Kids in U.S. UK, and Spain Spending Nearly as Much Time on TikTok as YouTube

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Children in the U.S., UK, and Spain are now spending nearly as much time watching TikTok videos as they are watching clips on YouTube. That’s according to new data from Qustodio, reported on by Techcrunch.

Kids ages 4 to 15 now spend an average of 85 minutes per day watching YouTube videos, compared with 80 minutes per day spent on TikTok. The latter app also drove growth in kids’ social app use by 100% in 2019 and 200% in 2020, the report found. The data in the annual report by digital safety app maker Qustodio was provided by 60,000 families with children ages 4 to 14 in the U.S., U.K., and Spain, so it’s data isn’t representative of global trends. The research encompasses children’s online habits from February 2019 to April 2020, takes into account the COVID-19 crisis, and specifically focused on four main categories of mobile applications: online video, social media, video games, and education.

Elon Musk: 'Time to Break up Amazon'

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Elon Musk doesn’t like monopolies. He also appears to not like Amazon, if his latest tweets, reported on by Bloomberg News, are anything to go by. They included his declaration that it’s “time to break up Amazon.”

“Monopolies are wrong,” Musk tweeted while tagging Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man. Musk’s post came in response to a tweet from a writer who said his book titled “Unreported Truths About COVID-19 and The Lockdown” was being removed from Amazon’s Kindle publishing division for violating unspecified guidelines. With more than 35 million followers, Musk is a prolific tweeter. He has been criticized in the past for his posts on various subjects ranging from the coronavirus outbreak to Tesla stock. Amazon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Coconut Portable Waterproof Light: $36.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Coconut Light on a beach

We have a deal on the Coconut Light, a portable, waterproof light made of silicone. It’s a perfect sphere with an LED, whose light diffuses through the silicone shell. it has small feet on the “bottom” to keep it from rolling around, but it’s also waterproof, so you can toss it in the pool. The Coconut Light is $36.99 through our deal.

Private Messenger ‘Signal’ Now Automatically Blurs Faces

· Andrew Orr · Link

Signal app icon

Private messenger app Signal added a feature that lets it automatically blur faces in your images.

Thousands of people are protesting against police brutality and to support the Black Lives Matters cause. If you are a part of the protests, you might post photos of the demonstration around you on social media or send them to your friends — and that’s not entirely safe, because it could help identify people there and put them in danger.

A great feature. I’ve been trying to create a shortcut that can obfuscate faces.

X-Mirage AirPlay for Mac: $9.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

X-Mirage AirPlay from iPad to Mac

We have a deal on X-Mirage, software that turns your Mac into an AirPlay receiver for mirroring whatever on your iPhone, iPad or iPod screen – apps, games, photos, videos, presentations, websites, and more to the bigger screen. It also offers real-time mirroring and media control. A lifetime license for this software is $9.99 through our deal.

Google Facing Lawsuit Overs Alleged Tracking of Users Using Incognito Mode

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Google logo

Google is facing a $5 billion lawsuit amid claims its technology invades the privacy of users even when they are using incognito mode. The class proposed by the complaint could potential involve “millions” of Google users,  Reuters reported.

According to the complaint filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, Google gathers data through Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager and other applications and website plug-ins, including smartphone apps, regardless of whether users click on Google-supported ads. This helps Google learn about users’ friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits, and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” they search for online, the complaint said. Google “cannot continue to engage in the covert and unauthorized data collection from virtually every American with a computer or phone,” the complaint said. Jose Castaneda, a Google spokesman, said the Mountain View, California-based company will defend itself vigorously against the claims.

iOS 14 May Work on an iPhone 6s, And Other Firms Should Take Note

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Recent rumors suggest that the iOS 14, likely to revealed at WWDC towards the end of the month, will work on devices going as far back as the iPhone 6s. Which is pretty impressive. Christine Chan at iMore thinks it shows Android device makers have a lot to learn from Apple.

It’s actually quite impressive that Apple continues to support its devices for so long, especially when you compare it to Android devices. With Android, you have hundreds or even thousands of different hardware devices from different manufacturers, and these range from being super cheap models to flagship devices. Google releases a new version of Android every year, and for the most part, Google’s own Pixel devices get first dibs on new software updates. At the same time, other handsets need to wait for their manufacturer to modify that software before it reaches users, and sometimes, others are just left out entirely. And who knows how long it takes before that update reaches a specific manufacturer’s hardware? So even if you buy a flagship Android device today, there’s no guarantee that it will still be getting support or updates five years down the road. So when compared to Apple, where even a five-year-old iPhone 6s will be getting support through at 2021 with the latest iOS 14, it’s a bit of a letdown.

