January 19, 2016

Link: How Donald Trump Got Everything Wrong About Apple in One Sentence ☍

Arik Hesseldahl for Re/code:

Donald Trump, the billionaire and leading Republican candidate for President of the United States, says he wants Apple, the biggest technology company in the world by market valuation, to make its computers and other products in America. It made for a good sound bite, but it betrayed a deep ignorance of how the tech economy actually works and the role of American workers in it.

January 8, 2016

Review: MPOW Magneto

MPOW MagnetoBluetooth headphones are often a polarizing product with technology writers—the cheapest ones are usually junk, and even the higher-end ones suffer from poorer sound quality than a simple, wired pair. There’s also the added bulk, as the battery has to go somewhere. MPOW’s Magneto aims to counter these complaints by mixing a reasonable price with the newest Bluetooth technology in a stylish design…

January 5, 2016

Link: EFF Says T-Mobile Is Throttling All Video ☍

Klint Finley for Wired:

But it turns out there may be a big catch: If you use Binge On, T-Mobile slows download and streaming speeds for all video, including streams from services that aren’t covered by the Binge On service, such as YouTube.

That’s the conclusion of a report published today by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The digital advocacy organization tried streaming and downloading videos from sites that are not affiliated with T-Mobile’s Binge On by using a smartphone on T-Mobile’s wireless network and found that their download speeds were significantly slower than they were when downloading and streaming the same content over an encrypted connection, so that T-Mobile couldn’t tell what type of content the testers were accessing. In other words, T-Mobile appears to be deliberately slowing any and all video content on its network.

I switched back to T-Mobile about a month ago and have been very happy with the service and coverage in my area. I appreciate that they’re trying to ways to offer a balance of getting lots of content and low prices, but I think Binge On affecting all video, as the EFF suggested, might be overstepping their bounds. Granted, there is a way to opt-out, but they really ought to stick to only messing with streams from Binge On partners, or at least offer a separate choice in regards to “optimizing” other video.

January 4, 2016

Link: Back to the 101 ☍

Marco Arment on why the 2012 non-Retina MacBook Pro still sells:

I’m right there with everyone else who’d strongly advise against buying this machine for most people who’d ask me. But if someone has a tight budget, needs a lot of disk space, and doesn’t care about the screen, it’s hard to argue against the 101.

As we’ve progressed toward thinner, lighter, more integrated Macs, we’ve paid dearly in upgradeability, versatility, and value. There are many Macs to choose from today, but in some ways, we have less choice than ever. The 101 represents the world we’re leaving behind, and our progress hasn’t all been positive.

I owned the top-of-the-line version of this machine and it is still more than capable, and arguably better than a lot of laptops from the competition. Compared to other Macs, the display does feel a bit dated, but these are fairly easy to repair and upgrade, have more than enough power for the average user, and are still relatively compact machines. Mine went to a friend, who has even more ambitious upgrade plans than my simple add-an-SSD idea. In some ways, it’s no sillier than those who have held on to old Mac Pros from 2008 or 2009.

Link: The Website Obesity Crisis ☍

Maciej Ceglowski explains that even though our computers and internet connections get faster, our web sites shouldn’t get fatter (via John Gruber):

These comically huge homepages for projects designed to make the web faster are the equivalent of watching a fitness video where the presenter is just standing there, eating pizza and cookies.

The world’s greatest tech companies can’t even make these tiny text sites, describing their flagship projects to reduce page bloat, lightweight and fast on mobile.

I can’t think of a more complete admission of defeat.

I think this is a great presentation, and there are many aspects where I could slim this site down a bit, but I’d also lose some capability and/or eye candy that I like. I do try to be mindful of slower or metered connections, so any changes are often carefully considered.

December 21, 2015

Link: The Three Computers of the Future ☍

Ben Brooks looks at the philosophies behind the MacBook, the iPad Pro, and the Surface Pro 4 and how they are easing us into a future that is more in line with the iPad:

These three devices are getting us ready, holding our hands, as we make a shift. We needed this same level of hand holding as software moved from our desktop machines to the web, but now we don’t hold it against an app if it is web based. In fact, many see being web-based as a bonus.

Soon too we won’t hold it against a computing device if it is more in the vein of the iPad than the MacBook — and soon there after (as is happening with software now) we will hold it against computers for not acting more like an iPad.

I wholeheartedly agree with this idea, although I am guilty of having a Mac mini as my secondary computer at home. An iPad Air 2 has become my go-to device for home and BYOD at work.

Link: Inside Apple on 60 Minutes ☍

Charlie Rose checked out Apple for CBS News’s 60 Minutes and talked with Tim Cook, Jony Ive, and Angela Ahrendts about the design process and the corporate culture. Part 2 covers the new campus and Tim Cook speaking about encryption, Apple’s tax responsibilities, and labor conditions in China. Both links require a browser with Flash because CBS is old-fashioned—I did have luck with the CBS News Apple TV app for finding these clips, too.

If you don’t want to deal with CBS’s video requirements, Joe Rossignol did a terrific summary on MacRumors.

December 18, 2015

Link: Whose Privacy is It Anyway? ☍

BlackBerry CEO John Chen on privacy and encryption:

For years, government officials have pleaded to the technology industry for help yet have been met with disdain. In fact, one of the world’s most powerful tech companies recently refused a lawful access request in an investigation of a known drug dealer because doing so would “substantially tarnish the brand” of the company. We are indeed in a dark place when companies put their reputations above the greater good. At BlackBerry, we understand, arguably more than any other large tech company, the importance of our privacy commitment to product success and brand value: privacy and security form the crux of everything we do. However, our privacy commitment does not extend to criminals.

“The greater good” varies depending on who you ask, not to mention that each government may see their rights to your information a lot differently than you or the manufacturer of your device do. While it is a tough balance, I’d argue that it’s better to err on the side of protecting the consumer, especially in the post-Snowden era.