Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

How Silicon Valley Created a Modern Caste System

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Although Silicon Valley has changed the world through its proliferation of tech companies, it has also created a bunch of problems, says Antonio Martínez from Wired. He says that Silicon Valley has created a modern caste system.

But it is the vision of the future that San Francisco offers: highly stratified, with little social mobility. It’s feudalism with better marketing. Today’s “sharing” economy resembles the “sharecropping” of yesteryear, with the serfs responding to a smartphone prompt rather than an overseer’s command…Inequality rarely decreases, and when it does it’s often as the result of wars, revolutions, pandemics, or state collapse.

How Plane Bae Revealed the Dark Side of Social Media

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EU Privacy Waves

Actress Rosey Blair and her husband were on a plane recently, and they live tweeted a “love story” between passengers sitting in front of them. It was rife with photos and details to her followers, and many saw it as an invasion of privacy where the people didn’t consent.

Of course, the sexual implication is something [the man is] praised for, while the woman is attacked…There’s another unfortunate dimension to this whole saga that mimics the coercive effect of public marriage proposals: everyone innocently cheers on the romance because it tells a good story, but it places the woman in the invidious position of being the “bad guy” if she says no.

How the App Store Changed our Lives

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Leif Johnson writes how the App Store changed his life.

All the recent talk about the App Store’s 10th anniversary makes me wonder if I’d have finished it if I had access to the same apps I now enjoy on my iPhone and my iPad. That sometimes makes the frustrations feels almost fun. Discussions of the App Store’s impact tend to focus on how it gave thousands of small-time developers a good way to make money or how it changed our social lives; we give relatively little attention to how it simplified our routines. I don’t think I’d be the same person I am today without it. Heck, I’ll bet the same could be said about you.

Apple, It's Time to Paint With Your Six Colors

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Writing for Macworld, Dan Moren wants Apple products to be colorful again. Apple products like the iPhone and IPad come in metallic colors like silver, gray, and gold, but they aren’t as colorful as the products of old with the six colors of the old Apple logo.

The recent chromatic identity of Apple has clearly been one of simplicity and elegance. From the featureless white room in which Jony Ive seems to give all his product spiels to the non-illuminating Apple logo on the latest notebook computers, the company’s design over the past decade and change has often seemed to treat colors as frivolous and silly. Even that six-color Apple logo, long the distinctive badge of the company, was retired in 1998; for the last 15 years or so, it’s merely been a monochromatic silhouette.

New LSST Telescope Will Search for Asteroids on Collision Courses

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An international team of hundreds of scientists is finishing construction of the LSST telescope, or Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. It will search for asteroids that are on a collision course with Earth. Despite our best technology it’s difficult to detect asteroids, let alone asteroids that are speeding toward our planet. The reason is that asteroids are dark; they don’t give off visible light and are hard to detect in the blackness of space.

With significant funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, LSST will search for PHAs during its 10-year mission by observing the same area of sky at hourly intervals searching for objects that have changed position. Anything that moves in just one hour has to be so close that it is within our solar system.

New LSST Telescope Will Search for Asteroids on Collision Courses

How Far Does 20MHz of Macintosh IIsi Power go Today?

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Inspired by a coworker, ArsTechnica’s Chris Wilkinson used a Macintosh IIsi as his main computing system. The computer has 20MHz of processing power, and it’s interesting to find out how far that will take you in today’s computer world. Mr. Wilkinson had to tinker with it first, as it didn’t even turn on when he first found it. After installing a new battery (something you can’t do with modern Macs) it finally powered on. The result?

After just a couple of CPU cycles, you land on a blank page to begin your masterpiece. Typing on Apple’s renowned Extended Keyboard II also certainly helped.

How Far Does 20MHz of Macintosh IIsi Power go Today?

Thousands of iOS and Android Apps are Leaking Data

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Data Leak

Thousands of iOS and Android apps are leaking data. Over 113 GB of data have been exposed because of 2,271 misconfigured Firebase databases. Firebase is a service that Google offers that contains tools that developers use to create mobile and web apps. Cloud messaging, push notifications, database, analytics, advertising, and more are all tools that Firebase offers, which makes it a popular tool, at least among Android developers.

Starting with January 2018, Appthority researchers scanned mobile apps that used Firebase systems to store user data, analyzing the app’s communications pattern for requests made to Firebase domains.

After scanning more than 2.7 million iOS and Android apps, researchers said they identified 28,502 mobile apps (27,227 Android and 1,275 iOS) that connected and stored data inside Firebase backends.

Italy Wikipedia Shuts Down in Protest of EU Copyright Law

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The EU is considering a new copyright law, and critics say it could endanger parts of the internet. Everything from memes, music remixes, and even news would be affected. Italy Wikipedia shut down in protest because editors say “Wikipedia itself would be at risk of closing.”

Two particular parts of the new rules – articles 11 and 13 – have been the focus of much criticism online. Article 13 has been the most controversial, requiring websites to enforce copyright, even on content uploaded by users. Article 11 of the proposed law requires online platforms to pay publishers a fee if they link to their news content.

This Concept Imagines Using a Touch Bar on iOS

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Developer Eyad Murshid created an interesting concept yesterday. It imagines what a Touch Bar on iOS would look like. It’s called AccessoryTouchBar, and I personally like it. Although, having a Touch Bar and the predictive text bar would take up a lot of room, so maybe they could be merged. In any case, head over to GitHub and check it out. There are GIFs that show it in action. Touch Bar on the Mac seems to be lets you perform certain functions and third-party apps can add their own functionality to it. If third-party apps on iOS could modify the Touch Bar, we could see some Cool Stuff™.

This Concept Imagines Using a Touch Bar on iOS