Alphabet soup in rooms one through eight. Pizza orders, room nine. Overseas rooms ten, eleven and twelve.
In case you haven’t heard, the New York Times has completely removed all paywalls and is giving full and free unlimited access to their website through 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 9th.
No links. No sign ups. No tricks. Just head directly to…
Ok, so the Russians have been accused of interfering with the pending US election.
Soooo has anyone, just out of really nuts tinfoil-hat levels of paranoia, checked Hillary for polonium-210? Because that stuff has a history and it looks a little familiar.
The iPhone 7 is a definite “meh”. Same look, same system, same Apple repackaging of last year’s tech.
Apple keeps missing opportunities to innovate, and if they keep this trend going, more and more Apple fanatics are going to jump ship.
Off the top of my head, here some things I would like Apple to do with their iPhone line…
- Move the top camera behind the front screen so selfies and Facetime chats are “centered” and not focused on someone’s chin or forehead. The camera would “read” the colors in front of it (whatever pixels are on the display) and correct (ie: remove) them in the output. The camera would be invisible to the user and there would be no “black dots” on the screen. Video chats would finally look like they do in the movies where people look at the screen and not at the camera four inches over it.
- Open a mid-level API so advanced developers could make “high end” apps for the iPhone. Nothing that would tweak the core iOS, but things like real system theme changes, control over zooming and scaling, changing the mail fetch interval, reading tower signal strength, etc. All the new apps that use the mid-level API would be in an “advanced” section of the app store. If any of the apps caused problems, mid-level apps could be disabled in SETTINGS.
- Offer a battery enhanced model of all iPhones. They would be thicker than the “normal” versions, but with 300% more battery life. Bonus points if the battery could be hot-swapped for a “new” battery and a smaller internal battery would keep the iPhone working during the switch.
- On a related note, wireless charging for “standard” iPhones would be a long-overdue addition, but also add charging transfer for the battery enhanced iPhones to “standard” iPhones. Imagine being able to transfer power from one fully charged iPhone to another iPhone if they were touching back to back.
- Keep the existing microphone on the bottom of the iPhone, but add one microphone on the top to allow for “stereo” recordings. Put a built-in app that shows “left channel/right channel” sound editing for extra credit.
- Add a micro SD card port for storage and photo/file transfers already.
- Boost iCloud’s storage to half the iPhone’s current capacity. By default, 128s would get 64 gigs of cloud storage, 64s would get 32 gigs of storage and 16s would get 8 gigs of storage.
- Color changing LEDs have been around for awhile, so why not have the LED on the back of the phone that’s just a “white flash” change color too? Blue, yellow, soft white, etc. Add intensity control and the ability to specify color changes in the camera as the photo is being taken and Instagrammers will go bananas.
- Open AirDrop to all phone manufacturers so it becomes the standard for phone-to-phone wireless exchanges.
- Finally, a minor tweak to the iTunes store – allow for apps, movies and music purchased online to be completely transferred to another account once every five years.
Like I said, just off the top of my head, there’s a lot of things Apple can do to keep their iPhones popular and far ahead of their competitors. Releasing the same design with trivial changes isn’t going to be a sustainable business model no matter how much liquid cash they have in reserve.
To paraphrase Han Solo, “I’m away for awhile and everybody gets delusions of grandeur.”
Apple just announced a new iPhone, and instead of being excited, I’m kind of worried. By removing the old fashioned headphone jack in the new iPhone 7 and making all audio go through their DRM enabled lightning jack, Apple has placed a HUGE hardware audio lock on all consumers.
Putting it in a really simple way, standard headphone jacks don’t have a guard at the exit door. Any sound can come out. Lightning jacks on the iPhone 7 DO have a guard at the door who can decide what sounds get to leave and what sounds can’t. The new guard may not let some sounds out unless there’s a specific ride waiting for them.
As for the sounds themselves, if the sound has to call home every time it wants to exit and play, if their home doesn’t answer or if their home says “you’re not supposed to be there”, the guard won’t let them out.
Sounds that play already should be ok, but with this new guard at the door, more “homes” concerned with making money and keeping their sounds safe might demand calls home all the time.
There’s no legal way to circumvent the guard, and since the guard is part of the hardware, he’s not going to move without a major undertaking.
This is a huge loss of consumer control. Apple can now lock out headphones, speakers and even audio formats if they haven’t paid the appropriate bribe to Apple in advance.
Did I say bribe? I meant licensing fee.
The really sad thing is that since Apple has set this as their new normal and Apple fans typically buy new iPhones in record numbers, other phone manufacturers will pick up on this new source of income and run with it.
