Bandersnatch-Ing Data from Interactive Netflix Show

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Bandersnatch, the interactive Black Mirror movie on Netflix, was something of a hit. Viewers could pick the narrative path they went down. However, the Register reported on research that showed the data about choices could be snooped on using network packet analysis. Indeed, the scientists behind the research claims that they successfully determined what choice users made 96% of the time.

When viewers watching the video choose one of the two narrative paths at various branch points in the story, that information gets sent back to Netflix to display the appropriate video segment. And it turns out to be possible to discern which branch each viewer took through network packet analysis. In a paper just released through pre-print service ArXiv, “White Mirror: Leaking Sensitive Information from Interactive Netflix Movies using Encrypted Traffic Analysis,” a handful of the institute’s computer scientists show that story choices – sent from the viewer’s browser to Netflix via a JSON file – can be inferred despite the encryption of network traffic.

Time for Apple to Acknowledge Flexgate

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Touch Bar Retina MacBook Pro with USB-C ports

The Flexgate issue – whereby the ribbon cable that connects the body of some MacBook Pros to their display wears down too quickly, was revealed in January 2019 by iFixit. It seems to be a design flaw. These things happen. However, there has been frustration among users at Apple’s reaction. On The Verge, Vlad Savov said it is time for the company to acknowledge and deal with the issue.

A petition, now numbering more than 15,000, would beg to differ. It calls for Apple to publicly recognize Flexgate as a design flaw, and to commit to repair all MacBook Pro laptops affected by it. I think that’s exactly what Apple should do, and it’s no less than we should expect from a company that touts its reliability and user satisfaction numbers any chance it gets. No one should have to pay upwards of $500 to replace an entire display just because Apple (a) decided to affix a fragile cable to one of the most expensive components in its MacBook Pro, and (b) miscalculated the necessary length of that cable in its first design.

Angry Birds AR Coming to iOS

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The Angry Birds are back, and this time they are in augmented reality. The user sees the view from behind the slingshot, as Chuck, Red, and friends are placed in the player’s surroundings. The trailer shows them popping pigs on restaurant table. Think Pokemon Go, but with birds being fired around instead. Rovio, the firm behind the Angry Birds brand, partnered with Resolution to create the latest iteration (via Techcrunch). Angry Birds – Isle of Pigs is going to launch initially on iOS only. The birds will flay-in this spring.

With This App You'll Be Journaling Like a Stoic

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I’ve been interested in applying Stoic philosophy to my life for a while, although I haven’t quite taken the plunge yet. That’s why this app caught my eye. This Stoic journaling app gives you daily journaling, meditations, reflection, and mood tracking. It sets you up with morning and evening routines. Prepare in the morning, so that nothing can surprise you during the day; and reflect on your actions in the evening, get better every day, and iterate faster. You’ll learn reflective exercises like negative visualization: Discover how many things you have in your life that you should be grateful for. Things you take for granted. achievements that you forgot a long time ago. You are luckier and more privileged than you think. Quotes from philosophers are available, and see how your journal entries and mood change over time. App Store: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)

With This App You’ll Be Journaling Like a Stoic

WeTransfer Adds a Collage Tool to Paper

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WeTransfer added a collage tool to its Paper app. You can clip and arrange multiple images on a page and cut them out or slice them up. This feature can be used for scrapbooking, mood boarding, and visual note taking. And since Paper also added an integration with Unsplash, it’s easy to find a beautiful photo right from the app. Kris Martin, product manager for Paper by WeTransfer, said: “While an army of apps have offered countless new ways to layer, retouch, and filter your photos, there’s still something missing. The simple, tangible experience of clipping and arranging images together has never been faithfully translated to our touch screens. With our latest release, Paper invites creators of all ages to rediscover the experience of cutting and combining images we all had when we were young. It’s simple, intuitive, and useful for creators of any age.” Mr. Martin also wrote an article about the collage tool.

WeTransfer Adds a Collage Tool to Paper

GarageBand And The Musicians Who Use It

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This year is GarageBand’s 15th birthday, and Rolling Stone wrote a great article on how it changed how musicians created their art.

In the first media visit Apple has ever allowed to its under-the-radar Music Apps studio, the team of engineers showed Rolling Stone how the creation process for Garageband’s two types of sounds — synthetic and “real” — can span weeks or sometimes months per instrument, with new hurdles at every turn.

The Three Eras of the Apple Retail Stores

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Apple store at Park Meadows Mall, Lone Tree, CO

At ZDNet, Chris Matyszczy, recounts his discussion with a former Apple store manager. Described are the three eras of the Apple retail stores, starting with the “golden age” under SVP Ron Johnson. After Johnson left Apple, in this employee’s opinion, the experience went vastly down hill. It’s just one ex-employee’s view. but fascinating reading nevertheless.

Apple Set to Roll Out Red Carpet for Hollywood Stars at March 25 Event

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Oprah Winfrey producing original shows for Apple

LONDON- Apple’s March 25th “It’s Showtime” event looks like it is going to be a bit different from normal tech-company shows. The Times of London reported that Hollywood A-Listers like Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey, who is producing a show for Apple, could attend. It is just another element of the firm’s battle for streaming supremacy with the likes of Netflix.

The iPhone maker is ramping up the star power to support its long-awaited push into the entertainment business. For nearly two years Apple executives have been signing up the cream of Tinseltown on lucrative contracts for its on-demand TV and movie service. Next Monday, Apple will explain how it plans to dethrone Netflix and Amazon, the largest players in paid-for video streaming. It may also unveil a subscription news and magazine service, sources said.