News+: Backpage.com Versus the Feds

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple news plus logo

Backpage.com was a website modeled after the classifieds section of print. People could use it to post ads, and it also had a thriving section for adult ads. But the Feds seized it and arrested the owners. Christine Biederman wrote all about it.

The government indictment that triggered Lacey and Larkin’s arrests, United States v. Lacey, et al, includes 17 “victim summaries”—stories of women who say they were sexually exploited through Backpage. Victim 5 first appeared in an ad on the platform when she was 14; her “customers” made her “perform sexual acts at gunpoint, choked her to the point of having seizures, and gang-raped her.” Victim 6 was stabbed to death. Victim 8’s uncle and his friends advertised her as “fetish friendly.” The indictment accuses Backpage of catering to sexual predators, of essentially helping pimps better reach their target audiences.

This is part of Andrew’s News+ series, where he shares a magazine every Friday to help people discover good content in Apple News+.

Shop Safe Online During 2019 Prime Day

· Andrew Orr · Link

2019 Prime Day will be held July 15-16, and Safe Smart Living put together some tips to help you stay safe when you shop online.

50 Million Americans are queuing up for Amazon Prime Day 2019. That’s a lot of credit cards swiped, personal data collected and online transactions, resulting in a huge potential threat for identity theft.

Apple Killing AR Glasses and 'Product Design Troubles'

· Andrew Orr · Link

A report from Digitimes has been making the rounds, claiming that Apple killed its AR glasses project. Jesus Diaz thinks that it speaks to Apple’s “product design troubles.”

The report came yesterday from Digitimes, which has a mixed track record through its sources in component and manufacturing companies. It contradicts Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst who in March claimed that supply sources confirmed that Apple may start producing AR glasses as soon as the end of 2019.

I want Apple Glasses to succeed, so I hope the report isn’t true. If Apple can pull off AR glasses that actually look like glasses, it would definitely be, to quote Steve Jobs, magical. I don’t think Apple is killing the headset entirely, but they might be setting it aside for now, like they did with the HomePod.

The YouTube Exec Working to Rid the Platform of Hatred and Scandal

· Charlotte Henry · Link

CNet had an enlightening interview with YouTube’s chief product officer Neal Mohan. Mr. Mohan, the de facto deputy to CEO Susan Wojcicki, discussed moving the platform beyond its recent scandals. He also disputed that it is a media company.

Mohan still thinks his job, “first and foremost,” is building out YouTube’s services. That includes developing new features for products like YouTube Music, a Spotify competitor, and YouTube TV, a cable cord-cutter service. But he acknowledges his role must go beyond that. Mohan says part of managing YouTube is “finding a balance” between the site’s open platform — anyone can post a video on the site — and its community guidelines that ban hate speech and abuse, a mission set forth by Wojcicki. “I view [dealing with the scandals] as part of focusing on the products,” he says. “Susan’s laid out this vision for YouTube. And my job — taking that direction and executing on that — consists not just of all this product innovation, but addressing what I feel like we should be on the hook for as part of our responsibility as this global platform. And I think they go hand in hand.”

Minecraft Earth Registration Now Open

· Andrew Orr · Link

Speaking of Minecraft, registration for Minecraft Earth is now open for those who have iOS 10 or later.

Alas, since it’s a closed Beta, registering doesn’t guarantee you access — but in its FAQ about the Beta, the team notes that they’re planning to open it up to “hundreds of thousands of players” eventually, so your odds of getting in probably aren’t too bad. You’ll need to be over the age of 18, have a device running iOS 10/Android 7 or newer, and a Microsoft or Xbox Live account to get registered.

The registration page is here.

Playing Minecraft Helps Boost Creativity

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Playing Minecraft

It turns out all those hours you spent on Micecraft just might be good for you. New research, reported by Computing, revealed that playing the game can help boost creativity.

The study compared the effect of playing Minecraft, both with and without instruction, to watching a TV show or playing a more frenetic racing-based video game. “Those given the freedom to play Minecraft without instruction were most creative,” the researchers concluded. “It’s not just that Minecraft can help induce creativity. There seems to be something about choosing to do it that also matters,” added Douglas Gentile, a professor of psychology. The research involved a total of 352 participants, with the Minecraft cohort split into two groups, one of which received instruction and was told to be as creative as possible.

