The Micro-Target Edition Saturday, June 15, 2019

Retail Stores Use Bluetooth Beacons To Track Customers, by Michael kwet, New York Times

For years, Apple and Google have allowed companies to bury surveillance features inside the apps offered in their app stores. And both companies conduct their own beacon surveillance through iOS and Android.

It should not be lost on the public that Apple created the first Bluetooth system of commercial surveillance. Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, recently wagged his finger at the “data-industrial complex.” Unlike other tech giants that monetize surveillance, Apple relies upon hardware sales, he said. But Mr. Cook knew what Apple was creating with iBeacon in 2013. Apple’s own website explains to developers how they can use iBeacon to micro-target consumers in stores.

App Makers Are Mixed On 'Sign In With Apple', by Lauren Goode, Wired

It’s true that some developers had been looking to Apple for a more private authentication option for apps—particularly as an alternative to Facebook Login, which came under intense scrutiny last fall after a massive security breach involving Login compromised as many as 90 million Facebook accounts. One security expert who spoke to me for this story suggested that elements of Apple’s authentication feature, which hasn’t launched yet, may very well be more secure than other solutions.

But other app makers have mixed feelings on what Apple has proposed. I spoke to a variety of developers who make apps for iOS and Android, one of whom asked to remain anonymous because they aren’t authorized to speak on behalf of their employer. Some are skeptical that Sign In with Apple will offer a solution dramatically different from what’s already available through Facebook or Google. Apple’s infamous opacity around new products means the app makers don’t have many answers yet as to how Apple’s sign in mechanism is going to impact their apps. And one app maker went as far as referring to Apple’s demand that its sign-in system be offered if any other sign-in systems are shown as “petty.”

High-end Users On 'Why I'm Buying The New Mac Pro', by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple aimed the new Mac Pro at the most demanding of all high-end users, so we went to users like that and asked what they thought. Video editors, medical experts and the Department of Defense are all considering this new Mac closely.


If You're Not Using Apple Family Sharing, You're Wasting Money, by Jason Cipriani, CNET

When Apple's Family Sharing feature launched with iOS 8, it solved a major problem: Giving family members access to apps that one of them already paid for, without having to buy it again just for a spouse or child to use it. Before Family Sharing emerged, you'd have to shared your Apple ID password with family members, which is both inconvenient and insecure. At the time, sharing an Apple ID password was the only way to log into the App Store and iTunes to access another user's purchase history, so you could download paid apps without, well, paying.

Now, Family Sharing has evolved into a feature for sharing Apple Music subscriptions and iCloud storage plans, without making you double or triple spend on apps, and without invalidating the security of your password by passing it around. Family Sharing even lets you help find a lost device thanks to integrated location sharing.

How To Use Path Finder 8 As A macOS Finder Alternative, by Erik Eckel, TechRepublic

Whether you need a more customizable file management interface, dual-pane functionality, or more file administration capabilities than are included within macOS' native Finder program, Cocoatech's Path Finder 8 provides a capable, comprehensive substitute.


The History Of The Cellphone Holster, The Most Dad Accessory Of All Time, by Rebecca Jennings, Vox

Using the term “cellphone holster industry” here, however, implies that there is one, which itself would be kind of a lie. Where did cellphone holsters come from? Conceptually, they come from gun holsters, the apparatus gun owners hang around their waists to be able to reach their weapons with ease. Historically, cellphone holsters popped up after the rise and fall of car phones, when more people were suddenly expected to carry around an entirely new thing all the time. While most pagers came with clips that attached to one’s clothing, cellphones did not; therefore, a holster was useful.

On a more corporeal level, however, cellphone holsters are a mystery. Can you name a cellphone holster brand? You cannot. Instead, these objects seem to exist only in hardware stores or the local T-Mobile outpost or in the saddest Amazon searches of all time, made by companies whose names no one has ever bothered to learn. But in the mid-’90s and early 2000s, the cellphone holster was an inescapable object of necessary evil for a very specific type of person: people who had to carry cellphones for professional purposes, who did not, for reasons likely having to do with strict gender expectations, have purses, and who also did not care that cellphone holsters are very dorky.