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ExtraBITS for 24 January 2011

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Carve out some reading time, because we have a slew of worthwhile articles beyond the confines of TidBITS this week. Our own Lex Friedman has a couple of thought-provoking pieces at Macworld about treadmill desks and Apple’s responses to customer complaints. Then there are Macworld’s wishes for the Mac App Store, all those Easter eggs hidden inside Apple icons, the BBC’s excellent Internet visualization tools, and the story behind the Stuxnet worm.

Does Apple Listen to Customers? -- Over at Macworld, Lex Friedman has a summary of a number of high-profile instances of customer outcry regarding Apple products. It’s instructive to see how Apple responds to such complaints, since it could suggest more and less effective ways to give the company feedback.

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BBC News Helps Visualize the Internet -- Kudos to BBC News for developing some tools that help us visualize interesting data points about the Internet. The Top 100 page shows a treemap of the 100 most-trafficked sites on the Web, broken into categories. The Net Growth page presents an animated world map showing how the number of Internet users has grown from 1998 through 2008. And the How It Works page displays a constantly updating count of the total number of Internet users, along with the number of today’s email messages, blog posts, and Google searches.

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Easter Eggs Inside Apple Icons -- We glance at icons all day long, but if you look really closely, you may see more than initially meets the eye. Electricpig has zoomed in on a number of standard Apple icons to discover hidden text and other Easter eggs.

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Stuxnet Worm Reportedly Aimed at Iran by U.S. and Israel -- This revelation from the New York Times is a bit outside our normal sphere of coverage, but it’s important because it shows that computer security is going to become even more important as governments move to electronic attacks on one another, potentially causing normal civilians to become unwitting transmission vectors to real-world targets.

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Macworld’s Mac App Store Wishlist -- The Mac App Store has been out for only a week, but that’s long enough for our friends at Macworld to have put together a list of ten changes they’d like to see. In general, we agree with all of their suggestions and criticisms.

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Walk While You Work with a Treadmill Desk -- Lex Friedman explains over at Macworld how to set up and use a treadmill desk, which goes one step—well, many steps, actually—beyond a standing desk to ensure that you stay in motion all day long. Given recent research showing that even people who exercise are hurt by being too sedentary in the rest of their lives, we think more people will be exploring ways to keep moving. If only we could generate power at the same time!

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