The Dissolving-Boundaries Edition Tuesday, February 11, 2020

How Your Laptop Ruined Your Life, by Amanda Mull, The Atlantic

It’s a common existential crisis among American office workers that there’s now virtually nowhere safe from the pull of their jobs. This inescapability is usually attributed to the proliferation of smartphones, with their push notifications signaling the arrival of emails and other workplace messages. The first iPhone, released in 2007, helped make social media omnipresent and pave the way for hyper-connected professional lives. Now, on-call retail workers and law-firm partners alike often feel as though they never really clock out.

But that blame is often applied solely to the wrong piece of take-home technology. If staying home with a cold still requires a full day of work or you can’t find a seat at your local coffee shop on a Tuesday afternoon, it’s not iPhones that are ruining your life. The novelty and early popularity of smartphones seem to have distracted America from how quickly their laptops were also dissolving much of the boundary between work and home.

Mozilla Lost The Browser Wars. It Still Thinks It Can Save The Internet, by David Pierce, Protocol

Mozilla has spent the last several years fighting harder and louder than ever for the future of the internet. It's fundamentally rethinking its most important product, Firefox, to align it with the company's vision of a more user-centric, privacy-conscious web. It's fighting in the courts to ensure that the internet is accessible and fair for as many users as possible. It's battling Google, Facebook and other tech conglomerates — including the ones that provide nearly all of Mozilla's revenue.

Tech has become a villain, and Mozilla has sought to appoint itself hero, animated by a pressing fear that if it doesn't fix the internet, doesn't bring back an era of privacy and openness and community, maybe no one will.

How Big Companies Spy On Your Emails, by Joseph Cox, Motherboard

The popular Edison email app, which is in the top 100 productivity apps on the Apple app store, scrapes users' email inboxes and sells products based off that information to clients in the finance, travel, and e-Commerce sectors. The contents of Edison users' inboxes are of particular interest to companies who can buy the data to make better investment decisions, according to a J.P. Morgan document obtained by Motherboard.

On its website Edison says that it does "process" users' emails, but some users did not know that when using the Edison app the company scrapes their inbox for profit. Motherboard has also obtained documentation that provides more specifics about how two other popular apps—Cleanfox and Slice—sell products based on users' emails to corporate clients.

Securing With Trust

Apple Joins Fido Alliance, Wants To Replace Passwords With Trusted Devices, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Only one of your own trusted devices can make a request for authentication as you, and only a different one of your own trusted devices can approve that request. An attacker wanting to impersonate you would need physical possession of two of your trusted devices, and to be logged in to both. For example, they would need to have your iPhone and its passcode, and your Mac and its password.

While Apple’s system is limited to its own devices, the alliance wants all manufacturers to sign up to this approach, so you’d also be able to authorize a login on an Android smartphone, Android tablet, Chromebook, Windows PC or any other trusted device.

Keyboard Matters

How Bad Is Apple's Keyboard Problem? Even Hollywood Recognizes It, by Andrew Liszewski, Gizmodo

Waititi’s comments on Apple’s keyboards were meant as more of a lighthearted jab than a call to action to boycott the company’s hardware, but he did use the Oscars as a platform to threaten a return to using a PC if the keyboard problem persists. Those are strong words for an Apple user, but maybe it’s exactly what’s needed so the rest of us can finally upgrade away from Apple’s biggest hardware failure in recent years.

The MacBook Butterfly Keyboard Legacy, by David Sparks, MacSparky

Even though Apple is now taking steps to fix the keyboards, it will be many years before those butterfly keyboard MacBooks (which you can still go and buy in the Apple store today) are out of circulation. The public perception that Apple keyboards are bad will last years longer than that.


Why Can’t Family Sharing Include More Than Six People?, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

One solution: Take a Solomon-like approach and split the family in two. No, not down the middle of each child, thank you, but pick one parent for one group of kids to run their Family Sharing and another parent for the rest. This doesn’t give you quite the same financial benefit in not purchasing things twice, but it does allow collective Screen Time management and sharing of some purchases.

Ditto For Apple TV Update Adds Digital Signage With Free Templates, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Ditto for Apple TV offers robust features like simultaneous screen mirroring from up to four devices. Now Ditto is getting an update that lets customers use it for digital signage and is including free templates.


Apple Ireland’s Move To Limited Status Will Peel The Covers Off Its Opaque Finances, by Irish Times

On January 23rd, Apple’s six main Irish entities all began re-registering with the Companies Registration Office as limited companies, relinquishing unlimited status.


Returning to limited status means that Apple’s Irish entities will now have to file full annual accounts, detailing their sales, profits, tax bills and where their ultimate control lies. Apple will also have to reveal what sort of cash pile it is maintaining in Ireland through these entities.

Bottom of the Page

All apps that do notifications on my iPhone should have an in-app settings to set do-not-disturb schedule just for that app. An office-email app definitely should be on a different schedule than a perosnal-email app.


Thanks for reading.