The Brand-Identity Edition Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Apple’s Management Of Its Video Service Isn’t A Plot Twist, It’s Business As Usual, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Netflix tries to be everything to everybody, and spends tens of billions of dollars to do that. So far, as I can tell, Apple’s not going that direction. It needs to choose. Apple’s video service will benefit from a clear brand identity, and if that brand identity is bright, optimistic, and broadly appealing, with standards more like broadcast TV than premium cable, that won’t preclude it from finding an audience.

Why DuckDuckGo Matters, by Adam Dorfman, Search Engine Land

DuckDuckGo is the little engine that could. The platform, which touts its ability to protect users’ privacy, recently said that it experienced surging year-over-year user traffic for 2018 and that it is already on pace for even stronger search usage in 2019. Also, Apple and DuckDuckGo formed a partnership to use Apple Maps as the default for sharing businesses’ location data in search results. But does DuckDuckGo matter to businesses? After all, the 9 billion user searches on DuckDuckGo for 2018 are dwarfed by the one trillion searches conducted on Google each year.

I believe the answer is yes: DuckDuckGo matters as a privacy litmus test.

Clever Tool Uses Apple’s Video Game Logic Engine To Protect Macs, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

At the RSA security conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Digita chief research officer Patrick Wardle is presenting GamePlan, a tool that watches for potentially suspicious events on Macs and flags them for humans to investigate. The general concept sounds similar to other defense platforms, and hooks into detection mechanisms—has a USB stick been inserted into a machine? has someone generated a screen capture? is a program accessing a webcam?—Apple already offers in macOS. But GamePlan, cleverly written with Apple’s GameplayKit framework, collects all of this data in a centralized stream, and uses the videogame logic engine to process it.


Apple Says iPhones With Third-Party Batteries Now Eligible For Repairs, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

This is significant news for iPhone repairs, as the Genius Bar and AASPs were previously instructed to deny service of any kind for an iPhone with a third-party battery, regardless of the circumstances.

August Expands Lineup With New August View Doorbell Cam, by Andrew O'Hara, Wired

The August View is a wire-free solution which, in keeping with August's other products, is extremely easy to install and can be installed in homes that don't already have a doorbell in place. Thanks to the wide angle lens and higher quality sensor, the August View can capture 1440p video with little fisheye distortion. With the added resolution, it is easier to identify who is at the door, especially with zoomable video.


Thunderbolt 3 Becomes USB4, As Intel’s Interconnect Goes Royalty-free, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

Fulfilling its 2017 promise to make Thunderbolt 3 royalty-free, Intel has given the specification for its high-speed interconnect to the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the industry group that develops the USB specification. The USB-IF has taken the spec and will use it to form the basis of USB4, the next iteration of USB following USB 3.2.

If Netflix Loves Cinema So Much, Maybe They Should Let Us Watch Movies In Their Entirety, by Matthew Dessem, Slate

If you want to actually view the credits of a film you are watching, at a bare minimum Netflix requires you to fumble around with your remote control until you explicitly tell it that, yes, just like every other movie you have ever watched with their service since the beginning of time, you would rather watch the entire movie than an advertisement for a television show. There is no option to disable this feature and watch movies in full on Netflix, despite years of customer requests ranging from the impolite (“FUCK YOU NETFLIX STOP CUTTING OFF THE CREDITS”) to the possibly eternally damning (“What ungodly thing must I do so Netflix plays credits?”) There’s no movie Netflix won’t ruin this way.

Don’t Look Now: Why You Should Be Worried About Machines Reading Your Emotions, by Oscar Schwartz, The Guardian

In recent years, technology companies have started using Ekman’s method to train algorithms to detect emotion from facial expressions. Some developers claim that automatic emotion detection systems will not only be better than humans at discovering true emotions by analyzing the face, but that these algorithms will become attuned to our innermost feelings, vastly improving interaction with our devices.

But many experts studying the science of emotion are concerned that these algorithms will fail once again, making high-stakes decisions about our lives based on faulty science.

Bottom of the Page

I enjoy reading credits at the end of movies, not because I am interested in all the names, but rather the job titles.


Thanks for reading.