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Category: Opinion

Jeff Porten No comments

CES 2018: Tech Trends from the Consumer Technology Association

Jeff Porten kicks off another CES show with the Consumer Technology Association’s trends and predictions for 2018.

Adam Engst 4 comments

FCC Votes to Abolish Net Neutrality

It should come as no surprise that Ajit Pai’s FCC has voted to eliminate Obama-era net neutrality rules that prevented Internet service providers from blocking, throttling, or prioritizing Internet traffic, among much else. At Ars Technica, Jon Brodkin outlines what happened, how we got here, and what comes next. Given the overwhelming and bipartisan support for net neutrality from most Americans, the FCC’s move will likely draw challenges both in the courts and in Congress.

Rich Mogull 4 comments

iOS 11 Encrypted Backup Change Reduces Security, Boosts Data Safety

In iOS 11, Apple has changed things so encrypted iTunes backups can now be restored with either the separate backup password or the device passcode. This move reduces security, but it also reduces the likelihood that users will forget the password and lose access to their backups.

Josh Centers 1 comment

Inventor of the Web Concerned for Its Future

Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web as an “open platform that allows anyone to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographical boundaries,” but he’s less optimistic about its future than he used to be. “We have to grit our teeth and hang on to the fence and not take it for granted that the Web will lead us to wonderful things,” he said. In particular, Berners-Lee criticizes Web advertising for its role in creating clickbait and spreading propaganda. “The system is failing. The way ad revenue works with clickbait is not fulfilling the goal of helping humanity promote truth and democracy.”

Josh Centers No comments

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.

Josh Centers No comments

Early Facebook Employees Feeling Regret

Facebook is bigger than ever, but some former employees are despairing about its impact on the world. “Most of the early employees I know are totally overwhelmed by what this thing has become,” an early ex-Facebook employee told Vanity Fair’s Nick Bilton. Speaking of Facebook’s potential impact on the 2016 election, one employee told Bilton, “I lay awake at night thinking about all the things we built in the early days and what we could have done to avoid the product being used this way.” Those close to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are afraid he’s losing touch with reality, becoming a “modern-day Howard Hughes.”

Josh Centers 8 comments

Tech Pioneers Fear a Smartphone Dystopia

The Guardian has published a compelling article about how some technologists who helped usher in the age of smartphones and social media are concerned that technology addiction is making us distracted, dumber, and easier to manipulate. Justin Rosenstein created Facebook’s Like button and helped build Google’s Gchat, but he now takes extreme measures to limit his online activity, even having an assistant manage his phone. “If we only care about profit maximisation, we will go rapidly into dystopia,” Rosenstein said. The article profiles other tech pioneers who share similar sentiments, including Loren Brichter, the Apple alum who came up with “pull to refresh” for Tweetie in 2009. But if wealthy tech workers struggle to pull away from the lure of technology, even with their awareness of the corporate motivations behind addictive technologies, what hope does the average user have?

Kirk McElhearn 140 comments

iTunes 12.7 Giveth, but Mostly It Taketh Apps and Ringtones Away

Apple has updated iTunes, as it often does around this time of year. The new iTunes 12.7 has a few minor tweaks and one huge change: the removal of the iOS App Store. iTunes expert Kirk McElhearn looks at the most significant changes and digs into problems and solutions for those who manage iOS apps from their Macs.

Rich Mogull 24 comments

You Can’t Protect Yourself from the Equifax Breach

Credit-reporting agency Equifax has exposed the private information of 143 million Americans. Rich Mogull outlines some steps you can take, but they won’t amount to much until the system changes.

Adam Engst 1 comment

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.”

Josh Centers No comments

AR Glasses from Apple May Not Appear for Several Years

Apple’s impressive ARKit developer framework has sparked speculation about the company developing a pair of smart glasses along the lines of Google Glass. In a post on Medium, augmented reality expert Matt Miesnieks explains why Apple-branded smart glasses are likely still several years away. There are numerous technical challenges to overcome, but the biggest obstacle is miniaturizing all the necessary technology into a pair of glasses people would want to wear all day. Miesnieks thinks Apple could introduce the first limited pair of smart glasses with a heads-up display (think of them as an Apple Watch on your face) as soon as late 2018, though he doesn’t see full ARKit-capable glasses appearing before 2021.

Adam Engst 14 comments

Ulysses Writing App Moves to Subscription Pricing

The latest high-profile Mac software — joining TextExpander and 1Password — to move to subscription pricing is the cross-platform writing app Ulysses.

Adam Engst 2 comments

Connected Condiments: When Will It Have Gone Too Far?

Andy Ihnatko is letting off steam as only he can, with an extended analogy about how he was just trying to make a ham-and-cheese sandwich but got distracted by an Internet-related error with the mustard. It’s silly, of course, but his larger point is that we’ve created a world built on so many dependencies that it’s amazing that anything works at all. We’ve all been there; the question is how we get back.

Marc Zeedar 46 comments

The Problem With Abandoned Apps

A growing scrap heap of abandoned iOS apps is creating a troubling environment for developers. Marc Zeedar, publisher of xDev Magazine, explores the situation.

Glenn Fleishman 27 comments

AgileBits Isn’t Forcing 1Password Data to Live in the Cloud

A news report referring to AgileBits’s aggressive shift to subscription-based licensing for 1Password overstates a requirement to store passwords at its 1Password.com site.