The Element-Of-Anonymity Edition Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Fifth Of American Women Are Turning To Apps To Learn More About Sex, by Sofia Lotto Persio, Newsweek

The element of anonymity also explains increased use of apps to connect, communicate and learn about sex. “You can keep track of your experiences in a way that feels safe. Apps provide valuable information in a way that you don't have to share with others,” Gesselman says. “That's opened a lot of doors for a lot of people in different cultural contexts, cultural taboos or people who are not as comfortable in their identities or feel stigmatized.”

New Signed Mac Malware Spotted In The Wild Bypasses Gatekeeper, by Rafia Shaikh, wccftech

The new strain called Mughthesec was signed with a legit Apple developer certificate and hence was able to bypass Gatekeeper. Gatekeeper is Apple’s defense system for macOS that keeps users protected from installing unsigned applications. But, as the latest research proves, even the signed applications can be unsafe for users. Apple has now revoked the associated developer ID with this malware strain.

Not Quite A Genius: My Year Working At Apple's Flagship Store, by Nate Dern, Vice

"Nate, we saw the video," he said. He was comporting himself like he was Leon Jaworski sliding the Smoking Gun Tape across a table to Nixon. Only I wasn't being tricky: I just honestly still had no idea what he was talking about. I said as much, and with a disappointed sigh, the recruiter revealed that he was referring to an online sketch comedy video I'd appeared in months earlier called "Evil Genius Bar" made by some friends of mine on the comedy team LandlineTV. The recruiter told me I would need to "scrub the video from the internet." I told the recruiter that wouldn't be possible. He said he was "sorry to hear that" and hung up. I figured I didn't get the job. Three weeks later he called me back as if that exchange had never happened and offered me a job anyway, with the parting words, "Congratulations! And no more Apple comedy skits, OK?"

I was hired as a Family Room Specialist at the Apple Fifth Avenue location, an underground store you enter via a cylindrical glass elevator on the southeast corner of Central Park. A Family Room Specialist is close to being an Apple Genius, but not quite. Instead of doing tech support for computers, we divided our time between fixing iPhones and teaching lessons. Except there wasn't much we could do by way of actual repair, so the job mainly consisted of explaining to people that AppleCare did not cover water damage. One such interaction entailed me explaining to an Eileen Fisher–clad customer that wine damage counted as water damage, to which she replied, "Well, then you should call it liquid damage."


Excerpted from Not Quite A Genius, by Nate Dern.

Flat Singing

Carpool Karaoke: The Series – Can James Corden Help Apple Break Into Original TV?, by Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian

Perhaps Apple chose Carpool Karaoke for that reason: it’s a clear example of something that does have an impact far bigger than its origins. Certainly, the 165 million people who streamed Adele in Corden’s car around the world weren’t watching The Late Late Show on CBS. Yet Apple content isn’t there yet. It still feels fenced off and remote.

However, it’s early days, and it would be foolish to write off Apple based on its two mediocre efforts so far, because it’s almost guaranteed that Apple is simply biding its time.

Carpool Karaoke Debuts On Apple Music For Some Reason, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

As it stands, Carpool Karaoke is five minutes of content aimlessly attempting to fill up 20. Coupled with the dismal Planet of the Apps, an app-focused rehash of ABC’s Shark Tank where developers pitch to disinterested celebs, it’s not a compelling reason to subscribe to Apple Music. Nor is it a very good sign of Apple’s ability to compete on original content with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.


Wicked Brainstorm Lets You Brainstorm Up A Storm In iOS Message, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Before using the app, my brainstorming buddies saw all our ideas mixed in with every other text message. With Wicked Brainstorm, those ideas are gathered together, yet still kept within Messages.

The App That Tells You Where A Stranger Got Their Outfit, by Lucy Holden, Daily Mail

Users surreptitiously photograph the clothes and a search tool finds them online. Asos sifts through 85,000 items and presents customers with clothes that are either the same or strikingly similar.

OneDrive For iOS Adds Offline Folders, Improved Document Scanning, And New Sharing Options, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

OneDrive has offered offline files for a while now, but the ability to save entire folders offline has been painfully absent. I expect this feature will make a lot of users very happy.


The Secret To Office Happiness Isn’t Working Less—it’s Caring Less, by Andrew Taggart, Quartz

But caring as much as we do about work is causing us needless suffering. In my role as a practical philosopher, I speak daily with individuals from Silicon Valley to Scandinavia about their obsessions with work—obsessions that, by their own accounts, are making them miserable. Nevertheless, they assume that work is worth caring a lot about because of the fulfillments and rewards it supplies, so much so that it should be the center of life.

The solution to our over-worked state isn’t to do less work; it’s too care less about it. I think this is an unsound foundation to base our lives upon. The solution to our over-worked state isn’t to do less work; it’s to care less about it.

Why A Lifestyle Business Beats A Startup, by Stefan Klumpp

Success comes in many different ways. Selling your company for $50 million is just one sign of success, and a week later everyone has forgotten about that news headline anyway!


Emergency Services Organizations Call For Apple To Implement Life-saving Location Feature, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Advanced Mobile Location (AML) is a capability built into carrier networks which can automatically identify the exact position of someone making a emergency call with pin-point accuracy. Google added support for it in Android last year, but Apple has so far not responded to requests to implement it in iOS.

How Your Phone Number Became The Only Username That Matters, by David Pierce, Wired

WhatsApp was among the first apps to equate your account with your phone number. Now apps like Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook Messenger do it, too. Starting this fall, setting up your iPhone will be as easy as punching in your number. The supposedly super-secure way of logging into apps involves texting you a secret code to verify your identity. Phone numbers are killing the username, killing the password, and making it easier than ever to go wild online. So guard it with your life, because it is your life.


As more of your personal life moves online, having a single way to identify yourself matters. It helps you find people, helps people find you, and helps keeps you safe. And while people change email addresses when they switch jobs or tire of being, a phone number has remarkable staying power. Now that you can port your number between phones, plans, and even carriers, you have no reason to change yours. And the odds are your phone's area code indicates where you were living when you first got a cell phone—like a badge of honor, a statement of personality wrapped up in three numbers.

50+ Disney & Nickelodeon Apps Allegedly Snooping On Your Kids, by Kate Cox, Consumerist

The suits claim that children under 13 who use the apps named in the complaints “have had their personally identifying information exfiltrated… for future commercial exploitation.”

The apps, the complaint claims, track children’s app usage and device behavior by obtaining “peristent identifiers.” That is to say, any time you use App X, the app will identify you and relay back your information under a unique number, like 7A51F9D56200.

That identifier is persistent across devices, so any software you are using can identify that you are you whether you’re on your work laptop using the Facebook version of a game, or whether you’re using your phone to play the mobile version on the bus home.

Bottom of the Page

Just finished reading: Based on a True Story, by Delphine De Vigan, translated by George Miller. Wonderful. If I ever learn French, I'll have to remember to go read this again in the original text.


Does it seem to you that we know everything about the upcoming highest-end iPhone except the price and the name? Except that Apple can probably find some way to surprise us come September.


Thanks for reading.