AMITIAE - Friday 15 January 2016
Cassandra: Friday Review - Black and White
By Graham K. Rogers
Note this, for example, from AFP as carried in The Straits Times this evening. There was no image with the web page, but the Tweet I saw first has a heart-rending photo of the young man who died of starvation.
Earlier today an email from the UN told me that "Thanks to your generous support Safa [a child pictured in the message] and 20,000 Syrian refugee children like her are receiving school meals for one full year"
Well, I felt good about it for a moment.
On the Mac I have VueScan, rather than using the Canon software that came with the device. It has a number of features that I find useful. Unfortunately, the iOS version does not work with the USB scanner. It is only for WiFi scanners and there are precious few of those, apart from those that combine printer, scanner and sometimes fax in the one machine.
I am also quite excited over the imminent arrival of a Kickstarter project item: the Intrepid 4x5 Camera. The small project was put together by a couple of guys in England who not only love film photography, but the large 4 x 5 format. I am going to have to learn several more new skills when it does come.
I have made a couple of comments in the last few days about the Share feature in the latest iOS betas and particularly liked the analysis of Rene Ritchie who looked at this on Thursday. Rene is known for his focus on Apple products of course, but now Ryan Faas on Computerworld is expressing an interest in the Sharing features and suggests that (along with Night Shift mode) the next update has some real benefits.
I hope he is right when (commenting on the education changes) these "will eventually reshape iPad use in the office and at home", because multi-user iPads are really going to help. There is also much more worth looking at in the article, particularly his analysis of how sharing could work in the enterprise.
If you ever receive a message or a call in a crowded subway train, believe me: the Watch will save all that rummaging about and angry looks from other commuters. I am also more aware of my health, not in a trite way that I start exercising or anything like that, but I check how much I am walking about each day and often use the Watch to monitor heart rate, particularly after ascending the stairs to the BTS Skytrain here: that makes it rocket for a minute or two.
It should also be noted that most major corporations go in for schemes that allow them to defer, shift and avoid, and this is important when the company has responsibilities to shareholders, and has operations abroad. Google, General Electric, Intel, Microsoft and many others all use the laws: but Apple gets the publicity.
Earlier today, Adam Satariano on Bloomberg did the sums on what the EU is saying on Apple's ways of moving cash about - particularly through subsidiaries in Ireland - and the point that they are likely to demand Apple pays back something like $8 billion. Apple will appeal of course if this is the finding.
Patrick Wardle of Synack who revealed the original problem, finds that underlying vulnerability had not been addressed and that there seemed to be some obfuscation with the way Apple was covering the holes up, which could "open up Macs to altered apps that are the result of man-in-the-middle attacks when something is downloaded via HTTP instead of HTTPS."
We heard earlier this week how he visited a delegation from Washington and made representations regarding encryption, but what we had not heard was just how he did this. Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept reports that Cook criticized the White House for a lack of leadership and asked the administration to issue a strong public statement defending the use of unbreakable encryption.
Of course that is unlikely with the current mood. There seems to be no give at all from the direction of the authorities who seem to be pulling the strings of the politicians both in the USA and (perhaps more so) in the UK.
This was one of the methods used to arrest the gang of thieves who were responsible for the Hatton Garden robbery: safe deposit boxes in the main, stuffed with rich folks' secret belongings. The gang did not have enough knowledge about the technological armoury the police can access, so were caught on surveillance video discussing the robbery after it had happened and were also recorded by devices placed in a car.
The story of the robbery, their arrests and convictions are detailed in a Guardian story by Vikram Dodd. They did have some technical help, who opened electronic doors and other digital tricks, but the person was never arrested. It did not help of course when, having broken a drill, one of them used his real name and address to buy replacement parts. Note also, while they were actually engaged in the operation, they set the alarm off, but the police failed to respond.
The musical is to be called Nerds (heaven forfend) and is to open in New York on 21 April. This is not a new show and was first produced in 2005 apparently. It did win "Barrymore Awards for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Original Music" in 2007. The world has changed somewhat since then of course. I wonder if we will have a dancing chorus of iPhones.
Now that Netflix has expanded to some 130 countries, the drawbridge is coming up and Andrew Tarantola reports on Engadget that "Netflix announced on Thursday that it is cracking down on users that use VPNs. . . ."
Part of the announcement referred to the licensing of content by geographic territories, something which affected Macs when optical drives were standard and the MPAA insisted on regions, which used to be hell if someone sent me a legitimately purchased video from another country. It is also why iTunes did not have music available in several countries for years: the RIAA controlled the copyright, not Apple. Even with the new Apple Music service, I pay $4.99 as opposed to the full $10, because some music is not available here.
The link has the original video which I play to my students sometimes. Zibreg speculates: "does Apple's sponsorship deal hint that the company might run a Super Bowl ad during this year's game?"
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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