The Digital-Bucket Edition Friday, February 1, 2019

Apple Just Became The Tech Industry's De Facto Privacy Cop, by Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post

But relying on one tech titan to take on another may not be the best solution, either. Apple — wrestling with digital security flaws of its own — is an inadequate privacy cop, advocates warn.

“Apple here is becoming the de facto FTC in the absence of what’s supposed to be America’s privacy regulator speaking out or acting,” said Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.

Advocates say the incident underscores the need for a tough federal privacy law, as well as stronger FTC enforcement of consumer privacy protections. “What Apple did today is significant, but it’s a tiny drop in the digital bucket,” Chester said.

Apple Stands Up For Privacy. Does It Matter?, by Kara Swisher, New York Times

The bigger problem is that such an important issue might turn out to be the real nothing burger. Facebook turned in another stellar quarter this week, which made its stock rise strongly. So despite all the sketchy things the company is accused of doing by Apple and many others, most investors and analysts don’t seem to care, and they will never care, as long as its digital advertising business — goosed by its astonishing and nakedly ambitious ability to suck in data, data and more data from all of us — continues to impress. Simply put, Wall Street does not care.

Apple Should Borrow These 4 Privacy Features From The Competition, by Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

If Apple needs some suggestions of what type of features to include, it need look no further than these features from other tech companies.

We Found People Who Let Facebook Collect All Their Digital Activity For $20 A Month. Here’s What We Learned., by Shannon Palus, Slate

The dollar sign that programs like Facebook Research put in front of its exchange made it easier to see the kinds of bad deals users are being offered (and Facebook Research was superlatively bad for the sheer scope of data it collected). But the reality is we’re awash in bad deals. In a landscape so full of companies prying their way into your online and offline life, I can see the nihilistic logic behind participants who said they understood what they were giving away to Facebook, and said they decided they preferred hard compensation to no compensation. I can also see it in my own rationalization that I’m willing to give up some privacy in exchange for seeing trashy movies in theaters at a steep discount, or for being able to request, “Hey Alexa, play ocean sounds” as I’m falling asleep.

Apple Restores Facebook’s Ability To Run Internal iOS Apps, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Facebook said today that Apple has restored its enterprise certificate, the software permission that allows the social network to load internal mobile apps onto the devices of employees, beta testers, and research participants.

Apple Restores Google’s Own Internal iPhone Apps After Privacy Brouhaha, by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica

For less than a day, Apple had briefly revoked Google’s iOS certificate that enabled those private apps to conduct various internal business such as company shuttles, food menus, as well as pre-release beta testing, and more.

Lights On

'Did I Do That?' Here's Why Your iPhone Flashlight Seems To Turn On By Itself, by Dalvin Brown, USA Today

The ever-present flashlight icon is located at the bottom left-hand corner of your smartphone, so when you grip the phone face-up with your right hand, your thumb can easily come in contact with the shortcut, whether intentionally or not.

Your palm comes in contact with the screen when you grip the phone face down, which can also trigger the flashlight.

Security Matters

New macOS Malware Steals Your Cookies To Swipe Your Cryptocurrency, by Matthew Beedham, The Next Web

It also attempts to steal passwords saved in Chrome, and text messages stored in iTunes backups. When all this information is in the hands of attackers, it’s quite easy for them to steal cryptocurrency from the victim’s exchange accounts.


Apple's Iconic Glass Cube In New York Will Re-open This Year, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

John Powers, CEO of Boston Properties, which Apple leases the location from, said on Thursday that it will reopen "sometime in the first half of this year."

Review: ZenPod Turns Your AirPods Case Into A Fidget Spinner, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

When it comes down to it though, only die-hard fidget spinner fans will even care about this for that aspect. For the rest, it is simply a protective case for your AirPods charging case, and a fun novelty.


You Don’t Have To Get Up At 4 A.m. To Be Successful: 5 CEOs Who Wake Up After 10 A.m., by Pavithra Mohan, Fast Company

The typical workday may favor early birds, but in truth, your chronotype–a classification based on your natural sleep habits–determines how productive you are in the mornings.


Apple Takes A Hit In China, And Workers There Feel The Pain, by Ailin Tang, New York Times

More than a hundred Chinese workers who once assembled and tested Apple iPhones queued up on a recent morning outside Gate 7 of the vast Changshuo electronics factory to collect their severance and go on their way. They had once hoped that their assembly line jobs would give them big enough paychecks to propel them into a better life.

That was before consumers in China turned up their noses at Apple’s new iPhone XR and its nearly $1,000 price. Work slowed. Overtime evaporated. And now workers are giving up.

In Baltimore, The Future Of Film Culture Is An Old-school Video Store, by Brandon Soderberg, The Outline

In an era in which streaming services have forced nearly all video stores out of business, Beyond Video has a savvy philosophy: use the internet, don’t let the internet use you. After years spent gathering titles, with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the volunteer-run store further crowdsourced its collection through a widely shared Google Doc. Subsequently, donated DVDs and Blu-Rays from all over the country poured in. Hatch, a well-known “Film Twitter” personality, runs a prolific account where he does everything from recommending a movie to commenting on film culture through memes, even winning recognition at the Rotterdam Film Festival for his proficiency at the latter.

Bottom of the Page

Of all the people who have my data, whether in Apple's address book or the various other apps that I use, how many has shared every intimate detail with Facebook or Google? And how can I get a share of all that money given out by Facebook and Google?


After Apple is done with the 'modular' Mac Pro, maybe it should start work on a 'modular' MacBook Pro? One that I can change out the keyboard with something else that I enjoy typing on?

(Some may say we are pretty close to a modern modular computer with the iPad Pro.)

I've just started using Microsoft's Comfort Desktop 5050, and I'm starting to really enjoy typing on it. One flaw for me though: the Esc key is really too small. (And there is no Cmd+. equivalent on Windows.)


Thanks for reading.