NordPass Password Manager 1-Year Subscription: $25.49

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

NordPass Password Manager

We have a deal on a 1-year subscription to NordPass Password Manager for Mac, Windows, or Linux devices. The subscription is good on up to 6 devices, and it will remember and autosave all your complex passwords, autofill online forms, generate strong passwords when needed, and more. This subscription is $29.99 through our deal, but coupon code SPRINGSAVE15 brings the checkout price down to $25.49.

Google: “We Don’t Sell Your Data, We Just Monetize It”

· Andrew Orr · Link

One way to avoid the California Consumer Privacy Act is to claim that you don’t sell data. This is what Google has seemingly done.

Google monetizes what it observes about people in two major ways: It uses data to build individual profiles with demographics and interests, then lets advertisers target groups of people based on those traits. It shares data with advertisers directly and asks them to bid on individual ads.

As I tweeted yesterday, there is no difference between selling “access” to data and selling data “directly.” In both scenarios, people are products for advertisers. Although I’m sure lawsuits have been won and lost on lesser technicalities.

Comparing the PS5 and the Xbox Series X

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Xbox Series X

Time at home making you fancy a new games console? Wired has put what we know about the forthcoming devices head-to-head.

Several of the Xbox Series X and PS5 specs sound similar. They have fast all-SSD storage, 16GB GDDR6 RAM and both a CPU and GPU made by AMD. But if you a little deeper, their differences become apparent. To simmer it down to a reductive analogy: the PS5 is nimble while the Xbox Series X is out to win with brute force power. The PS5 uses incredibly intelligent hardware optimisation and custom silicon to tease remarkable performance out of its core components. But the Xbox Series X has a more powerful GPU, which is the first metric by which any console is usually judged. Their hardware belongs to the same family, though. They have AMD Zen 2 generation CPUs and AMD Navi-based graphics chipsets. The latter will share some hardware with PC graphics cards not even released yet.

Is Apple the Company That Can Transform the AR Industry?

· Andrew Orr · Link

iPhone 8 may sport a smart connector for augmented reality glasses

Lucas Matney wrote for TechCrunch and asked if Apple can keep the AR industry alive.

AR startups have already been struggling and hardware efforts have largely cratered. The software platforms have had some success building what Apple hasn’t or won’t for niche enterprise customers, but as the economic realities shift, all bets are off.

First, I don’t think there’s much of an AR industry right now to keep alive. We have a scattering of AR features on iPhones and Androids, but right now it still seems niche. Second, in my biased opinion as an Apple blogger, I think Apple is the one to truly make AR mainstream. As an example, Apple didn’t invent the cellphone, but the iPhone transformed our lives and the cellphone industry. For the company to do the same with AR, we need an AR headset.

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited 3-Year Subscription: $42.50

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

KeepSolid VPN on Mac, iPhone, PC, and Android devices

We have a deal on a 3-year subscription to KeepSolid VPN Unlimited. The subscription includes unlimited connection speeds and traffic bandwidth, access to more than 400 VPN servers in more than 70 locations globally, access to VPN protocols IKEv2, OpenVPN, and the company’s own technology KeepSolid Wise, and more. This subscription is $50 through our deal, but coupon code SPRINGSAVE15 brings the checkout price down to $42.50.

Craig Federighi Demonstrates Trackpad Support in iPadOS

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Craig Federighi demonstrating iPadOS

Apple’s Senior Vice President, Software Engineering, Craig Federighi stars in a new video, published on The Verge. In it, he demonstrates trackpad support in iPadOS. The way the cursor changes is particularly clever, I think.

The iPad’s UI is powerful, but in many ways it’s difficult to learn, in part because so many of us still have desktop UI paradigms in our heads. One interesting thing you can’t do is just have a bunch of traditional windows like you’re used to having on a desktop or even a Windows tablet. Apple is sticking to its guns on its attempt to rethink how we move and rearrange windows on the iPad screen, with stuff like split screen and Slide Over. For better or worse (and I think for the better), the new trackpad features don’t turn the iPad into a Mac. Whether any of that radically changes this year with iPadOS 14 is anybody’s guess. Federighi himself recently said, “If you like what you’ve seen us do with iPadOS, stay tuned, we’re going to keep working on it.”

Coronavirus Outbreak Might be Actually Reducing Music Streaming

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Apple Music, Amazon Prime, and Spotify streaming music services

In a somewhat counterintuitive development, the coronavirus outbreak may actually be reducing the amount of music people stream. Quartz had a look at the data.

In Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by coronavirus, the top 200 most streamed songs on Spotify within the country averaged 18.3 million total streams per day in February 2019. Since Italy’s prime minister announced a national quarantine on March 9th, the total streams for the 200 most popular songs have not topped 14.4 million. There was a 23% drop in top 200 streams on Tuesday March 17th compared to Tuesday, March 3rd… The trend is similar in the US. On March 17th, total Spotify streams of top 200 songs fell to 77 million streams. This was the lowest number of top-200 streams in the US for any Tuesday in 2020, and about 14 million streams fewer than just a week before. Total top-200 streams are also down in the UK, France, and Spain as well.

watchOS 6.2 Golden Master Arrives With Developers

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Apple seeded the golden master of watchOS 6.2 to developers on Wednesday. MacRumors had a look at what it contained.

watchOS 6.2 introduces ‌Apple Watch‌ App Store support for in-app purchases, which will allow developers to create and sell ‌Apple Watch‌ apps that offer in-app purchase options and subscriptions. Apple’s release notes for the update are below: watchOS 6.2 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes: Introduces in-app purchases for ‌Apple Watch‌ apps. Fixes an issue where music playback could pause when switching from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth connectivity. ECG app on ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 4 or later now available in Chile, New Zealand, and Turkey. Irregular heart rhythm notifications now available in Chile, New Zealand, and Turkey.

Book Publisher Macmillan Cancels Plan to Stifle Libraries

· Andrew Orr · Link

The Big Five book publishers had a plan to hurt consumers by imposing limitations on eBook licensing to libraries. One of them—Macmillan—is backing out.

There are times in life when differences should be put aside,” Macmillan CEO John Sargent wrote in a memo to librarians obtained by Publishers Weekly. “Effective on Friday (or whenever thereafter our wholesalers can effect the change), Macmillan will return to the library e-book pricing model that was in effect on Oct. 31, 2019. In addition, we will be lowering some ebook prices on a short term basis to help expand libraries collections in these difficult times. Stay safe.

You have literally no “differences” with libraries other than money. And implying that you’re doing this because of the coronavirus is, to put it politely, shady. Not to mention all the libraries boycotting Macmillan. No, this is entirely a gesture of good will because of “these difficult times.”

Standby for a Major Slack Redesign

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Slack is rolling out its biggest ever redesign. It is all centered around major changes to the sidebar. Senior exec Ethan Eismann explained the company’s thinking in an interview with The Verge.

“This is the largest redesign in Slack’s history,” explains Ethan Eismann, vice president of design at Slack, in an interview with The Verge. “We’ve taken a lot of the historical features and reorganized them in a way that makes them much more apparent in the right way and simple to use. That was very much the goal of this process.” Slack’s new redesign all starts with the sidebar. The biggest change is that messages, channels, and apps will all now support grouping into collapsible sections within the Slack sidebar. That means if you’re working on a project that has certain channels and group DM conversations, then you can nest them all under one handy section and drag and drop it to exactly where you want it in the sidebar. Unfortunately, the new sidebar sections feature will only be available on paid Slack plans, not free versions.

The 2020 Mac Productivity Essentials Bundle: $25.49

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

The 2020 Mac Productivity Essentials Bundle

We have a deal called the 2020 Mac Productivity Essentials Bundle, a collection of productivity apps for the Mac. It includes a VPN, an app organizer, a PDF editor, a password manager, a movie editor, and four more Mac apps. It’s $29.99 through our deal, but coupon code SPRINGSAVE15 brings the checkout price down to $25.49.

U.S. Government Wants to Track Coronavirus Spread With Location Data

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image of person holding phone

The U.S. government is in talks with Facebook, Google, and others to use location data to track the spread of the coronavirus.

Public-health experts are interested in the possibility that private-sector companies could compile the data in anonymous, aggregated form, which they could then use to map the spread of the infection, according to three people familiar with the effort, who requested anonymity because the project is in its early stages.

On the surface, it’s for good intentions (They always seem good on the surface). But we know that in certain situations, data can be de-anonymized. Some questions: How will they use this data? How effective would this be? Will the government keep the database afterward? My initial thought is that I have no problem with medical experts and scientists doing this. But I have no faith in this current administration, or faith in companies like Facebook and Google. What if they created an app to collect this data? That way it’s optional. And please passwordprotect the server.

On Being a Woman in The Gaming Industry

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Clash of Clans

Just because it isn’t International Women’s Day anymore, that doesn’t mean we should not celebrate women in tech! iMore has a great interview with Camilla Avellar, a designer at Supercell – the firm behind Clash of Clans. She discusses how she got into the industry, and how it has changed over the years.

Back in the beginning of the App Store era, many people were playing games, but there still wasn’t an established market. So there were some trial games that you could get for free and then buy the premium version. There wasn’t really this free to play model yet. That came a bit later. But with the free to play model, it just exploded. Everyone had a very small barrier to entry. You could just download a game and play it for free for years. And yeah, I think that a shift in this mentality towards mobile games came with the fact that the audience is just huge and it’s an audience that is largely untapped because it’s not all gamers.

