The Egalitarian-Company Edition Monday, February 25, 2019

Apple's COO Gives Rare Speech At Elon University, by Jessica Williams, The Times-News

“The stories that come out about the cost of our products [have been] the bane of my existence from the beginning of time, including our early days,” Williams said. “Analysts don’t really understand the cost of what we do and how much care we put into making our products.”


But Williams did say cost is something they’re working to address.

“It’s something we’re very aware of,” he said. “We do not want to be an elitist company. That’s not — we want to be an egalitarian company, and we’ve got a lot of work going on in developing markets.”

The Deadly Truth About A World Built For Men – From Stab Vests To Car Crashes, by Caroline Criado Perez, The Guardian

In the tech world, the implicit assumption that men are the default human remains king. When Apple launched its health-monitoring system with much fanfare in 2014, it boasted a “comprehensive” health tracker. It could track blood pressure; steps taken; blood alcohol level; even molybdenum and copper intake. But as many women pointed out at the time, they forgot one crucial detail: a period tracker.


From smartwatches that are too big for women’s wrists, to map apps that fail to account for women who may want to know the “safest” in addition to “fastest” routes; to “measure how good you are at sex” apps called “iThrust” and “iBang” the tech industry is rife with other examples. While there are an increasing number of female-led tech firms that do cater to women’s needs, they are seen as a “niche” concern and often struggle to get funding.

'Hard To Back Out': Publishers Grow Frustrated By The Lack Of Revenue From Apple News, by Max Willens, Digiday

Today, publishers are still having trouble selling their Apple News inventory directly, sources said. Three cited Apple News’s limited user targeting, which doesn’t allow the use of third-party data or IP addresses, as reasons for them being unable to sell a meaningful amount of ads on Apple News. A fourth source cited Apple News’s incompatibility with the publisher’s current sales strategy, which relies heavily on programmatic advertising, which Apple News prohibits, as a reason for seeing minimal ad revenue from the platform.


With few opportunities to sell the inventory directly, most publishers are at the mercy of the NBCUniversal sales team, which began selling Apple News’s remnant ad inventory in the second half of 2017. Those ads fetch a CPM of between $3 and $4, a reasonable rate for remnant inventory, multiple sources said.

The problem, those sources added, was that little of their leftover ad inventory was being filled.


Apple Shows Off iPhone XR/XS Portrait Mode Depth Control With Comical New 'Alejandro' Ad, by Chance MIller, 9to5Mac

Apple today is continuing its ad campaign focusing on the Portrait Mode and Depth Control features on the iPhone XR and XS. The latest ad is called “Alejandro” and focuses on using Depth Control to remove someone from the background of an image.


Remembering A Programming Language That Helped Shape The Digital New York Times, by New York Times

The developers had concerns that CGI wouldn’t scale to handle traffic on the homepage, which even then was growing quickly. They were also skeptical that Meyer’s vision for personalizing would end with the addition of a username.

Instead, they created Context, a lightweight language that was compiled to run on The New York Times’s servers and optimized for speed. Damens said they were able to get speeds a hundred times faster than CGI in early tests.

But they didn’t stop at creating a language.


Google: Software Is Never Going To Be Able To Fix Spectre-type Bugs, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

Researchers from Google investigating the scope and impact of the Spectre attack have published a paper asserting that Spectre-like vulnerabilities are likely to be a continued feature of processors and, further, that software-based techniques for protecting against them will both impose a high performance cost. In any case, the researchers continue, the software will be inadequate—some Spectre flaws don't appear to have any effective software-based defense. As such, Spectre is going to be a continued feature of the computing landscape, with no straightforward resolution.

New Flaws In 4G, 5G Allow Attackers To Intercept Calls And Track Phone Locations, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

A group of academics have found three new security flaws in 4G and 5G, which they say can be used to intercept phone calls and track the locations of cell phone users.

The findings are said to be the first time vulnerabilities have affected both 4G and the incoming 5G standard, which promises faster speeds and better security, particularly against law enforcement use of cell site simulators, known as “stingrays.” But the researchers say that their new attacks can defeat newer protections that were believed to make it more difficult to snoop on phone users.

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Will Apple choose to do a cheaper regular iPhone, or a better iPhone SE?


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