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ExtraBITS for 13 November 2017

In ExtraBITS this week, Apple defends its tax practices, Facebook’s first president is having second thoughts about social media, Jony Ive sits down for a new interview, and iOS 11 calculator lag is causing fundamental math errors.

Apple Defends Its Tax Practices -- Apple is once again in the news for shuffling its cash hoard among various countries to minimize its tax burden. The company has released a sprawling statement defending its practices, stating that it not only follows all applicable laws, but is in fact the largest taxpayer in the world. However, Apple continues to call for international tax reform and simplification to help it repatriate its overseas funds. The reality is that many large businesses play legal shell games to minimize liabilities — fiscal and otherwise — and corporations squirreling away cash in low-tax countries is a side effect of globalism that’s difficult to prevent.

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Past Facebook President Calls Out Social Media -- As Facebook’s first president, Sean Parker was instrumental in the company’s eventual success. But now the billionaire tech pioneer has had a change of heart, confessing at an Axios event that “The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’” He added, “I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or two billion people… God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.” Quick — tweet this link! Or not.

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Jony Ive on the iPhone X and Apple’s New Campus -- In an interview with Wallpaper, Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive discusses some of the design decisions behind Apple’s new campus and how multi-touch has fundamentally changed hardware design. Along those lines, he said something interesting about the iPhone X: “What I think is remarkable about the iPhone X is that its functionality is so determined by software. And because of the fluid nature of software, this product is going to change and evolve. In 12 months’ time, this object will be able to do things that it can’t now.” So by next year, what do you think the iPhone X will be able to do that it can’t do now?

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iOS 11 Calculator Lags Cause Errors -- If you type 1+2+3= in iOS 11’s Calculator app quickly, you may get 24 instead of 6. The problem is a delay in recognizing taps on all the operation buttons. Thus, in the example above, the second + is ignored, so you’ve instead typed 1+23=. If you type 1+2+3= slowly, making sure that the operator button activates on each tap, Calculator works correctly. We hope Apple fixes this embarrassing bug in the next update to iOS 11. In the meantime, Siri works well for simple calculations, and for those who need a serious calculator, PCalc is the gold standard.

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