Mobile Pixels DUEX Pro Portable Dual Monitor: $179.35

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Mobile Pixels DUEX Pro Portable Dual Monitor

Check out the Mobile Pixels DUEX Pro, a portable display that connects to your laptop to give you a second display wherever you go. This device connects to your Mac, Windows, Chrome, or Linux laptop via a USB cable, and you attach it physically to the upper lid of your laptop so that it’s always with you. It slides out when you want to use it, and there’s a mirroring mode that allows you to turn it around soo you can share your screen with someone sitting across from you. It’s offers 1080p resolution, and coupon code SAVEDUEXPRO at checkout brings the price on this device down to $179.35.


Grayshift Increases Price as it Struggles to Hack iPhones

· Andrew Orr · Link

iPhone X with GrayKey password hacker

iOS forensics company Grayshift was forced to raise its prices last year, noting that “Forensic Access to iOS continues to increase in difficulty and complexity.”

“I think it’s going to get harder and harder to find these kinds of unlocking flaws, because Apple does control the entire stack,” Alex Stamos, director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and former Facebook chief security officer, previously told Motherboard. “I think a couple more hardware revisions of understanding the ways that these unlocks are happening and [Apple is] going to make it extremely difficult. Which then will bring this debate back…”

It’s a complex issue. On one hand it’s good news for Apple customers. On the other hand, it makes the government is fight tooth and nail to take away our security.

LA-Based Apple Staffer Tests Positive for COVID-19

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Vial of blood marked positive for coronavirus..

Apple confirmed that a staff member at its Culver City office had tested positive for coronavirus. The affected staff member is currently self-isolating, Variety reported.

“A team member in our Culver City office has informed us they tested positive for COVID-19. The individual had no symptoms when they were last in the office, and remains in self isolation at home,” a rep for Apple said in a statement. “We recognize this is a challenging time for our global community and our thoughts remain with those around the world personally affected by COVID-19 and the heroic medical professionals and researchers fighting it.” The office remains open, although Apple CEO Tim Cook said last week the company had asked employees to work from home if their position allows while the company “deep cleans” its offices.

Shadowserver Keeps the Web Safe. Now it Needs Help

· Andrew Orr · Link

A small nonprofit organization called Shadowserver helps keep the web safe. It scans almost the entire internet to create activity reports for network operators. It also hosts a database of 1.2 billion malware samples, freely accessible to everyone. But it needs to raise money to stay in operation.

For more than 15 years, Shadowserver has been funded by Cisco as an independent organization. But thanks to budget restructuring, the group now has to go out on its own. Rather than seek a new benefactor, founder Richard Perlotto says the goal is for Shadowserver to become a fully community-funded alliance that doesn’t rely on any one contributor to survive. The group needs to raise $400,000 in the next few weeks to survive the transition, and then it will still need $1.7 million more to make it through 2020…

I had never heard of Shadowserver but it’s clear the organization is important. You can become a sponsor to donate money here.

No, Apple Isn’t Going to Buy Disney

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple with bags of money

Disney stock is dropping and analysts like Bernie McTernan from Rosenblatt Securities think that tech giants like Apple should consider buying it.

We believe those with long-time horizons, like mega-cap companies with large cash balances and whose equity outperformed Disney over the last three weeks, like Apple, could take advantage of the volatility. The upside from acquiring Disney would be securing their content/streaming strategy and potential synergies from adding the emerging Disney ecosystem to the iOS platform.

Apple could also look into buying a private island, renaming it Island+, and forming its own country. I don’t know about you but sign me up for a squircle-shaped house.

'iPhone 12' With 'A14' Processor May be as Fast as iPad Pro

· Charlotte Henry · Link

It appears that the much-rumored ‘iPhone 12’ could be as fast as an iPad Pro. That’s according to Geekbench scores for the potential ‘A14’ processor, uncovered by AppleInsider.

It is expected that the “iPhone 12” will have improved performance, and these scores show massive gains year-over-year. Apple has been seeing huge gains in their chipsets despite the rest of the industry hitting a bit of a performance wall. New Geekbench testing, discovered by AppleInsider purporting to be from the A14 processor shows the first A-series processor to cross the 3.0 GHz mark. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has an A12X chipset with 8 cores and scores 1110 on a single core, and 4568 on the multi-core. The scores for the alleged A14 go beyond even that.

Focus - Website and Application Blocker for MacOS Unlimited Plan: $29.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Focus for Mac

We have a deal on Focus, a website and application blocker for the Mac that’s designed to help you stay on task. Focus sits in your menu-bar and helps you block distracting websites, domains, or apps. It also features schedules and timers, password protection, productivity stats, BASH scripting support, and more. I’m linking to our deal for an Unlimited Plan for $29.99, but there are also less expensive plans called Productivity and Professional.