Recent Articles By Charlotte Henry [RSS]

'Carkey' API May Control Homekit Smart Lock

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A ‘Carkey’ API appeared in the first beta version of iOS 13.4. However, a new patent application, reported on by AppleInsider, indicated the technology could have other uses, like a Homekit connected smart lock.

The first beta of iOS 13.4 revealed traces of a “CarKey” API, one which would effectively turn the iPhone into an electronic key for a vehicle, similar to current keyless unlocking and starting systems employed today. By bringing the iPhone close to an NFC point, it could feasibly allow a car to start and to be driven, while also offering the option of sharing a version of the key to others with certain permissions disabled, such as enabling a car to be unlocked but not driven. In a patent application titled “System access using a mobile device” published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, Apple seems to be planning a much wider use of the concept than in just vehicles. The abstract for the filing mentions it would be used to authenticate a mobile device for access to system functionality, including “physical access to a system, starting an engine.”

Some Beijing Apple Stores Will Reopen Tomorrow

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Some Apple Stores in Beijing will reopen on Friday, 14 February, Reuters reported. However, customers are going to have to wear surgical masks. The retail outlet closure were extended on February 8 due to the spread of coronavirus.

Its five stores in Beijing will open from Feb. 14 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., according to Apple’s website, shorter than its usual hours of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Stores in cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen remain shut. “In view of public health and prevention, some of our retail stores are temporarily closed,” it said in a notice on its website, which also asked customers visiting outlets that were open to wear a mask and cooperate with temperature taking.

MWC 2020 Cancelled Over Coronavirus Fears

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MWC 2020 logo

Mobile World Congress (MWC) is one of the highlights of the European, and indeed global, tech event calendar. But this year it has been canceled. The decision is due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, The Verge reported.

After coronavirus threatened to throw MWC into chaos, the GSM Association (GSMA), which organizes the show, has now canceled it. It comes after more than a week of exhibitors and companies pulling out of MWC. In a statement, GSMA CEO John Hoffman said the coronavirus outbreak has made it “impossible” to hold the event. MWC was scheduled to take place in Barcelona between February 24th and the 27th.

Calm - The App For Meditation, Mindfulness, And Sleep That Actually Works

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Wellness, and associated things like meditation and yoga, are big business for app makers. Honestly, I’ve always been rather skeptical. However, I finally downloaded Calm and really like it. The app is not new. Apple named it ‘App of the Year’ in 2017, and also put it in its ‘Best of 2018’ list. I’ve just recently started using it regularly though, and am impressed. Calm offers a variety of content including guided meditations, stretching routines, and even relaxing bedtime stories (including one read by actual Stephen Fry). Sure, it has a bit of the annoying language of wellness, but the exercises are doable and enjoyable and available on a number of Apple platforms. You generally come away from one of the practices feeling, well…Calm.

Calm – The App For Meditation, Mindfulness, And Sleep That Actually Works

New Mac Pro Facing Lengthy Delivery Delays

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The new Mac Pro is facing delivery delays, according to MacRumors. This is down to the coronavirus outbreak closing Chinese manufacturing plants.

In many European countries, for example, the base model without any customizations is currently estimated for delivery on March 10. While the new Mac Pro is assembled in the United States for orders placed in the Americas, European orders are assembled in China.  The new Mac Pro also has a February 24-26 delivery estimate in the United States, despite being assembled in Texas, possibly because some components are still sourced from temporarily-closed suppliers in China.

Google and EU Engage in Courtroom Battle

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EU Justice

The EU and Google continue their court battle with a clash over internet power. Furthermore, the internet giant argued that fines against it went too far. Bloomberg News  has a rundown of what happened in the Luxembourg courtroom.

As many as seven billion daily searches make the U.S. giant “the front page of the internet,” Nicholas Khan, a lawyer for the European Commission told a panel of judges in the opening session of a three-day hearing at the EU General Court in Luxembourg. “The case is, in a nutshell, about what users are presented with, having made a search,” Khan said. Google search provides “an immensely powerful lever to direct users’ attention to any specific search market where Google might wish to develop a presence. No other internet player is in any remotely comparable position.” The Alphabet Inc. unit earlier on Wednesday argued that the EU went too far with a 2017 EU fine, then a record 2.4 billion euros ($2.6 billion), and an order to change how it shows shopping search results from rivals.

Firefox Working to Eradicate 'Weak" TLS 1.0 & 1.1 HTTPS Standards

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Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser, announced it is moving to “eradicate” the weak TLS 1.0 and 1.1 HTTPS standard, The Register reported. Apple made a similar announcement in October 2018.

From next month, users hitting a site running TLS 1.0 or 1.1 will not connect immediately, but see a warning screen stating: “Secure connection failed.” There is an option to override this, in which case it will be overridden for all sites. Thyla van der Merwe, cryptography engineering manager at Mozilla, said: “We plan to keep the override button for now; the telemetry we’re collecting will tell us more about how often this button is used. These results will then inform our decision regarding when to remove the button entirely. It’s unlikely that the button will stick around for long. We’re committed to completely eradicating weak versions of TLS.”

T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Gets go Ahead

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T-Mobile and Sprint merger

The proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger got the go-ahead on Tuesday, Yahoo Finance/Reuters reported. A judge approved the deal, rejecting antitrust concerns raised by some states.

During a two-week trial in December, T-Mobile and Sprint argued the merger will better equip the new company to compete with top players Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc, creating a more efficient company with low prices and faster internet speeds. The states, led by California and New York, had said the deal would reduce competition, leading to higher prices. The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero clears the path for the deal, which already has federal approval and was originally valued at $26 billion.


The Woman Who Got Netflix to Let Users Turn Off Autoplay Videos

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Last week, Netflix introduced the ability to turn off those annoying autoplay videos. Recode spoke to Sarah Hollowell, the woman who made it happen.

A week after her volley of tweets, Netflix retweeted Hollowell and announced the updated settings. This is a big deal, if you follow Netflix Twitter much. People reviled these autoplay previews so much that there’s a dedicated Twitter account collecting the complaints, including one widely circulated smirk from Knives Out director Rian Johnson. Outrage like this has spilled over to seemingly every corner of the internet. If you click through any of those links, you’ll also realize that people have been yelling at Netflix about this for years. There’s even a petition started by a Melissa Bryant, a passionate Netflix user from Maine, that racked up nearly 125,000 signatures in the past two months.