Alexa-NHS Partnership Causes Privacy Concerns

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Alexa Calling uses your Echo or Alexa app for voice calls

Earlier this week, the UK’s National Health Service announced a partnership with Amazon to provide health information via Alexa-enabled devices. While such a move clearly has some benefits, unsurprisingly, it brought up privacy concerns too. Privacy International laid out some of the issues in a recent blog post.

While we welcome Amazon’s use of a trusted source of information for medical queries, we are however extremely concerned about the nature and the implications of this partnership. Amazon is a company with a worrying track record when it comes to the way they handle their users’ data, as we have seen from the recent scandal that revealed how they had contracted thousands of employees to listen in on users’ interactions with their Alexa device. Despite public outrage and campaigning, Amazon chose to ignore the concerns of their customers and maintain their default privacy settings that fail to protect their users. Our medical information is often the most sensitive data there is about us and a lot can be inferred from the questions we ask and the searches we make when we have health concerns.

iMazing 2 Universal License for Mac and Windows: $19.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

iMazing 2 on iMac

We have a deal on iMazing 2, the Mac and Windows app that lets you manage your iPhone and iPad data and files. You can browse and manage your backups, extract and print your text messages, drag and drop songs to your iPhone—all without jailbreaking your device. We love iMazing at TMO, and I am pleased to be able to offer this deal. You can get your iMazing 2 universal license for Mac and Windows for $19.99 through our deal.

Jamf Launches New iOS Tools for Teachers

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Jamf logo

Jamf launched a series of new tools ahead of the forthcoming school year. Bradley Chambers, who manages Apple devices for a private school, looked at the update for 9to5 Mac and found much to be positive about.

Ad-hoc classrooms will allow teachers to create a classroom easily and immediately to take control of their classroom iPads…Teachers and parents can now use the Jamf Teacher and Jamf Parent apps to block categories of apps, such as games or social media, ensuring students stay on tasked during the school day and when doing homework. Jamf has been a great partner for my school, and I am excited to see the enhancements.

An Innovative Way to Save a Fallen AirPod

· Charlotte Henry · Link

AirPods don’t come cheap, so it’s quite painful if you lose one. CultofMac reported on one users’ innovative way of saving their headphone, having dropped it on the subway.

[Ashley] Mayer says she is proud of herself for not “lunging after it and becoming the first ever AirPod-related subway death.” But she wasn’t willing to just give up on the missing bud. Mayer asked subway staff if the AirPod could be rescued, but the process would take two hours — and she would have to be present for the whole thing, she explains. So, a more inventive solution was required. Mayer took a trip to a local store and picked up a broom and some duct tape. The duct tape was applied to the handle to make it sticky.

Federal Reserve Chairman Says Facebook Libra "Cannot go Forward"

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that Facebook Libra “cannot go forward” until serious concerns are addressed.

“Libra raises many serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability,” Powell said during his semi-annual testimony on monetary policy before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.

“I don’t think the project can go forward” without addressing those concerns, he added later.

Being pessimistic, I wonder if they are genuinely concerned about things like privacy, or just don’t want the competition.

AT&T Robocalls to Be Blocked in the 'Coming Months'

· Andrew Orr · Link

AT&T logo

AT&T robocalls will be automatically blocked, the carrier announced. New customers have the service now, and existing customers will have it “in the coming months.”

AT&T’s Call Protect service does three things: it detects and blocks fraudulent calls entirely, flags telemarketers and spam calls as “Suspected Spam” when the phone rings, and allows you to maintain a personal block list to specifically block individual numbers.

It’s about damn time that carriers start using robocall-blocking technology. And I mean automatically; they all have their various blocking apps.

Fight Climate Change, Get a Free Nomad Lightning Cable

· Andrew Orr · Link

Get a free Nomad Lightning cable when you donate to the company’s Carbon Fund fundraising event. The minimum donation is US$5, which the company will use to plant trees. This is a steal because the cable on offer is normally US$24.95.

