The debate over user privacy online is getting ever more intense. Barely a week goes by without some new horror being revealed. On Buzzfeed News, Charlie Warzel laid out just how dire the privacy situation has got and how bad the general public is at understanding the problem. Whether its celeb-twinning apps or Facebook, users simply do not know enough about how their data is being used nor how to discuss the issue.
Opaque algorithms and operations allow executives to dismiss the concerns of journalists and activists as unfounded or ignorant. They argue that critics are casting normal, industry-standard practices and terms of service agreements as malicious. What does it say about us or the culture built atop the modern internet that Byzantine terms of service agreements that few understand or even bother reading govern so much of our lives online?
Over the past decade Chinese hackers have been increasingly attacking the United States and other countries that threaten the hegemony of The Party.
Many thought the internet would bring democracy to China. Instead it empowered rampant government oppression, and now the censors are turning their attention to the rest of the world.
Chinese hacking groups fall under the category of Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). The United States and China have this weird, sadomasochistic relationship, and while I don’t believe in trade wars, I think it’s important we send a message that the U.S. won’t tolerate such egregious behavior from our partners.
Michael Grothaus writes about five ways to improve Apple services, a drum that Tim Cook has been beating for the past couple years.
The problem for Apple is that the iPhone is such a large part of its business. If the company is going to continue to grow, what product could step up to take the place of lagging smartphone sales?
I’ll paraphrase Kelly Guimont’s comment on a recent episode of Daily Observations. If Apple truly wanted to be a services company, it should have been improving services all along. Don’t wait until the last minute when the iPhone puts you into panic mode.
The next iPad-Pro-as-main-computer narrative comes from Hicks Design. Jon shared his reasoning and workflow, as well as shortcomings & workarounds.
It’s started slowly, but the platform has been maturing and I’ve been using it more and more as my main computer. There are limitations and issues, which I’ll come to, but I keep coming back to it as a my main design tool. There’s something very alluring about this light and portable thin slab of glass that can do (almost) everything I need it to.
Apple is researching connected clothing that could link to your iPhone and other devices, according to a new patent. AppleInsider reported that the patent, filed Thursday, was titled “Fabric with Electrical Components.” It seems likely that any product that did emerge from this work would focus on health monitoring. On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook again emphasized how important he considers the company’s work in this field. He told CNBC that it is Apple’s “most-important contribution to mankind.”
A patent application from Apple published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday titled “Fabric with Embedded Electrical Components” attempts to work around the problem by describing how fabric-based items could be created, with the fabric itself being the connectivity method. The core of the idea resides with the fabric, in that it is woven together with conductive and insulating yarns. The conductive yarns reside in the inner layers of the weave, while the insulating yarns on the outside prevent any undue contact with the conductive versions.
LONDON – The EU does not have an overall plan to deal with hackers seeking to disrupt its election in May 2019. According to a feature in Wired, each of the 27 states who will be in the EU when the election takes place is expected to secure the vote in their own country. Consequently, smaller member states could be left vulnerable, and cyber-attacks or disinformation could have a serious effect on the election results.
If a tiny member state is left it to go alone against Russia’s state-backed hacking teams and disinformation brigades, the calculus of the European Parliament could be engineered by a third-party state to tilt in its favor. The stakes are huge, and some say the EU hasn’t faced up to the enormity of the issue.
Brydge keyboards for the 2018 iPad Pros are now available to preorder. The 11-inch model is US$149.99 and the 12.9-inch keyboard is US$169.99. The new keyboards offer different viewing modes, like a tablet mode where you fold the keyboard back, and a movie mode that places your iPad at an angle. The keyboards have USB-C connectivity which means you can charge the keyboard from the iPad Pro as you use it. There is also a new snap-on magnetic cover that protects the back of your iPad Pro.
There have been a number of remarkable space-based developments recently. Today brought another. The Verge reported on papers in the journal Nature that discussed fast radio bursts (FRBs) – repeated pulses of radio waves that came from outside our own galaxy. In July and August 2018, some of these came from the same location. It gives scientist a chance to pinpoint where they actually came from and what is sending them towards Earth. The pules could also help scientists find out what is in the regions between galaxies.
Most FRBs have been momentary blips in the sky — at least as far as we know. These explosions of radio waves will last for just milliseconds and then disappear, never to be seen again. They seem to come from some incredibly distant spot in the Universe — sometimes billions of light-years away. The first FRB was discovered in 2007, and since then, we’ve confirmed 52 sources of these transient bursts. But in 2015, a special FRB discovery was made when multiple flashes were found that came from the same location. That provided an opportunity to help locate its source, and today’s FRB gives scientists another shot at that goal.
