The Thirty-Seven-Degrees Edition Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Researchers Are Trying To Use An iPhone App To Understand Body Temperature, by Chris Mills, Gizmodo

The average body temperature is normally within a degree of 37°C, assuming you’re healthy. But when you’re a doctor trying to diagnose one specific patient, an average temperature from the whole population is imperfect at best. This is 2016, so let’s fix that problem with smartphones!

Baby Keyboard

Review: Smart Keyboard For 9.7-inch iPad Pro, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I’m a pretty tough critic when it comes to keyboards, and I actually found typing on the smaller Smart Keyboard to be surprisingly good. The fabric keys don’t require as much force to depress as mechanical keys. But more than that, I discovered that if I kept some of my fingers resting on the keyboard, so I could always remain oriented, I was able to touch type at a high rate of speed without ever looking at the keyboard itself.

Apple / FBI

Apple’s New Challenge: Learning How The U.S. Cracked Its iPhone, by Katie Benner, John Markoff, and Nicole Perlroth, New York Times

The challenges start with the lack of information about the method that the law enforcement authorities, with the aid of a third party, used to break into the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, an attacker in the San Bernardino rampage last year. Federal officials have refused to identify the person, or organization, who helped crack the device, and have declined to specify the procedure used to open the iPhone. Apple also cannot obtain the device to reverse-engineer the problem, the way it would in other hacking situations.

Making matters trickier, Apple’s security operation has been in flux. The operation was reorganized late last year. A manager who had been responsible for handling most of the government’s data extraction requests left the team to work in a different part of the company, according to four current and former Apple employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the changes. Other employees, among them one whose tasks included trying to hack Apple’s own products, left the company over the last few months, they said, while new people have joined.

US Says It Would Use “Court System” Again To Defeat Encryption, by David Kravets, Ars Technica

The Justice Department now says it will not hesitate to invoke the precedent it won in its iPhone unlocking case. [...] "It remains a priority for the government to ensure that law enforcement can obtain crucial digital information to protect national security and public safety, either with cooperation from relevant parties, or through the court system when cooperation fails," Melanie Newman, a Justice Department spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to Ars. "We will continue to pursue all available options for this mission, including seeking the cooperation of manufacturers and relying upon the creativity of both the public and private sectors."

Lessons From Apple Vs. The F.B.I., by John Cassidy, New Yorker

Even in such a data-rich environment, however, the rise of strong encryption is having an impact and creating some hidden areas. There will certainly be instances when legal authorities want access to encrypted information that they can’t get at. Terrorism investigations aren’t the only example. Absent methods of accessing systems protected by strong encryption, Obama asked a few weeks ago, “What mechanisms do we have to even do things like tax enforcement? If you can’t crack that at all, if government can’t get in, then everyone’s walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket, right?”

At this stage, that specific threat may not be too grave. Tax authorities have sweeping powers to demand bank accounts and other financial records. But as encrypted blockchain technologies develop, and perhaps start to replace regular money, they could create more opportunities for concealment. Regardless, Obama was surely right when he said that the time to confront these issues is now. If we wait until after the next big terrorist attack, we could end up with a second Patriot Act.

Why Apple Won Its Six-Week-Long Skirmish With The FBI, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

Meanwhile, the FBI and the DOJ, to many, came off looking less credible than before. The government appeared ill-equipped to deal with the technical challenges of fighting terror. In court filings, the FBI and DOJ sounded like bullies; they didn't ask for Apple's help—they demanded it, and questioned Apple's motives in the matter in the process.

But most of all, the government came off sounding untruthful. It stated over and over that the solution it asked Apple to create would be used one time and on one phone. But it was soon revealed that the solution might be used on hundreds of iPhones in other cases all over the country.

The Apple-FBI Battle Is Over, But The Crypto Wars Have Just Begun, by Brian Barrett, Wired

The bigger implication of Apple’s fight with the FBI is that it’s created a fundamental and perhaps insurmountable rift between law enforcement and the tech industry, two entities that haven’t always gotten along but had, for a time, found a way to work together.

[...] The strained relationship had only started to recover from Edward Snowden’s stunning reveleation that the NSA had penetrated the internal systems of Facebook, Google, and others. Any warming in the relationship has surely cooled again, and tech companies may be more inclined to see the FBI and other agencies as adversaries.


This New App Lets You Create Your Own Doctor Who Comics, by Huw Fullerton, Radio Times

Sick of waiting for Doctor Who series 10, even though it hasn’t been that long yet? Desperate to create your own adventures for the Time Lord but hamstrung by lack of time, money or not being Steven Moffat working for a massive TV corporation?


Nostalgianomics, by Chris Adamson

“Fixing” the App Store, saying that Apple needs better curation or promotion of apps, is like “fixing” Yahoo!… and not the entertainment conglomerate of today, but the browsable collection of websites that Filo and Yang put together in their Stanford dorm room. It’s premised on a model and a value proposition that doesn’t exist anymore.

How To Reduce The Cognitive Load Of Your Code, by Christian Maioli

I believe it’s possible to construct a simple mental framework that can be used with any language or library and which will lead to good quality code by default. There are four main concepts I will talk about here. Keep them in mind and writing good code should be a breeze.

iTunes Connect iOS App Adds Access To Resolution Center For Developers, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac


OS X 10.11.4 Framework Resource Found With ‘macOS’ Naming, Fueling More Speculation About An OS X Rebranding, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

Brazilian Apple blog MacMagazine points to the name used for an Interface Builder document buried deep within OS X’s System folder as evidence of a possible naming change.

Apple Strikes Deal With MLB To Provide Every Team With iPad Pros, by Sam Byford, The Verge

The 12.9-inch tablets will be used with rugged, MLB-branded cases [...], and a custom app called MLB Dugout will help managers see performance statistics, check videos from earlier games, and analyze how pitchers and hitters are likely to perform against each other.

Zuckerberg, Cook And Dorsey Join 80 Other CEOs In Protest Of North Carolina anti-LGBT Law, by Bryan Clark, The Next Web

The bill strips LGBT citizens of protection against discrimination by forcing transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that are inconsistent with their self-identified gender.

Unlocked iPhone Worthless After F.B.I. Spills Glass Of Water On It, by Andy Borowitz, New Yorker

Moments after successfully unlocking the San Bernardino iPhone, the F.B.I. rendered the phone permanently useless by spilling a glass of water on it, an F.B.I. spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

Bottom of the Page

As a "long-time" user, I'm going to find it difficult to get used to the name macOS. After all, it has been years fighting with others who called this thing we loved, a MAC. Now, all of a sudden, we are supposed to call it a mac -- all lower-case -- instead?

(Of course, we all got used to MacBooks and iPads…)


Thanks for reading.