Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

Russian Dairy Cows Wear VR Headsets to Reduce Anxiety

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The RusMoloko farm is experimenting with giving cows VR headsets. They claim it can reduce anxiety and thereby increase milk production.

“Examples of dairy farms from different countries show that in a calm atmosphere, the quantity, and sometimes the quality, of milk increases markedly,” it read.

Researchers will examine the effects of the programme in a long-term study. The developers reportedly hope to expand the project if positive results continue.

This Tool Shows Which Sites Disguise Third-Party Trackers

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Tracking companies have started disguising their third-party trackers as first-party trackers to bypass privacy tools, called CNAME tracking. This tool called TrackingTheTrackers can find them.

This method is called CNAME Cloaking and the disguise is not obvious if one does not know where to look. That’s why we made a free analysis tool that anyone can run on any website. We also wrote an in-depth article about this, you can read it here.

Sounds like a helpful tool. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one. Even Apple does it (But The Mac Observer doesn’t).

Readdle Celebrates Black Friday 2019 With Deals up to 50% Off

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Readdle creates apps like PDF Expert and Documents, and it’s celebrating Black Friday 2019 with deals until December 2.

PDF Expert for Mac at 40% off

Black Friday Bundle at 50% off: Apps include Scanner Pro, Calendars 5, PDF Converter, and Printer Pro

Premium Features in Calendars at 40% off

PDF editing in Documents at 50% off

I no longer use Readdle apps but these are great deals for great apps.

Inactive Twitter Accounts to be Removed in December

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Inactive Twitter accounts will be removed in December, freeing up these usernames for reuse.

Twitter is sending out emails to owners of inactive accounts with a warning: sign in by December 11th, or your account will be history and its username will be up for grabs again. Any account that hasn’t signed in for more than six months will receive the email alert.

Twitter hasn’t yet said exactly when recouped usernames will be made available to existing users. The account removal process “will happen over many months — not just on a single day,”

New York City Wants to Ban FedEx Robots

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FedEx robots called Roxo appeared in New York City for a preview party of the company’s Small Business Saturday event. Despite not being there for testing, New York City’s mayor tweeted that they weren’t welcome, and criticized FedEx for taking jobs away from humans.

FedEx told TechCrunch that the bots were there for a preview party for its Small Business Saturday event and are not testing in New York. Even this promotional event was too much for city officials concerned with congestion and bots taking jobs from humans.

After reports of the bot sightings, the mayor tweeted that FedEx didn’t receive permission to deploy the robots; he also criticized the company for using a bot to perform a task that a New Yorker could do. The New York Department of Transportation has sent FedEx a cease-and-desist order to stop operations the bots,  which TechCrunch has viewed.

Floppy Disk Signed by Steve Job Auctioning at $7,500

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A Macintosh floppy disk signed by Steve Jobs is up for auction with an estimated value of US$7,500.

Macintosh System Tools Version 6.0 floppy disk, signed in black felt tip, “steve jobs.” In fine condition, with slight brushing to the ink. A hugely desirable format for Jobs’s seldom-seen autograph—known as a reluctant signer, he often declined to comply with the requests of collectors. As a piece of Apple’s iconic Mac OS software, boasting Jobs’s elegantly stylish lowercase signature, this is a museum-quality piece of computing history.

This item is Pre-Certified!

Hurry, Pixelmator Photo on iPadOS is Free Right Now

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Normally US$4.99, Pixelmator Photo is free right now. It’s a photo editor that promises a full collection of nondestructive color adjustments, full support for RAW images, and machine learning that can improve your photos like a pro photographer. It’s an exclusive app for iPadOS. Here are some of the other features: Batch edit photos using the entire collection of editing tools available in the app; Enhance automatically takes care of all the subtle improvements that go into every great shot — white balance, exposure, shadow, and highlight detail — so you can focus on adding your own creative finishing touches; Presets for film emulation, vintage looks, and more.

Hurry, Pixelmator Photo on iPadOS is Free Right Now

Watch Dickinson’s Hailee Steinfeld Try to Keep Up with a Chef

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Hailee Steinfeld stars in Dickinson, an Apple TV+ show about the poet Emily Dickinson. She recently appeared on an episode of Bon Appétit as part of the Back-to-Back Chef series. It’s a fun show where a celebrity and a chef stand in the kitchen back-to-back. The chef has to describe exactly what to do as they cook, and the celebrity tries to follow along without looking back to see what the chef is doing. Vocal instructions only. Ms. Steinfeld makes pomme soufflé, which isn’t an actual soufflé and instead a variety of French fried potato. It’s a fun episode to watch.

Apple Shares Featurette of ‘Truth Be Told’

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Apple shared a video that gives us a look at its upcoming Apple TV+ show Truth Be Told.

When new evidence compels podcaster Poppy Parnell (Octavia Spencer) to reopen the murder case that made her a national sensation, she comes face to face with Warren Cave (Aaron Paul), the man she may have mistakenly helped to put behind bars. Her investigation navigates urgent concerns about privacy, media and race.

Truth Be Told is created by Nichelle Tramble Spellman and stars Octavia Spencer, Aaron Paul, Lizzy Caplan, Elizabeth Perkins, Michael Beach, Mekhi Phifer, Tracie Thoms, Haneefah Wood and Ron Cephas Jones.

Why Teaching Privacy to Your Kids is Important

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Kids lining up against the wall with smartphones

Siobhan O’Flynn writes about all the ways that companies like Google collect data from kids in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. It starts when schools increasingly turn to Google services in education.

Alphabet Inc. dominates child-directed and child-featured content online through YouTube Kids and has now colonized online educational spaces through Google Docs, G-Suite, Chromebooks and the associated Gmail accounts for children that are required for use. This means that Google’s access to children’s data spans entertainment (YouTube and YouTube Kids), search and purchase histories (via associated parental accounts), and educational sectors.

Apple’s Newest Holiday Video Will Make You Cry

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Apple’s newest holiday video is a real tearjerker. A family goes to grandpa’s house for the holidays, and during the trip the parents give the kids an iPad as a way to keep them occupied. When they get to grandpa’s house, it’s a somber atmosphere. We learn that grandma is no longer with them, but the two girls make something special with the iPad as a present. The song is Married Life by Michael Giacchino, from the Up movie.