Insidious Schemes: Apple Has Them

Great writing by The Macalope for Macworld pointing out how people will take anything Apple says and turn it into a negative, even if it takes some serious logical leaps and word gymnastics to get there.

FCC Chair Ajit Pai Cancels His CES Appearance Days Before Show

Jon Brodkin writing for Ars Technica:

Ajit Pai was scheduled to appear at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 9 to speak and answer questions in a “candid conversation” about Federal Communications Commission policy-making. But Pai canceled his appearance, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which runs the CES conference.

“Unfortunately, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is unable to attend CES 2018,” CTA CEO Gary Shapiro said in an announcement emailed to journalists attending CES yesterday.

If I were the head of the organization who decided they were going to take away Net Neutrality and whose reasons for doing so were shown to be false by their own report, I wouldn’t want to avail myself for questioning by people who strongly disagree with that decision either. As I’ve said before, no one likes being called out on their bullshit.

Meet “Raw” Water—Ludicrously Priced Unfiltered Water with Random Bacteria

Beth Mole writing for Ars Technica:

Mukhande Singh (né Christopher Sanborn), founder of Live Water, told the Times that tap water was “dead” water. “Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” he said. “Chloramine, and on top of that they’re putting in fluoride. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it’s a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health.” (Note: There is plenty of data showing that fluoride improves dental health, but none showing water-based mind control.)

I don’t know how people get sucked up into this stuff. The mention of the founder of the Juicero in this article is also not surprising. I’ll be sticking to my filtered and sanitized water that definitely won’t give me dysentery, thanks. Is Exactly What You Think It Is … a Site About Rams

Alden Gonzalez writing for ESPN:

The Los Angeles Rams are finally good and exciting again. And the guess here is that a lot of you have probably typed “” in your search bar for the first time in recent weeks, which means you were probably surprised by what came up — a site about rams.

Not the Rams. Rams. The male sheep — the bighorn sheep, specifically — with those distinctive curved horns. And it is a pretty thorough website, too. There’s a helpful “About The RAMS” section (they recently migrated 1,800 miles west) and others that explored ram threats (probably Falcons, Panthers and Seahawks), ram behavior (suddenly assertive after years of acquiescence) and ram types, with surprisingly no mention of Todd Gurley or Aaron Donald or Jared Goff.

This guy has jokes. And I have in fact ended up at this website by mistake. Almost every time I want to go the I inevitably forget “the” and end up with a eye full of Rams.

Advanced Truedepth Camera, Face ID “Major Drivers” of iPhone X User Satisfaction

Daniel Dilger writing for Apple Insider:

A consumer sentiment report of early iPhone X adopters indicates that its TrueDepth camera is a “major driver among positive ratings,” and that the features it enables—including [Face ID] and Animoji—are key market differentiators driving interest in the high end phone

Face ID is the killer feature for me on the iPhone X. It makes so many interactions more natural when the authentication just happens rather than having to actively do something to make it happen. Touch ID is still great, but Face ID is definitely better.

Corker on Media: ‘I Had a Newfound Empathy’ for Trump

Louis Nelson writing for Politico:

Sen. Bob Corker, among Donald Trump’s most frequent Republican critics, said Thursday that he has developed a new empathy for the president’s “fake news” crusade against the media after reports swirled about a “Corker kickback” that some allege prompted the senator to change his vote on the White House-backed tax reform bill

No one likes being called out on their bullshit.

A Recount Just Knocked Virginia’s Statehouse out of Republicans’ Hands — by a Single Vote

Andrew Prokop reporting for Vox:

The recount of the vote tally for a key race in last month’s Virginia House of Delegates elections concluded on Tuesday. And incredibly enough, when the dust settled, the Democratic challenger led the Republican incumbent by just one vote — an outcome that would deprive Republicans of their majority in the chamber.

This one’s for those of you out there who say your vote doesn’t matter.

White House will take down Obama’s ‘We the People’ petition site on Tuesday

Stacey Leasca writing for Mic:

The site, the White House Official told the AP, will be taken down at midnight on Tuesday and will be replaced with a brand new site sometime in January. All of the existing petitions will also be restored. According to the official, this move will somehow save American taxpayers $1.3 million annually.

Yeah, ok.

iPhone Performance and Battery Age

John Poole writing on the Geekbench Blog about decreased CPU performance as the battery ages:

First, it appears the problem is widespread, and will only get worse as phones (and their batteries) continue to age. See, for example, the difference between the distribution of iPhone 6s scores between 10.2.1 and 11.2.0.

