Recent Articles By Charlotte Henry [RSS]

Apple VR Headset Could have Motorized Headband

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Apple’s much speculated upon VR headset looks evermore likely thanks to a couple of recent patents. Whatismore, it could come with a motorized headband. Cult of Mac noticed that Apple has applied for a patent for a motorized adjustment system. It also filed a patent for a “Thermal Regulation for Head-Mounted Display.”

The description is written in the stilted language of such things. It says, in part, “the adjustment mechanism includes a variable volume structure that changes fit of the headband relative to the head of the user by volumetric expansion or volumetric contraction.” It gets a bit more eyebrow-raising when the filing mentions “an electric motor that changes fit of the headband relative to a head of the user by constricting or expanding a length of the headband.”

Iranian Hackers Target Hundreds of Firms Including Microsoft

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Iranian hackers attacked hundreds of global firms over the last two years. Those targeted included Microsoft. The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft traced the attack against it to a group called Holmium. It had been tracking the group for 4 years. At the time of this writing, it had not been reported that Apple was a target.

The campaign, the scope of which hadn’t previously been reported, stole corporate secrets and wiped data from computers. It caused damages estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity and affected oil-and-gas companies, heavy-machinery manufacturers and international conglomerates in more than a half-dozen countries including Saudi Arabia, Germany, the U.K., India and the U.S., according to researchers at Microsoft, which deployed incident-response teams to some of the affected companies.

Ira Flatow Says Apple Watch 'Saved' his Brother

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Science Friday host Ira Flatow revealed Thursday that the Apple Watch had “saved” his brother. The device alerted Mr. Flatow’s sibling that he had a very high resting heartbeat. It told him to go to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed tachycardia, AppleInsider reported.

Posting to Twitter, host of radio show Science Friday Ira Flatow revealed his brother was “saved by his Apple Watch,” alerting him to a higher than normal heartbeat. According to the personality, the heart beat was in excess of 200 beats per minute, prompting the sibling to take a trip to the hospital. Doctors issued a diagnosis of tachycardia, a condition when the heart rate exceeds the normal resting rate, which for most adults would be a resting heart rate of over 100 beats per minute.

Prey Finds You're More Likely to Lose Your iDevice Than Have it Stolen

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Georgia Best Buy burglars make off with $100,000 in Apple products

New data from Prey, an app that helps secure and retrieve lost iPhones, iPads and Macs, showed that your device is much more likely to be misplaced than stolen. 9to5Mac picked up on some of the bizarre lost device scenarios. One user drunkenly put their phone in the fridge following a night out, while another took their corporate laptop having faked their own death!

When it came to analysing the main reasons for putting a device into missing mode, Prey found that theft was relatively low down the list. Misplaced: 69.12%, Pickpocket: 10.98%, Home invasion: 7.6%, Robbery: 6.76%, Car Break-in: 2.77%, Business Break-in: 2.77%. And among the two-thirds of devices that were merely misplaced by their owner, the most common scenario was accidentally leaving it at home.

Inside the Lives, and Servers, of Digital Hoarders

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Digital data

Despite the best efforts of Marie Kondo, many of us still hoard physical items. Perhaps not surprisingly, digital hoarding is getting ever more widespread too. Gizmodo looked into the lives of digital hoarders, who collect huge amounts of data, including rare files, audio recordings, and video games, and build their own data servers to do so.

Online, you’ll find people who use hashtags like “#digitalhoarder” and hang out in the 120,000-subscriber Reddit forum called /r/datahoarder, where they trade tips on building home data servers, share collections of rare files from video game manuals to ambient audio records, and discuss the best cloud services for backing up files…Many self-proclaimed digital hoarders say they enjoy their collections, can keep them contained in a relatively small amount of physical space, and often take pleasure in sharing them with other hobbyists or anyone who wants access to the same public data.

Laurene Powell Jobs on the Future of Media and Democracy

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Laurene Powell Jobs

Laurene Powell Jobs is amongst a number of wealthy Americans increasingly investing in media. For example, in November 2018 her Emerson Collective purchased the company behind the Sunday Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine. She also bought a major stake in the Atlantic in 2017. The widow of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs discussed her vision of the future of media with Re/Code‘s Kara Swisher.

Our issue areas are those that we think are the most calcified and the most important that reflect the American values and that are important to democracy. So we work in education, we work in immigration, we work in environment. And outside of that, it started to become really obvious to us that the cultural narrative, that the kind of in-depth journalism that exposes the injustices in these fields was under attack from both a business model point of view …

Female British Siri Voice Given an Upgrade

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LONDON – Apple customers in the UK might be feeling that Siri is just that little bit more human. It is reported that the digital assistant’s British female voice has been given an upgrade. Cult of Mac noticed a number of users commenting on the improvement to the voice on iPhone, iPad, and HomePod. The male voice was improved earlier in 2019.

Apple launched a mission to make Siri sound less robotic in 2017. The release of iOS 11 that fall brought big improvements to Siri’s voice in a number of markets, and the improvements have slowly but surely continued since then. Apple is thought to be using machine learning techniques to make its assistant sound more natural. It hasn’t changed the voice artists behind Siri — at least not for the British accents — but they now sound more human.

Tim Cook Made Sure Apple Won in the US-China Trade War

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A new in-depth report on Politico revealed the full extent of Apple’s involvement in the U.S.-China trade dispute, And how it was it was successful. A key factor was that CEO Tim Cook remained one of the few tech-leaders who engaged directly with President Donald Trump after comment’s from the President’s caused others to stop doing so. Mr. Cook was also aided by having strong business connections in China.

In the U.S., Cook has made a point of directly engaging with Trump, even as the president’s immigration policies and remarks about minorities have scared off other executives from liberal-leaning Silicon Valley. And in China, Cook — who knows some Mandarin — has actively cultivated government and business leaders during his frequent visits to a country where Apple’s supply chain supports an estimated 3 million jobs. “Among the tech titans, he’s probably the one who is best placed to deal with both sides at the same time,” said James Lewis, a former State and Commerce department official who dealt with China trade issues and now directs the technology policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Lots of Arguments Against Cord Cutting Are Stupid

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Curd Cutting

Despite cord cutting getting ever more popular, lots of people continue to put up lots of arguments against it. The thing is, most of them just do not make sense. Fast Company helpfully compiled a list of 6 of the dumbest arguments against cord cutting. Something to deploy, perhaps, when friends and family tell you to renew the cable subscription.

By dropping cable or satellite TV for cheaper streaming services–or perhaps an over-the-air antenna–you can easily save hundreds of dollars every year. Yet we’re constantly being told by a parade of contrarian pundits that this is actually a bad idea–that the savings are illusory or that some future consequence will doom cord-cutting in the end. Most of these arguments collapse under scrutiny, which might explain why people are ignoring the naysayers and abandoning cable and satellite TV in record numbers.

Apple Acquires Patents From Failed AI Powered Home Security Startup

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Apple acquired patent’s from Lighthouse AI in late 2018, it has emerged. Apple purchased 8 patents from the smart home security startup. They related to, amongst other things, computer-vision based security, visual authentication, and incident sharing. Lighthouse AI  closed down in December 2018. The purchases are another indication of the renewed seriousness with which Apple is approaching AI. 9to5Mac wondered if we could see the technology associated with the patents used to improve Face ID.

The patents in question (via Patently Apple) relate to technology used for computer-vision based security, visual authentication, and more. In total, Apple acquired eight patents and patent applications from Lighthouse. Lighthouse AI officially shut down in December of last year after it failed to achieve commercial success. Lighthouse focused on using augmented reality and 3D sensing to make it easier for users to understand and sort through security footage.