News+ Efficiency is Aesthetically Pleasing

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In Wired’s latest magazine, Clive Thompson writes that for some programmers, efficiency isn’t just a way to make a job easier. It’s aesthetically pleasing.

Many of today’s programmers have their efficiency aha moment in their teenage years, when they discover that life is full of blindingly dull repetitive tasks and that computers are really good at doing them.

I’m not a programmer, but I’m a big fan of efficiency and optimizing my life. I don’t go as far as the “optimized self” movement, but I like to automate whenever possible. The less time you spend doing repetitive tasks, the more you can spend enjoying life.

This is part of Andrew’s News+ series, where he shares a magazine every Friday to help people discover good content in Apple News+.

500M iOS Users Affected by Cyberattack via Chrome Bug

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Roughly 500 million iOS users have been affected by a cyberattack that takes advantage of an iOS Chrome bug.

The attacks are the work of the eGobbler gang, researchers said, which has a track record of mounting large-scale malvertising attacks ahead of major holiday weekends. Easter is coming up, and the crooks are banking on consumers spending a lot more time than usual browsing the web on their phones.

Another research firm says this attack can also affect Safari users. Be careful this weekend.

Why Your Kid Loves Being on TikTok

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This week, TikTok got banned in India. Apple removed it from the iOS App Store in the country. However, the video-sharing app remains hugely popular with a young audience worldwide. Bloomberg Businessweek looked at why.

TikTok decides what videos to show by tapping into data, starting with your location. Then, as you start watching, it analyzes the faces, voices, music, or objects in videos you watch the longest. Liking, sharing, or commenting improves TikTok’s algorithm further. Within a day, the app can get to know you so well it feels like it’s reading your mind. That’s why Jade, the Oklahoma teen, mostly sees videos of people dancing, while her mom regularly gets clips of dog tricks.

UK Far-Right Ban Signals Serious Shift by Facebook

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This week, Facebook banned far-right groups in the UK. These included the likes of  Britain First and the English Defence League. At Wired, Matt Reynolds looked at the profound shift by the company this move signalled.

And Facebook says it will go further than just banning these organisations and individuals. It will also go after their followers…This is a dramatic switch for a company that, until a month ago, still talked about itself as a digital “town square” – a space where all voices, including the distasteful and dubious, jostled for attention, free from any interference. It is a seductive ideal that harks back to the early days of the internet and its promise of unfettered freedom of speech.

Apple Hires Lionsgate Veteran Danielle DePalma

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Apple has hired former Lionsgate Executive Vice President Danielle DePalma. She will be a Senior Film and TV Series Marketing executive, leading on promoting Apple’s forthcoming content. Deadline reported that she will report to Head of Video Marketing Chris Van Amburg.

DePalma was a Lionsgate veteran who spent about a decade at the company before leaving in January. At Lionsgate she previously served as SVP digital marketing and VP new media and marketing, overseeing the digital/social media campaigns for such movies as The Hunger Games franchise and Kick-Ass.

eBooks and the Nature of Ownership

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Microsoft closed its eBook store several weeks ago. People lost their books, but at least the company refunded them. Because of this, Michael Kozlowski of Good e-Reader says people are experiencing a “crisis of confidence” in eBooks.

I believe that ebooks are suffering from a crisis of confidence.  It is beginning to be quite difficult to trust a retailer to not disappear overnight with your ebooks, no matter how big they are…A recent study published in the journal Electronic Markets found that the vast majority of  people felt a constricted sense of ownership of ebooks versus physical books, based on the fact that they don’t have full control over the products.

He also mentions how a lot companies use DRM on eBooks, which factors into the “You license, not own, your eBooks” argument. I’d like to point out that Apple Books doesn’t apply DRM to most if not all of its books. I can take books I buy on there and move it to another service if I want, which makes me feel as if I truly own them.

The Internet's 768K Day Approaches. What is THAT?

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Global internet

ZDNet writes:

The term 768k Day comes from the original mother of all internet outages known as 512k Day.

512k Day happened on August 12, 2014, when hundreds of ISPs from all over the world went down, causing billions of dollars in damages due to lost trade and fees, from a lack of internet connectivity or packet loss

This time we’re much better prepared. However,

There will certainly be some network operators and corporate end-user organizations who will be caught unaware and will experience problems…

Sinji Fitness Tracker: $22

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Sinji Fitness Tracker

We have a deal on the Sinji fitness tracker, a device that lets you track activities, monitor sleep, and stay connected—on a budget. It features an IP67 dust and waterproof rating, and includes a heart rate monitor, pedometer, distance walked tracking, and a sleep monitor. It’s $22 through our deal.

Privacy And The Next Phase of Apple vs Facebook

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Facebook and Apple’s approach to privacy has long differentiated the two firms. While that remains the case, things are changing Writer, and recent Background Mode guest, Lance Ulanoff looked at the next phase of the battle between companies.

Facebook hasn’t traditionally cared much for [privacy], for example, while Apple has bent over backwards to market privacy features. But the tide may be shifting, depending on how you interpret some recent product announcements. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently committed himself to “building a privacy-focused” platform, while Apple announced a slate of new services that a different, less scrupulous company might use to harvest user data.

The Redacted Mueller Report is Here

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The Mueller Report has now been uploaded and released to the public, and it has been heavily redacted. It’s 448 pages long.

