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Tom Briant

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Saturday 2-17-2018

Tim Cook explains why you're never going to visit the inside of Apple's new $5 billion headquarters
It's because there's a lot of confidential information inside the building, Apple CEO Tim Cook said.
Apple did, however, build a place for tourists on its new campus. It's across the street. 
The Apple Park visitors center is a combination of an Apple Store, a cafe, and a shrine to all things Apple.
Medical Records May Finally Be Coming To Your Apple Smartphone
Google offered a similar service before and it failed. The search giant shut it down in 2012.

Can Apple succeed where Google didn’t?  Dr. Jonathan Slotkin says yes.
How to prevent the Apple HomePod from staining your furniture
Apple's HomePod speaker is leaving ring-shaped stains on some wood surfaces. Here's how to prevent it.
Choose wisely where you place your Apple HomePod. Here are three different ways to keep it from staining your furniture:
Choose a non-wood surface.
Place something beneath the HomePod.
Try mounting it to the ceiling.  There aren’t many mounting options yet.  But there will be.
There are 2 major reasons you should buy Apple's HomePod over an Amazon Echo
1. HomePod is the best way to listen to Apple Music, bar none.
2. HomePod sounds incredible.
If we were grading the HomePod on its sound performance alone it would be a slam dunk. Apple has produced a small speaker that produces a sound way above its stature, in a way that is enjoyable to listen to whatever you music you're in to.

But we aren't grading it on just its sound quality and neither will anyone else - and that's where it all starts to disappoint.  Siri is not refined enough.
We know that this will change and we know that Apple is great at creating and refining user experiences, but this doesn't feel like the £319 breakthrough speaker you might expect it to be.

For now, it's just a speaker that sounds great, that isn't very smart.
Siri lags behind rivals in accuracy on the HomePod
Apple's voice assistant Siri significantly lags behind competitors in terms of answering questions accurately on its smart speaker.
Apple's first smart speaker feels exclusively designed for its most ardent fans.

The whole thing is small, at 5.6×5.6×6.8 inches.  It weighs 5.5lbs.
HomePod’s sound is clean and mostly balanced, with a satisfying but not overwhelming sense of fullness.
To be clear, for its size, and even for its price, the HomePod is above average.
If you think about Siri’s place in the HomePod on Apple’s terms, it’s not a disaster. If anything, it’s pleasant.

A big piece of that is that the HomePod’s mic array is far and away the most impressive I’ve used on a smart speaker to date. With the Sonos One, Echo, and Google Home, I often find myself shouting, pausing, and speaking deliberately to ensure my requests are heard. The HomePod, meanwhile, lets me speak something at least close to natural.
When it comes to those simple things, Siri is fine.  Beyond its abilities with Apple Music, Siri is mostly adequate with the basics.
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant do considerably more than just the basics.  Siri is limited compared to Alexa and Google Assistant
Those who want a smart speaker and are NOT Apple diehards should buy a pair of Sonos Ones instead.
How to play music on HomePod without subscribing to Apple Music
Follow the steps in this article to stream music from your iPhone or iPad straight to the HomePod via AirPlay.
The HomePod is built like a tank. Durability should not be an issue.
Even though it looks like there ought to be a nondestructive way inside, we failed to decode it. Without a repair manual, your odds of success are slim.
How to limit HomePod access so family and friends can't send texts, create reminders, or hijack your music
There are two different ways to lock your HomePod from outside access.
AppleInsider shows you how to access and control both of these.
8 reasons you should buy a Google Home Max instead of an Apple HomePod
9 reasons you should buy an Amazon Echo instead of an Apple HomePod
How to Listen to Music on Your Apple Watch
You can tune into songs from your own collection, Apple Music, Apple Radio, and other music services right from your wrist.
Apple Now Selling Refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 Models
As of the writing of this article, there are two refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 GPS-only models available at a $50 discount, which equates to 13 to 15 percent off of the regular price. No LTE models or models with stainless steel or ceramic cases are available at this time.
Apple's Excellence in Design Leads to Employees Smacking Into Glass Walls
The glass is so flawless and unobtrusive that employees keep walking into it.
24 hidden settings that can maximize your Mac
iMac Pro review: Hard to upgrade, but holy Jony Ive it’s fast
I can confirm the iMac Pro is an impressive machine. It’s another step in the right direction for some of those same professionals, even though it doesn’t address every need the Mac Pro used to. For the most part, it’s a faster iMac. But it’s also a bit more than that in some areas that count.
If you have an iPhone, better be careful about any text your apps display. A new iOS bug discovered earlier this week by engineers at Aloha Browser will crash your Apple device, whether an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch, if the wrong character comes up on the screen.
There are two non-English symbols that "can crash any Apple device that uses Apple's default San Francisco font." All that need happen is for an app to display one of the characters.

