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ExtraBITS for 8 August 2016

In this week’s ExtraBITS, Hulu is eliminating free access to its content, Apple’s top brass discusses the state of the company under CEO Tim Cook, Apple opens a bug bounty program, and we learn why there’s a controversy around emojis in iOS 10.

Hulu Drops Free Plan to Focus on Subscriptions — Video streaming service Hulu is dropping its ad-supported free tier. From now on, to watch Hulu content, you’ll have to pay $7.99 per month for the company’s Limited Commercials plan or $11.99 per month for the No Commercials plan (though a handful of shows still show ads due to the rights Hulu was able to obtain). Hulu is also partnering with Yahoo for a new ad-supported service, Yahoo View, which will run the five most recent episodes of shows from ABC, Fox, and NBC eight days after airing.

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Inside Tim Cook’s Apple — Perhaps smarting from the media response to two relatively weak fiscal quarters, Apple sat three of its top executives down with Fast Company’s Rick Tetzeli to calm the waters. In the article, CEO Tim Cook, SVP of Internet Software Eddy Cue, and SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi discuss how Apple has changed in the Cook era, including how the problems with Apple Maps led to public betas of iOS. The wide-ranging discussion also touches on Siri and how subscription services are helping Apple’s revenues. While Apple’s top
brass avoided specifics, Eddy Cue did share the company’s overriding ambition: “We want to be there from when you wake up till when you decide to go to sleep.”

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Apple Opens Bug Bounty Program — Tech companies have long paid bounties to security researchers who find flaws in their software. Until now, however, Apple hasn’t availed itself of this method of encouraging vulnerability discoveries. Apple has announced a bug bounty program that will pay between $25,000 and $200,000 to researchers who discover certain classes of security vulnerabilities in iOS or iCloud. The program is open only to invited researchers for now, but Apple says that if someone outside the program discovers an exploit in a covered class, they may be added to the program. Over
on the Securosis blog, TidBITS Security Editor Rich Mogull provides more details and calls it “a good start.”

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The Controversy Around the iOS 10 Gun Emoji — Apple’s redesign of iOS 10’s emojis has generated controversy by changing the realistic pistol emoji (?) to a toy squirt gun. Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia argues that this shift could lead to tragic miscommunications, since every other platform, plus previous versions of Apple operating systems, displays that emoji as an actual gun. Burge suggests that the pistol emoji should be hidden from the keyboard entirely, and those who want to use the emoji could still copy it from elsewhere and paste it into messages. If nothing else, this kerfuffle shows why it
can be problematic to rely on pictographs for communication.

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