Recent Articles By Charlotte Henry [RSS]

Ohio Firms can Pay their Taxes Using Bitcoin

· · Link

Bitcoin in the abstract

Starting this week, businesses in Ohio will be able to pay their taxes using Bitcoin. Engadget reported that the service could eventually be expanded to accept payment of personal taxes. According to the Wall Street Journal: “Ohio businesses will be able to go to the website OhioCrypto.com and register to pay everything from cigarette sales taxes to employee withholding taxes with Bitcoin.”  Ohio is the first state to allow taxes to be paid via Bitcoin. The change was pushed forward by Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel.

This doesn’t eliminate the regulatory concerns around cryptocurrency, and it’s doubtful that more than a handful of businesses will use it. It’s happening in Ohio precisely because state Treasurer Josh Mandel says he can do it without requiring help from the legislature or the governor. It could be considerably more difficult to implement this by passing a bill.

UK Parliament Seizes Internal Facebook Documents

· · Link

FTC Facebook privacy investigation

LONDON – The UK Parliament has exercised its legal powers and seized a number of internal Facebook documents. The cache of papers is alleged to contain revelations surrounding the data and privacy controls that resulted in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Furthermore, The Observer reported that, “they include confidential emails between senior executives, and correspondence with [Mark] Zuckerberg.” Damian Collins, Conservative MP and chair of the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, sent a parliamentary official to the London hotel where Ted Kramer, the founder of Six4Three, a software company that is suing Facebook, was staying. Mr. Kramer was eventually compelled to hand over the documents. Facebook has denied all the allegations made and demanded the return of the papers. The Observer has the full details:

The documents seized were obtained during a legal discovery process by Six4Three. It took action against the social media giant after investing $250,000 in an app. Six4Three alleges the cache shows Facebook was not only aware of the implications of its privacy policy, but actively exploited them, intentionally creating and effectively flagging up the loophole that Cambridge Analytica used to collect data. That raised the interest of Collins and his committee.

Get a HomePod for £279 in the UK this Cyber Monday

· · Cool Stuff Found

LONDON – Currys PC World is selling the white Apple HomePod for £279 ($358) for Cyber Monday. The HomePod is normally £319 ($410). It also has the HomePod available in black for £299. Furthermore, the company is offering 9 months of the Deezer Premium music streaming service for free as part of the deal. This deal is available online only, although the item can be picked up in a shop shortly after purchase. In a shop, the HomePod currently costs £299  ($384).

Get a HomePod for £279 in the UK this Cyber Monday

How Singapore Airlines uses iPads to Help Pilots

· · Link

Pilots have a lot of paperwork to do. To try and help, Singapore Airlines arm theirs with an iPad loaded with two specialized apps. These apps organize the roster, track flying hours and deliver key information such as routing, weather and fuel load. It is all secured using TouchID. Crucially, Singapore Airlines has to maintain these processes in a way that pilots, who are creatures of habit, are comfortable with. CNet went into the cockpit and found that using iPads has led to a number of improvements for Singapore Airlines’s pilots.

The airline started looking into this back in 2015, before rolling out iPads loaded with two essential custom apps, FlyNow and Roster. These iPads are secured with Apple’s TouchID, letting them ditch the previously used two-factor authentication dongles pilots had to carry around. That’s on top of the other apps that give pilots detailed weather information and flight charting information.

Watch Apple's New Short Film: Share Your Gifts This Holiday Season

· · Cool Stuff Found

Apple has released a short film for the holiday season. Called ‘Share Your Gifts’, it depicts the frustrations of Sofia – a  creative young woman who hides her work away until…well, let’s just say her dog intervenes. The film is accompanied by the track “Come out and play” by Billie Eilish. Apple has also released a ‘Making Of’ video, detailing how Sofia came to life. It shows how ‘Share your Gifts’ was made using a combination of CG characters and real-world sets.

Twitter Launches its Own 'John Lewis' Advert

· · Cool Stuff Found

John Lewis Twitter Advert

LONDON – Everyone in the UK knows that the holiday season officially starts when the John Lewis department store launches its Christmas advert. This year’s offering stars Sir Elton John, no less. However, for one man, the advert’s arrival is not so joyous. Meet @JohnLewis – a computer science educator from Blacksburg, Virginia. As his Twitter bio points out, Mr. Lewis is “not a retail store.” Despite this, every year Mr. Lewis is inundated with Tweets telling him how great his holiday advert is. To his credit, he gamely replies to all of them. This time around, Twitter UK gave him his own one.

