The Golden-Age-Of-Surveillance Edition Monday, March 14, 2016

In The Apple Case, A Debate Over Data Hits Home, by Michael D. Shear, David E. Sanger, and Katie Benner, New York Times

Now, people are beginning to understand that their smartphones are just the beginning. Smart televisions, Google cars, Nest thermostats and web-enabled Barbie dolls are next. The resolution of the legal fight between Apple and the government may help decide whether the information in those devices is really private, or whether the F.B.I. and the N.S.A. are entering a golden age of surveillance in which they have far more data available than they could have imagined 20 years ago.

The Police Tool That Pervs Use To Steal Nude Pics From Apple’s iCloud, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

As nude celebrity photos spilled onto the web over the weekend, blame for the scandal has rotated from the scumbag hackers who stole the images to a researcher who released a tool used to crack victims’ iCloud passwords to Apple, whose security flaws may have made that cracking exploit possible in the first place. But one step in the hackers’ sext-stealing playbook has been ignored—a piece of software designed to let cops and spies siphon data from iPhones, but is instead being used by pervy criminals themselves.


All The Stock Mac Apps That Apple Has Quietly Made Useful, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

Apple’s not always known for its successes in its stock apps. Calendar is pretty subpar. iTunes is a joke. Photos is a disaster. Maps is about as useful as getting hit with a stick in the face. The fact is, some of the stock apps aren’t great. Some of them are. And many, like the ones below, used to be pretty bland, but have seen some big improvements over the years.

Soundbunny (Sorta) Lets You Control OS X App Volumes, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Simply drag the volume level sliders for each open application to set the volume as you'd like.


The World Of Minecraft Is Now Used For Artificial Intelligence Innovation, by Charlie Osborne, ZDNet

Dubbed "Project AIX," Microsoft said on Sunday a new platform, based on Minecraft, is being used by scientists to "train" an AI to learn how to do things in the Minecraft environment. The tester AI is currently being developed to be able to learn how to do things such as climb mountains in the virtual world -- although not without continual dives into lava and rivers.

Phil Schiller Responds To Developer Complaints About App Store Algorithms Broken Since At Least 2013, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Complaints that Apple’s App Store algorithms are broken, often returning nonsensical results for highlighted categories like ‘New’ and ‘Hot,’ have finally caught the company’s attention. Phil Schiller yesterday responded to tweeted complaints by Mozilla’s Lisa Brester and Screenshot++ developer Wesley Dyson.


People Who Buy Activity-trackers Shouldn’t Have To Be Beta Testers, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

More and more consumers are plunging their money into these digital health and fitness wearables, these positive reinforcement bands, hoping at the very least that they’ll just work. And some of them are using these products for legitimate health-monitoring reasons, not just digital distractions or "It would be nice if I could be a little more active."

Mathematicians Discover Prime Conspiracy, by Erica Kalrreich, Quanta Magazine

The discovery is the exact opposite of what most mathematicians would have predicted, said Ken Ono, a number theorist at Emory University in Atlanta. When he first heard the news, he said, “I was floored. I thought, ‘For sure, your program’s not working.’”

This conspiracy among prime numbers seems, at first glance, to violate a longstanding assumption in number theory: that prime numbers behave much like random numbers. Most mathematicians would have assumed, Granville and Ono agreed, that a prime should have an equal chance of being followed by a prime ending in 1, 3, 7 or 9 (the four possible endings for all prime numbers except 2 and 5).

Bottom of the Page

I use a Windows 10 machine in the day, and I use a Mac OS X machine at night. One of them utilizes natural scrolling, while the other uses, I guess, unnatural scrolling. And I have no problems adapting myself to each of these machines.

But when I use the new Apple TV, scrolling the featured item horizontally, I always scroll the wrong direction.


Thanks for reading.