Apple And Personal Security: What Apple Does And What Apple Could Do

How is Apple’s record for personal security? It depends upon who you ask. Security experts say OS X and iOS are not as secure as Windows or Android, yet most of the PC or mobile device malware exist on both, not on Macs, iPhones, or iPads. What’s up with the disparity?

It’s the age old issue of vulnerability vs. exploit. Those who count the former insist Apple’s devices have security problems. Those who count the latter find far fewer problems, which helps to explain why both Windows and Android have far more malware than Apple devices.

When it comes to personal security, Apple’s decision to add encryption to select iOS apps and services has the government’s spooks crying from the hilltops; “Apple is helping terrorists!” Of course, those same government spooks didn’t have any trouble hacking into and spying on German politicians, so, go figure.

When it became public that the U.S. government was snooping on everyone, Germany responded with Volksverschlüsselung. Loosely translated, Volksverschlüsselung means ‘Encryption for Everyone‘. Germany’s government now wants citizens to have more security, thanks to U.S. intrusions, and launched De-Mail for ordinary internet users. De-Mail is end-to-end encrypted email.

Caveat? Obviously, everyone needs to use De-Mail to make it fully effective. Apple has something like that already with Messages, whereby text messages from one Messages user to another are encrypted and Apple throws away the key. The U.S. government’s spooks don’t like that, of course, and that’s the point. Personal privacy and security should be more important to individuals than to the government.

What can Apple do to enhance personal privacy and security for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users. How about end-to-end encrypted secure email? Email encryption is nothing new, but deploying such security is the challenge; people have multiple email accounts, which means multiple email servers, which means encrypting most email messages is next to impossible.

First, Apple could and should start the ball rolling by employing end-to-end encryption with Mail between Mails users; Mac, iPhone, iPad. Second, whatever standard Apple employs to encrypt email messages should be available to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and other major email services, and made available to the server community to be deployed for other email services, personal and business.

Sara Zaske explains how the Germans launched and then improved Volksverschlüsselung and how they’re moving it to popular services and email apps.

If Apple remains truly and steadfastly on the side of personal security then end-to-end encryption needs to move beyond text messages between Messages users.

Android Diehard Won’t Look Back After Switch To iPhone

An Android user’s recent experience:

I went with the 16GB iPhone 6 and over the past 2 months I have fallen in love,” Sheehan7 said in his post. “The operating system is just so [fluid] and reliable and the designs are sleek (I REALLY love the menu when in a call, the cool transparent background with the circular buttons really gives it a modern tech look). I never even thought I would use Siri but I haven’t actually dialed a number in a month I just tell her who I want to call or even sometimes text it’s so cool!

Elsewhere in the news, Samsung’s latest Galaxy models, the Edge and S6, are selling less than last year’s models. In Japan, Samsung stopped using the Samsung brand name on the Galaxy S6.

39 Disney World Facts You Probably Don’t Know

I love lists like this. Hilary White:

The happiest place on Earth also happens to be one of the most interesting. Disney World has been around for nearly half a century, and with age comes good stories — and lots of them.

The stories are a good read if you can stomach the more than 40 clicks to view them all. My favorites:

  • Since 1971, an estimated 1.65 million pairs of glasses have found their way into the ‘lost’ bin. On an annual basis, Lost and Found cast members collect more than 6,000 cell phones, 3,500 digital cameras, 18,000 hats and 7,500 autograph books.
  • The camel outside the Magic Carpets of Aladdin ride actually spits on you. Rumor has it a cast member operates the camel and decides which guests to spray with water.
  • Cinderella’s Castle is not built from stones. The entire building is built out of fiberglass, concrete, steel, cement, and plaster. No bricks or stones were used at all.

The Dangers Of Breastfeeding

Monica Beyer:

In Oklahoma, mothers can nurse their babies wherever they have a legal right to be, but apparently the property manager at a particular apartment building didn’t get the memo, because he initially told Missy Smith that if he got another complaint about her breastfeeding her child, he’d have to give her an eviction notice.

Breastfeeding is legal in Oklahoma so Smith called the police. They told her to nurse inside. Smith:

It makes me angry. I am angry with the woman I spoke to at the police station who told me I would have to cover or stay inside, and I am angry at the neighbors who think it’s OK to stare — and then constantly complain. I would like to tell them to do their research. The law protects me. Also, just because you are not comfortable doesn’t make breastfeeding wrong.

