YouTube TV on Apple TV, a Cord-Cutter’s Dream

| Particle Debris

Page 2 – News Debris For The Week of February 12th
Smart TV Security Specters

• Here’s a quote for you. “…around 90% of smart televisions can be hacked remotely, something intelligence agencies, private contractors and other hackers are clearly eager to take full advantage of.” The lead-off source is this article which highlights a major Consumer Reports article. “Samsung and Roku Smart TVs Vulnerable to Hacking, Consumer Reports Finds.


Is your new smart TV secure?

This report is must reading if you’re planning to purchase a new 4K/UHD smart TV. As I’ve said before, if you trust Apple and tvOS, let the Apple TV drive your new TV via HDMI and leave the TV disconnected from Wi-Fi—except for occasional software updates.

You heard that here first. And often.

More Debris

• I found this interesting story about Bill and Melinda Gates. The couple has been married since 1994, and it’s been fascinating to watch the the evolution of this couple, their relationship and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

• Mike Bombich, author of Carbon Copy Cloner, has found a small but important APFS bug. It applies to “APFS sparse disk images only — ordinary APFS volumes (e.g. your SSD startup disk) are not affected by this problem.” Read about it here at Mike’s blog. “macOS may lose data on APFS-formatted disk images.

• On February 17, an iPhone 6 will be pitted, computationally, against some computers of the past. It should be fun and interesting. “Apple iPhone 6 vs world’s oldest working computer: Iconic machines from past seven decades do battle.

• Often, a video ad will extol the virtues of a company’s product. Good idea. But when an ad tries to arrogantly and fundamentally change the nature of the conversation about a product or product category, it can run into trouble. Here’s a playful example of some pushback to Apple’s infamous “what’s a computer?” ad. Well deserved humorous poke in my book.

• Finally, over at Applemust, Jonny Evans has made a list of recent Apple snafus. “8 Apple fails in just 46-days.” And he doesn’t even cover the awful root access disaster from 2017. I like his closing sentence. “Why not let the competition make a few errors for a while?”


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

6 Comments Add a comment

  1. wab95


    Completely off topic for anything related to Apple, I can affirm Melinda Gates’ assertion that her husband, Bill, is a good listener and can be persuaded by a compelling argument. I’ve had the fortune of hosting the couple at my field site overseas years ago, and had a repeat visit by Melinda a few years later. On the first visit, I had been instructed by the team’s visit coordinator to talk to them about our findings in diarrhoea surveillance, for which we had some data, but about which were not doing much since there were a number of diarrhoeal interventions already being implemented; however most of my work focussed on respiratory and febrile illnesses, with which we were re-writing the text books on disease burden. The team leader reiterated this instruction more than once; stick to diarrhoea, even if, as he suspected, I found it relatively uninteresting. On the day that the couple visited, we had a walk about the community, and then on showing them around our field clinic and lab, Bill spied our respiratory sample collection room and immediately asked what it was. I told him, ‘That’s where we collect respiratory illness samples for things like pneumococcus and influenza, but you wouldn’t be interested in that’. He said, to contrary, he’d be very interested in that. I shot a glance to the tour boss, who simply shrugged and gestured, ‘Go for it’. For the remainder of the visit, we focussed on childhood pneumonia and the role that pathogens, like influenza, play in child mortality. The Foundation had previously felt that influenza was too big a deal for them to tackle, but they liked our vector of attack, namely its role in childhood pneumonia, which they had not considered before, and subsequently put funding our way for a number of studies, including another that we are about to start on the role of respiratory viruses in child mortality. And as for Melinda, she’s wicked smart and clearly understands the science behind a number of the issues the Foundation supports. This couple and their foundation’s reach and impact on global health is enormous and will be felt into the far future. My wife, who is not a tech geek, opined that BG will be remembered for his philanthropic work and public health impact, rather than for his role in MS in the distant future (you know, when we’re signing the Khitomer Accords with the Klingons). I think she’s right, and that this will apply to the couple. The one Apple related topic I can offer from that initial meeting was, during the lead up to the visit, the team leader asked if I could show some slides when the couple visited, and could he see them. I had plenty. As I pulled my Mac laptop from my bag (a titanium Powerbook), he suggested, ‘Maybe we should skip the slides’, as he eyed the laptop. We showed no slides to Bill and Melinda.

    The Consumer Report’s finding that smart TVs are not only vulnerable to hacking, but equally unsettling, that they are presently invasive – collecting personal user information, should prompt a stronger public response than it currently does. I am less concerned about smart TVs, as these are blunt force tools, whose principal port of vulnerability can be readily disabled, than I am with the host of other smart devices that interface with AI in the home, and whose vulnerabilities are equally present to sophisticated attack. This is a principal reason why I remain slow to adopt smart technology in the home until I know more about how to sufficiently harden those systems to make my home less attractive to attackers than those of the average user. I won’t even get into the discussion about Amazon’s and Google’s home listening devices.

    The UK’s National Museum of Computing contest between the iPhone, a Windows 95 PC and a 1951 Harwell WITCH seems designed, not so much to test the raw computing power of each device’s CPU, but the limitations of digital human interface to input those data, itself affected by the ingenuity, creativity and capability of those engaged in the test. This latter can change by both personnel and time, whereas the real question, to my thinking, is the capability of the CPU. It will be hard to interpret the findings of this test, or its relevance to our gains in computational power over time. A missed opportunity.

    As for Mike Bombich’s piece on macOS losing data on APFS-formatted disk images, not only an interesting read, but it begs the question of whether or not this, and a few other problems that have been noted with APFS, are simply teething pains that are readily soluble, or inherent weaknesses of the new system.

    Nice reads.

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