The Without-Recourse Edition Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Apple Locked Me Out Of Its Walled Garden. It Was A Nightmare, by Luke Kurtis, Quartz

All in all, I was locked out of my account for roughly two months. Had I not taken advantage of my internal Apple contacts, I may not have gotten my account back. I spent a large part of those two months in a kind of grief, mourning not only the loss of a collection of media built up over a decade and a half, but also all the products I owned that no longer functioned as they were supposed to. The company I had given so much money to over the years could revoke my access to everything with just the press of a button.

This whole ordeal made me wonder if I want to continue using Apple products. The more I consider it, the more I realize it’s not just a question of choosing one product over another. The truth is that Google or Microsoft (or Nintendo, or Samsung, or Sony, the list goes on) could just as easily cut off a customer for no stated purpose and without recourse.

FAA Bans Recalled MacBook Pros From Flights, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

In a statement, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it was “aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops” and stated that it alerted major U.S. airlines about the recall.

The FAA Has Reportedly Banned The Recalled MacBook Pro From All Flights, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

We’ve asked the FAA and TSA to confirm that the MacBook Pro is getting singled out like the Note — we’re not yet seeing any sort of emergency order like before — but if true, a specific ban on the MacBook Pro could be mighty hard to enforce.

Unlike Samsung’s Note 7, which at least had some distinct design characteristics to set it apart from other phones, there’s no easy way to tell at a glance which laptops should be stopped: a 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro that has a problematic recalled battery looks just like a 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro that doesn’t.

Spotify Reportedly In Talks With Apple To Integrate With Siri, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple and Spotify are reportedly in talks over potentially allowing Spotify users to control music playback with Siri. The talks come as Apple faces increasing antitrust scrutiny, some of which has been brought on by Spotify itself.


Apple Expands Support For Student IDs In Apple Wallet To 12 New Schools, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced today that it is expanding the availability of contactless student IDs in Apple Wallet to several new universities. This comes just in time for the start of the 2019 school year, with Apple touting that the expansion means over 100,000 students will be able to access their ID from iPhone and Apple Watch.

Adobe Lightroom Adds Deleted Photo Recovery, GPU-accelerated Classic Editing, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

For users of Lightroom’s Creative Cloud application on iOS and macOS, photo recovery is now available for images deleted within the last 60 days through a new album. Support for the latest cameras and lenses has been added.


Why Can’t Users Teach Siri About Its Mistakes?, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

But I’d like to see Apple’s vaunted engineers go further and start recognizing your tone of voice and emotional state. I assume that a machine-learning algorithm could be taught to distinguish between a user’s normal tone of voice and volume and when they speak more abruptly and loudly. I’m sure lots of us raise our voices in irritation when Siri interrupts a conversation or completely biffs what seems like a simple command.

How A 'NULL' License Plate Landed One Hacker In Ticket Hell, by Brian Barrett, Wired

Prank or not, Tartaro was playing with fire by going with NULL in the first place. “He had it coming,” says Christopher Null, a journalist who has written previously for WIRED about the challenges his last name presents. “All you ever get is errors and crashes and headaches.”

If anything, Null says, the problem has gotten worse over the years. “The ‘minimum viable product’ concept has pushed a lot of bad code through that doesn’t go through with the proper level of testing,” Null says, and adds that anyone affected is inevitably an edge case, a relatively small problem not worth devoting a lot of resources to fix.

Netflix Under Pressure: Can A Hollywood Disruptor Avoid Getting Disrupted?, by Natalie Jarvey, The Hollywood Reporter

Netflix is at an inflection point. After a half-decade of near unchecked dominance in the premium streaming video space that allowed it to aggressively poach entertainment's top executives and A-list creative talent, the company now finds itself under attack. Threatened by its rise, and newly bulked up by a series of mergers and acquisitions, legacy studios Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal have begun pulling their programming off Netflix and prepping the launch of their own streaming services. Add in Apple's planned TV platform, and four very well-funded, content-packed new rivals will hit the market within the next year.

The Rise Of The Virtual Restaurant, by Mike Isaac, New York Times

No longer must restaurateurs rent space for a dining room. All they need is a kitchen — or even just part of one. Then they can hang a shingle inside a meal-delivery app and market their food to the app’s customers, without the hassle and expense of hiring waiters or paying for furniture and tablecloths. Diners who order from the apps may have no idea that the restaurant doesn’t physically exist.