When one of the two symbols is displayed in an app, the software crashes immediately. In many cases, the app cannot be reopened and must be reinstalled. TechCrunch was able to recreate this behavior on two iPhones running an older version of iOS, one iPhone running iOS 11.2.5 and a MacBook Pro running High Sierra.
A new bug has been discovered in iOS 11 that lets people send a specific character that will crash an iPhone and block access to the Messages app in iOS and popular apps
The bug itself involves sending an Indian language (Telugu) character to devices, and Apple’s iOS Springboard will crash once the message has been received.
How to recover lost data from iPhone, iPad, or iPod with iMyFone D-Back for Mac
If you need to recover data from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, there are a few options including Apple’s own recovery tools. But an app like iMyFone D-Back for Mac makes it easy to see all of your available options and recover specific data from backups via iTunes, iCloud and the device itself even if you don’t know exactly where to look.
12 texting tips you didn’t know the iPhone could do
How a Low-Level Apple Employee Leaked Some of the iPhone's Most Sensitive Code
This is how a small group of friends lost control of the leaked iBoot source code. The story behind one of Apple's most embarrassing leaks.
According to two people who were in that original group, they hadn’t planned on the code ever leaving that circle of friends.
Eventually, however, the code was shared more widely and the original group of people lost control of its dissemination.
Cryptocurrency Wallet Guide: A Step-By-Step Tutorial
A lot of good info here.
One thing about this web page that’s a bit annoying:
After you’ve been reading for 10-15 seconds, it presents a request for your e-mail address that hides the web page.
There is an X that you can click to dismiss it, but that X is not where you would normally expect.
Instead of being at the upper right of the small e-mail address request, it’s at the upper-right of your web browser’s window.
Due to the distance between the e-mail request and the X, it took me a while to notice it.
Although online wallets have proven more vulnerable and prone to hacking attacks than wallets on your personal computer, diligent security precautions need to be implemented and followed when using any wallet. Remember that no matter which wallet you use, losing your private keys will lead you to lose your money. Similarly, if your wallet gets hacked, or you send money to a scammer, there is no way to reclaim lost currency or reverse the transaction. You must take precautions and be very careful!
Equifax Data Breach Was Bigger Than Previously Reported
But consumers may not be at greater risk than before, security expert says
More than 145 million Americans were affected by the Equifax hack last summer. The personal information accessed--which included Social Security numbers, driver's licence numbers, and credit card numbers--would allow criminals to steal a consumer's identity and open fraudulent accounts.
This article also lists steps to take (if you haven’t taken them already).
News Corp CEO Admits He Wants Internet Censored So News Corp Can Make More Money
If those pesky alternative media outlets like Infowars were censored and shadow banned by Google and social media giants, News Corp would make a lot more money.
The Wall Street Journal has led a crusade against independent content creators for the last year, most notoriously smearing YouTuber PewDiePieas a “nazi” as part of a campaign to drown out non-mainstream voices.
This is why people are upset about this Facebook-owned network privacy app
• Facebook is now directing users to download a VPN called Onavo for "protection."
• The VPN is owned by Facebook, and sends information about your app usage habits to the company.
Under the pretense of protecting your account, Facebook is telling users download to a Facebook-owned app that tracks what you do on your phone — and sends that information back to Facebook.
Facebook bought Onavo, an Israeli company, in 2013. Since then, Facebook has been using the data collected from the service to keep tabs on how people use the apps on their phones, even when they're not using Facebook.
When users download Onavo, they give Facebook permission to collect their mobile data traffic. Because Facebook owns Onavo, Facebook gets access to that data. This means that while your ISP won't see what apps you're using, Facebook will.
Facebook already has issues with eroding public trust, amid its public struggles with fake news, propaganda, and misinformation spreading through the social network. The perception that the company is pushing what's seen as a way to spy on users may not be the best look.
Facebook is feeling lonely these days.

The social media behemoth has seen a decline in traffic in recent weeks along with millions of users leaving its platform, and it appears to be taking rather drastic measures to win them back. Specifically, spamming the hell out of them in a most unfortunate place:  Their cell phones.
One Facebook user lamented "I signed up for 2 factor auth on Facebook and they used it as an opportunity to spam me notifications.”
As far as he is concerned, Facebook attempts to woo him back have more or less backfired. "I feel like they are constantly pushing me to come back to the service but this is not the way to do it."

After all, no one likes a desperate ex.
Father Of Artificial Intelligence: ‘Singularity Is Less Than 30 Years Away’
Singularity is the point in time when humans can create an artificial intelligence machine that is smarter than humans. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s chief of engineering, says that the singularity will happen in 2045.  Louis Rosenberg claims that we are actually closer than that and that the day will be arriving sometime in 2030. MIT’s Patrick Winston would have you believe that it will likely be a little closer to Kurzweil’s prediction, though he puts the date at 2040.
Ray Kurzweil said robots “will reach human intelligence by 2029 and life as we know it will end in 2045.”
Why Linux sucks and will never compete with Windows or Apple OS-X
Linux is both the world’s best and worst operating system. If you’re running a server it’s the best. Linux gives you control, sort of. On the desktop however it totally sucks, and over time it’s getting worse.

Linux also, like the Mac is more of a religion where Linux followers praise new features that actually make the user experience worse. The community behaves more like a cult and seems completely disconnected from the reality of making something productive.

Linux is free and is actually not even worth what you pay for it.
Linux as a desktop continues to become less popular and is getting worse even in an environment where Windows is getting worse too. I used to have the illusion that software was supposed to get better over time. That’s not what is happening.
And DON’T bother to complain about Linux.  The attitude is (and there is a lot of attitude in the Linux community), here’s the source code – customize it yourself.

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