CES 2021 to be Physical Event in Las Vegas

· Charlotte Henry · Link

CES logo

CES 2021 is to be a physical event in Las Vegas, along with some digital elements, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced on Wednesday. However, as The Verge points out, it’s not clear it will be ok to hold large scale events at that point, nor that people will actually want to go.

The stakes are high for CES. It’s one of the largest conventions held each year in Las Vegas, responsible for bringing a huge number of visitors to the city, with around 175,000 attendees last year. The Las Vegas Convention Center, the primary venue where the event is held, is scheduled to complete a $980 million expansion just in time for next year’s show. And while consumers may know CES as the event where new TVs, cars, and other gadgets are announced, it also remains an important venue for meetings between retailers, manufacturers, and all the companies in between. The CTA is promising new health policies for the show. The group intends to “regularly clean and sanitize spaces” and offer “sanitization stations.” It also plans to widen aisles and seats to increase distancing, limit “touch points” by using tech like mobile payments, and provide on-site health services. The CTA says it’ll look into doing temperature scans and that it plans to issue “best practices,” like wearing a mask — though it doesn’t say if they’ll be required.

Sinji Flexible Borescope Camera for iPhone and Android: $29.95

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Sinji Borescope

We have a deal on the Sinji Borescope, a flexible inspection camera designed to provide a quick and easy overview of hard to reach areas. It comes with a 2-meter cable and 6 adjustable LEDs for lighting your view. It also comes with a hook and magnet for retrieving objects. It’s $29.95 through our deal.

HBO Max Won't Count Against AT&T Data Caps

· Charlotte Henry · Link

HBO Max logo

Streaming on HBO Max will not count against your AT&T data cap, The Verge reported. Not surprisingly, the same does not apply to rival streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, or Apple TV+.

According to an AT&T executive familiar with the matter, HBO Max is using AT&T’s “sponsored data” system, which technically allows any company to pay to excuse its services from data caps. But since AT&T owns HBO Max, it’s just paying itself: the data fee shows up on the HBO Max books as an expense and on the AT&T Mobility books as revenue. For AT&T as a whole, it zeroes out. Compare that to a competitor like Netflix, which could theoretically pay AT&T for sponsored data, but it would be a pure cost. That’s why the last time we looked at AT&T’s sponsored data system, the only three streaming services we could find using it… were owned by AT&T. It’s also why sponsored data systems fly in the face of net neutrality principles.

Apple Pencil in Black Could be on the Way

· Charlotte Henry · Link

The Apple Pencil has, thus far, only been available in white. However, AppleInsider picked up on rumors that it may become available in black in the not too distant future.

There haven’t been any rumors about a potential Apple Pencil refresh, though the stylus was last updated in 2018 alongside an iPad Pro overhaul, three years after it first debuted in 2015. Currently, the Apple Pencil is only available in white. On Tuesday, Twitter user Mr. white (@laobaiTD) posted a vague statement that the “New Apple Pencil is Black.” Because of the lack of information, it isn’t clear when a third-generation Apple Pencil could launch, or what the speculation is based on.

That Time Steve Jobs Taught Bill Atkinson About Rounded Rectangles

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image showing examples of rectangles, ovals, and rounded rectangles.

Here’s a humorous little story from Andy Hertzfeld, a member of Apple’s original Macintosh team. Bill Atkinson did some clever programming to draw circles and ovals quickly on a Mac. But Steve Jobs had something else in mind.

Bill fired up his demo and it quickly filled the Lisa screen with randomly-sized ovals, faster than you thought was possible. But something was bothering Steve Jobs. “Well, circles and ovals are good, but how about drawing rectangles with rounded corners? Can we do that now, too?”

How the ‘Untappd’ Beer App Was Used to Track Military, CIA Movements

· Andrew Orr · Link

Two soldiers with a computer

Researchers were able to use beer rating app Untappd to track the location history of military and CIA personnel.

Examples of users that can be tracked this way include a U.S. drone pilot, along with a list of both domestic and overseas military bases he has visited, a naval officer, who checked in at the beach next to Guantanamo’s bay detention center as well as several times at the Pentagon, and a senior intelligence officer with over seven thousand check-ins, domestic and abroad. Senior officials at the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force are included as well.

Not even the CIA is safe against the data industrial complex.

