The Available-Without-Delay Edition Thursday, May 10, 2018

Apple Says Inventory Of All iPhone Replacement Batteries Now Available Without Delay, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple has confirmed that "service inventory of all iPhone replacement batteries is now available without delay," in an internal memo distributed to Apple Stores and its network of Apple Authorized Service Providers on April 27. The document was obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source.

What this means is that Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers can now order iPhone replacement batteries from Apple and receive them without facing extended shipping delays, but that doesn't necessarily mean that every Apple Store or authorized repair shop will have supply available right away.

Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, Linux, BSD: All Hit By Same 'Serious' Security Flaw, by Liam Tung, ZDNet

Windows, macOS, major Linux distributions, FreeBSD, VMware, and Xen on x86 AMD and Intel CPUs are affected by a serious security flaw caused by operating system developers misinterpreting debug documentation from the two chip makers.

The affected OS and hypervisor makers on Tuesday released fixes for the common flaw that may allow an authenticated attacker "to read sensitive data in memory or control low-level operating system functions", according to CERT.

Respect and Deference

Apple, Influence, And Ive, by Benjamin Clymer, Hodinkee

"We knew there was so much to appreciate in this space that in order to ground ourselves, we had a series of people that helped. Just to begin to understand the historical space, having tremendous respect and deference for watchmaking. This was highly unusual for us, speaking to anyone outside of our team early on in a product development stage. But, normally there are no parallel products from which to learn."

"You know, we call this (pointing at my MacBook Pro), a MacBook, but you won’t learn more about this by understanding the nature of a physical book – so we didn’t talk to librarians. With the watch, we did. We spoke to an incredible list of experts in watchmaking throughout our development process."

Microsoft Reflects On The Failures Of Courier, KIN, And Ultra Mobile PCs, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft’s had a variety of weird and wonderful consumer devices over the years that haven’t gone so well. Jon Friedman, now chief designer of Office 365, has been at the center of Microsoft’s notorious product failures, including the SPOT watches from 2004, ultra mobile PCs, the KIN phone, and the unreleased Courier device. At Microsoft’s Build developer conference this week, Friedman reflected on his personal career at the software giant and why some of these products weren’t successful.

Wonder and Worry

Google’s AI Sounds Like A Human On The Phone — Should We Be Worried?, by James Vincent, The Verge

For example, does Google have an obligation to tell people they’re talking to a machine? Does technology that mimics humans erode our trust in what we see and hear? And is this another example of tech privilege, where those in the know can offload boring conversations they don’t want to have to a machine, while those receiving the calls (most likely low-paid service workers) have to deal with some idiot robot?

In other words, it was a typical Google demo: equal parts wonder and worry.

No Thanks, Google. I'll Speak For Myself., by Avram Piltch, Tom's Hardware

As a tech geek I'm impressed, but as a human who values communication, I'm bummed out. The language you choose when writing and the intonations you make when speaking are your own. If a computer does the talking for you, then your "word" isn't really yours.

Tech’s Two Philosophies, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

That there are two philosophies does not necessarily mean that one is right and one is wrong: the reality is we need both. Some problems are best solved by human ingenuity, enabled by the likes of Microsoft and Apple; others by collective action. That, though, gets at why Google and Facebook are fundamentally more dangerous: collective action is traditionally the domain of governments, the best form of which is bounded by the popular will. Google and Facebook, on the other hand, are accountable to no one. Both deserve all of the recent scrutiny they have attracted, and arguably deserve more.

That scrutiny, though, and whatever regulations that result, must keep in mind this philosophical divide: platforms that create new possibilities — and not just Apple and Microsoft! — are the single most important economic force when it comes to countering the oncoming wave of computers doing people’s jobs, and lazily written regulation that targets aggregators but constricts platforms will inevitably do more harm than good.


How To Pack And Prepare Your Smartphone For Traveling This Summer, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

To help you plan a smooth summer vacation, here’s an overview of the tech you should pack to use a smartphone abroad, and more important, what you need to do with your phone before you depart.

Signal’s “Disappearing Messages” Live On In macOS Notifications, by Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica

Signal, the privacy-focused voice and text messaging application, offers an attractive bit of operational security: ephemeral text messages that "self-delete" after a predetermined amount of time. There is just one small problem, however, with that feature on the Mac desktop version of the application, as information security consultant Alec Muffett discovered: if you sent a self-deleting message to someone using the macOS application, the message lives on in macOS's Notifications history.


Apple Plans To Sell Video Subscriptions Through TV App, by Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg

For the first time, Apple plans to begin selling subscriptions to certain video services directly via its TV app, rather than asking users to subscribe to them through apps individually downloaded from the App Store, according to people familiar with the matter.

This would simplify the process and bolster Apple’s TV app on Apple TV, iPhones and iPads, making it a central place for people to find, watch, and buy content. It would also be another way for Apple to keep boosting it’s services business, which it expects to generate $50 billion a year in revenue by 2021.

iMac At 20: The Reaction After The 1998 iMac Introduction, by Jason Snell, Macworld

From the perspective of 2018, the iMac is history, and history is written by the victors. But in 1998, the iMac was controversial, especially among the sorts of dedicated Mac users who subscribed to Macworld. It ditched the floppy drive that had been on every single Mac to that date, as well as several ports—SCSI, serial, and ADB—that had been on basically every Mac since the Mac SE. Imagine Apple removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, multiplied by four. Literally every Mac accessory ever made was no longer compatible without an adapter.

Alexa And Siri Can Hear This Hidden Command. You Can’t., by Craig S. Smith, New York Times

A group of students from University of California, Berkeley and Georgetown University showed in 2016 that they could hide commands in white noise played over loudspeakers and through YouTube videos to get smart devices to turn on airplane mode or open a website.

This month, some of those Berkeley researchers published a research paper that went further, saying they could embed commands directly into recordings of music or spoken text. So while a human listener hears someone talking or an orchestra playing, Amazon’s Echo speaker might hear an instruction to add something to your shopping list.

Apple Scraps $1 Billion Irish Data Center Over Planning Delays, by Reuters

Apple ditched plans to build an 850 million euro ($1 billion) data center in Ireland because of delays in the approval process that have stalled the project for more than three years, the iPhone maker said on Thursday.

Bottom of the Page

In 2007, Google helped Apple find a Starbucks in San Franciso so that Steve Jobs could ordered 4,000 lattes to go.

In 2018, Google removed the middleman.


Thanks for reading.