This report is submitted to the Attorney General pursuant to 28 C.F.R. § 600.8(c), which states that, “[a]t the conclusion of the Special Counscl’s work, he…shall provide the Attorney General a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions [the Special Counsel] reached.”

Apple VP Lisa Jackson on Making an iPhone From Recycled Materials

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Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson was recently named one of Business Insider’s 100 people transforming the world of business. The publication has a fascinating interview with the Apple exec, in which she talks about Apple’s aim to make an iPhone from only recycled materials.

Since joining Apple in 2013, Jackson has driven initiatives like Apple’s decision to run on 100% clean energy and the Daisy recycling robot, which it announced in 2018 after debuting its first iPhone-dismantling machine called Liam in 2016. “We’re feeling really good about the fact that we’ve watched this idea go from a pilot stage with Liam to full production stage in Daisy,” Jackson said…Apple’s initiatives under Jackson come as advocacy groups have criticized the company and other large tech firms and accused them of kneecapping efforts to minimize manufacturing waste

AirPods Are Causing Some Awkward Social Situations

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AirPods are hugely popular. Everywhere you turn people have them hanging out of their ears. While they bring a lot of benefits, not least for Apple, Buzzfeed News looked at the awkward social situations the wireless headphones can create.

Unlike traditional headphones, AirPods are the kind of things you can keep in your ears at all times, and many people do. Their sleek design and lack of wires make it easy to forget they’re resting in your head. And their status symbol shine doesn’t exactly scream “take me out.” This may be great for Apple and its bottom line, but it’s making life weird for people interacting with those wearing them. Are they listening to me? Are they listening to music? A podcast? Just hanging? It’s tough to know.

Advertisers Hate This Texas Privacy Proposal

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The Texas Privacy Protection Act (HB 4390) was introduced last month, and it would require opt-in consent from consumers before companies could use their data for targeted ads. Advertisers aren’t happy.

Without the ability to effectively advertise online due to opt-in consent barriers, revenues will be impacted and companies that rely on such revenue may no longer be able to support free and low cost content and services that Texans desire, such as online newspapers, social networking sites, mobile applications, email, and phone services,” the ad industry writes in a letter sent last week.

The groups add that the constant requests for consent will frustrate consumers and also “desensitize” them, which will reduce “their sense of control over their privacy.”

A Trader Woke in the Night and Sold His Qualcomm Postion - He Lost Out on $50,000

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Computer Frustration

Not everyone was rejoicing at the news that Qualcomm and Apple had settled their differences. An Australia-based trader with the handle ‘Arminoxx’ revealed that he had woken up in the night to look after his crying baby. At the same time, he sold some of his position in Qualcomm, trying to limit his expected losses. That was hours before the firms settled. The move cost the trader a $50,000 return, according to MarketWatch.

“I live in Australia, so I am mostly sleeping during U.S. trading hours,” [the trader] said. “However, I woke up at 4 a.m. and decided to put a limit sell order of $0.06 on my options to salvage my losses given that only 2 days are remaining till expiry, and went back to sleep.” Ouch. Arminoxx, in an exercise in self-flagellation, tallied what he would have made had he slept through the night: $50,000 or a 6,000% gain.

Wisconsin Regrets $4 Billion Foxconn Deal

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Wisconsin’s governor wants to renegotiate his deal with Foxconn, saying he doesn’t believe the jobs promised as part of the deal will come.

“Clearly the deal that was struck is no longer in play and so we will be working with individuals at Foxconn and of course with (the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.) to figure out how a new set of parameters should be negotiated.”

Wisconsin forced people out of their homes, claiming the site of the Foxconn plant was blighted, and now it’s changing its mind. Shameful.

Galaxy Fold is Breaking for Some Users

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Samsung Galaxy Fold

File this under, “we suspected that might happen.” CNBC writes:

Samsung’s $1,980 Galaxy Fold phone is breaking for some users after a day or two of use. A review unit given to CNBC by Samsung is also completely unusable after just two days of use.

Maybe the customers are holding it wrong. Android Central also has details.

Interview With Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf

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A day after Qualcomm and Apple reached a settlement, CNBC released an interview with Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf.

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf joins CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” to discuss the Qualcomm-Apple settlement and the company’s future in 5G.

I can’t directly link the video here but I think it’s worth watching.

Tim Cook, Luca Maestri Sued For Alleged Securities Fraud

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The City of Roseville employee’s retirement fund is suing Apple over alleged securities fraud. Tim Cook and Luca Maestri are listed as defendants.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims that Apple was not initially forthcoming about a drop in demand for the iPhone due to poor sales in China and the 2018 battery replacement program, both of which contributed to lower than expected iPhone sales in the first fiscal quarter of 2019.

Free Sectigo S/MIME Certificates Limited to One Month

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Free Sectigo (formerly Comodo CA) S/MIME certificates, which is a standard used to encrypt emails, are now limited to one month instead of twelve.

On renewing this month, have found that the new issued Certificate only has a 1 month duration instead of 12 months, and if you want 12 months, you now need to pay. (US$48 per year, multi-year discounts available). Note: Sectigo’s Sales Team all ensure me that they still offer 12 months free, despite evidence otherwise.

If you use one of these certificates for email encryption on macOS and iOS, be warned you may have to look for another solution, like OpenPGP.