Mom Says Apple Watch Saved Her 13-Year Old Son's Life

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A mother in Oklahoma says that an Apple Watch saved her 13-year-old son’s life, 9to5 Mac reported. It adds to the growing collection of stories whereby the wearable has helped people by highlighting major health issues.

13-year-old Skylar Joslin was sitting in class when his Apple Watch detected a heart of 190 beats-per-minute. Local news outlet KFOR tells the story: Skylar was sitting in class in April of 2018, when he got an alarming notification on his two-week-old Apple Watch. “I got a text message along with a screenshot of his heart rate that was 190,” said Skylar’s mom Liz. “The following message saying, ‘Mommy, there’s something wrong. I’m not doing anything.’” Liz then came and picked up Skylar from school and took him to the emergency room — his heart rate peaked at 202 bpm during the drive and as high as 280 bpm at the hospital. Doctors then diagnosed Skylar with supraventricular tachycardia, or SVT, which is a disease that forces the heart to speed up. Skylar then underwent a seven and a half hour cardiac ablation to help fix his heart’s rhythm.

Iran Hackers Put Backdoors in VPN Servers

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A new report finds that hackers from Iran have been putting backdoors in VPN servers around the world in the “Fox Kitten Campaign.” It sounds like affected companies provide VPN for enterprise, rather than consumers. ZDNet suggests Pulse Secure, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, and Citrix.

Though [sic] the campaign, the attackers succeeded in gaining access and persistent foothold in the networks of numerous companies and organizations from the IT, Telecommunication, Oil and Gas, Aviation, Government, and Security sectors around the world.

'AirPods Pro Lite' Production Unlikely to Start in Q2 2020

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Rumors began recently that Apple was set to release so-called “AirPod Pro Lite” headphones in the not too distant future. However, their launch could be delayed. MacRumors picked up on a report from DigiTimes that suggested production is unlikely to start in the second quarter of 2020.

While we still don’t have a full picture of what to expect with these upcoming earphones, DigiTimes today published another short paywalled blurb specifically describing ‌AirPods Pro‌ Lite as an “entry-level version of Apple’s ‌AirPods Pro‌ series” and saying that production will not kick off in the second quarter of this year as originally planned. Production of the ‌AirPods Pro‌ Lite, an entry-level version of Apple’s ‌AirPods Pro‌ series, is unlikely to kick off in the second quarter as originally planned, according to industry sources.

Clearview AI Faces Class Action Lawsuit Similar to Facebook

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Two weeks ago Facebook settled a lawsuit alleging that it violated Illinois privacy laws. Now, Clearview AI is also facing a class action lawsuit in the state.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday on behalf of several Illinois citizens and first reported by Buzzfeed News, alleges that Clearview “actively collected, stored and used Plaintiffs’ biometrics — and the biometrics of most of the residents of Illinois — without providing notice, obtaining informed written consent or publishing data retention policies.”

Not only that, but this biometric data has been licensed to many law enforcement agencies, including within Illinois itself.

All this is allegedly in violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act, a 2008 law that has proven to be remarkably long-sighted and resistant to attempts by industry (including, apparently, by Facebook while it fought its own court battle) to water it down.

‘Robo Revenge’ Will Block and Automatically Sue Robocallers

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The newest service from DoNotPay is Robo Revenge. It will block robocallers and automatically sue them for you.

Robo Revenge combines both features to automatically add you to the Do Not Call Registry, generate a virtual DoNotPay burner credit card to provide scammers when they illegally call you anyways, use the transaction information to get the scammer’s contact information, then walk you through how to sue them for as much as $3,000 per call under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a law already on the books meant to protect consumers from calls that violate the Do Not Call Registry. The app also streamlines the litigation paperwork by automatically generating demand letters and court filing documents.

As a reader pointed out below, you’ll find this service within the DoNotPay app.

Blueprints Website Builder Lifetime Subscription: $39

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We have a deal on Blueprints app for Mac by Bootstraptor, a prototyping tool for website ideation that will help you burn through your wire-framing time. It features 500-plus ready-made blocks, 200-plus prototype starter templates, and 30-plus navigation panels. A lifetime subscription to Blueprints is $39 through our deal.

You Can Stream on Pandora Directly From Your Apple Watch

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Pandora users Apple Watch can now stream music and podcasts directly from the wearable device, without needing their iPhone. It became a standalone app via an update on Thursday, AppleInsider reported.