This just might wind up in a class action lawsuit in a few years.
In other news, my world has changed for tremendously better, and this blog might maybe spin slightly in a new direction. It’s all good, though. Happiness is infectious!
There are days that not only change everything about your future, but also how you see everything from the past.
Days that are the start of something brilliantly new and breathtakingly wonderful.
Days where you get to finally see what is truly important, and watch the trivial burn away to nothing.
Days you are genuinely, soulfully happy.
Days you wish would never end.
Today, March 31st, 2016, is that day for me.
If you’re using a 3D printer to prototype your awesome ideas, you better have the radio blasting nearby before the plastic starts flowing.
According to an article on GCN, an amazing discovery by the University of California showed that a basic smartphone could “record the acoustic signals coming from a 3-D printer’s nozzle and reverse-engineer the object being printed.”
The article says the main problem is that “once the process (or 3D printing) starts, emissions produced by the printer create acoustic signals that contain information that can indicate the location of the nozzle” on the printer.
That’s just nuts. You spend months working on a project designing it to perfect spec and finally get to the production stage, only to get it swiped by someone nearby with a open phone line as it prints!
The researchers say professional 3D printers need to “think about ways to jam the acoustic signals, such as a white-noise device”, but for my money, a big speaker blasting industrial music near the 3D printers should be good enough security.
The FBI has made no secret recently about their “need” to get into a recent terrorists’ iPhone, and have currently demanded the source code for the entire iPhone system in order to access a particular device as part of their investigation.
Here’s the problem. There’s already a legal system in place for problems like this.
When a law enforcement agency has a warrant, they get the right to obtain the stated information from that specific individual or group that is listed in the warrant. For example, if there is a warrant for John Doe to open the safe in his home, John Doe has to to open the safe in his home. If John Doe refuses to act on a legally served warrant. he is jailed until he does surrender the information and fully complies with the warrant.
There’s no onus on the safe company to provide a master key. There’s no mandate for all homes to have a master key on their deadbolt so warrants can be served. It is the legal obligation of the individual(s) named in the warrant to surrender the specifically stated information to law enforcement or face severe criminal consequences.
Think about how many times you have heard about reporters being jailed for refusing to disclose their sources. How many times informants are jailed for refusing to disclose their sources. There is no trial or judge for these people, and there is no release for them until they disclose what is specifically stated in the warrant. It is a perpetual prison for the individuals that does not end without compliance or a complete overturn of the original warrant.
If the FBI has a warrant to search the terrorist’s phones and they have refused to disclose their password, then the FBI can indefinitely hold the terrorists until they disclose the password needed to access their devices.
So what’s the problem here? Wasn’t that the original intent? Jail these vermin and wait them out.
The problem is too many politicians and knee-jerk reactionaries haven’t thought the reasons a “master password” or “law enforcement backdoor” is like putting a master key for all home deadbolts in place. Sure, a master key will give you the ability to get into any door you want, but then the “oh no, Godzilla!” part is if that master key gets out, it can be used by ANYONE. Anywhere. Anytime. You can’t control who copies it. You can kiss EVERYTHING that master key is attached to goodbye forever.
Like I ranted earlier, there’s no resetting a embedded backdoor and/or “master password” software on systems without “hands on” access. Once it’s out, there’s no way to erase it, no way to change it and no way to block it. Once a master password is out in the open, it’s fair game. To everyone.
Even if the government manages to keep a master password on a For-Your-Eyes-Only-Roger-Moore level, look how often the government itself gets hacked. The IRS. The FBI. Take your pick. Target A-1 is going to be that master password, and whatever hacker finds it will gain peer immortality.
A master password on a mass-produced consumer device is a critical national security risk. This idea needs to die right now.
“AFTER THE POST” EDIT: For argument’s sake, let’s say a master password / backdoor does get installed in the iPhone system to “keep us safe”.
- Does every law enforcement agency get the master password / backdoor? All the way down to the local two-officer town level?
- Who is to judge the need of an investigation to get the master password / backdoor? Will it be for all investigations? Or just ones of a certain type?
- How can the use of this master password / backdoor be tied to properly issued warrants and not abused as part of a “fishing” investigation?
- What happens when a law enforcement individual leaves their employer and enters the private sector? Does their knowledge of this master password / backdoor cease to exist for them? What restrictions could possibly be put in place to ensure they do not use the master password / backdoor for their own benefit?
- Will this master password / backdoor be shared with foreign countries? If so, how?
- Can the use of a master password / backdoor to obtain information in a criminal case be used in a civil case?