The Depressing Gap Between Apple and the U.S. Federal Government is Widening

Apple is a company that's always taking our breath away. Whether it's the new Mac Pro, 5K iMac, the 2015 MacBook, the spectacular development of the iPhone, advanced technologies in OS X and iOS, Swift, or whatever, sometimes it's really hard to keep pace. Apple, as Phil Schiller has explained at WWDC, wants to take risks and push the limits of technology.

This is how Apple creates a sense of excitement about the future, makes lots if money, and ensures its survival. Even as the customer feels some of it it, the sensation is even more noticeable as an Apple employee. One is exposed to everything, one is encouraged to know everything, always be on top of everything Apple does and explain it with panache.

In turn, it's especially hard to sell Apple's brand of relentless surging into the future to the U.S. Federal government. It requires ample funding to totally embrace Apple's products and technology. This is why Apple products, historically have been relegated to specific groups that couldn't do without such as video production or scientific visualization. That strategy has worked to control costs.

Changing Times

Nowadays, there's an arms race going on between governments. It's not only happening with nuclear weapons, submarines, or missiles. It's also happening on the Internet. Just as the EuroPay/MasterCard/Visa consortium is working to upgrade payment technology, identify weak payment links and assign liability, the U.S. government should be doing the same with secure systems.

For example, how can a government organization that's been seriously breached not consider that the director and every manager must receive a poor performance rating? With jobs at risk. In fact, they shrug and write it off to insufficient funding. There are no failures sufficient to put a an agency, indeed the whole government and its employees, out of business.

Not yet.

The stance Apple has taken on privacy and security and its tendency to quickly leave insufficient technology in the past stands in dramatic contrast to the U.S. Navy which finds itself, incredibly, still dependent on Windows XP. (See page 2 below.) The Navy has had years to prepare for the end of XP support and failed to move forward.

I've seen serious IT managers pooh-pooh Apple products and technologies in the past. It's a rationalization. If one cannot keep up, then it's time for a plate of sour grapes. That thinking must be left behind.

Our most important secrets are going to keep being spilled until the rationalization stops and proper money and accoutability flows into security initiatives. That means ruthlessly leaving the past behind, just like Apple. Meanwhile, the federal frog gets groggier and groggier in the quickly heating water.

Next page: the tech news debris for the week of June 22. How to defeat anti-virus software for fun and profit.

Page 2 - The Tech News Debris for the Week of June 22


The Apple Watch was designed so that its materials would be in concert with traditional materials use by watch makers of old. That history takes into account the human skin tolerance to, say, metals, leather and certain plastics. However, occasionally someone will have a skin reaction. Here's a helpful article that describes what can happen with some people and possible remedies. "Yes, Your Apple Watch Is Giving You A Rash. Here's What To Do About It."

How useful is Force Touch on the new MacBook? It turns out, there's a lot you can do. See: "13 ways to use Force Touch on the new MacBook."

Have you ever wondered what that thin, plastic strip is on the back of your iPhone? It's so all that goodly radio frequency radiation can go in and out. But now Apple may have figured out how to get rid of that disfigurement. Here are the details.

Here's some great detail by Peter Cohen at iMore on which Macs support Metal in OS X El Capitan. "How to tell if your Mac will work with OS X El Capitan's Metal."

More Frightening Security Lapses

The natural approach to protecting your Mac is to install virus protection. Just about all of the "anti-virus" apps keep a database of all kinds of malware that might traffic into your Mac, not just viruses. If, as the developer's database of malware signatures is updated, you or the app automatically download those signatures, you should be well protected.

Until now.

The desire of certain parties to be able to access any particular computer at will has now achieved new heights. For example, "U.S. And British Spies Targeted Antivirus Companies."

I am generally aware of the federal government's tendency to not exactly be state of the art with its computer and OS systems—as described in the preamble. Here's an example of the old saying, "There's never enough money to do it right the first time, but there's always enough money to fix a bad problem." Don't skip over this one. "Microsoft just made millions off a 14-year-old product it shut down a year ago."

On a more positive note, unbreakable quantum encryption may be coming along faster than anticipated. "Post-Quantum Encryption No Longer A Laughing Matter."

In this column, you've seen me write about how pleased I am with the new Microsoft under it's fairly new CEO Satya Nadella. Recently, Mr. Nadella issued a letter to all Microsoft employees about what Microsoft aims to do under his leadership. The email was in concert with the depature of four senior executives, no doubt, people who were not on board with Mr. Nadella's vision. The email letter, obtained by GeekWire is interesting, must reading.

In my opinion, Microsoft can no longer be taken lightly.

Finally, the always awesome "Steve Wozniak Welcomes his robot overlords, says the future no longer scares him." Let's hope he right.


Teaser image via Shutterstock.

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.