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Friday, January 5, 2018

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Friday, 1-5-2018

Phone Users Suing Apple Over The Battery Issue Have A Tough Case To Prove
Dynamic power management is nothing new. It’s a technology that attempts to control the charge and discharge of Lithium-ion batteries according to the power required of them by the device. Apple actually implemented the technology on iPhone 6/Plus and 6s/Plus last year via an iOS update.
But Apple changed the performance of people’s devices without telling them directly that they were doing so.
Apple probably should have known better than to secretly mess with the performance of the central computing hub in most people’s lives. Many users are very sensitive to the speed at which their phone launches apps and renders video. And Apple knows that; note that in its statement the company did not apologize for throttling down phone performance, but did apologize for not telling consumers.

So score that one for the plaintiffs.
Curious how well the battery inside your iPhone is doing? Here's how to check it.
By far the easiest way to check on your battery's health. Install the official Apple Support app and sign into your Apple ID if required.

Start a chat session with Apple Support, selecting the phone you want to have tested as the device in question. Once you're connected with a technician, inform him or her you want to know the status of your battery's health.

You will then be walked through the process, which requires going into Settings > Privacy > Analytics. A few seconds later, a report is sent to the representative.

My iPhone X battery passed with flying colors, as expected.
Keep in mind, Apple isn't actually requiring your battery to fail its test to make you eligible for the $29 replacement. Checking your battery is more for peace of mind than anything else.
How to Tell if You Need a New iPhone Battery
The easiest thing to do is download an app like Battery Life (there are multiple apps with that name, but this version, by RBT Digital, seems to be the most robust).
If you've got anything older than an iPhone 7, get the $29 battery change next time you're anywhere near an Apple Store.
If you've got an iPhone 7 or newer, check the Battery Life app infrequently and see where things are headed. If your iPhone battery is headed to just 80 percent then look into the replacement options stat, hopefully before Apple's battery deal runs out at the end of the year.

Apple says its batteries are good for 400 to 500 charge cycles. That usually takes a year or two—or around the time you'd upgrade iOS and see it all slow down when the new iOS detects an aging battery and reduces processor output to "help" you. It doesn't hurt that Apple would also prefer you purchase a new phone around that time, too.

Run, don’t walk, to replace your iPhone battery for $29

Apple shaved $50 off its standard battery fee in an extraordinary — but limited-time — effort to get back in our good graces.
Rarely is tech advice this cut and dried: If you bought an iPhone in 2016 or earlier, make an appointment at a Genius Bar as soon as possible. Apple just started a program that can make old iPhones feel new again — for just $29.
An Apple store or repair shop will pop the hood of your iPhone 6, 6s, SE or 7 and swap out the battery. Like a jalopy after a Jiffy Lube, a three-year-old iPhone with a fresh battery will not only run longer, chances are it will also run faster.

It takes 17 hours for an image to burn in on the iPhone X, test shows
Samsung phones didn't perform as well, but their owners shouldn't worry either.

None of these three phones performed poorly enough in this test that owners should be worried.
Five simple steps to keep your Mac safe from hackers
Apple is updating its software to combat chip security holes
Apple said it will be releasing more software updates to protect against recently disclosed security vulnerabilities.

This marked the first time that the company had made a formal statement about the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, which were reported to affect phones, servers andPCs.
Apple says the patches will have "no measurable effect" on performance.
Apple confirms all Mac and iOS devices are affected by Meltdown and Spectre bugs
“All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time,” the company writes in a blog post. “Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the App Store.”
Apple Watch devices are not affected by Meltdown in any way, Apple confirms.
9 reasons you should buy an iPhone 8 instead of an iPhone X
The T2 chip makes the iMac Pro the start of a Mac revolution
Sure, it's the fastest Mac ever made, but the T2 chip is what really makes it different.
AW comment:
Presumably, that chip will be coming to regular iMacs in the future.
iMac Pro Teardown
For those of you who are technically inclined, here is a detailed, step-by-step disassembly of the iMac Pro, with pictures.
Must-read iOS 11 Control Center tips and tricks
Here are our top tips for making the most out of Control Center in iOS 11. These tips apply to iOS 11 specifically, so if you haven't upgraded yet  be sure to do so in order to gain these great new features on your iOS devices.
Why on Earth did I wait so long to disable Siri on my iPhone X?
I’ve been dealing with accidental Siri activations ever since I first got the Apple Watch in 2015. Workouts aside, I would activate Siri at least a few times every week simply by pushing a door open or doing something similar. So I finally decided to completely disable Siri on my iPhone, since that’s the only way to disable Siri on the Apple Watch.

