Recent Articles By Charlotte Henry [RSS]

Vladimir Putin Approves Russia 'Sovereign Internet' Bill

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TMO's Dramatic Reenactment of a Typical Russian Hacker

The Great Firewall of China is well established, but Russia is set to take an equally censorious approach. A new law that will come into force on November 1 gives the country a “sovereign internet.” It could isolate Russia from the rest of the web, the Financial Times reported.

The bill, which goes into force on November 1, requires internet service providers to filter all traffic through special nodes under the control of Roscomnadzor, the Kremlin’s internet censor. The Kremlin will compel ISPs and other communications services to test the system at an unspecified time later this year. Though it remains largely unclear how — or even whether — the disconnect would work in practice, the move would theoretically make it easier for Roscomnadzor to enforce its highly inefficient blocks of banned websites, messaging app Telegram, and non-compliant VPN services.

Apple's Fight Against Climate Change

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Tech firms are increasingly focussed on being eco-friendly and reducing their contribution to climate change. Tim Cook has made it a key value of Apple’s. Wired looked at the progress that Apple and other tech firms are making in the fight against climate change, particularly in their data centers.

Apple breaks down the energy mix of its US data centers in its sustainability report, and that shows where real progress is being made. Its Newark, California data center pulls from the grid, but via that state’s Direct Access system Apple can buy directly from suppliers. There, it claims its energy is “mostly wind”, and takes that to mean there were no emissions. On the other hand, its Reno, Nevada data centre is 99 per cent powered by Apple’s own solar panels, with less than one per cent from purchase agreements — there’s no question where the power is coming from.

Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook's Privacy-Focussed Future

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Speaking at Facebook’s F8 developer conference Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg laid out his company’s new privacy-focussed approached. Mike Isaac looked at the announcements and spoke to the CEO himself for the New York Times.

Mr. Zuckerberg is working to integrate and encrypt Facebook’s different messaging services, which include WhatsApp and Messenger. The company also plans to continue emphasizing its Stories product, which allows people to post updates that disappear after 24 hours. And it unveiled a spare, stark white look for Facebook, a departure from the site’s largely blue-tinted design. The features, when combined, “will end up creating a more trustworthy platform,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in an interview. “Everywhere you can see and connect with friends, you’ll be able to see and connect with groups; it’s going to be woven into the fabric of Facebook.”

Apple in Legal Dispute - With German Bike Path

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Apple

Apple is no stranger to patent and legal tussles. However, one currently happening in Germany is a bit out of the ordinary. It thinks a German bike path’s logo is too similar, AppleInsider reported.

The logo for the “Apfelroute” — Apple Route — was registered with the German Patent and Trademark Office in 2018, and is already in use for tourism marketing in the Rhine-Voreifel region, said Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Lawyers for Apple have not only filed an appeal with the GPTO, but sent cease-and-desist letters to Rhine-Voreifel Tourism. Apple’s trademark objections revolve around the Apfelroute’s green leaf and “bitten” side.

Uber Using Public Data to be Travel One-Stop-Shop

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Uber has a strong position in the taxi industry,  a growing food delivery service, and is developing self-driving cars. But the company seems to want more. Wired reports on how it is using public transport data in London to take on the likes of CityMapper.

Uber’s latest move in London is yet another attempt to try and make its app – and its service – indispensable. But to really lock in loyal customers, a subscription service might just follow. For one, Uber needs to start making money. And what better way than guaranteed income for hordes of loyal transport subscribers? With an IPO mooted for later this year, the decision to integrate open public transport data is a smart move.

How Twitter is Working to Foster Healthier Conversation

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The nastiness that frequently occurs on Twitter has been a hot topic of discussion for a while now. Consequently, it is a matter of concern for CEO Jack Dorsey and his team. Recode reported on Twitter’s efforts to become a healthier platform.

Everything the company seems to do — from cracking down on bots to building new conversation features — has been done in the name of a healthier Twitter. When the company’s user base started shrinking noticeably last year, Twitter said that its focus on health was at least partly to blame. Measuring the health of interactions is just one part of that broader effort, but it’s one of the more challenging and confusing parts. Removing bots and spam are technical problems. Truly understanding the health of a conversation requires things like understanding who is talking, what they’re talking about, or when someone is using sarcasm. Not all arguments, of course, are bad.

