Here's How to Avoid Becoming the United State

· Andrew Orr · Link

If we don’t want to become the United State, we have to figure out how to stop smart cities from becoming surveillance cities.

Since the growth of “surveillance cities” is no longer a hypothetical, we should all be ready to do what it takes to create responsible safeguards and prevent the unnecessary risks and harms this technology can create. Both elected officials and the public should be provided notice of the potential deployment of these technologies, the potential privacy and civil liberties risks they present, and the real impact of their use.

An interesting piece from the ACLU discusses how smart cities can become tools of surveillance. We have a modern example of this in Xinjiang, China.

Force Flyers DIY Building Block Drone: $42.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Force Flyers DIY Building Block Drone

Check out this Force Flyers DIY Building Block Drone, a drone you can build yourself. It’s “building block compatible,” by which you can read LEGO and the other block systems that work with LEGO. The kit includes a 6-axis gyro and auto-stabilization, and because it’s customizable, it will teach you things like the importance of aerodynamics and weight distribution. It’s $42.99 through our deal.

Instagram Models Will Be Irrelevant Some Day

· Andrew Orr · Link

Warning: in a society that values the beautiful people, if you rely on making money based solely on your good looks, like Instagram models, you’ll some day become irrelevant as you turn old and wrinkled, especially if you have no other life skills.

But, for a growing number of users – and mental health experts – the very positivity of Instagram is precisely the problem. The site encourages its users to present an upbeat, attractive image that others may find at best misleading and at worse harmful. If Facebook demonstrates that everyone is boring and Twitter proves that everyone is awful, Instagram makes you worry that everyone is perfect – except you.

Mailstrom Pro 1-Year Subscription: $29.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Mailstrom on a MacBook

We have a deal on a 1 year subscription to Mailstrom, an AI-powered email app designed to help you take control of your email. It features one-click unsubscribing from lists, sorting functions, support for OAuth2, and one-click blocking. A 1 year subscription is $29.99, with longer options available, too.

Time Magazine Acquired by Salesforce Billionaires

· Andrew Orr · Link

Salesforce billionaires Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne have purchased Time magazine from Meredith Corp. for US$190 million.

We are honored to be the caretakers of one of the world’s most important media companies and iconic brands. Time has always been a trusted reflection of the state of the world, and reminds us that business is one of the greatest platforms for change.

This is a personal purchase and not a Salesforce acquisition. Besides Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated are also being sold, because “they have different audiences and advertisers than most of its other magazines.”

Siri Shortcuts and Trust Issues

· Andrew Orr · Link

Khari Johnson writes that in order for Siri Shortcuts to succeed, we can’t have trust issues.

Trust was a central theme at an AI conference held by Affectiva last week in Boston, where the emotion detection company is attempting to remain transparent while powering emotion recognition services in vehicles. Affectiva wants to give in-camera cars the ability to recognize when you’re distracted, tired, or angry, and track people’s emotions.

Trust has never been an issue with Siri. Apple’s privacy protections means that what you ask Siri isn’t associated with your personal identity. Other assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant may be able to do things that Siri can’t. But Siri’s strength is being able to do things without needing to collect your personal data and ship it to “the cloud.”

How the Newest Safari Browser Blocks Ad Tracking

· John Martellaro · Link

Security Week/AP writes: “New privacy features in Apple’s Safari browser seek to make it tougher for companies such as Facebook to track you.” This is a short, very readable summary of how Apple’s Safari is evolving to better protect your privacy. “The changes come Tuesday as part of the iOS 12 update for iPhones and iPads and a week later in the Mojave update for Mac computers.”

An Emergency Physician Explains the Apple Watch ECG

· Andrew Orr · Link

An emergency physician took to Reddit to explain the Apple Watch ECG and what the FDA approval actually means.

In summary, the new Apple Watch looks like a great tool, but it is not meant to be a medical grade device and not a substitute for medical and professional evaluation in the case of symptoms. Even if your Apple Watch ECG appears totally normal that does not necessarily mean you do not have atrial fibrillation or other cardiac abnormalities.

Basically, I was totally wrong when I wrote about the ECG function. Also, FDA-approved doesn’t mean the Apple Watch is a medical device. It’s in the Class II category which puts it on the same level as condoms and home pregnancy kits. The Verge has details as well.

Vobot, the World's First Smart Clock with Amazon Alexa: $44.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Vobot Smart Clock

We have a deal on Vobot for folks in the Alexa ecosystem. It’s a smart clock with Alexa built into it. You can control it by voice, get information by voice, and snooze by turning it over. It’s $44.99 through our deal.

The Coolest Space Images of the Week

· John Martellaro · Link

Galactic ring

Here are Digg’s coolest space images for the week of September 8. Notable: “Astronomers have used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to discover a ring of black holes or neutron stars in a galaxy 300 million light years from Earth. This ring, while not wielding power over Middle Earth, may help scientists better understand what happens when galaxies smash into one another in catastrophic impacts.”