I wonder if those same people who complain about breastfeeding also watch porn?

Apple TV Is Not Dead. Apple Television Is In Hibernation. Only TV Is Changing

No, we Apple watchers haven’t been expecting an Apple-branded television since before electricity; it just seems that way. About five years ago Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster started the Apple television parade by insisting, annually, that Apple would launch a television. Soon. Nothing Apple did publicly through the years changed Munster’s stance about an impending television.

Even Steve Jobs seemed insistent that Apple could crack the television market when he told biographer Walter Isaacson:

I’d like to create an integrated television set. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.

Whatever it was that Jobs cracked hasn’t seen the light of day. Yet. AAPL stock owner and corporate raider Carl Icahn said he expects Apple to enter the ultra HDTV market next year. Well, that was enough for Gene Munster who pulled the plug on his annual television prediction.

This is a tough day for me. It’s a hard reality to accept, and I think that is the reality of it: the TV is on hold… It’s a small consolation that they were aggressively looking at this. At the end of the day, I was wrong… Unfortunately if I were to replay this the last 10 years, I would’ve probably gotten to the same conclusions, because there were such strong indications that they were building it. It just didn’t see the light of day. That’s no excuse, but I think we approached it the right way. It just didn’t turn out.

So, Apple television is in hibernation (a death-like state), but Apple TV– the much maligned, and overdue-for-a-facelift, odd-shaped device you can still buy at an Apple store– is not dead.

Here’s colorful proof.


That’s the invitation graphic to Apple’s upcoming World Wide Developer’s Conference in early June. Notice the NBC peacock-like colors, and the shapes– much like viewing Apple TV from the top.

Something to do with wicked cool TV this way comes. Soon. Since WWDC15 is a developer’s conference we can expect an upgrade to Apple TV that will involve developers. Rumors suggest Apple may launch a new hardware device which runs applications (think HomeKit meets Watch), and a streaming TV service to match. While television remains merely a grotesque version of itself from the early years, TV is changing; or, rather, how we view video programs is changing. YouTube and streaming video are the norm for an increasingly large and growing generation of mobile device users. That’s where Apple will go.

Speed Test: Samsung Galaxy S6 vs. iPhone 6

Can your eyes be tricked? Adrian Isen’s YouTube video pits the Galaxy S6 vs. iPhone 6. BGR’s detail:

The Galaxy S6 edge had upload speeds of 169.18Mbps and 153.34Mbps and download speeds of 185.67Mbps and 181.09Mbps. Comparatively, the iPhone 6 Plus had upload speeds of 125.55Mbps and 122.48Mbps and download speeds of 102.67Mbps and 104.74Mbps.

First, who gets internet Wi-Fi speeds like that? Second, what happens to the results when the phones are rearranged so that those closest to the W-Fi hotspot are replaced by those farthest away?

The Free Phone

Chris Smith on something T-Mobile might be cooking up to retain its title as ‘the uncarrier’– free phones:

What if free phones were also offered alongside prepaid service plans? It looks like this intriguing plan might end up being T-Mobile’s next “uncarrier” initiative.

an internal memo that says customers who sign up for a prepaid plan that costs at least $40 per month, or a Simple Choice No Credit Plan, will get the LG Leon LTE free of charge after rebates.

The LG Leon LTE is by no means a flagship smartphone, but it’s still a new device that should a great option for many users, especially new smartphone converts. The handset features a 4.5-inch screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of memory, 1,900 mAh battery and Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Good idea for those who simply need a decent phone and are not brand conscious.

How Far Does A $15 Minimum Wage Go?

AP with a list of what you can get with a $15-per hour minimum wage in various cities:

The minimum wage in Los Angeles could increase to $15 an hour by 2020 under a plan given initial approval by the City Council. That’s a 67 percent increase from the current minimum wage of $9 and would amount to annual pay of about $31,200.

That sounds like a lot of money but how far does the money go?