Pandora’s official update reads, “Leave the phone at home and bring all of your listening with you thanks to our updated Apple Watch app. Now you can stream your favorite music and podcasts, straight from your wrist – no phone required.” Other services, like Apple Music, need users to pre-load music on an Apple Watch for a run or other exercise, when the iPhone isn’t in range. The feature requires the watch in question to be running watchOS 6 or greater.

Apple Shipped Just 2.6 million HomePods During the 2019 Holiday Quarter

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Apple Shipped 2.6 Million HomePods during the last three months of 2019. That is a long way behind its competitors, especially Amazon. David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics, told Cult of Mac why he thinks that is.

“The price is still very high…That closes the door to a huge swathe of potential customers.” “I think there’s also a reasonable amount of consumer skepticism over the usefulness of Siri as a voice platform,” Watkins continued. “Amazon and Google have done an amazing job of building out their ecosystem around Alexa and Google Assistant, in partnership with so many smart home companies. Apple doesn’t have that strength of ecosystem around Siri.”

AT&T Blocks Encrypted Email App Tutanota

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In certain areas of the U.S. some AT&T users found they couldn’t access their inboxes in encrypted email app Tutanota.

Starting on January 25th 2020, we have had constant complaints from AT&T mobile users who were unable to access their encrypted Tutanota mailbox. While AT&T seemed willing to fix this when we reached out to them, the issue is still not solved and reports from users keep coming in.

While some AT&T users confirmed the block, others said that they were able to access Tutanota. As AT&T has not fixed the issue after more than two weeks, we are reaching out publicly in the hope of getting the attention of the right people at AT&T.

It’s Time for Encrypted Messaging app Signal to go Mainstream

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Signal creator Moxie Marlinspike is growing the Signal Foundation and adding new features to the app thanks to money from WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton.

Since then, Marlinspike’s nonprofit has put Acton’s millions—and his experience building an app with billions of users—to work. After years of scraping by with just three overworked full-time staffers, the Signal Foundation now has 20 employees. For years a bare-bones texting and calling app, Signal has increasingly become a fully featured, mainstream communications platform. With its new coding muscle, it has rolled out features at a breakneck speed…

I wish I could use Signal but none of my friends use it.

TREBLAB XFIT Bluetooth Sports Headphones: $39.99

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We have a deal on a pair of TREBLAB XFIT wireless earbuds. They’re IPX6 water resistant, support Bluetooth 5.0, and have 5 hours of playback time—the charging case has another 25 hours of playback time recharging. the TREBLAB XFIT are $39.99 through our deal.

'Carkey' API May Control Homekit Smart Lock

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A ‘Carkey’ API appeared in the first beta version of iOS 13.4. However, a new patent application, reported on by AppleInsider, indicated the technology could have other uses, like a Homekit connected smart lock.

The first beta of iOS 13.4 revealed traces of a “CarKey” API, one which would effectively turn the iPhone into an electronic key for a vehicle, similar to current keyless unlocking and starting systems employed today. By bringing the iPhone close to an NFC point, it could feasibly allow a car to start and to be driven, while also offering the option of sharing a version of the key to others with certain permissions disabled, such as enabling a car to be unlocked but not driven. In a patent application titled “System access using a mobile device” published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, Apple seems to be planning a much wider use of the concept than in just vehicles. The abstract for the filing mentions it would be used to authenticate a mobile device for access to system functionality, including “physical access to a system, starting an engine.”

Some Beijing Apple Stores Will Reopen Tomorrow

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Some Apple Stores in Beijing will reopen on Friday, 14 February, Reuters reported. However, customers are going to have to wear surgical masks. The retail outlet closure were extended on February 8 due to the spread of coronavirus.

Its five stores in Beijing will open from Feb. 14 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., according to Apple’s website, shorter than its usual hours of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Stores in cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen remain shut. “In view of public health and prevention, some of our retail stores are temporarily closed,” it said in a notice on its website, which also asked customers visiting outlets that were open to wear a mask and cooperate with temperature taking.

MWC 2020 Cancelled Over Coronavirus Fears

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MWC 2020 logo

Mobile World Congress (MWC) is one of the highlights of the European, and indeed global, tech event calendar. But this year it has been canceled. The decision is due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, The Verge reported.