Every dollar donated plants a tree in Acre, a region of Brazil, that is being devastated by deforestation. We want to try to reverse this. Every ten trees planted captures around one ton of C02. Learn more about the project.

Comscore Firm Distributes Man-In-The-Middle Proxy Spyware to MacOS

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Dramatic interpretation of a hacker plying his trade

Airo Security uncovered Man-in-Middle Software proxy spyware being distributed to macOS. It came via Comscore subsidiary firm VoiceFive.  In a paper released this week, researchers explained the issue, which put sensitive data at risk.

This Comscore spyware installs a proxy on ports 8888, 8443 and 8254, where it captures all machine’s SSL/TLS traffic of the user. The spyware is being installed as a bundled application that is offered along with the installation flow of other software products. It installs a local system certificate which any application then automatically trusts. If that’s not enough, it imposes a severe security breach by not generating a unique certificate for each machine on which it is installed but rather installs the exact same root certificate for all machines. This is a known bad practice, to say the least, and was in the heart of the infamous “Lenovo Superfish” case of 2015 issued at the time by the US Department of Homeland Security.

Nintendo Switch Lite Coming in September for $199

· Andrew Orr · Link

Nintendo unveiled its Nintendo Switch Lite today, coming in September and costing US$199.

Nintendo Switch Lite has integrated controls and is smaller than the flagship version of Nintendo Switch. It has no kickstand and, as a dedicated handheld gaming device, does not support video output to a TV. Therefore, it does not come with a dock or HDMI cable.

I love my Switch and its great to see a more affordable option.

Spotify: The Game Show Could be on the Way

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Spotify logo

Not content with music and podcasts, Spotify could be getting into game shows and reality TV.. Music Business Worldwide reported on an intriguing job advert for a Reality Formats Lead it unearthed.

MBW has spotted a job ad for a Los Angeles-based Reality Formats Lead at Spotify, who will oversee the company’s exclusive content strategy within the ‘Reality’ category… One of the most interesting parts of the job description, however, is this: The Reality Formats Lead’s remit will include “shopping fully realized IP to television networks while leveraging existing and new relationships with talent and premium networks.” This suggests that not only does Spotify want to create and publish original audio content in this category, it wants to create original entertainment content for television.

Microsoft Surface by Sir Jony Ive

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Microsoft Surface Laptop

Speculation is rife about what Sir Jony Ive will work on after he has officially left Apple. On ComputerWorld, analyst Rob Enderle speculates that Sir Jony could end up designing a Microsoft Surface device. I think this is highly unlikely, for a number of reasons, but it is certainly an intriguing idea.

if I were to put something like this together, I’d co-brand it with Jony’s name so that buyers knew that if they wanted a product designed by Jony Ive, this was it. Regardless of whether you believe Cook’s position or not (I clearly do not), the fact is that with Jony gone from Apple and opening his own shop that future Jony Ive products are going to come from, his new customers won’t be his old employer. So, I’m anticipating a line of products from someone with name recognition. And since I’m suggesting that line be the Microsoft Surface, a “by Ive” name would be the most powerful way to achieve it. At the very least, an Apple customer would see a “Surface by Ive” name and at least consider it, where they might not even look twice at any other PC.

Zoom Web Server Will Be Removed in New Update

· Andrew Orr · Link

Zoom logo

In an updated blog post, the Zoom web server will be removed in the next update, given recent information that it can be exploited.

JULY 9 PATCH: The patch planned for tonight (July 9) at or before 12:00 AM PT will do the following: 1. Remove the local web server entirely, once the Zoom client has been updated – We are stopping the use of a local web server on Mac devices. Once the patch is deployed, Mac users will be prompted in the Zoom user interface (UI) to update their client. Once the update is complete, the local web server will be completely removed on that device.

SANNCE Home Security IP Wireless Camera With Night Vision: $44.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

We have a deal on the SANNCE Home Security IP Wireless Camera With Night Vision. This device records in HD, has motion detection and night vision, and it can record 24 hours. It will also pan 355 degrees, and it’s $44.99 through our deal.