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Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 1 hour 41 min ago

"The single reason I trust Google with my data"

Wednesday 6th of July 2016 10:42:19 PM
In any case, I tend not to worry too much. And I tend to not worry too much about all the digital data I hand over every minute of every day. That's not to say I don't care. I certainly do. And there are some companies I trust more than others. Cable company? Screw 'em. I'd unplug if I could. But I don't think I'm quite ready to subject my wife and kids to that. Cell carrier? They're only after one thing. (Except for when I'm on Project Fi. Those guys rock.) But Google? Google probably knows more about me than anyone. Probably more than I know myself. That's never been more apparent than when I scrolled through the first 100 pixels or so of the My Activity section on my Google account. Everything I've searched for. Apps I've used. Websites I opened. Destinations I've navigated to. All there, and pretty much in real time. There really seem to be two groups of people: those that value the openness of Google regarding the data it collects, giving you insight and control over it, and those that value the secrecy of Apple, trying to keep everything on your device in a way that it can't be tracked to you. The debate passes me by, because I treat my devices as if they are public devices; I don't put anything on there that I don't want other to see, read, or know about. A device is not my mind, so I don't treat it as such. I don't trust any company - Google, Apple, my carrier, or whatever - and I have enough understanding of technology to know that nothing connected to the internet is really private or safe. The idea of "trusting" a company with my deepest private data is wholly alien to me.

Victorians had the same concerns about technology as we do

Tuesday 5th of July 2016 11:34:33 PM
We live, we are so often told, in an information age. It is an era obsessed with space, time and speed, in which social media inculcates virtual lives that run parallel to our "real" lives and in which communications technologies collapse distances around the globe. Many of us struggle with the bombardment of information we receive and experience anxiety as a result of new media, which we feel threaten our relationships and "usual" modes of human interaction. Though the technologies may change, these fears actually have a very long history: more than a century ago our forebears had the same concerns. Literary, medical and cultural responses in the Victorian age to the perceived problems of stress and overwork anticipate many of the preoccupations of our own era to an extent that is perhaps surprising. Fascinating look at how people were afraid of new technology over a century ago.

National organ donor registration comes to iPhone

Tuesday 5th of July 2016 11:30:33 PM
Apple and Donate Life America announced today that, for the first time ever, iPhone users will be able to sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor right from the Health app with the release of iOS 10. Through a simple sign up process, iPhone users can learn more and take action with just a few taps. All registrations submitted from iPhone are sent directly to the National Donate Life Registry managed by Donate Life America. The ability to quickly and easily become a nationally-registered donor enables people to carry their decision with them wherever they go. There's a lack of donors in many, many countries, and relatively simple initiatives like this can do a lot to get people to sign up to be a donor and potentially save a lot of lives. Great initiative by Apple and Donate Life America.

BSD for Linux users

Tuesday 5th of July 2016 12:50:29 PM
It's been my impression that the BSD communit{y,ies}, in general, understand Linux far better than the Linux communit{y,ies} understand BSD. I have a few theories on why that is, but that's not really relevant. I think a lot of Linux people get turned off BSD because they don't really understand how and why it's put together. Thus, this rant; as a BSD person, I want to try to explain how BSD works in a way that Linux people can absorb. While there's overwhelming similarity between the operating systems in most cases, there are also a lot of differences. As you probe more into the differences, you find that they emerge from deep-seated disagreements. Some are disagreements over development methodology, some over deployment and usage, some about what's important, some about who's important, and some about which flavor of ice cream is superior. Just comparing the surface differences doesn't tell you anything; it's the deeper differences that both explain and justify why each group does things the way they do. The article is undated, but I seem to recall it's actually quite old (2005-ish or so). Still, it's an interesting read.

Louis Rossmann's repair videos might get taken down

Saturday 2nd of July 2016 12:15:40 AM
We talk a lot on this blog about why it's getting harder to fix electronics. Not just because of how those devices are designed, but also because a lot manufacturers don't want anyone to know how to fix them. And those companies can issue legal threats to keep repair information - like schematics and repair manuals - out of public view. It looks like Louis Rossmann, an independent Apple repair tech, is fending off a legal attack from one of those companies. [...] For context, Louis does board-level repairs of Apple laptops. You can't do that and you can't teach other people how to fix boards without circuit schematics - which he shows on his channel. Most electronics companies don't share schematics with the public. And certain companies might argue that showing schematics on video is a violation of their copyright. (Louis, by the way, was one of the most vocal supporters of a Right to Repair law in New York that would have protected independent repair techs and given them more access to repair information. Apple's lobbyists killed the bill before it could be voted on.) Happy 4th of July, America.

Warren slams tech companies for anticompetitive practices

Thursday 30th of June 2016 10:14:30 AM
[US senator Elizabeth] Warren had different beefs with Google, Apple and Amazon, but the common thread was that she accused each one of using its powerful platform to "lock out smaller guys and newer guys," including some that compete with Google, Apple and Amazon. Google, she said, uses "its dominant search engine to harm rivals of its Google Plus user review feature;" Apple "has placed conditions on its rivals that make it difficult for them to offer competitive streaming services" that compete with Apple Music; and Amazon "uses its position as the dominant bookseller to steer consumers to books published by Amazon to the detriment of other publishers." "Google, Apple and Amazon have created disruptive technologies that changed the world, and ... they deserve to be highly profitable and successful," Warren said. "But the opportunity to compete must remain open for new entrants and smaller competitors that want their chance to change the world again." Before we start, I strongly urge you to watch Warren's actual speech, instead of just reading the linked article. Warren explains clearly why the extreme consolidation and monopolisation in all manner of sectors in America is absolutely terrible for consumers, killing competition, dampening innovation, and maintaining high prices. Obviously, this entire speech is music to my ears. Warren is the obvious - and effectively inevitable - VP pick for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, meaning that if she were to beat the Republican nominee come November, the United States will have a Europe-style democratic socialist as vice-president. Obviously, this has the monopolistic US companies and their corporate cheerleaders shaking in their boots. Thanks to the unexpectedly successful Sanders campaign, Clinton is effectively forced to pick Sanders' friend and ideological compeer as her VP, directly threatening the free ride these companies have been getting for decades since the Reagan years, perpetuated by both Republicans and Democrats ever since. It won't be immediate - the VP position is more of a mindshare podium than one of policy-making - but it represents a huge shift in how the United States government and its politics treat the business world. There's a reason Tim Cook is raising money for Paul Ryan.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update coming August 2

Thursday 30th of June 2016 09:58:36 AM
The next major Windows 10 update, the Anniversary Update, is going to be released just slightly too late for its namesake event. The operating system first shipped on July 29, 2015. The Anniversary Update will come a few days after the first anniversary of that release, on August 2. You will install this update. Or else.

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Ubuntu Touch OTA-12 Launches Today with Biometric Authentication for Meizu PRO 5

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