New York, NY:

HOUSING: $13,956
FOOD: $3,435
CHILD CARE (two adults, two children): $20,861

Memphis, TN:

HOUSING: $6,912
FOOD: $2,958
CHILD CARE (two adults, two children): $6,647

It seems to me that a ‘minimum wage’ should be the minimum amount a 40-hour-per-week job will pay for basic living necessities. How about a ‘minimum livable wage?’

Stealing From Apple For Fun And Profit

We’ve read stories recently of thieves breaking into Apple retail stores and carting off a few hundred thousand dollars worth of iPhones. Another thief would steal iPhones from customers and return them to Apple for new phones, thanks to a loophole in Apple’s processing system. Then, there’s Samsung, the Korean conglomerate with a reputation for stealing intellectual property from other companies and their own customers, then selling products as if they invented the stolen designs.

Apple was on to Samsung’s game after early Galaxy smartphones and tablets appeared which were amazingly similar to the iPhone and iPad in design and took the crooks to court. And won. And lost. And, yet won again. Before losing again. But in the end, Apple seems to be winning.

Samsung lost a number of high profile intellectual property judgements thanks to Apple pursuing the high road. Apple won. Samsung lost. Except the appeals process takes forever and a few weeks and the billion dollar verdict Apple won against Samsung back in 2012 looks like it will be reduced by a few hundred million dollars.

See? Apple won. Samsung lost. Then Samsung won. So, Apple loses. Again. Every time a judge looks at the case, Apple loses a little more money from the award. The appeals court said the obvious– such packaging and presentation are features not eligible for protection because, well, they’re central to how all smartphones function these days.

Well, duh. MDN put together a simple graphic that exposes what Samsung did. Apple’s iPhone, then the iPad, set the design for modern smartphones and tablets– which Samsung, Google, and others have ripped off ad nauseam.

Apple and Samsung

Amazingly similar, no? Innovation just isn’t what it used to be. Neither is the dictionary, as Samsung claims to be innovative– mostly by stealing innovations from other companies. Apple may yet get some money for Samsung’s frequent misdeeds but it may not matter. Why not?

Apple won in the marketplace.

That’s why the company accounts for almost 90-percent of the industry’s smartphone and tablet profits, and the lion’s share of device usage. Not only are Samsung’s sales and profits down, the Samsung brand has taken a dramatic beating in the media, which explains why Samsung doesn’t even use the company name when selling Galaxy products in Japan. Even discriminating Japanese customers refuse to be influenced by blatant ripoff artists from Korea.

6 Secret iPhone Functions

It’s really one hidden feature which gives you one of six secret options. Zach Epstein makes a mountain from a molehill.

The Accessibility section within Apple’s Settings app on iPhones and iPads likely makes the iOS platform the best on the planet for people with a wide range of disabilities. This subsection of the Settings app is also a treasure trove of secret features that many iOS users would never uncover on their own.

Spoiler Alert!

  • VoiceOver
  • Invert Colors
  • Grayscale
  • Zoom
  • Switch Control
  • Assistive Touch

Not exactly for the average iPhone user, though.

The New Oreo

I love these specialty flavors. Zoe Bain on the new Oreo flavor.

S’mores Oreos (or s’mOreos, as I like to call them) will hit stores beginning May 22. They feature a graham cracker cookie (for the first time in Oreo history) and two layers of creme filling: marshmallow and chocolate. Campfire optional.

A Phone Feature I Want On My iPhone

A look at E-Ink on a smartphone from my friend and colleague, Barbara Marie Brannan on Mac360.

This latest incarnation of YotaPhone has a built-in mirror mode which lets Android and apps run on the E-Ink screen. Talk about good battery life. The E-Ink screen is 4.7-inches, the same size as the iPhone 6. The front screen is a 5-inch, 1080p, high resolution AMOLED screen; slightly smaller than iPhone 6 Plus.

Even better, the E-Ink display on the back can be customized, personalized– it’s a digital canvas, a backside cover-like device that can change with your whims because the display can be always on. As far as typical smartphone features, YotaPhone doesn’t exactly blaze new ground– it’s mostly a stock Android setup, but using the latest– Lollipop, mostly mediocre, with 8-megapixel camera, and all-day battery life– except with the E-Ink, which can extend the usage by a day or two. If you’re an inveterate reader and find iPhones and iPads not worthy of your effort over long periods of time (thanks to the screen and battery drainage), and you love using a Kindle, you’re likely to like YotaPhone.