HTC showed off a new eye-tracking tech in its Vive VR headset line. Vive is aimed at the VR world, rather than the AR world being targeted by Apple, but AR and VR are kissing cousins, and this is interesting. The idea is simply that the headset can track your eye movements, which can then be used to activate menu and navigation controls. I think Apple is right to focus on AR, but there is obviously a big future in VR, too, and if HTC can bring this to market, it will make them a real player in that space. TheNextWeb has a good writeup from CES on this:
The biggest splashes came in the form of the new Cosmos hardware (an Oculus Go/Quest competitor) and a new eye-tracking system to be debuted in an update to the Vive Pro called “Vive Pro Eye.” Eye-tracking is a big deal for VR. The Vive Pro Eye, according to HTC, will accurately monitor users’ eye movements inside the headset.
We have a deal on the Mac Power User Bundle, four apps designed to help manage your Mac’s data and downloads. You can get all four apps for $14.99 through our deal.
Adware disguised as games, TV apps, and remote control simulator apps infected millions of devices with adware. Security firm TrendMicro revealed in a blog that 85 apps containing the adware made it on to the Google Play store. The apps were subsequently downloaded 9 million times. The adware could display full-screen ads, hide itself, monitor a device’s screen unlocking functionality, and run in the background on the device. TrendMicro said Google removed the apps from the Play Store quickly after verifying its report.
The app informs the user that it is loading or buffering. However, after a few seconds, the app disappears from the user’s screen and hides its icon on the device. The fake app still runs in a device’s background after hiding itself. Though hidden, the adware is configured to show a full-screen ad every 15 or 30 minutes on the user’s device.
Tech press and the narratives they craft typically follow Silicon Valley Time, or a special “clock” otherwise known as the hero’s journey.
A company’s narrative moves like a clock: it starts at midnight, ticking off the hours. The tone and sentiment about how a business is doing move from positive (sunrise, midday) to negative (dusk, darkness). And often the story returns to midnight, rebirth and a new day.
This is an interesting story on how the tech press covers news, and what lessons companies can learn.
I’ve covered iOS 12 tips and tricks that you might have forgotten. Now I’d like to resurface a tip from 2017 about shortcuts for iOS Safari.
You might not know it, but Safari has some hidden shortcuts tucked behind some of the icons. This will let you perform certain actions a little faster, like quickly access the desktop version of a website, add a bookmark, and even close multiple tabs at once.
5G is the talk of Las Vegas at CES this week. However, there is mounting controversy about what cellular network providers are actually declaring as 5G. The superfast network will not actually be launched until 2020 or even 2021, but the cellular providers are still keen to brand things as 5G now. A piece on the Associated Press noted that “AT&T has drawn ridicule by relabeling the network used by some of its phones as ‘5G E’,” for example. This main seem a relatively superficial issue but in terms of been clear with customers, it matters.
There’s a history of carriers being murky about network claims. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint started calling an enhanced 3G network 4G in the early 2010s. There’s more pushback this time because people are now more aware of what a next-generation network can do.
AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile sell access to customers’ location data. As an experiment, Joseph Cox paid a bounty hunter to locate a phone, and it worked.
The bounty hunter did this all without deploying a hacking tool or having any previous knowledge of the phone’s whereabouts. Instead, the tracking tool relies on real-time location data sold to bounty hunters that ultimately originated from the telcos themselves, including T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint, a Motherboard investigation has found. These surveillance capabilities are sometimes sold through word-of-mouth networks.
The technology apparently works on all mobile networks, but there was some issue with Verizon. Shady practices like this are why we need an American GDPR, as well as a better FCC.
It seems as though the CTA had a problem with a sex toy. Company Lora DiCarlo planned to present its product, but its award was revoked and the company had to remove its exhibit.
But after ranking high enough and winning the designation, Lora DiCarlo was apparently told that its product didn’t comply with the rules. The show’s and award’s organizer, the Consumer Technology Association, allegedly cited rules saying products that are “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified.” It then backtracked and said the product simply didn’t fit in the robotics and drones category.
We have a deal on Truebill, a budgeting app. Truebill connects to your accounts and gives you a complete picture of your finances. It will help you manage (and cancel) unwanted subscriptions, allow you to view your cash, credit, and investment balances, gives you reports, and more. Our deal is for a one-year subscription for $19.99. There’s a three-year option on the deal listing, too.
Apple shared a full list of the number of AirPlay 2 TVs so far in the market. They include LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio TVs.
LG OLED (2019); LG NanoCell SM9X series (2019); LG NanoCell SM8X series (2019); LG UHD UM7X series (2019); Samsung QLED Series (2019 and 2018); Samsung 8 Series (2019 and 2018); Samsung 7 Series (2019 and 2018); Samsung 6 Series (2019 and 2018); Samsung 5 Series (2019 and 2018); Samsung 4 Series (2019 and 2018); Sony Z9G Series (2019); Sony A9G Series (2019); Sony X950G Series (2019); Sony X850G Series (2019 85″, 75″, 65″ and 55″ models); Vizio P-Series Quantum (2019 and 2018); Vizio P-Series (2019, 2018 and 2017); Vizio M-Series (2019, 2018 and 2017); Vizio E-Series (2019, 2018 and 2017); Vizio D-series (2019, 2018 and 2017).