Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

Former Director of FBI, CIA Foiled a Phone Scammer

· Andrew Orr · Link

William H. Webster, a former director of both the FBI and CIA, foiled a phone scammer who threatened him and his wife.

Over a number of weeks, Thomas, calling himself David Morgan, made a series of calls to the Websters, and they soon turned threatening: he described their house, and he said that if they didn’t hand over $6,000, he’d shoot them in the head or burn their house down, boasting that the FBI and CIA would never find him.

Can you imagine the look on that guy’s face when he learned who he threatened?

Remember Bandersnatch? Netflix Saved Your Choices

· Andrew Orr · Link

Netflix logo

Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch is a choose-your-own-adventure game that went viral. As it turns out, Netflix saved the choices you made.

He found that Netflix is tracking the decisions its users make (which makes sense considering how the film works), and that it is keeping those decisions long after a user has finished the film. It is also stores aggregated forms of the users choice to “help [Netflix] determine how to improve this model of storytelling in the context of a show or movie.”

This doesn’t seem like a huge issue to me. This is standard analytics the platform keeps.

Cloud Backup Service Backblaze Raising its Price

· Andrew Orr · News

Red Backblaze logo on white background

Backblaze is a popular service to back up your computer to the cloud. In its first price increase, the company announced it will go from US$5 to US$6 per month. [Backblaze: The Least Reliable Hard Drives] Backblaze Price Increase The price will increase starting March 11 5PM PT for both new and existing users: The…

Comparing Android Security Versus iOS Security

· Andrew Orr · Link

Android logo

Keiran Dennie tweeted an interesting chart that compares the security of various smartphone operating systems.

Wondering about Android and Apple phone security? Here’s an objective chart to help you decide.

It’s a well known fact of Android that people have to rely on their carrier to push out security updates. This can take weeks, months, and sometimes they don’t get released at all.

Facebook Lets You Search for Photos of Your Female Friends

· Andrew Orr · Link

Matthew Hughes writes about how Facebook lets you search for photos of your female friends, but not your male friends. Not that you should creep on guys either, though.

Facebook lets you search for photos of your female friends, but refuses to play dice if you want to look up pictures of your male friends. The bizarre find was discovered this weekend by notorious Belgian white-hat hacker Inti De Ceukelaire.

Every time I ask myself, “Can Facebook get any more toxic?” The answer is YES. It’s as if Mark Zuckerberg is competing to be the Worst Person in America.

Mozilla Calls on Retailers to Avoid Insecure Smart Devices

· Andrew Orr · Link

The Mozilla Foundation published its Minimum Security Guidelines and urged retailers stop selling insecure smart devices.

Dear Target, Walmart, Best Buy and Amazon –

The advent of new connected consumer products offers many benefits. However, as you are aware, there are also serious concerns regarding standards of privacy and security with these products. These require urgent attention if we are to maintain consumer trust in this market.

Sorry, Facebook Messenger Decryption is Secret

· Andrew Orr · Link

Yesterday a U.S. judge ruled that a secret government effort to compel Facebook to decrypt Messenger voice conversations won’t be revealed.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the public’s right to know the state of the law on encryption outweighed any reason the U.S. Justice Department might have for protecting a criminal probe or law-enforcement method.

One word: PRISM.

Adobe AI Can Enhance Your RAW Files

· Andrew Orr · News

The new feature called Enhance Details will be found in Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic CC, and Lightroom CC for macOS and Windows.

WWDC 2019: June 3-7 in San Jose, California

· Andrew Orr · Link

I still count this as a rumor until Apple officially provides the dates, but MacRumors found something they believe confirms the dates.

While we were already confident the WWDC 2019 dates would fall on June 3-7, we confirmed with a source that a large annual event of some kind will be taking place during that week at McEnery. Meanwhile, the second and fourth weeks of June are ruled out due to the already-announced O’Reilly Velocity conference on June 10-13 and the Sensors Expo on June 25-27 at McEnery.

macOS Flaw Exposes Safari Browsing History

· Andrew Orr · News

A flaw in macOS Mojave can expose your Safari browsing history. Developer Jeff Johnson discovered this on February 8.

Apple Cloud Gaming and Augmented Reality

· Andrew Orr · Link

Rumors point to Apple creating a gaming subscription service. This Medium post suggest it might be something called “cloud gaming” where you don’t download anything. Sounds perfect for a thin client like Apple Glasses, although gaming is more of a VR thing. Speaking of AR though, there’s a new executive for that.

Between, Apple, Sony, and many other large tech companies (or startups comprised of people from these companies), we’re bound to soon have a reality with fast and reliable cloud gaming.

Civilization 6: Gathering Storm Won't Be Coming to iOS

· Andrew Orr · Link

In Polygon‘s review of Civilization 6: Gathering Storm, it sounds like the expansion pack won’t be coming to iOS. I find this incredibly sad because I love the game and I was looking forward to Gathering Storm. The iPad version also doesn’t include the Rise and Fall update which came out last year.

So I’m going to just say that if you’re looking for a better, more advanced, more complicated Civ 6, then Gathering Storm is just fine. But if you’re looking for value, if you don’t want to feel like you’re being gouged and punished for being a fan, I’m inclined to suggest you wait for a price cut.

Apple Health Records are Coming for Veterans

· Andrew Orr · News

Apple has been working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and announced that Health Records are coming for veterans.

The Success of AirPods and Apple's Product Strategy

· Andrew Orr · Link

But fast-forward to 2019 and, somehow, the £159-a-pair little pods have transformed into a bona fide status symbol.

I’m not so sure AirPods are a status symbol, and definitely not a millennial one (The word millennial isn’t even mentioned in this article except the headline). But the AirPods are a great example of Apple’s product strategy: Enter a market with crappy products with a better designed, easy-to-use product, and reap the rewards.