September 13, 2021

Snippet: The Future of the App Store ☍

I had been thinking of writing about what a number of settlements, legal changes, and the Apple v. Epic ruling, but Marco Arment covered things much better than I could have. He even managed to nail why side-loading and alternative app stores aren’t not what we should be hoping for:

Maybe you’d need to install seven different app stores on your iPhone just to get the apps and games you already use — and all without App Review to keep them in check.

Most developers would probably need to start submitting our apps to multiple app stores, each with its own rules, metadata, technical requirements, capabilities, approval delays, payment processing, stats, crash reports, ads, promotion methods, and user reviews.

As a user, a multiple-app-store world sounds like an annoying mess; as a developer, it terrifies me.

Apple’s App Store is the devil we know. The most viable alternatives that would crop up would be far worse.

In general, the little indie developers probably won’t do much horrible, abusive stuff (take a look at the companies we love that aren’t on the Mac App Store), but mobile is much different game and there’s much more incentive to try to basically build your own platform-within-a-platform. I’m glad to see Apple having to make changes that might be slightly more favorable to developers, and hope for more, but I also don’t want iOS turned into Android, Windows, or Linux.

August 15, 2021

Snippet: T-Mobile Investigating Claims of Massive Customer Data Breach ☍

Joseph Cox for Vice/Motherboard:

T-Mobile says it is investigating a forum post claiming to be selling a mountain of personal data. The forum post itself doesn’t mention T-Mobile, but the seller told Motherboard they have obtained data related to over 100 million people, and that the data came from T-Mobile servers.

The data includes social security numbers, phone numbers, names, physical addresses, unique IMEI numbers, and driver licenses information, the seller said. Motherboard has seen samples of the data, and confirmed they contained accurate information on T-Mobile customers.

Unfortunately, while data breaches are almost unavoidable these days, they’ve become an almost annual tradition at T-Mobile US, Inc. The fact that it happens time and time again and many of the socially-engineered SIM-swap or port-out hacks seem to happen with T-Mobile indicate that problems aren’t being properly addressed. Sort yourselves out and maybe start taking security a bit more seriously.

August 14, 2021

Snippet: Hey, So, I Think I F*&#ing Hate the Internet ☍

G. Keenan Schneider for the aptly-titled No Octothorpe:

Being constantly bludgeoned by variety is destructive. It leaves no room for quiet. No space for contemplation. No opportunity for thought. When we’re constantly craving the next thing, we have no time to digest the previous thing. We have no ability to consider what something truly means to us. The pandemic provided a uniquely horrific opportunity for all of us to collectively share in that misery. We all fed into this in our own ways, mostly by feeding off of others in an effort to stave off the boredom, frustration, and despair a global catastrophe inflicted upon us. The Internet tries to be everything to everyone, and it takes its toll. What hope do we have if we can’t even sit quietly with our own thoughts?

I’ve been feeling a lot of the push-pull of consuming social media and deciding when to contribute and when to leave something in drafts or delete entirely. Getting off some services has helped, and limiting use of remaining have, as well. Lately, I’ve been finding that on days where it’s not the hottest it’s ever been, I’ve been catching up on reading articles, stories, and more (many times online), while sitting on my balcony. Rather than the distractions being a scrolling timeline in an app, it’s often things going on just a short way from where I’m sitting.

Snippet: Ransomware Is Increasingly Impacting Day-to-Day Life ☍

Nick Heer:

Perhaps the most striking thing about this article is that there is only a passing mention of Bitcoin — and nothing about cryptocurrency more generally — even though these attacks are only possible because of cryptocurrency.

Ransomware has become more of a conversation in security circles and my day job, and I failed to make the connection of its rise and cryptocurrency until this week’s Accidental Tech Podcast. Shortly after, I was cleaning out my Safari Reading List and came across Heer’s post. Between SIM-swap attacks, ransomware, and the energy usage debate, I’m really finding the idea of cryptocurrency for actual use worth it.

Snippet: Inside HBO Max’s Scramble to Fix Its Glitchy App ☍

Josef Adalian for Vulture:

There is hope ahead, both for consumers and for the product-support staffers forced to answer all those angry tweets from frustrated users. Instead of simply rushing to plug holes in the existing infrastructure, HBO Max is getting ready to roll out a completely new app, one built from the ground up to match the needs of the current service. While it hasn’t been publicly announced yet, we’re going to replace every single connected TV app in the next four or five months, the WarnerMedia exec tells me. Woebegone Roku users will be first in line to get the new Max app along with PlayStation customers. Apple TV customers will likely have to wait until the end of the year, while an overhaul of the mobile and web-based apps is penciled in for early 2022.

I’d say that for my TV viewing, it’s about 15% Apple TV+ (probably rising a bit), 15% Netflix, 20% Paramount+, 30% HBO Max, and then the remaining 20% being “other” (random apps or streams). It’s mostly been related to content or catching up on series I may have not watched previously, as well as the theatrical releases on HBO Max. When the app was broken earlier this summer, it was frustrating, so this is a fascinating read to hear what went wrong and how WarnerMedia wants to fix it.