The Exposure-Notification Edition Saturday, April 25, 2020

Apple And Google Update Joint Coronavirus Tracing Tech To Improve User Privacy And Developer Flexibility, by Darrell Etherington, Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

The additional measures being implemented to protect privacy include changing the cryptography mechanism for generating the keys used to trace potential contacts. They’re no longer specifically bound to a 24-hour period, and they’re now randomly generated instead of derived from a so-called “tracing key” that was permanently attached to a device. In theory, with the old system, an advanced enough attack with direct access to the device could potentially be used to figure out how individual rotating keys were generated from the tracing key, though that would be very, very difficult. Apple and Google clarified that it was included for the sake of efficiency originally, but they later realized they didn’t actually need this to ensure the system worked as intended, so they eliminated it altogether.


The companies will now also be encrypting any metadata associated with specific Bluetooth signals, including the strength of signal and other info. This metadata can theoretically be used in sophisticated reverse identification attempts, by comparing the metadata associated with a specific Bluetooth signal with known profiles of Bluetooth radio signal types as broken down by device and device generation. Taken alone, it’s not much of a risk in terms of exposure, but this additional step means it’s even harder to use that as one of a number of vectors for potential identification for malicious use.

Apple And Google Pledge To Shut Down Coronavirus Tracker When Pandemic Ends, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

On a call accompanying the announcement, representatives from each company pledged for the first time to disable the service after the outbreak had been sufficiently contained. Such a decision would have to be made on a region-by-region basis, and it’s unclear how public health authorities would reach such a determination. However, the engineers stated definitively that the APIs were not intended to be maintained indefinitely.

Why Apple And Google Are Moving Away From The Term 'Contact Tracing', by Richard Nieva, CNET

Apple and Google told reporters on a joint conference call that the new terminology is simply a more accurate description of the project. The shift is in a sense a rebranding effort, but it's more than cosmetic. Ditching a term like "tracing," which could have ominous connotations of surveillance, may go a long way in getting consumers to use the tools. Public perception of the project is especially important as tech companies contend with past privacy scandals that have cratered trust in the industry.


Magic Keyboard For iPad Pro Review: Living The Dream, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The iPad Pro is a modular computer system, and you can choose to equip it to serve your needs. The Magic Keyboard gives the iPad Pro the ability to transform into a full-fledged laptop, complete with backlit laptop-style keys and trackpad.

Some people—and I am definitely in this group—have dreamed about a product like this for a long time. I couldn’t be happier that it exists. I haven’t traveled with a laptop regularly for years now. The Magic Keyboard lets my iPad Pro be a laptop when I need it to be—and the rest of the time, I can pull the iPad out of the Magic Keyboard and use it in tablet form.

Are You Charging Your MacBook On The Wrong Side?, by David Murphy, Lifehacker

Yes, you read that headline correctly. There is apparently a “right” way and a “wrong” way to connect devices to a MacBook with Thunderbolt/USB-C ports on both sides. Doing it wrong can affect your computer’s performance.

Halide Camera Adds Full iPhone SE Support, Including Portrait Mode For All Objects, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The rear camera of the iPhone SE includes support for Portrait mode, but with one limitation: it only works for people, not for all objects. A new update to the Halide Camera and Spectre Camera apps, however, adds support for the iPhone SE — including bringing Portrait mode to all objects.

How To Live Stream Your Wedding, by Daniel Bortz, New York Times

“Our wedding felt imperfectly perfect,” added Mr. Saadat, 31, a lawyer and property manager. “In all of its makeshift-ness, it also felt so intimate and personal.” The couple hope to eventually celebrate with all their guests in person but haven’t yet set a date.

Want to live stream your wedding? Here are a few tips that can help you broadcast your memorable event.


Why The Macintosh Idea Has Survived And Thrived Since 1984, by Marylene Delbourg-Delphis, Fast Company

Language drift reflects the gradual and often unconscious changes in natural languages. This drift translates into new words, new grammatical forms, new patterns of expression, and sometimes new behaviors. And this does take time! Similarly, the Macintosh Graphical User Interface was a new idiom. It was the first mass-market implementation of a new system of signs and symbols advocated by Douglas Engelbart; it was a new language that both rationally and by osmosis people started to speak. Once you had touched a Macintosh, you felt in control, and the “interface” of any other device, such as your VCRs or your LaserDisc players, came across as an impossible conversation.

Microsoft Word Now Flags Double Spaces As Errors, Ending The Great Space Debate, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft has settled the great space debate, and sided with everyone who believes one space after a period is correct, not two. The software giant has started to update Microsoft Word to highlight two spaces after a period (a full stop for you Brits) as an error, and to offer a correction to one space. Microsoft recently started testing this change with the desktop version of Word, offering suggestions through the Editor capabilities of the app.

Bottom of the Page

I've first started learning typing on a typewriter. A real typewriter, not one of those apps that is faking as a typewriter.

But, unless I am remembering wrongly, I've never did the two-spaces-after-a-period thing on a computer. I wonder why.


Thanks for reading.