The Magical-Experience Edition Monday, May 14, 2018

How Apple Devices Help 'Take Disability Out Of The Equation', by Ben Fox Rubin, CNET

Pruitt has cerebral palsy from the knees down, which forces him to walk slowly, but he's able to compete on the world stage by racing in a wheelchair. He said he used to set up a bunch of trackers on his chair to log his workouts, but now uses just an Apple Watch instead.

"This has everything," he told me. "This has my wheelchair and my walking, all in one."

Ahead of Global Accessibility Awareness Day this Thursday, which focuses on making technology more usable for people with disabilities, Apple sought to highlight the work its been doing in recent years to benefit people like Pruitt by building more capabilities into its devices.

Why The Apple Store Is Selling A Bike Helmet, by Christina Bonnington, Slate

The Apple Watch can do a host of useful things, but this third-party product integration is the sort of magical experience we’ve largely been waiting to see. Without opening an app on your watch or your iPhone, you can automatically record an activity. With a stretch of your arm, you can control the function of the device. It works because it’s very specific: Without the helmet turned on, you’ll never accidentally set its lights ablaze. Apple has explored expanding its gesture-based functions, but we move around so often that it would be challenging to differentiate a dedicated command from an accidental arm wave. Still, Lumos’ example could pave the way for other devices to integrate Apple Watch gestures and automatic functions into their feature sets.

A 'Technologically Illiterate' New Yorker Illustrator Explains Why He Finally Started Drawing On An iPad, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

"When I would see digital work in a publication, I go, 'how do they do that, how do they get that that texture, how do they get the splatter? How they get it to look so, you know, rough and tumble, because you know because I don't know how to do that as a painter so well," he said.

After experimenting with every brush in Procreate, he had his answer.

"And so all of a sudden it's like, it's the brushes! That's how they do it. There's texture brushes and there's splatter brushes and there's paint roller brushes," Ulriksen said. "Now I've learned that secret."

No Reliable Fixes


The EFAIL attacks exploit vulnerabilities in the OpenPGP and S/MIME standards to reveal the plaintext of encrypted emails. In a nutshell, EFAIL abuses active content of HTML emails, for example externally loaded images or styles, to exfiltrate plaintext through requested URLs. To create these exfiltration channels, the attacker first needs access to the encrypted emails, for example, by eavesdropping on network traffic, compromising email accounts, email servers, backup systems or client computers. The emails could even have been collected years ago.

The attacker changes an encrypted email in a particular way and sends this changed encrypted email to the victim. The victim's email client decrypts the email and loads any external content, thus exfiltrating the plaintext to the attacker.

Critical PGP And S/MIME Bugs Can Reveal Encrypted E-mails. Uninstall Now, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

The Internet’s two most widely used methods for encrypting e-mail--PGP and S/Mime--are vulnerable to hacks that can reveal the plaintext of encrypted messages, a researcher warned late Sunday night. He went on to say there are no reliable fixes and to advise anyone who uses either encryption standard for sensitive communications to remove them immediately from e-mail clients.

Disabling PGP In Apple Mail With GPGTools, by Soraya Okuda, Starchy Grant, and Bill Budington, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Researchers have developed code exploiting several vulnerabilities in PGP (including GPG) for email. In response, EFF’s current recommendation is to disable PGP integration in email clients.

Disabling PGP decryption in Apple Mail requires deleting a “bundle” file used by the application. Your existing keys will remain available on your machine.


Scrapbooking On The Go, by Avinash BaliAvinash Bali, India Times

Preserving previous memories in the form of scrapbooks is a tradition that has continued even into the digital age. Families gets together to laboriously and lovingly put together scraps of paper, photos, ticket stubs, glitter, hand-drawn typography into one beautiful ensemble that perfectly represents memories of babies born, holidays enjoyed, and festivities enjoyed.

Scrapbooking is a great way to keep kids busy too. But while it is fun, it can also get messy with pieces of frilly detritus, glue mishaps and glitter where it doesn’t belong. If that’s got you thinking that “there has got to be a neater way of doing this,” well, there is. Here are a bunch of great apps that help you scrapbook your heart out, even when you’re out and about.


Surviving Mediocrity Inside The Bowels Of A Business: Think Like A CEO, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

If you really believe in your idea and are convinced it’s the right thing to do for the company (and not just for your ego), go over your bosses’ heads and write to the C-level exec, the Corporate VP of Software or something similar. Describe what you propose to do, explain how it will change the game, tell him or her how much time it will take and what resources you’ll need (as few as possible, at least in the beginning). And don’t forget to say good things about your colleagues and especially your boss, no matter how much it pains you. This won’t fool the top dog but it will make you sound like a Team Player, a must if you want to be heard.

Assuming you have something of substance, rinse and repeat once a month. You’ll get noticed, if only for your polite insistence and for the fact that actual execs — the ones who haven’t exceeded their Sell-By date — are beset by the Fear of Missing Out, the concern that they’ll miss something that would make an actual difference — to the company, or to their political power position.

That’s it. Simple and difficult.


How Fortnite Captured Teens’ Hearts And Minds, by Nick Paumgarten, New Yorker

Fortnite, for anyone not a teen-ager or a parent or educator of teens, is the third-person shooter game that has taken over the hearts and minds—and the time, both discretionary and otherwise—of adolescent and collegiate America. Released last September, it is right now by many measures the most popular video game in the world. At times, there have been more than three million people playing it at once. It has been downloaded an estimated sixty million times. (The game, available on PC, Mac, Xbox, PS4, and mobile devices, is—crucially—free, but many players pay for additional, cosmetic features, including costumes known as “skins.”) In terms of fervor, compulsive behavior, and parental noncomprehension, the Fortnite craze has elements of Beatlemania, the opioid crisis, and the ingestion of Tide Pods. Parents speak of it as an addiction and swap tales of plunging grades and brazen screen-time abuse: under the desk at school, at a memorial service, in the bathroom at 4 A.M. They beg one another for solutions. A friend sent me a video he’d taken one afternoon while trying to stop his son from playing; there was a time when repeatedly calling one’s father a fucking asshole would have led to big trouble in Tomato Town. In our household, the big threat is gamer rehab in South Korea.

Inbox Zero And The Search For The Perfect Email Client, by Ars Technica

Are you the sort of person who needs to read and file every email they get? Or do you delight in seeing an email client icon proudly warning of hundreds or even thousands of unread items? For some, keeping one's email inbox with no unread items is more than just a good idea: it's a way of life, indicating control over the 21st century and its notion of productivity. For others, it's a manifestation of an obsessively compulsive mind. The two camps, and the mindsets behind them, have been a frequent topic of conversation here in the Ars Orbiting HQ. And rather than just argue with each other on Slack, we decided to collate our thoughts about the whole "inbox zero" idea and how, for those who adhere to it, that happens.

Silicon Valley Faces Regulatory Fight On Its Home Turf, by Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times

The California measure has three major components: It gives consumers the right to ask companies to disclose what data they have collected on them; the right to demand that they not sell the data or share with third parties for business purposes; and the right to sue or fine companies that violate the law.

Google, Facebook, major telecommunications companies and California’s Chamber of Commerce have already come out against the initiative, saying it is flawed and a threat to the economic model supporting the internet. They’ve created an organization to fight the measure with a decidedly populist name, “The Committee to Protect California Jobs.”

Bottom of the Page

I still do inbox-zero, but my target is one-hour before end of the workday. That is: Any email that arrives into my inbox after that magical hour will stay in my inbox -- and possibly unread -- until the next day.


Thanks for reading.