Why didn’t I do this sooner!?

Not having false alerts every 2 seconds while I exercise is wonderful, but there’s another benefit I wasn’t expecting. The battery life on my iPhone X has gotten a huge boost since disabling Siri.
Angela Ahrendts says it took years to figure out the key to success — here's how she has stuck to her values while becoming Apple's highest-paid employee
There’s a reason using a period in a text message makes you sound angry
Now that text messaging and social media have given their users an outlet for casual written language, differences between writing styles can be seen.
When using a period in a text message, it’s perceived as overly formal. So when you end your text with a period, it can come across as insincere or awkward, just like using formal spoken language in a casual setting like a bar.
Some educators are even beginning to incorporate lessons about formal and informal writing into their classrooms, which can help students identify those situations that require the use of different styles.
We change how we talk depending on where we are, who we’re talking to or how we’re communicating.

A common example is the way we talk in a job interview versus at a bar with friends. Typically, a speaker will use much more formal language in an interview than when hanging out with peers. If you talked to your friends the same way you talked during a job interview, it would probably give a stilted, distant feeling to the conversation.
Facebook Dumps 'Fake News' Patrol After Spectacular Backfire
Facebook has abandoned it’s fake news ‘fact checkers‘ program to label articles reviewed by Snopes and Politifact as ‘disputed,’ after the program backfired a little over a year after inception.

The company pointed to a slowdown in news flow, the fact that stories were required to be deemed “false” before earning a “disputed” label, and
because many people were instead drawn to clicking on the articles in question.
Two Calendars from NASA for 2018
The APOD calendar begins with December 2017.  Turn the page and January 2018 will appear.
Everything You Need to Know About Blockchain But Were Too Embarrassed to Ask
Blockchain is the technology that underlies BitCoin.  But it’s being used for many other purposes as well.
Blockchain technology breaks the database into a million tiny pieces, which are then spread across thousands of computers. “Instead of breaking into a house,” Smith says, “you now have to break into an entire town.”
Intel speaks out on fixes for ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ CPU exploits, their impact
A so-called bug initially ascribed solely to Intel CPUs is actually a pair of exploits that, taken together, impact many of the CPUs being used in PCs, mobile devices, and data centers. The bugs now have names — Meltdown, which affects Intel processors, and Spectre, which is more widespread and affects CPUs from Intel, AMD, and ARM.
The issue is related to how programs access memory, specifically information that should only be accessible to the operating system kernel that maintains the highest level of privileges. The exploits are ones where malicious programs can access the protected kernel memory space and “see” information that should be locked away.
The full details, which are not yet available, are quite technical and relate to how a CPU moves in and out of protected kernel mode.
The fix for Meltdown has to be implemented by the operating system in a process labeled Kernel Page Table Isolation (KPTI), which puts the kernel in an area of protected memory space that cannot be accessed by other programs. That creates extra processing steps — dumping and then reloading kernel data — that can slow things down, although, according to Intel, the impact is limited to specific workflows and typical users will not notice much impact.
Spectre will take longer to resolve but is also much more difficult to exploit.
All operating systems will need to implement some form of KPTI in order to bypass the bug and improve security.
This story isn’t about one manufacturer’s problems but apparently more about the industry’s rapid response to a widespread issue.
Intel now says it has a fix for the Spectre bug that Google found to be unfixable
Intel says that it's already sending out fixes for the massive "Meltdown" and "Spectre" security bugs, with 90% of recent processors getting the patch by the end of next week.
"By the end of next week, Intel expects to have issued updates for more than 90 percent of processor products introduced within the past five years," Intel said in a press release.
That still leaves a long way to go: The Meltdown and Spectre attacks are believed to present a threat to almost any Intel processor made since 1995. But safeguarding the last five years' worth of chips is a good start.

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