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ExtraBITS for 21 August 2017

In ExtraBITS this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on the violent demonstrations that took place in Charlottesville, Apple is investing heavily in video content, and a botched firmware update has disabled many LockState smart locks.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Speaks Out about Charlottesville -- In an email to all Apple employees, CEO Tim Cook decried the “tragic and repulsive” events in Charlottesville, saying “We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it. This is not about the left or the right, conservative or liberal. It is about human decency and morality.” He also announced that Apple would be making $1 million donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. As someone who grew up in the South and once confronted the Ku Klux Klan during a cross burning, Cook finds events like these deeply troubling, but he closed with, “These have been dark days, but I remain as optimistic as ever that the future is bright. Apple can and will play an important role in bringing about positive change.”

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Apple Reportedly Spending $1 Billion on Video Content -- Variety reports that Apple has budgeted $1 billion to spend on 10 TV shows. That may sound like a lot of money, but in the next year, Netflix is expected to spend $7 billion on original content, Amazon $4.5 billion, and HBO $2 billion. Hopefully, Apple can produce something more compelling than “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke.”

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Botched Firmware Update Bricks Smart Locks -- Home automation can be great, but it’s not without downsides, as owners of the LockState RemoteLock 6i have discovered. An errant software update rendered the remote control aspects of their locks inoperable, although the locks can still be unlocked with a key. Airbnb hosts are particularly affected because RemoteLock locks can be integrated directly with Airbnb to manage and monitor Airbnb properties remotely. The worst part? To fix the problem, users must ship their locks to LockState to replace the firmware, which takes 5 to 7 days, or LockState can send a replacement lock, which will take 14 to 18 days. Either way, owners of these locks must physically remove them to address this digital problem.

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