The Vocal-Part Edition Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Apple Preaches Privacy. Lawmakers Want The Talk To Turn To Action, by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

But when DelBene discussed her own privacy bill, which would require companies to obtain consent before using consumers’ most sensitive information in unexpected ways, Cook didn’t specifically endorse it, she said.

A number of privacy advocates and U.S. lawmakers — who did not attend the meeting — say Apple has not put enough muscle behind any federal effort to tighten privacy laws. And state lawmakers, who are closest to passing rules to limit data sharing, say Apple is an ally in name only — and in fact has contributed to lobbying efforts that might undermine some new data-protection legislation.

While Apple formally supports the notion of a federal privacy law, the company has yet to formally back any bills proposed on the Hill — unlike Microsoft. “I would argue there’s a need for Apple to be a more vocal part of this debate,” said Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), a fierce critic of tech companies for their privacy violations.

Apple’s Statement On Privacy Lobbying, by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

“We would be the first to say we can do more and constantly challenge ourselves to do so. We have offered to help write the legislation and reiterate this offer. We do not believe however in having a company PAC or in using company funds to donate to any political candidate and have no intention of ever doing so.”

Washington Post: ‘Apple Preaches Privacy. Lawmakers Want The Talk To Turn To Action.’, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

But do we really want any private companies, even Apple, dictating the terms of public policy? Do Facebook and Google get a seat at the table?

Before Bashing Big Tech, Politicians Should Visit An Apple Store, by Ira Stoll, Reason

One of the best ways to succeed long-term in capitalism is by treating customers well rather than ripping them off. That's something you won't hear Democrats or Republicans admit these days.

Ye Olde Touch Bar

Apple's Touch Bar Doesn't Have To Be So Terrible, by Alex Cranz, Gizmodo

While I won’t fault an indie app maker, or even Google, for failing to do better with the Touch Bar, I can lay blame at Apple’s feet. The company introduced a cool new feature and then has just let it sit there. It has provided no incentives nor has it led by example with the Touch Bar.

Security Matters

RingCentral Is Also Affected By The Zoom Flaw That Gives Hackers Access To Your Mac’s Camera, by Nicole Nguyen, BuzzFeed

Both RingCentral and Zhumu license Zoom’s technology. Lyons explained, “If a lettuce producer has an E. coli outbreak, everyone who resells that lettuce under myriad brands in stores, or uses that lettuce in their sandwiches now also has vulnerable customers.”


RingCentral released an update for users of the company’s MacOS app. The company is urging all customers to accept the update (v7.0.151508.0712) patching the flaw. While the update removes a hidden web server containing the vulnerability from customers’ laptops, Lyons told BuzzFeed News that for people who have uninstalled the RingCentral app, there is no way to easily remove the hidden server.


Apple Shares New 'Remembering Apollo 11' Video With Details On Upcoming Apple TV+ Show 'For All Mankind', by Juli Clover, MacRumors

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Apple this afternoon shared a new video featuring clips from its upcoming Apple TV+ show "For All Mankind" along with commentary from show creator Ronald D. Moore and others who have worked on the series.

"For All Mankind," which stars Joel Kinnaman, features an alternate history that explores what might have happened had the global space race never ended and had the USSR landed the first humans on the moon. In the series, the U.S. will race to get astronauts on Mars and Saturn.

Apple Included Slower SSD In The New MacBook Air, by Danny Zepeda, iMore

Apple's newer laptop improved slightly on the writing side, but its performance downgraded by 35% on the reading side. That can be attributed to a slower SSD Apple included in the new MacBook Air.

This M’sian Baking Class Has Mixers, Ovens And All The Ingredients—But No Human Teachers, by Sade Dayangku, Vulcan Post

The iPad app-based baking class project was established in May 2019 by sole founder Michelle Young.

She found out there was an abundance of people interested in learning how to bake, or who simply wanted to bake a cake for loved ones but lacked the space, ingredients and equipment at home.

So, she decided to do something about it.

Airmail Users Frustrated About Sudden Switch To Subscription-Based Pricing On iPhone And iPad, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The app's release notes vaguely suggest that existing users will have a four-month grace period, but Airmail user Vito Meznaric told us that he is no longer receiving push notifications from the app starting today. Either way, it sounds like existing users will eventually have to subscribe to regain access to all features.


iWork, Office And Google Docs Banned From German Schools, by Killian Bell, Cult of Mac

Well, Office is GDPR compliant if users give consent to their data being processed by Microsoft. But because school children are unable to do that, it poses concerns about their protection.

40 Years Later, Lessons From The Rise And Quick Decline Of The First ‘Killer App’, by Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal

It was the first killer app, the spark for Apple ’s early success and a trigger for the broader PC boom that vaulted Microsoft to its central position in business computing. And within a few years, it was tech-industry roadkill.

The story of VisiCalc, a humble spreadsheet program that set the tech world ablaze 40 years ago, has reverberated through the industry and still influences the decisions of executives, engineers and investors. Its lessons include the power of simplicity and the difficulty of building a hypergrowth company in a hypergrowth industry.

Disneyland Makes Surveillance Palatable—and Profitable, by Austin Carr, Bloomberg

Despite these familial concerns, Disney’s data mining never faced the sort of scrutiny that Silicon Valley has. The reason is fairly simple: Disney World is the real-world manifestation of a walled garden, a family-friendly environment without a perceived risk of children being exposed to inappropriate content like on YouTube or Twitch. Wired once called this data-driven customer relationship “exactly the type of thing Apple, Facebook and Google are trying to build. Except Disney World isn’t just an app or a phone—it’s both, wrapped in an idealized vision of life that’s as safely self-contained as a snow globe.”

Bottom of the Page

These days, I don't have too much hopes in things. If things go my way, good. If things go another way -- well, I've expected that.


Thanks for reading.