The Radical-Steps Edition Saturday, January 21, 2017

Apple Sues Qualcomm For Roughly $1 Billion Over Royalties, by Anita Balakrishnan, CNBC

Apple says that Qualcomm has taken "radical steps," including "withholding nearly $1 billion in payments from Apple as retaliation for responding truthfully to law enforcement agencies investigating them."

Apple added, "Despite being just one of over a dozen companies who contributed to basic cellular standards, Qualcomm insists on charging Apple at least five times more in payments than all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined."

Qualcomm Calls Apple's Claims 'Baseless' In Response To $1 Billion Lawsuit, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

This morning Qualcomm responded in a statement on its website in which it claimed that Apple "intentionally mischaracterized our agreements and negotiations".

Adding Digits

Why You Should Install A Set Of ‘Winter Fingerprints’ On Your Phone, by Leo Benedictus, The Guardian

This is not because your phone is cold (although subzero temperatures can slow it down) or, per se, because your skin is. The issue here is cold weather actually changing your fingerprint enough to make it unrecognisable. [...]

Probably the best solution overall is to install a new set of “winter fingerprints” with your worn fingers, much as you might switch to a winter wardrobe.

Security Matters

Full Time VPN, by Ben Brooks

I’m not knowledgeable enough to speak to where the line between convenience and privacy sits here. What I can say is that if you don’t like things just working, then you will hate any of these VPNs. For me, personally, I won’t be using them full time any longer. It was an interesting experiment, but more frustrating than worth. I will continue to use them when I am not on a network I control, and for those times I’ll be testing through the three.

If you want privacy on iOS, PIA seems like one of the best options, but you are going to pay the price on Internet speed. Your own VPN is hit and miss, but a good option if you don’t want to shell out any more money, but want to use Starbucks WiFi. Cloak, though, is what I am going to be using the vast majority of the time, and what I’ll be setting up on my Wife’s device for when she is not home.

How To Secure Your Phone For A Protest, by Max Eddy, PC Magazine

When you take the streets to demonstrate your beliefs, it's important to know your rights, but it's also important to take steps to secure your phone from theft, loss, and, of course, surveillance.


Review: Vivid-Pix Land & Sea For iPhone & iPad, by Christopher Morey,

This is impressive. In creating a very simple and easy-to-use app for devices with relatively little processing power, the designers have done a great job balancing performance, simplicity, and, for lack of a better word; taste.


Naming Things In Swift, by Ash Furrow

Whether or not you prefer conciseness when programming, Swift has language features that allow you to write your code at your preferred level of verbosity. Beyond naming, features like trailing closure syntax, unnamed parameters, positional closure arguments allow programmers to be verbose in some circumstances and succinct in others.

The question isn’t if you should be concise (or not). The question is: where you should be concise (or verbose).


Don Norman On What Apple, Google, And Tesla Get Wrong, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

"As design has suddenly become popular, the wrong designs have suddenly become popular [as they have at Apple].

"I’d argue that those of us trained in the science side are not really good at making wonderful, delightful, emotionally pleasing objects, because we lack those design skills, but the designers with those skills lack the understanding of making those things usable and understandable.

"If only we could bring those two groups together! And that’s happening more and more. But Apple is driven by someone [Jony Ive] with a very traditional design background."

Grading Tim Cook, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

It's not easy describing Tim Cook's role within Apple. Yes, he is CEO serving at the discretion of Apple's board of directors. However, there is much more than this going on behind the scenes and Cook's formal title. Apple isn't run like an average company and shouldn't be judged as one. This impacts how we should grade Tim Cook's performance as Apple CEO.

A double standard is being used to judge Tim Cook. No other tech CEO is being graded on the same scale as Cook. He is being penalized for not entering questionable product categories. In addition, the new products that Apple has decided to sell are looked at through an iPhone lens. Apple has the best-selling smartwatch in history, with sales approaching 25M units in less than two years, and yet the product is looked at by some observers with a yawn. This type of criticism is just not found when it comes to judging Cook's peers. In fact, some of Apple's largest competitors have voting structures in place that make judging CEO performance a mere formality as boards don't have enough power to do much of anything.