Why didn’t Apple do this?

Why, indeed.

Falling Out Of Love With The iPad

iPad sales are down. Again. Quarter-to-quarter, and year-over-year. What’s wrong? Steve Ranger thinks that consumers have fallen out of love with tablets in general. He also posits that businesses love tablets. He also uses recent numbers from research analysts at IDC, so the whole premise could be flawed (IDC guesses the numbers of devices sold or shipped; likely performing an extraction of numbers from premises best unmentioned).

One item that caught my eye probably tells the tale of the swoon in worldwide tablet sales. “Sluggish consumer demand.” Well, duh. The real question is, “Why is demand slowing?” Usage is not, especially among iPad owners.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell. Despite steady incremental improvements, people keep their tablets– and iPads– far longer than they keep their smartphones. I have two nephews who are still using the original iPads from 2010; hand-me-downs, but still in use. iPads last longer than expected because they’re well built, and perform different tasks than Macs or iPhones, both of which get used plenty, and for different purposes.

Remember this; iPad was Apple’s hottest and fastest selling product ever, even selling far more units in the first few years than the iPhone, the company’s flagship product. Over 300-million iPads have been sold in less than five years, but sales are dropping.

My view of this phenomenon is simple. The product is well made and has somewhat limited usage appeal. While it can handle some tasks from the Mac, and some from the iPhone, it’s not as powerful as the former, not as mobile or convenient as the latter. So, iPad gets used plenty, but doesn’t have an overwhelming need to be upgraded as frequently as iPhone, and usage doesn’t vary much from the original models in 2010 and 2011.

What about business?

IDC seems to think tablets are now loved by the enterprise, but could not come up with numbers to support the premise. Even Apple does not acknowledge how many iPads have been sold to corporate users, even after the enterprise deal with IBM.

There’s also the problem of definition. What defines a tablet? iPad? Flat and thin? Microsoft thinks Surface Pro 3 and Surface– both running full versions of Windows– are tablets that can replace a notebook, when, in reality, they are nothing more than touchscreen notebooks without a keyboard; bulky, heavy, and cumbersome to use as real tablets.

Are tablets and iPads, in general, falling out of favor as Macs and notebooks get thinner and lighter, and smartphone screens get bigger? Perhaps, but my perspective and user experience tells me the real issue is two-fold; usage is different, and the device life cycle is longer than expected.

9 Hidden Gmail Features

I use Gmail, but sparingly, thanks to my highly developed fear of Google. Brad Reed has a few Gmail features I didn’t know about.

Accessing these features is incredibly simple: Click on the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of your Gmail window and click on Settings. Once in Settings, click on the Labs tab and you’ll see a list of experimental Gmail features that you’re free to enable or disable at will (all these settings are disabled by default). You’ll also want to make sure you click Save Changes at the bottom of the window to make sure your desired changes are implemented.

What are they? Spoiler Alert!

  • Authentication icon for verified senders
  • Canned Responses
  • Google Calendar Gadget
  • Google Maps Preview
  • Mark as Read button
  • Preview Pane
  • Quick Links
  • Right-side chat
  • Undo send

Amazon Echo

James Kendrick loves his Amazon Echo.

When Amazon unveiled the Echo last year many didn’t know quite what to make of it. A simple black cylinder that was an audio system and window into the web all wrapped up in one, and operated almost entirely by voice. Voice operation was hands-free as “Alexa” — the name used to get the AI’s attention — was always listening for your command…

One added feature that I ridiculed when it rolled out, I believe the term “goofy” was used, has turned out to be tremendous fun. Hiding in another room and having Alexa talk to my grandkids by name using the Simon Says function is a blast.

The Amazon Echo is the most used gadget in my home due to its usefulness. Playing music and asking for quick web searches has become second nature. Alexa is always ready to do what I ask, understanding every voice command without fail. It’s as if Amazon sent an invisible assistant to me that is always there, always listening just in case I need something.

Fun for $99. I call it Amazon’s Skynet seed.

The McDonald’s Diet

There is probably more going on here than meets the eye, but this is scary. Khushbu Shah on how a McDonald’s-only diet ruined a college kid’s health.