Security Researcher Believes Mac Backdoor ‘Tiny Shell” Still Being Used

· Andrew Orr · Link

Alert symbol of an exclamation point inside triangle

Mac security researcher Jaron Bradley says he believes hackers are still using an open source macOS backdoor called “Tiny SHell.”

Tinyshell is an open source tool that operates like a shady version of SSH. It’s been a while since I’ve encountered a new sample, but I fully believe attackers are still out there using it. If you watched the Macdoored talk then you’ve seen what attackers are doing “post mortem” with this tool. However, no technical details have been discussed about the malware itself.

Amazon No Longer Including Item Details in Order and Shipment Emails

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Users have started to notice that Amazon does not include the items you’ve ordered in its confirmation and shipment emails. One Daring Fireball, John Gruber owners whether it is a bid to stop others scraping the data.

Amazon no longer puts a list of items in order confirmation and shipment notice emails. Almost certainly they’re doing this to thwart email-scraping data harvesters from obtaining information about Amazon sales. All sorts of companies harvest this info, and people volunteer to let them do it (including Edison Mail, the iOS mail client whose recent egregious bug granted full access to email accounts to random other users — at least they’re up front about it in their “how we use data” statement). Edison is far from alone in this — there’s an entire cottage industry of email clients and “tools” whose entire business model is based on scraping their users’ email for e-commerce trends. So, from the Department of This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, Amazon has responded by removing product information from its emails.

Amtrak Data Breach Affects Guest Rewards Accounts

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image containing the words “data breach”

Discovered on April 16, 2020, Amtrak suffered a data breach that affects its Amtrak Guest Rewards accounts.

The attack vector involved was compromised usernames and passwords, which may suggest the use of credentials previously leaked or stolen, or the use of brute-force methods.

Amtrak says that some personal information was viewable, although the company has not specifically said what data may have been compromised. However, Amtrak was keen to emphasize that Social Security numbers, credit card information, and other financial data was not involved in the data leak.

‘Hybri’ Can Create a Virtual Companion Based on Real People

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image of Hybri model

A company called Hybri is creating virtual AI companions that live in augmented and virtual reality. But a feature that may prove to be controversial is letting users scan a photo of a real person to superimpose on the avatars.

But the creepiest feature of Hybri is its Photoscan, which allows you to add a real person’s face to the avatar. That means your unrequited love or celebrity crush could soon become your virtual partner — whether they want to or not.

It sounds like a cool idea to me, but it probably won’t pass the App Store review team.

Mid-2012 MacBook Pro to Become 'Obsolete'

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Mid 2012 MacBook Pro

The mid-2012 MacBook Pro is to become “obsolete” at the end of June, according to a memo seen by MacRumors. It means the 15″ device, the first MacBook Pro with a Retina Display, will no longer be eligible for hardware services from Apple.

In an internal memo today, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has indicated that this particular MacBook Pro model will be marked as “obsolete” worldwide on June 30, 2020, just over eight years after its release. In a support document, Apple notes that obsolete products are no longer eligible for hardware service, with “no exceptions.” Apple already classified the 2012 MacBook Pro as “vintage” in 2018, but it has still continued to service the notebook as part of a pilot program, subject to parts availability. With the 2012 MacBook Pro transitioning to “obsolete” status at the end of this month, it would appear that the notebook will no longer be eligible for any official repairs.

The 2020 Social Media Marketing Bootcamp Certification Bundle: $29.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

The 2020 Social Media Marketing Bootcamp Certification Bundle

We have a deal on the 2020 Social Media Marketing Bootcamp Certification Bundle, a 7-course training program covering social media in general, as well as FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It includes 34 hours of content and hundreds of lessons, and it’s $29.99 through our deal.

Apple Card Customers Allowed to Defer June Payment Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Apple Card customers can defer payments set for June, 9to5Mac reported. That will be the third month in which Apple and Goldman Sachs have allowed such a deferral, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In response to the continued coronavirus outbreak, Apple and Goldman Sachs are allowing customers to skip their Apple Card payments without incurring interest charges. Apple Card holders should receive an email announcing this “Customer Assistance Program”…  Apple and Goldman Sachs have once again announced an extension of the Apple Card Customer Assistance Program, allowing users to skip their June payments without penalty. Learn how to join the Customer Assistance Program here. |We understand that the COVID-19 situation poses unique challenges for everyone and some customers may have difficulty making their monthly payments. Should you need assistance, please click here to be connected to Apple Card Support via Messages and enroll in our Customer Assistance Program, which will allow you to skip your June payment without incurring interest charges. If you previously enrolled in the Customer Assistance Program, you will need to enroll again.