The Fire-Risk Edition Friday, June 21, 2019

Apple Recalls MacBook Pro Batteries Over 'Fire Safety Risk', by Karissa Bell, Mashable

"Apple has determined that, in a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units, the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk," the company writes on a support page about the recall.

Affected laptops should not be used until the company can issue battery replacements, Apple says. The recall only applies to 15-inch Pro models and other MacBooks are unaffected. Even if you're not totally sure if your laptop is impacted, it's probably a good idea to double check.

Are We Digital? Drawing On A Telephone, by Galo Canizares, Archinect

Hockney still works with physical paint in his L.A. studio. And while critics nostalgically lament the loss of some material effects in the transition from physical painting to virtual RGB values, he appears to remain committed to both. There are many artists who work across virtual and physical mediums, but Hockney’s case is curious because of his prominence and early encounters with digital painting. In the broader context of media digitization, we could say that he embodies an extremely contemporary creative personality. One that, as Nicholas Negroponte suggested back in 1995, accepts that life relies as much on bits as it does on atoms. Hockney shows us that maybe we don’t explicitly need to distinguish between the self-portrait and the selfie, the telephone and the sketchbook, the final work and the process video, or the series and folder of JPEGs. Drawing on a telephone might even sound less absurd as time goes on.

Smartphone Ethics In A Post-Screen Time World, by Bennat Berger, Thrive Global

The Screen Time service is a nice gesture. It allows Apple to meet consumer concerns over tech addiction and provide a means for consumers to check themselves – but its efficacy flounders when those consumers ignore the service’s warnings. Given that apps still need to engage their consumers and that consumers still want to be entertained, though, I have little doubt that engineers will continue to create platforms that keep users glued to their screens, or that we will continue to use them. If tech companies have a moral obligation to answer the issue of tech addiction, Screen Time is more of a disclaimer than a solution to the problem we face.

In the end, Apple’s Screen Time will probably go the way of Android’s QualityTime: forgotten if well-meant; a tool that might have helped if only we had bothered to use it.


Apple Releases Firmware Security Update For Discontinued AirPort Express, Extreme, And Time Capsule Base Stations, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

While Apple’s AirPort lineup has long been discontinued, the company is still supporting the devices with software updates. AirPort Express, Extreme, and Time Capsule Base Stations have received a new firmware security update today.

GarageBand: Better Than Ever (And Still Free)..., by Bob Levitus, Houston Chronicle

If you haven’t looked at GarageBand lately, check it out. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how mature and usable it’s become.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Won’t Dethrone Pokémon Go, But It’s Just As Magical, by Leif Johnson, Macworld

Pokémon Go thrived on the joys of simple discovery and exploration. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, as befits a game inspired by the goings-on at an imaginary elite school, requires learning so many extra features that it sometimes feels more like taking a class.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It does probably mean that its extra dose of complexity will keep developer Niantic’s game from achieving the same pinnacle of popularity as its 2016 blockbuster, but its appeal lies in offering the best bits of Pokémon Go’s experience for a different sort of crowd.


Tim Cook To Receive ‘Champion Award’ In Recognition Of LGBTQ Equality Efforts, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

GLSEN says that Cook will receive the award for “his ongoing commitment to fighting for LGBTQ rights and creating safe spaces for members of the LGBTQ community.”

In a statement, Cook said that he is grateful for the honor and that Apple’s commitment to equality is what drives employees to do their best work every day as innovation relies on an openness to new ideas:

We Have Access To More Data Than Ever—why Do We Get So Much Of It Wrong?, by Allison Schrager, Quartz

Technology, social media, and just the availability of more data is leading to more cases of familiar statistics being disproven in very public ways. It is healthy and necessary to have these discussions because for us to have any faith in data, analysts should be held to the highest standards. But the regular debunking of statistics we all think are true further erodes our trust in data. That’s worrisome because in a world where people seek out the news sources most inclined to agree with them—and no one can agree on much—data remains the closest thing we have to an unbiased truth.

So how can an open-minded person make sense of it all? Anytime we look at a statistic there are some pit-falls we need to be mindful about.

Millions Of Business Listings On Google Maps Are Fake—and Google Profits, by Rob Copeland and Katherine Bindley, Wall Street Journal

A man arrived at Ms. Carter’s home in an unmarked van and said he was a company contractor. He wasn’t. After working on the garage door, he asked for $728, nearly twice the cost of previous repairs, Ms. Carter said. He demanded cash or a personal check, but she refused. “I’m at my house by myself with this guy,” she said. “He could have knocked me over dead.”

The repairman had hijacked the name of a legitimate business on Google Maps and listed his own phone number. He returned to Ms. Carter’s home again and again, hounding her for payment of a repair so shoddy it had to be redone.

Three years later, Google still can’t seem to stop the proliferation of fictional business listings and aggressive con artists on its search engine. The scams are profitable for nearly everyone involved, Google included. Consumers and legitimate businesses end up the losers.

Bottom of the Page

I have no idea who made the decision (I'm too lazy to do any research), but I am grateful for whoever who decided to make all the BBC radios available to everyone in the world.


Thanks for reading.