The I-Am-Stoned Edition Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Apple Releases iOS 11.3.1 Alongside Security Updates For macOS 10.13.4, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

iOS 11.3.1 is a minor update that fixes iPhone 8s for users whose touchscreens were rendered unresponsive by aftermarket replacement displays.


The macOS update is designated Security Update 2018-001 for macOS 10.13.4. It adds no new features or functionality; rather, it addresses two notable security vulnerabilities.

Can This New Encryption Method Finally Crack The Crypto War?, by Steven Levy, Wired

It works this way: The vendor—say it’s Apple in this case, but it could be Google or any other tech company—starts by generating a pair of complementary keys. One, called the vendor’s “public key,” is stored in every iPhone and iPad. The other vendor key is its “private key.” That one is stored with Apple, protected with the same maniacal care that Apple uses to protect the secret keys that certify its operating system updates. These safety measures typically involve a tamper-­proof machine (known as an HSM or hardware security module) that lives in a vault in a specially protected building under biometric lock and smartcard key.

That public and private key pair can be used to encrypt and decrypt a secret PIN that each user’s device automatically generates upon activation. Think of it as an extra password to unlock the device. This secret PIN is stored on the device, and it’s protected by encrypting it with the vendor’s public key. Once this is done, no one can decode it and use the PIN to unlock the phone except the vendor, using that highly protected private key.

So, say the FBI needs the contents of an iPhone. First the Feds have to actually get the device and the proper court authorization to access the information it contains—Ozzie’s system does not allow the authorities to remotely snatch information. With the phone in its possession, they could then access, through the lock screen, the encrypted PIN and send it to Apple. Armed with that information, Apple would send highly trusted employees into the vault where they could use the private key to unlock the PIN. Apple could then send that no-longer-secret PIN back to the government, who can use it to unlock the device.

There’s High Hopes For "Am I Stoned" App To Stop Impaired Drivers, by Julia Ries, Healthline

With cannabis use on the rise and more states legalizing the drug either medicinally or recreationally, lawmakers are puzzling over the question of how to determine if someone is impaired by marijuana.

Researchers at the University of Chicago are looking to unlikely technology for the answer: an app.

They’re in the midst of developing a prototype app called “Am I Stoned” in the hopes of creating a framework that would properly detect impairment from marijuana use.


Google Gets Serious About To-do Lists; Introduces New Google Tasks Apps For iOS And Android, by Akshay Pathare, Beautiful Pixels

The company is today introducing a major revamp to Google Tasks, along with fresh new standalone apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. These apps were introduced alongside the announcement for the new Gmail UI and features, which will be rolling out to G Suite customers as well as personal Gmail users in the coming weeks.

Microcasting On With Wavelength, by John Voorhees, MacStories

My favorite part about Wavelength is how easy it makes creating a podcast. The app isn’t going to replace a fully-featured iOS audio editor like Ferrite, but that’s not the point. By packaging a podcasting workflow into a single iPhone app, Wavelength makes what can be a fiddly process accessible to more people.

Rogue Amoeba Launches New Podcasting Bundle With Over $50 Savings, Includes Audio Hijack, Fission, And More, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

The bundle includes Audio Hijack, Loopback, Farrago, and Fission. These apps will let you record Skype calls, add podcast chapters, add soundbites, and have a dedicated soundboard.

Spotify Enhancing Free Tier With 15 On-demand Playlists, Mode With 75% Less Data Consumption, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Spotify’s free tier currently offers access to shuffled playlists, but on-demand playback is kept behind the Premium paid tier. With the new version of Spotify’s app, over a dozen popular playlists including Discover Weekly will be available for on-demand playback without shuffling.


Apple To Start Paying Ireland €13bn In Back Taxes, by Arthur Beesley, Financial Times

“This is a very, very significant day now in terms of dealing with this issue,” said Paschal Donohoe, Irish finance minister. Mr Donohoe told reporters he will sign a legal agreement today with Apple to set up the escrow. The full recovery will be completed by the end of September, he said.

Google Is Turning Its Pistol Emoji Into A Squirt Gun, by Ryan Whitwam, Android Police

A few years ago, Apple was the first big emoji designer to stop rendering the "pistol" emoji as a real gun. It went from a revolver to a green squirt gun, and other companies have just started coming around. Twitter and Samsung already made the change, and now it's Google's turn. Say goodbye to the revolver and hello to the super soaker.

Jeff Bezos V The World: Why All Companies Fear 'Death By Amazon, by Olivia Solon, The Guardian

“If you try to measure power by how many executives are up at night because of X company, I think Amazon would win,” said Lina Khan, legal fellow with the Open Markets Program at the thinktank New America.


“Amazon has all this data available. They track what people are searching for, what they click, what they don’t,” said Greer. “Every time you’re searching for something and don’t click, you’re telling Amazon that there’s a gap.”

Amazon knows where you live, who you live with, your current location (if you use an Amazon smartphone app), what TV shows you watch, what music you listen to and what websites you visit.

Bottom of the Page

I certainly think that Google ramping up its podcast strategy is a good thing for listeners. More ideas, more approaches, more players certainly is welcoming.

When the whole world (almost) is using Internet Explorer, we get old and crummy web browsers. It's good to have Safari and Firebox and Chrome. I don't think Apple is the only company investing in podcast listening. (Is Soundcloud still around?) But the company is dominant in a small market. Having Google interested can only help bring in good innovations that make my podcast-listening more pleasurable, right?

What I hope, though, is for podcasters and podcast companies to have long memories. Remember Google Reader. Don't fall into the same trap. Or: remember Facebook, and how algorithm changes within Facebook can bring down media companies.

Do embrace what Google can bring to the table, but embrace with eyes wide open.


Once upon a time, the whole world is listening to music on an iPod. But then we still get iPhones.


Thanks for reading.