The Screws-Finding Edition Monday, January 28, 2019

A Tiny Screw Shows Why iPhones Won’t Be ‘Assembled In U.S.A.’, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

In 2012, Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, went on prime-time television to announce that Apple would make a Mac computer in the United States. It would be the first Apple product in years to be manufactured by American workers, and the top-of-the-line Mac Pro would come with an unusual inscription: “Assembled in USA.”

But when Apple began making the $3,000 computer in Austin, Tex., it struggled to find enough screws, according to three people who worked on the project and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements.

In China, Apple relied on factories that can produce vast quantities of custom screws on short notice. In Texas, where they say everything is bigger, it turned out the screw suppliers were not.

Tech Data

Technology Vs. Law: Why Phone Tracking App Is Leaving Law In Dark Ages, by Mitch McCoy, KNWA

Even if the app determined the stolen phone's exact location, Crowson said laws today do not give officers the authority to go inside someone's home where the stolen phone is pinging.


Meeks said before he can write legislation giving officers more flexibility to use the app while obtaining a search warrant, it would have to be proven that the app finding the stolen phone's location is accurate without any reasonable doubt.

"You can get into areas where there can be conflicting interests between privacy and freedom so trying to find that balance is also a challenge," said Meeks.

GDPR Makes It Easier To Get Your Data, But That Doesn’t Mean You’ll Understand It, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Apple fared better than Google in the way it presented its data, although there were still problems. First impressions were very positive, though. The majority of the data Apple provided was in file types that were easy to read and understand like CSV, TXT, and JPG, with only a couple of JSON files to confuse things.

But once you get into these files, there’s still a lot of information that’s difficult to understand. A file titled, “Apple ID Account Information” appeared to contain 11 nearly identical records about my Apple account, all created on exactly the same date in 2014, with no explanation as to what they were. Another CSV file with the ambiguous title of “Apps and Service Analytics” appears to contain an entire list of every single one of my App Store searches, but it has so many empty cells that I only noticed it had data in it when I saw its 6.7MB file size.

Every Time Is Technology Time

Five Years In, iPads Fully Integrated In Bend-La Pine Schools, by Jackson Hogan, The Bulletin

Offenhauser and Scott McDonald, an instructional technology coach for the district, agreed that instead of having teachers designate a certain time of the day for “technology time,” the devices have become seamlessly integrated into classes.


Teachers distribute assignments, post materials and receive submitted work via the Google Classroom app. According to McDonald, the app can help also prompt discussions in class. For example, if a social studies teacher posts an open-ended question about the Revolutionary War in Google Classroom, each student would submit an answer, and then teachers could project certain answers on to a screen and have the class respond.

“It’s a way to transcend what a normal classroom discussion could look like, so some of those students that aren’t comfortable speaking can speak,” DuVal said. “It also allows students to examine other students’ thinking.”

A Man Uses Library System's Free Access Create Dyslexia App, by Heide Brandes, AP

As a software designer and a former English teacher, Liebenberg came up with an idea to create an app based on the flashcards. However, he needed to learn iOS programming and other skills in order to create the app.

"I found out I could take all the courses at the Metropolitan Library using for free," he said.

Nine months later, Liebenberg introduced Lexico, an app specifically designed to help children with dyslexia read. Since his son was diagnosed, he has doubled his reading ability and built up his confidence with words. Lexico is available for iPad, and an iPhone version is being created.

Security Matters

Two-Factor Authentication Might Not Keep You Safe, by Josephine Wolff, New York Times

The rapid rise of two-factor authentication is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s probably a good thing, but we can’t know that for sure until we learn something about how well it’s working. It makes logical sense that requiring more pieces of information to log in to an account would serve to better protect that account, but relying on common-sense justifications for computer security has misled us before. For instance, many companies require employees to change their passwords every year or every 90 days. For years, this has been commonly accepted as a best practice for security based on the idea that it makes it more difficult for hackers to use old, stolen passwords. But in fact, those mandatory password changes might sometimes do more harm than good unless the password has been compromised.

Many computer security practices are propagated through misguided notions of “best practices” that businesses decide to adopt because they see everyone around them doing something and assume it must be the right choice. But just copying what everyone else is doing and calling it best practice does not actually help strengthen the security of our accounts or data. To do that, we need to be able to measure the impact of these practices using concrete data about whether they reduce instances of account compromises or stolen funds or intellectual property theft. We need the companies that operate and implement these security practices to track those metrics and be willing to release them, even when that data may not paint them in the best — or most secure — light. Otherwise, we’re left blindly adhering to supposed best practices without knowing what really works for cybersecurity.


Luminar 3 Review: A Viable Alternative To Adobe Lightroom, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

Luminar 3 is an outstanding prosumer editing alternative for people seeking abundant automation and creative options for a wide range of photos. Despite its many professional features, Luminar is easy to learn and use and lets you create stunning photos.


Spend Exactly None Of Your Time Killing Time, by Chris Thompson, Deadspin

Here’s a good resolution, if you’re the sort of person who resolves to do good and healthy things and then maintains any hope of actually doing them: Resolve to divide your waking hours exactly and only between doing things you should be doing, and doing things you want to be doing.

When you are not doing something you should be doing—straightening up around the house, taking out the garbage, walking the dog, your job—you should always and only be doing something you actively want to be doing, like reading a book, or playing video games, or pursuing a hobby. Conversely, when you are not doing something you want to be doing, you should always and only be doing something you should be doing. This is a good resolution because it’s not aimed at some specific result that deviates a whole lot from who you are already, like overhauling your diet or your sleep regimen or whatever. No overhaul required, here. You already do plenty of what you’re supposed to do, and plenty of what you want to do. Resolve to stop doing anything else.

Bottom of the Page

On the one hand: before you become a great artist, you first have to understand the materials you are working with. And when you are in Texas, you don't work with custom screws that can only be produced in bulk halfway across the world.

On the other hand: this is not just about screws.


Thanks for reading.