The Random-Identifier Edition Saturday, August 3, 2019

Your Siri Recordings Can't Be Deleted And That's For Your Privacy, by Alfred Ng, CNET

Here's the rub: Apple can't delete specific recordings. And that's to protect your privacy.

Unlike Google and Amazon, which collect voice data and associate it with an individual account, Apple's Siri recordings are given a random identifier each time the voice assistant is activated. That practice means Apple can't find your specific voice recordings. It also means voice recordings can't be traced back to a specific account or device. It may sound counterintuitive, but that's actually a privacy feature.

Hey, Apple! 'Opt Out' Is Useless. Let People Opt In, by Brian Barrett, Wired

Right now it’s unclear what form Apple’s Siri opt-out will take; the company has suspended its voice data collection temporarily and says only that once it resumes, “users will have the ability to choose to participate.” Apple didn’t respond to a request for more specific information.

But to illustrate the limits of opt-out options, look no further than Amazon’s Alexa, which already has a mechanism by which you can say “no thanks” to strangers listening to your commands. Ready for it? Open the Alexa app. Tap the three dots in the upper-left corner. Then go to Settings. Then go to Alexa account. Then go to Alexa privacy. Then go to Manage how your data improves Alexa. Then switch Help develop new features to off. Then set the toggle under Use messages to improve transcriptions to off. Theseus had an easier time escaping the Minotaur.

Amazon Gives Option To Disable Human Review Of Alexa Recordings, by Matt Day, Bloomberg

A new policy took effect Friday that allows customers, through an option in the settings menu of the Alexa smartphone app, to remove their recordings from a pool that could be analyzed by Amazon employees and contract workers, a spokeswoman for the Seattle company said. It follows similar moves by Apple Inc. and Google.

Apple Card

Apple Card Customer Agreement Goes Live On Goldman Sachs' Website Ahead Of August Launch, Warns About Jailbreaking, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

We’ve learned more details this week about Apple Card ahead of its launch set for sometime this month. Now Apple’s bank partner, Goldman Sachs, has published the Apple Card Customer Agreement on its website with all the fine details, including a warning about jailbreaking.

Apple Card Will Not Allow Purchase Of Cryptocurrencies, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

The Apple Card customer agreement said the card cannot be used to purchase cash advances or cash equivalents that include cryptocurrencies, casino gaming chips, race track wagers or lottery tickets. Goldman declined to comment and Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment.


MacBook Air 2019 Review: Never Mind The Processor, Feel The Keyboard, by David Price, Macworld UK

The big news for long-time Air enthusiasts is that the keyboard is... well, still not perfect, but at least better. The depth of travel remains uncomfortably shallow and the keys are cramped (the arrow keys are barely fit for purpose), but the typing noise has been muffled, the keys feel less rattly to type on and our review sample at least shows no sign of those pesky double letters.

Other than that this is largely the same as last year - which is to say, it's an excellent light laptop for light use, with a beautiful portable design, excellent battery life and lovely trackpad. Speed, which on paper should be unchanged, seems fractionally down on last year, but not so as you'd notice in Air-typical usage.

My Hunt For The Right iPad Model: Too Small, Too Big, And Just Right, by Matthew Miller, ZDNet

The iPad Pro 11 has now been in my hands for a week and I am loving it. It is the perfect size for commuting, use around the office, flying on planes, carrying around my house, and using as my home computer.

iPad Pro USB-C Hubs: The Best, Worst, And Weirdest Options, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Thankfully, the jack-of-all-trades nature of USB-C means that you can use USB-C hubs to get those missing ports back — and then some. Apple provides very little guidance on which hubs work the best with the 2018 iPad Pro; all the company really says is that hubs and docks should both work over the USB-C connection. None of the products I tested had a badge on the box to indicate MFi / Made for iPad certification, but they all functioned (mostly) as expected.


Bad Times In Tech? Not If You’re A Start-Up Serving Other Start-Ups, by Erin Griffith, New York Times

Start-ups raised $55 billion in venture capital in the first half of this year, the most since 2000, according to CB Insights and PwC. And a burgeoning class of these companies is thriving by catering to a fast-growing market: other start-ups.

From A Wrongful Arrest To A Life-saving Romance: The Typos That Have Changed People's Lives, by Tom Lamont, The Guardian

We live in curious times, part-digital, part-manual. It’s a hybrid era that presumably won’t last for long, and in which we’ve come to rely on code and algorithms to handle many of our affairs, though usually with a human hand setting everything in train. Miracle tech! Unimaginable automation! And so much of it conditional on an accurate animal prod at the outset, a finger landed correctly on a keyboard, a thumb touching the right quarter-inch of screen, a mouse button clicked just so.