It’s common knowledge that fast food isn’t exactly healthy, but just how unhealthy is it? According to Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, it is devastating to a human’s gut bacteria…. Spector had his son, a student at the University of Aberystwyth, eat only McDonald’s for 10 days straight. Tom was allowed to eat Big Macs, chicken nuggets, fries, and Coca-Cola. Throughout the experiment, Tom sent his stool samples out to be analyzed by different labs. Tom notes that he felt fine for the first three days, but he started to slowly go “downhill.” He became lethargic and after a week, his friends said he had taken on a “strange grey” color.

1,400 types of bacteria species disappeared, about 40-percent of his total.

A Few Words On The $9 PC And Apple’s iPad Pro

If you thought Windows PCs– notebooks and tablets– were cheap at around $100, then you haven’t seen Raspberry Pi, which starts at about $35. And if you think $35 is cheap, then you haven’t heard about C.H.I.P. which is so cheap you’ll get change from a $10 bill.

I know. Crazy, right?

Here’s the skinny on C.H.I.P. It’s not real. It’s a Kickstarter project with an initial goal to obtain $50,000 in funding but was so popular that the project raised over $500,000 in just a few days. So, it’s more of an idea than a reality, despite the details for what C.H.I.P. might be. To start, there’s a 1GHz CPU, a GPU, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of flash storage, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

To start. At $9.

Well, almost. $9 gets the C.H.I.P chip, but if you want battery, VGA adapter, HDMI out, a cool looking case, then the price tag comes in just under $100. Or, about what you’d pay for a Windows tablet notebook hybrid on sale– and you won’t have to build it yourself.

My question is this. Why is no one complaining about this vaporware? It’s not real, but the tech community seems to have fallen all over itself to fall in love with C.H.I.P. Maybe it’s C.H.E.A.P they’re falling in love with instead. C.H.I.P might ship. But for now it’s vaporware. An idea with cash.

On the other side of that coin the same tech community has begun the standard, growing crescendo of criticism and complaints about Apple’s upcoming iPad Pro and the new Apple TV remote. Yes, Apple has yet to announce either one, there are no specifications, details, pricing, features, or, well, anything. Both fall into the rumor camp, but critics of the technorati elite need to be prepared; you know, just in case Apple tries to disrupt yet another industry.

Here’s one thing that is for sure and completely bankable. Apple won’t compete with Raspberry Pi or C.H.I.P. or any similarly silly project that drives computerdom to the bottom of the food chain.

Just between you and me, I appreciate having a device that can do it all if I need it all done; a computer that comes with real support and repair options, one that lasts beyond the next couple of fads, one that is worth something when I’m ready for a new one, and isn’t a leftover idea from the Radio Shack crowd.

5 Great Google Tricks

Nice list of things you can do with Google that you probably didn’t know about from Zach Epstein:

Google search is about much more than just hunting down answers to your questions or finding the right webpage to explain how something works. Google can perform all sorts of functions for you — in fact, Google can probably replace more apps and services than you realize.

My official spoiler alert.

  • Converter
  • Definitions
  • Stock quotes
  • Calculate
  • Time zones

The $9 PC

Where will this nonsense end? Android and Windows are free. Notebooks and tablets are $100. Now there’s a PC starting at $9. Christina Medici Scolaro with details.

C.H.I.P. is a micro-computer that allows you to surf the Web, check email over Wi-Fi and play games with a Bluetooth controller. The minicomputer—basically a chip that hooks up to an external monitor—has a 1 GHz processor, 4GBs of storage and 512MB of RAM, according to its Kickstarter page.

The Next Thing Co., a company based in Oakland, Calif., began a Kickstarter campaign for the C.H.I.P. computer in May with a funding goal of $50,000.

It has since blown past that goal, and by a large factor. The campaign has brought in just under $690,000 and counting as of Monday morning. The fundraising campaign ends June 6.


‘Aging Is Not For Sissies’

’10’ actress Bo Derek on aging:

I realize how artificial it is, beauty. I realize that it doesn’t last forever, that’s for damn sure… Aging is really hard,” she said. “And it’s tough. Bette Davis was right; it’s not for sissies, it really isn’t… And there is a certain expectation. I get credit on one hand for not having had a facelift, and then on the other hand it’s, ‘Oh my God, why doesn’t she do something?’ So you’re just torn. I just have to keep busy, have other interests, and try not to think about it.

