're running iOS 11 on your Apple iPhone, make sure you've got an alphanumeric password, or at least a six-digit PIN, protecting your lock screen.
Why? Because that lockscreen passcode may be the only thing standing between you and complete identity theft.
7 iPhone X power user tricks you need to know
These are the best iPhone X models to buy if you want the flexibility to switch to any carrier
Without fanfare, Apple started offering the unlocked, SIM-free model of the iPhone X on Monday, which can work on "any carrier that provides service to iPhone," as Apple puts it.
A SIM card is the tiny chip inside smartphones that allows wireless carriers to identify and authenticate the device on their networks. Many people take their SIM card with them when they upgrade phones, inserting their old SIM card into their new device.
This isn't a big deal for most. It's only worth considering if you want that flexibility of switching to Verizon or Sprint.
A top indie developer that previously won Apple's app of the year is taking on PowerPoint
Paste is a new app from acclaimed iOS app developer FiftyThree.
It's basically a PowerPoint replacement, but with added emphasis on beauty, collaboration, and on its iOS apps. 
Paste is free to try, and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store. Team subscriptions cost $8 per user per month.
tvOS 11.2 fixes the Apple TV 4K’s weirdest video output setting
Fixing one of the biggest issues with the new Apple TV.
Hot on the heels of iOS 11.2, Apple has just released tvOS 11.2 for the fourth-gen Apple TV and Apple TV 4K.
Apple finally fixes SDR content on the Apple TV 4K with tvOS 11.2
It’s a small update, but it addresses one of the biggest Apple TV 4K complaints.
Every new MacBook Pro owner needs this gadget to solve Apple's USB port problem

The newest MacBook Pro does away with the USB A functionality altogether, leaving you in a bad, bad place when you're looking to plug in your favorite keyboard or tried-and-true hard drive.

HomeSpot USB-C Hubs for MacBook Pro is the exact gadget every new MacBook Pro owner needs.
The best Apple MacBook laptops for every budget
MacBook Pro With Touch Bar: Still Not A Success One Year After Release [Opinion]
On October 27, 2016, the new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops were announced. Not only were they thinner and lighter, but they added something that Apple said would revolutionize the computer industry — the Touch Bar. It was an OLED strip that allowed you to pretty much do anything that function keys did.
Many people initially liked the Touch Bar.  One year later, most feel that the Touch Bar is nothing more than a gimmick.
Many aren’t keen on the new butterfly keys. They are okay once you get used to them, but when you type on the Surface Book 2 or another device that has keys with normal travel, you realize what you have been missing.
Apple Watch watchOS 4.2 With 1 Great Boon: Apple Pay Cash.
Apple Watch software has come on leaps and bounds this year and, since it left developers’ beta, watchOS 4 has been rock solid. The latest version has just arrived. Here’s the deal on how to download and install it. And whether you should.
Note that you'll need an iPhone 5s or later to update as you need iOS 11 on the phone.
Updating from watchOS 4.1 to 4.2 took in all 45 minutes, including download and installation time.
How to force-quit troublesome Apple Watch apps in watchOS 4
Although Apple Watch apps tend to be well-behaved, there is a way of force-quitting unruly ones if they freeze or fail to refresh data. The process is fairly simple.
Opinion: Why your doctor may soon have you playing video games
Akili Interactive Labs said a trial of its AKL-T101 digital medicine, which it said “looks and feels like a high-end video game,” had a significant effect on fighting ADHD and that it would soon ask the Food and Drug Administration to approve it for treating children and adolescents.
The Case Against Net Neutrality
When you cut through the legal terms and technical jargon, it’s very simple. The plan to restore Internet freedom will bring back the same legal framework that was governing the Internet three years ago today and that has governed the Internet for most of its existence.
Until 2015, the FCC treated high-speed Internet access as a lightly-regulated “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act. A few years ago, the Obama Administration instructed the FCC to change course. And it did, on a party-line vote in 2015; it classified Internet access as a heavily-regulated “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act. If the plan is adopted on December 14, we’ll simply reverse the FCC’s 2015 decision and go back to the pre-2015 Title I framework.
Here’s the simple truth: We had a free and open Internet for two decades before 2015, and we’ll have a free and open Internet going forward.

Many critics don’t seem to understand that we are moving from heavy-handed regulation to light-touch regulation, not a completely hands-off approach.
Here’s How the Average Consumer Can Profit from the End of Net Neutrality
The Federal Communications Commission’s June 2015 net neutrality rules that ban Internet providers from selectively blocking or slowing websites or charging more for faster relaying are about to change.
The bottom-line is, consumers are going to pay more for access, packages, and speed. No matter what the FTC says or does.
There are going to be companies, especially content manufacturers, whose stocks are going to dip on the prospect of increased costs to access what they offer at desirable speeds.

Those dips are going to be buying opportunities.

With the ability to package preferential (company owned) content at desirable speeds and reduced data charges, big broadband companies will be looking for acquisitions. The end of net neutrality will open up mergers and acquisitions floodgates, and knowing which companies are going to make it onto buyers’ lists can make you a lot of money.
I’ll be pointing out who’s in play as soon as the new rules are published.
In the meantime, buying the big Internet providers – AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile – is a no-brainer.
Planned surveillance laws in the UK are "totalitarian” and the bulk collection of people’s data makes people "more vulnerable” to terrorist attacks, a National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower has said.
William Binney, who worked in senior positions at the NSA for 30 years before leaving and speaking publicly about the agencies practices, has said the mass collection "costs lives" as it overwhelms security services with information.
"Retroactively analysing people, anybody you want, any time you want, that's certainly possible with bulk acquisition of data but that's certainly not what democracies are built on. That's what totalitarian states are built on,” Binney told WIRED.
How Driverless Cars are a HUGE Danger to Freedom
The argument is that driverless "cars" (really a box that moves people and can be called on demand) will appear and basically take over.  First slowly, like cars did, and then more-or-less all at once.
You may see benefits here.
I see grave danger.

The freedom to travel has always been one that has centered around some form of personal transportation.  For roughly 100 years after this nation was formed it was mostly from horses.  Now it's mostly from personal motor vehicles.
With transportation becoming centered around a handful of large and in many cases government sponsored and regulated companies the ability to effectively bar someone from traveling where they wish, when they wish will become trivial and, you can be assured, wildly abused.
You will be able to be trivially prevented from going where you want, when you want or even going anywhere at all.  You will have no recourse if it happens to you or if your travels are "redirected" or prohibited outright on the whim of said firms or, for that matter, at the whim of the government.

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