EU's Article 11 and Article 13 Approved

· Andrew Orr · Link

The EU’s Article 11 and Article 13 have been approved, and critics say they will be catastrophic.

The fallout from this decision will be far-reaching, and take a long time to settle. The directive itself still faces a final vote in January 2019 (although experts say it’s unlikely it will be rejected). After that it will need to be implemented by individual EU member states, who could very well vary significantly in how they choose to interpret the directive’s text.

What I find particularly concerning is something called a “link tax.”  It means there could be a fee on sharing hyperlinks to various news articles online. This is targeted at news aggregators (mainly Google News) because it links to stories with snippets. TechDirt has more information, and there’s a website called SaveTheLink to sign a petition.

Pay What You Want for the Ultimate Mac Bundle

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

The Ultimate Mac Bundle

We have a new Pay What You Want deal called The Ultimate Mac Bundle. The bundle includes 10 apps. Pay anything, even a penny, and get one of those apps. Beat the average price ($8.73 as of this writing), and you get all ten. If you beat the leader’s price, you’ll be entered into a giveaway for an electric scooter.

People Have Been Experiencing Disappearing iTunes Movies

· Andrew Orr · Link

I’ve been seeing reports and reading peoples’ experiences today complaining about disappearing iTunes Movies. The reason? The studio behind them is removing them from the Canadian version of the iTunes Store.

As da Silva and others have pointed out before, the “Buy” button in digital stores is, at best, mislabeled. You cannot truly buy any digital thing online; you can only rent it, and any online video store is little more than an expensive, glorified, extremely convenient Blockbuster. In conclusion, let’s go back to DVDs. We have requested comment from Apple and will update if we hear back.

The problem is that digital ownership isn’t the same as physical ownership. Despite using a “Buy” button, it can still be argued that you’re renting it. They can remove your iTunes Movies, but not your physical DVDs.

Tim Cook Positions Privacy as Apple's Best Product

· Andrew Orr · Link

Under Tim Cook’s leadership, privacy is Apple’s best product.

In 2018, no issue is more important than user privacy–or the lack of it. We’re tracked by private industry on an unprecedented scale…If you want to be part of this world, designed by advertisers and tech giants, you must relinquish your right to privacy…Well, unless you use Apple’s products.

I’ve been banging this drum for a while now. Privacy is the main differentiator between Apple and its competitors. Non-tech people who hold an iPhone Xs and an Android flagship aren’t going to notice differences in screen, CPU speed, camera specs, etc. But if you tell them that Apple products are more private, then you may have sold a product.

Cresuer Touchwave True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds: $44.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Cresuer Touchwave True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

We have a deal on a pair of Cresuer Touchwave True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds. These include Bluetooth 4.1 and CVC Noise Cancellation, and are priced at $44.99 through our deal.

iOS 12 Screen Time Can't Cure Addiction

· Andrew Orr · Link

Joanna Stern writes about how iOS 12’s Screen Time feature couldn’t cure addiction, specifically smartphone addiction.

Just one little problem: For those of us who compulsively check our phones—sometimes even when watching our children on the playground, or crossing the street—Apple’s lock is like Scotch tape on a pack of cigarettes. If you’re not super addicted, though, there’s hope.

With much respect for Ms. Stern, I hope she didn’t actually set out thinking that Screen Time could cure a smartphone addiction. Apple is many things; a replacement for a licensed psychologist it is not. For more information on smartphone addiction, Psychiatry Advisor has some criteria.

SETI is a Bust So Far. We May Be Alone in the Universe

· John Martellaro · Link

Milky Way over Thailand

It’s an easy assumption to make. Our galaxy is teeming with planets, so life must be abundant. Except, after 58 years of looking, we’ve found nothing. SETI is a bust. (But we’ll keep looking.) This cogent article explains why being alone in the galaxy, indeed the universe, may be a good thing. We passed the Great Filter. (Image credit: NASA.)

The 2018 Apple Bingo Edition Is Here

· Andrew Orr · Link

The 2018 Apple Bingo edition is here, and you can play it while watching tomorrow’s keynote (scheduled for 10:00 a.m. PDT / 1:00 p.m. EDT). Bingo entries include:

  • New watch bands
  • Tim Cook saying “Good morning” three times
  • Excited Phil Schiller
  • Craig Federighi Comedy Hour
  • “The most powerful processor ever in a smartphone”

BBC Reviews iOS 12 and How it Helps Journalists

· Andrew Orr · Link

The BBC reviews iOS 12 and specifically highlights features which may be beneficial to journalists, especially mobile journalists or “mojos.”

It’s surprising to note that many journalists continue to use their smartphones simply as phones – which isn’t very smart, given the power of the device they carry with them all the time. It’s also surprising that iOS 12 will run on every device that currently runs iOS 11. This will therefore include iPhone 5s from way back in 2013 – now something of a dinosaur.

Mojo-friendly features include Voice Memos, Siri Shortcuts, AR, and more.