Everyone should look so good at her age.

Android Down. iPhone Up. Why?

Remember all those headlines from the past few years which predicted the iPhone’s demise in the U.S., Europe, and Asia? Guess what? They were wrong. In fact, the iPhone’s market share continues to rise while Android drops. Why?

Three words: Upward mobility, and, fragmentation.

Way back in the day, long before Windows, early PC users were treated to dozens of hardware manufacturers, each running their own and often non-compatible version of MS-DOS. That fragmentation in the marketplace made consolidation a must for businesses, and once Windows and Office arrived on the scene, the future was set in stone.

Hardware makers consolidated and thanks to some illegal activity by Microsoft, Windows became the de facto standard for computer users. The Mac was an afterthought.

Today’s mobile device market is somewhat similar to those days of yesteryear; it’s fragmented by a few hundred manufacturers, and dozens of different versions of Android operating systems (not to mention Windows Phone, Tizen, and others). While Google’s official version of Android holds sway over the market, the inability of devices to unify on hardware specifications and upgrade to newer versions of the OS leave the entire Android ecosystem in a mess.

Compare that scene with Apple’s iOS. By the time Apple launches a new version each fall nearly 90-percent of existing customers, iPhone and iPad, are running the latest iOS. That remarkable difference has not gone unnoticed in the marketplace. Instead of catering to the lowest common denominator with lower priced plastic products, Apple’s entire iOS ecosystem wreaks of consistency, predictability, and quality– attributes loved by the corporate enterprise and individuals alike.

The Android ecosystem seems divided into two basic camps. At the low end of commonality it’s smartphone and tablet users who prefer price as the dominant purchase requirement. As the high end, are the technorati elite who prefer Android’s so-called flexibility and freedom to Apple’s curated ecosystem. The latter is an insignificant– albeit loud– portion of the marketplace. The former is driven by price.

That makes Apple’s products very attractive to those who disdain fragmentation, and, once they’ve tasted the mediocrity of Android devices, become upwardly mobile– to Apple’s benefit.

Hence, even in the less important aspect of business measurements, it’s Android down, iPhone up.

Consumer Reports Loves Watch

Consumer Reports tested 11 smartwatch models from eight manufacturers and found a favorite.

In the end, our top-rated smartwatch is the stainless-steel Apple Watch. Its performance on the scratch-resistance test and excellent scores for ease of pairing and ease of interaction make it our top choice.

Men And The 80-hour Work Week

Fact? Or, fiction? Shana Lebowitz with details on a study of men who pretend to work long hours, and the fakers who receive the same praise as workaholics.

The study, conducted by Erin Reid, Ph.D., assistant professor of organization at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, focused on employees at an anonymous global strategy consulting firm with a big presence in the US… While 42% of the men that Reid interviewed actually were putting in 60- to 80-hour workweeks, 31% were only logging 50 to 60 hours a week but had figured out ways to deceive their managers into believing they were working more. About a quarter of men were working shorter hours and had revealed their reduced schedules to senior members of the firm.

By contrast, just 11% of the women that Reid interviewed faked longer workdays, and 44% disclosed to managers they were working fewer hours. Both men and women who revealed their reduced schedules were typically penalized with lower performance ratings or getting passed over for promotions.

In this case, men faked it more than women and were rewarded for their behavior.

Reid writes that when she approached the firm’s leaders with her findings, they showed no desire to modify their expectations of long work hours. Instead, they said a man who reveals his lack of interest in being fully committed to his work is not the kind of employee they want. Moreover, they asked how they might teach women to pretend they were working more, too.


Images Of Thunder

Lightning is visible, but so is thunder. Michelle Starr on the complicated discovery that thunder– sound– can be viewed:

An array of 15 microphones, each spaced one metre (3.3 feet) apart, was then placed 95 metres (about 310 feet) from the rocket launch pad. Post-signal processing and directional amplification of the data captured by the microphone array was then used to create a visual representation of the sound produced by the lightning travelling down the copper wire.

Acoustic images.