Foxconn Said to Be Developing micro-LED Tech for Apple

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Foxconn is said to be developing micro-LED displays to be used in iPhones and maybe other Apple devices. 9to5Mac compiled stories emerging out of Asia and explained why the technology would be a significant step forward.

micro-LED is generally seen as a superior display panel to OLED displays, the latter is what Apple currently uses in the Apple Watch, iPhone X and iPhone XS. micro-LED screens need no backlight as the pixels themselves emit their own light, just like OLED screens. This means you can get the same rich colors and high-contrast appearance…Naturally, we would expect Apple to also want to bring the technology to its flagship iPhone line and this latest report about Foxconn’s interest corroborates that intent. Nevertheless, this technology is still firmly in the medium-term future. Do not expect micro-LED screens on mass volume products anytime soon.

Drafts is a Wide-Ranging and Powerful Text Tool

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As you might imagine, I spend a lot of timing typing text. For a long while, I used programmes likes TextEdit or Word to draft news stories and columns. However, as I discussed on Friday’s TDO, I recently discovered Drafts and am now a big fan. The app allows users to write in a variety of languages, including PlainText, MarkUp, and JavaScript. It is easy to change between them. Drafts saves documents automatically. To get the full power of the app, you need to go pro, which costs $19.99 a year, including a 7-day free trial. The pro version includes extra features like different themes, the ability to organize your documents into workspaces, and further extensions and widgets. Most impressively, Drafts works across macOS, iOS, and WatchOS, meaning you can keep working on your documents on the go. The app has now become an indispensable part of my workflow.

Apple Gets Low Marks on Trust From Survey Respondents

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A new survey makes grim reading for tech giants. It found that users gave a number of firms, including Apple, low marks when asked whether they trust them.  Interestingly, Amazon came out on top, Cult of Mac reported. It looks like Tim Cook’s privacy message is not quite getting through yet.

All seven of the tech giants mentioned in a YouGov survey received jarringly negative results from an undisclosed number of respondents from the U.S. and United Kingdom. The survey, sponsored by Tresorit, which offers encrypted file sharing, shows Amazon as most trusted, but with just 28 percent. Microsoft was second with 24 percent, Apple was third with 22 percent, Facebook and Google each had 13 percent, while Dropbox and Instagram were at the bottom with single digits.

Mozilla Says Cities Can Help Save The Open Internet

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Global internet

International bodies like the EU have made some effort to protect the open internet recently. However, it is also happening at a more local level too. The Mozilla Foundation told Fast Company about the important action being taken by cities.

“Cities are a place to shape what we want from the internet, which might be faster and more powerful than what national governments can do,” says Mark Surman, the executive director of the Mozilla Foundation. He points to an example from 2015, when the New York City Department of Education was able to require Amazon to make its e-books accessible to blind people, even though the company had been ignoring the same request from the National Federation for the Blind for years. How? By making it a stipulation of the city’s $30 million contract to create an e-book store for teachers in 1,800 schools.

Tony Fadell - iPhone Co-Creator Discusses His Adventures in Asia

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Tony Fadell, the co-creator of the iPhone, left Apple in 2010. Since then he has founded smart-home company Nest, and been on adventures around the world. He spoke to Bloomberg News about his current time in Asia, studying startups.

Fadell discovered his wanderlust as a young employee of Apple spinoff General Magic in the early 1990s, when business trips to Sony’s Tokyo headquarters took him outside North America for the first time. “I was like, ‘Whoa!” he recalls. A few years later, he spent 16 weeks backpacking across Latin America, then traveled the Middle East in similar fashion. “If you are a designer or entrepreneur, you have to see different ways of living,” he says. “It’s the sights, sounds and smells that inspire you.”

Amazon is Launching Hi-Fidelity Music Service

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Amazon Music

Amazon is set to launch a hi-fidelity music service to challenge TIDAL. It will cost $15 per month for this “better than CD quality” audio, Techcrunch reported.

The company’s investment in music not only allows for new revenue streams through advertising and subscriptions, it also provides a direct connection to Amazon’s smart speakers: its Echo line of devices. For consumers pinching pennies, the ad-supported service streaming over an Echo Dot may be good enough. But those who bought, say, a stereo pair of Echo Plus devices and an Echo Sub, may want a better-quality music subscription, too.