After coronavirus threatened to throw MWC into chaos, the GSM Association (GSMA), which organizes the show, has now canceled it. It comes after more than a week of exhibitors and companies pulling out of MWC. In a statement, GSMA CEO John Hoffman said the coronavirus outbreak has made it “impossible” to hold the event. MWC was scheduled to take place in Barcelona between February 24th and the 27th.

Man Who Refused to Decrypt Hard Drives Free After Four Years

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Four years ago a federal judge held Francis Rawls in contempt when he refused to decrypt hard drives for police.

The practical result is that, at least in federal court, someone can only be imprisoned for 18 months for refusing to open an encrypted device. That’s probably a harsh-enough penalty to induce most people to comply with decryption orders. But suspects in child-pornography cases might be tempted to “forget” the passwords on their encrypted device if doing so could save them from a conviction and a much longer prison term.

What an interesting case, and I remember reading about it four years ago. I wonder if the court was trying to set a precedent for passwords and the Fifth Amendment.

Ransomware Hackers Now Want Your Nudes

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Security researchers discover a new form of blackmail from ransomware hackers: They demand nudes instead of money.

While most ransomware strains require monetary compensation in return for a decryptor, Ransomwared is demanding a more unusual payment. Once a computer is infected, a pop up will appear and demand that the victim send the author pictures of “tits” in exchange for an “unlock code.”

Maybe this speaks to my cynicism or just the fact that the world is filled with bad people. But I’m honestly surprised I haven’t heard of this type of ransomware extortion sooner. You could just send random porn, they wouldn’t be able to know if they’re actually your nudes. But they might ask you to hold up a sign with the current date as proof that it’s you. However, what if you just searched online for a nude with a sign, then photoshopped the current date on it? Okay, I need to stop. This is why Charlotte worries about me.

Darkroom Photo Editor Latest to Go Subscription

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Darkroom is the latest app to move to a subscription model. It affects new users only, and current users won’t lose their premium features they paid for.

For new users, Darkroom will cost $3.99 per month or $19.99 per year. And there is still a one-time purchase option at $49.99. Darkroom hopes that a switch to a subscription business model will increase its revenue and thus expand development of the app.

Subscriptions are annoying, but I don’t blame developers so much as Apple. This is exactly what they wanted because it means more money for them. I don’t Apple will ever add upgrade pricing to the App Store. That doesn’t benefit them. Subscriptions are part of Apple’s new Services business, whether the apps are Apple’s own or not.

This Desktop Hub Features 2 SmartCharging USB Ports and 2 Outlets for Charging: $18.99

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We have a deal on the SURGE DUO Dual USB & Dual Surge Charging Station⁠, which features two outlets and two USB ports with a small footprint on your desk. The USB ports have built-in SmartCharge which automatically detects your device and gives out the optimal charging output. The SURGE DUO Dual USB & Dual Surge Charging Station is $18.99 through our deal.

New Mac Pro Facing Lengthy Delivery Delays

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The new Mac Pro is facing delivery delays, according to MacRumors. This is down to the coronavirus outbreak closing Chinese manufacturing plants.

In many European countries, for example, the base model without any customizations is currently estimated for delivery on March 10. While the new Mac Pro is assembled in the United States for orders placed in the Americas, European orders are assembled in China.  The new Mac Pro also has a February 24-26 delivery estimate in the United States, despite being assembled in Texas, possibly because some components are still sourced from temporarily-closed suppliers in China.

Google and EU Engage in Courtroom Battle

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EU Justice

The EU and Google continue their court battle with a clash over internet power. Furthermore, the internet giant argued that fines against it went too far. Bloomberg News  has a rundown of what happened in the Luxembourg courtroom.

As many as seven billion daily searches make the U.S. giant “the front page of the internet,” Nicholas Khan, a lawyer for the European Commission told a panel of judges in the opening session of a three-day hearing at the EU General Court in Luxembourg. “The case is, in a nutshell, about what users are presented with, having made a search,” Khan said. Google search provides “an immensely powerful lever to direct users’ attention to any specific search market where Google might wish to develop a presence. No other internet player is in any remotely comparable position.” The Alphabet Inc. unit earlier on Wednesday argued that the EU went too far with a 2017 EU fine, then a record 2.4 billion euros ($2.6 billion), and an order to change how it shows shopping search results from rivals.