December 1, 2020

Snippet: No Jedi ☍

Brent Simmons:

During a family Zoom, a relation mentioned they might need to ask for my help with a thing (sharing videos) that I know nothing about.

Almost every single other person on that Zoom would have been a better-than-me choice on this particular topic. But I’m a computer programmer, so people look to me for tech support.

You’ve run across this too, right? Friends and family think, because you’re in tech, that you’re a computer tamer who’s on intimate terms with every feature of every app. They think you know how to make computers sit up straight and mind their manners.

You and I know that’s not true. You and I know that being in tech means that you wish, with a frequency and fervor that would astonish outsiders, that a cleansing fire would one day ignite that burns up all the computers in the world.

Friends and family tech support has always been a thing, but this post felt especially relevant lately.

October 30, 2020

News: Apple Reports Q4 Results

Apple announced financial results for its fiscal 2020 fourth quarter ending September 26, 2020. The Company posted record September quarter revenue of $64.7 billion and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $0.73. International sales accounted for 59 percent of the quarter’s revenue…

September 28, 2020

Snippet: Pivot Back to Phone Calls ☍

M.G. Siegler:

Of course, a Zoom meeting is not a replacement for an in-person meeting at all. It’s something entirely different which we’re all pretending is an appropriate substitute. But it’s not. And what’s crazy is that the older technology — again, the phone call — is actually better as a fill-in for the in-person meeting, in most cases, I find. There are plusses and minuses, obviously. And your own mileage may vary. But I much, much, much prefer the phone call now to the Zoom call.

Freedom to move. Freedom to not be putting on some kind of visual performance. Freedom to not have to stare at a screen because the other person is staring at their screen.

The simple phone call has been lost in all of this, and generally there’s less issues with reliability or even the barrier for entry. I’m tired of the back-and-forth coordination/setup and then the performance aspect especially. It’s even worse when you’re in a situation where you can’t go audio-only.

September 14, 2020

Snippet: Feds Proudly Announce Seizure of ‘Counterfeit Apple AirPods’ That Are Actually OnePlus Buds ☍

Chris Welch for The Verge:

US Customs and Border Protection tonight tweeted that its officers had “recently seized 2,000 counterfeit Apple AirPods from Hong Kong, valued at $398K had they been genuine.” There’s also this press release on the situation, which praises CBP officers for “protecting the American public from various dangers on a daily basis” and says that “the interception of these counterfeit earbuds is a direct reflection of the vigilance and commitment to mission success by our CBP officers daily.”

The only problem is, based on the agency’s own photos, the seized products appear to be legitimate OnePlus Buds — transported in a box that plainly says as much. But CBP proudly tweeted “THAT’S NOT AN APPLE,” as if its people had astutely detected a forged piece of 18th-century art. It’s not clear if all of the 2,000 blocked units were OnePlus Buds, though the CBP images are unmistakable. The units originated from Hong Kong and were seized at JFK on August 31st; they were headed to Nevada, according to the press release.

Dumbasses.

September 4, 2020

Snippet: iOS 14’s Big Privacy Change Gets Postponed ☍

Samuel Axon for Ars Technica:

Apple has postponed full enforcement of a feature of its upcoming iOS 14 software for iPhones that would require app developers to request users’ permission to track them across apps for advertising purposes. This announcement comes in the wake of a public complaint from Facebook that the privacy policy could negatively impact the ad market in Apple’s ecosystem.

The feature, announced at Apple’s annual developer conference in June, would require app developers to notify a user of an app’s intent to track the user’s IDFA (ID for Advertisers). IDFA is used to track the user’s behavior across multiple apps and deliver targeted ads based on that behavior. The change would also require the user to opt in to that tracking.

Apple now says that, while developers will be able to implement this notification and request for permission, doing so will no longer be mandatory when iOS 14 launches sometime in the next couple of months. However, Apple was careful to clarify that it still intends to establish the requirement in the future, and that this is only a delay “to give developers time to make necessary changes.”

While this probably does have to do with Facebook’s whining, I’m glad Apple is delaying it, rather than changing the plans to have it entirely. If they were to do that, then I’d be concerned if they have enough…courage.