The Collected-Without-Permission Edition Saturday, September 16, 2017

Apple Defends New Ad-tracking Prevention Measures In Safari, by Anthony Ha, TechCrunch

"Ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission and is used for ad re-targeting, which is how ads follow people around the Internet. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person’s browsing private. The feature does not block ads or interfere with legitimate tracking on the sites that people actually click on and visit. Cookies for sites that you interact with function as designed, and ads placed by web publishers will appear normally."

Apple's Data-Mining Privacy Protections May Fall Short, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

By taking apart Apple's software to determine the epsilon the company chose, the researchers found that MacOS uploads significantly more specific data than the typical differential privacy researcher might consider private. iOS 10 uploads even more. And perhaps most troubling, according to the study's authors, is that Apple keeps both its code and epsilon values secret, allowing the company to potentially change those critical variables and erode their privacy protections with little oversight.


What Korolova finds most troubling about Apple's approach, however, is its opacity. It took six months of analysis by a team of researchers to determine the epsilon of its differential privacy systems, when Apple could simply publish it openly. "They're saying 'yes, we implement differential privacy, trust us, but we’re not going to tell you at what level we do it,'" Korolova says. "By virtue of not revealing what their parameters are, they're kind of breaking any real commitment."

Attentive Authentication

Interview: Apple’s Craig Federighi Answers Some Burning Questions About Face ID, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

One anecdotal thing: if you lift your phone and swipe up immediately, there’s a good chance that the Face ID system will have performed its authentication fast enough to have unlocked your device by the time you finish your swipe. That’s how fast it is.


He notes that there are some people for whom the ‘attention’ feature just won’t work. If you’re blind or vision impaired for instance, you may not be able to stare directly at the phone to communicate your intent. In those cases, where a face is recognized (even with sunglasses on), but it can’t see your eyes you can just turn off the ‘attention detection’ feature. You still get Face ID, but at a lower level of overall security because it’s not ensuring that your eyes are directly focused on it.

Earthquake Proofing

The Incredible Architectural Secrets Of Steve Jobs Theater, by Lance Ulanoff, Mashable

Steve Jobs Theater can, according to Apple, ride out earthquakes with a magnitude of 8-plus. While the venue looks like one piece, the external terrace, glass panels, and roof sit on pendulum isolators, which are like ball-bearings, allowing those sections to remain stationary while the earth moves around them. So, the earth could shake away and much of the theater lobby will appear to just sit there, unmoving. In addition, the ring of white terrazzo slabs inside will, if the wall moves toward them, slide up over the top of the floor slabs next to them.

If one of the glass panels holding up the roof give way, the Theater would be okay. In fact, Apple claims the theater is built to hold up even if it loses every other glass panel (there are 44 in total). Apple and Foster + Partners tested for seismic activity, maxing out a racking machine, and the design held up. Even so, it’s quite a claim and one that I hope Apple never has to put to a real-world test.


PCalc’s Delightfully Insane About Screen, by John Voorhees, MacStories

PCalc is an excellent calculator app that was one of Federico’s ‘Must Have’ apps of 2016. It’s available on iOS devices, the Apple Watch, and even the Apple TV. Still, you wouldn’t expect it to incorporate 3D animation or augmented reality, but that is exactly what the latest version of PCalc has tucked away in its settings.


New App Store Review Guidelines Cover Face ID, ARKit, And More, by Paul Hudson, Hacking With Swift

Apps that use facial recognition for account authentication “must use LocalAuthentication (and not ARKit or other facial recognition technology)”, including a requirement for providing an alternate authentication method for users under 13 years old.

Apps may now allow users to send money to others as a gift on two conditions. Fisrt, the gift must be a completely optional choice by the giver, and second 100% of the funds must go to the receiver of the gift.


The Father Of Mobile Computing Is Not Impressed, by Brian Merchant, Fast Company

The Dynabook, which looks like an iPad with a hard keyboard, was one of the first mobile computer concepts ever put forward, and perhaps the most influential. Although some of its concepts were realized in 1973 with the desktop Alto, the Dynabook has since accrued the dubious distinction of being the most famous computer that never got built.

I’d headed to Kay’s home in part to ask the godfather of the mobile computer how the iPhone, and a world where 2 billion people own smartphones, compared to what he envisioned in the ’60s and ’70s. Kay believes nothing has yet been produced that fulfills the original specs for the Dynabook, including the iPhone and the iPad. In fact, mobile computers, he says, have turned out to be mind-numbing consumption devices—sophisticated televisions—rather than the wheels for the mind that Steve Jobs envisioned.

Bottom of the Page

Someday, you'll just wear your cellular Apple Watch, and everywhere you go, everything you touch will have celluar data too.


Thanks for reading.