New MacBook Air - the End For Configuration?

· · Link

2018 MacBook Air features.

Following last month’s ‘There’s More in the Making Event’, there was a lot of speculation about the future of Apple’s Mac product line. In particular, people have focussed on the new iPad Pro and whether or not it can be a true laptop replacement.  Now some time has passed, MacWorld’s Jason Snell highlights another issue – the new MacBook Air only comes with one processor option. Consumers can expand a new Macbook’s Air’s storage capacity to 1.5TB and its memory to 16GB. However, you still get the 1.6GHz dual-core Core i5 processor. Mr. Snell argues that this move might signal the end of configurable Macs.

This feels like the future of the Mac, certainly on the consumer end of the product line. With the new MacBook Air, Apple has picked a processor and stuck with it. Would any of us be surprised if it did the same with a future update to the MacBook? Or low-end iMacs? Looking a bit further into the future, if Apple starts building Macs with ARM processors, is it going to want to offer different classes of processors within those models? On iOS, Apple has steadfastly refused to do this. Every model-year of a given model is generally powered by the same processor across the board.

Apple Watch Could Offer UV Ray Protection

· · Link

digital crown to zoom

A new patent, reported by AppleInsider, reveals that the Apple Watch might be able to help protect users from sun damage in the future. The patent details a device with a number of sensors. These could be used to record how much sun the user is getting. Alerts could be triggered when the level of sun exposure gets too high. This news ties in with recent developments in which Apple is trying to turn the Apple Watch into an all-in-one wellness device.

Granted on Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the patent for “UV dosimetry and exposure alert” effectively describes a system where UV light sensors detect sunlight and tracks exposure over time. The system can then provide the user with alerts about their exposure, including guidance on preventative measures if the levels are excessive.

Apple Maps Conducting Pedestrain Level Surveys

· · Cool Stuff Found

Apple Maps is collecting pedestrian level data in California. On Friday, a man wearing a Lidar rig, GPS and multiple cameras as well as an Apple Maps backpack, was spotted in San Francisco, according to MacRumors. On its website, Apple said [via AppleInsider] that Pedestrian teams will be in a number of California counties. While cars conducting mapping are not such a rare site spotted in Los Angeles earlier in the week, but as MacRumors noted: “This is the first time we’ve seen someone collecting mapping data on foot.”

Apple Maps Conducting Pedestrain Level Surveys

The New iPad Pro Bends

· · Cool Stuff Found

YouTuber JerryRigEverything has taken a rather brutal approach to Apple’s new iPad Pro. In a new video, he tested the 11-inch version’s durability and found that it “doesn’t have any of that structural integrity stuff.” He concluded: “A tablet the size of a piece paper folds like a piece of paper.” It is quite painful to watch the beautiful device just give way, but worth knowing where the weak the points are. (Spoiler alert: they’re right in the middle, by the microphone and Apple Pencil charging dock.)

iPhone SE is £16 a Month in UK BT Black Friday Sale

· · Cool Stuff Found

LONDON – BT has revealed its Black Friday 2018 offers, including the iPhone SE with 6GB of data for £16 ($20) a month for the first six months. The cost then rises to £27 ($34.60) a month. The deal involves a 24-month contract and includes BT Sport’s mobile service. Elsewhere in the BT Black Friday sale, customers can buy an iPhone SE with 12GB of data a month for £18.50 ($23.70) for the first six months. It becomes £32 ($41) a month for the remainder of the 24-month contract and also includes access to BT Sport for mobile. Both deals also come with unlimited calling minutes and unlimited texts and no upfront cost.

iPhone SE is £16 a Month in UK BT Black Friday Sale

Apple News puts Humans First

· · Link

The Sydney Morning Herald has taken an in-depth look at how Apple News is developing.  Australia is one of only three countries in which the service is available, the others being the US and UK. The piece outlines the radically different approach Apple has taken to news compared to other tech giants. Its focus is on using human journalists, not algorithms, to curate news, not algorithms, in a bid to improve accuracy. That approach was summed up in a quote from Apple News Editor-in-Chief Lauren Kern:

“Misinformation can come out so quickly and spread so rapidly and that’s something that we take pride in not allowing to happen”  says Lauren Kern, the platform’s editor in chief, who is a former executive editor of New York magazine. “Our mantra is that it’s better to be accurate than first.”