The 3,000-Pages Edition Monday, May 20, 2019

Bluetooth's Complexity Has Become A Security Risk, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

As with any computing standard, there's always the possibility of vulnerabilities in the actual code of the Bluetooth protocol itself, or in its lighter-weight sibling Bluetooth Low Energy. But security researchers say that the big reason Bluetooth bugs come up has more to do with sheer scale of the written standard, development of which is facilitated by the consortium known as the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. Bluetooth offers so many options for deployment that developers don't necessarily have full mastery of the available choices—which can result in faulty implementations.

"One major reason Bluetooth is involved in so many cases is just how complex this protocol is," says Ben Seri, one of the researchers who discovered BlueBorne and vice president of research at the embedded device security firm Armis. "When you look at the Bluetooth standard it’s like 3,000 pages long—if you compare that to other wireless protocols like Wi-Fi, for example, Bluetooth is like 10 times longer. The Bluetooth SIG tried to do something very comprehensive that fits to many various needs, but the complexity means it’s really hard to know how you should use it if you’re a manufacturer."

The Quiet Power Of Sound Design, by Jonathon Keats, Wired

Sound design is ubiquitous in technology, though the most memorable examples tend to be the failures. There's the ceaseless beeping of your microwave, berating you for neglecting your leftover casserole, and the harsh bleating of the chip reader at the grocery store, more punishing than the alarm triggered by shoplifting. In both cases, the signal is inappropriate, an auditory overreaction.

Yet for all the missteps, sound design is becoming more essential as we use our devices in new ways. Today, many gesture and voice interfaces lack sufficient feedback. How do you know whether Siri heard you? Just as in human interaction, good communication is about the flow of conversation, the ongoing exchange of information.


Apple Partners With Photographer Christopher Anderson To Teach Portrait Photography Skills, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

A new collaboration between Apple and celebrated photographer Christopher Anderson aims to change the way you think about photography. Beginning soon, Apple Stores will offer a new Today at Apple Photo Lab with a focus on portraits. The lab is the latest in a series of special in-store sessions designed with iconic voices in the creative community.

Apple Watch Replacement Constraint Means Some Series 3 Repairs Will Get Series 4 Upgrade, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Apple appears to be running low on inventory for Apple Watch Series 3 repairs as the company informed store staff today that it will substitute some Series 3 repairs with the newer Apple Watch Series 4. Apple announced the change in an internal memo that was delivered to Apple Store repair staff and Apple’s Authorized Service Providers, according to sources briefed on the update.

New PDFpen 11 Introduces Split View And Font Bar, by Michael E. Cohen, TidBITS

The latest iterations offer numerous useful conveniences to PDF-editing users: a new Split View capability, a text-formatting Font Bar, and support for Apple’s Continuity Camera are the marquee features, but the PDFpen apps include other enhancements as well.


How To Do Hard Things, by David R. MacIver

This is a system I only somewhat tongue in cheek refer to as “The Fully General System For Learning To Do Hard Things”. It’s a useful conceptual framework for how to get better at things that you currently find difficult.


What Online Chess Taught One Teen About Digital Life, by Hannah W. Duane, Wired

I'm trying to learn to care less about achievements outside of things that go on my transcript. I guess a lot of teenagers go through this, understanding when to embrace technology and when to step back. Moments of connection and mock competitiveness sprinkled across the day is relief in a world of high school teachers crying because the current political climate is just too much, and where on earth will I go to college?

Inside Google's Civil War, by Beth Kowitt, Fortune

It was the first time the world had seen such a massive worker protest erupt out of one of the giants of the technology industry—and certainly the first time outsiders got a glimpse at the depth of anger and frustration felt by some Google employees. But inside the Googleplex, the fuel that fed the walkout had been collecting for months. Tensions had been on the rise as employees clashed with management over allegations of controversial business decisions made in secret, treatment of marginalized groups of employees, and harassment and trolling of workers on the company’s internal platforms. “It’s the U.S. culture war playing out at micro-scale,” says Colin McMillen, an engineer who left the company in February.

To many observers, the tech workforce—notoriously well-paid and pampered with perks—hardly seems in a position to complain. And it’s a surprising tune to hear from employees of one of the titans of Silicon Valley, a place that has long worshipped at the altar of meritocracy and utopian techno-futurism. But in the past few years, the industry’s de facto mission statement—change the world (and make money doing it!)—has been called into question as examples of tech’s destructive power multiply, from election interference to toxicity on social media platforms to privacy breaches to tech addiction. No one is closer to tech’s growing might, as well as its ethical quandaries, than the employees who help create it. “People are beginning to say, ‘I don’t want to be complicit in this,’ ” says Meredith Whittaker, who leads Google’s Open Research group and is one of the walkout organizers. Workers are beginning to take responsibility, she says: “I don’t see many other structures in place right now that are checking tech power.”

Bottom of the Page

The only thing that frustrate me with the Magic Mouse is that sometimes my right-clicks didn't register as right-clicks but left-clicks. On those occasions, I will wish that the mouse has actually two buttons, instead of just one button and have Apple try very hard to decide whether I mean left-clicks or right-clicks.

Then, I remember that one shouldn't really fight Apple. Just embrace whatever the hell Apple's designers were thinking, and go with it.

So, I turned off right-clicks. I will now revert back to the ctrl-clicks as right-clicks that we all used to do so many years ago.

Wish me luck.


Thanks for reading.