Second, the problem is due, in part, to a change in iOS. The difference between 10.2.0 and 10.2.1 is too abrupt to be just a function of battery condition. I believe (as do others) that Apple introduced a change to limit performance when battery condition decreases past a certain point.

He goes on to note that this is a reaction to a problem iPhone 6s were having where the device would shutdown at 40% or so battery life due to low voltage from the battery.

I agree with John’s assessment that the sudden slowdown isn’t something users would attribute to a bad battery. Instead, they’d feel it’s a processor problem and and upgrade is the only way to solve it. While this may “fix” legitimate technical problem the iPhone is having, now that it’s know to be a purposeful slowdown of the hardware, it doesn’t look good to people who already feel Apple slows down hardware solely to gain more upgrades and make more money.

Roy Moore’s shaky defense of the sexual misconduct allegations against him

The Washington Post’s Transcription of Roy Moore’s interview with Sean Hannity:

Hannity: But you don’t specifically remember having any girlfriend that was in her late teens even at that time?

Moore: I don’t remember that and I don’t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.

If you need to ask a parent’s permission to date someone, and you’re over 30, maybe date someone else.

Apple says it immediately contacted FBI about unlocking Texas shooter’s iPhone

Nick Statt writing for The Verge:

The Washington Post is reporting that an FBI official even acknowledged Apple’s offer of assistance late yesterday evening, but that it did not need the company’s assistance as experts in the bureau’s crime lab were determining whether there was another method of accessing the data.

In other words, the FBI appears to be playing fast and loose with the facts regarding the timeline here, in an apparent effort to drum up support for weakening tech industry encryption.

In the case of Kelley, because 48 hours had passed without him using his fingerprint to unlock the iPhone in question, the access code security feature kicked in and locked the FBI out. Had law enforcement accepted Apple’s offer for assistance right away, perhaps they would already have what they’re looking for. But in that case, the FBI wouldn’t be able to blame encryption for its failure.

Or maybe the FBI is doing this on purpose.

FBI may have lost critical time unlocking Texas shooter’s iPhone

Stephen Nellis and Dustin Volz reporting for Reuters:

The Reuters source said that in the 48 hours between Sunday’s shooting and Comb’s news conference Apple had received no requests from federal, state or local law enforcement authorities for technical assistance with Kelley’s phone or his associated online accounts at Apple.

The delay may prove important. If Kelley had used a fingerprint to lock his iPhone, Apple could have told officials they could use the dead man’s finger to unlock his device, so long as it had not been powered off and restarted.

But iPhones locked with a fingerprint ask for the user’s pass code after 48 hours if they have not been unlocked by then.

One of these days, the FBI will learn to just ask Apple for help from the get go rather than trying to do it themselves then getting mad when it’s too late for Apple to do anything.

Hackers Using iCloud’s Find My iPhone Feature to Remotely Lock Macs and Demand Ransom Payments

Juli Clover reporting for MacRumors:

Over the last day or two, several Mac users appear to have been locked out of their machines after hackers signed into their iCloud accounts and initiated a remote lock using Find My iPhone.

With access to an iCloud user’s username and password, Find My iPhone on can be used to “lock” a Mac with a passcode even with two-factor authentication turned on, and that’s what’s going on here.

Apple allows users to access Find My iPhone without requiring two-factor authentication in case a person’s only trusted device has gone missing.

And this, my friends, why you should never used the same password accross multiple sites. It’s also a great idea to use a password manager — such as 1Password or Apple’s own iCloud Keychain — to be able to make longer, more secure passwords and not have to remember them all.

Networks Pass on Sean Spicer for Paid Contributor Role

Claire Atkinson reporting for NBC News:

Since Spicer exited the White House, his representatives have been holding individual conversations about the possibility of President Donald Trump’s former flack joining one of the major TV networks, which include CBS News, CNN, Fox News, ABC News and NBC News. […]

A number of network insiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect their business relationships said none of the networks were interested in hiring Spicer because of a “lack of credibility.”

Who knew lying and antagonizing the press could make it difficult to get a job with the press.

French photographer uses an iPhone and a Big Mac BOX for portraits

Germania Rodriguez writing for Daily Mail:

Philippe Echaroux, 34, specializes in celebrity portraits and, while he’s usually armed with the best camera equipment that money can buy, he decided to push himself and his photography skills out of the box, with what he called The Big Mac Portrait Challenge.

Using nothing but his iPhone for shooting and retouching, Philippe then allowed himself the use of a straw, a flashlight and a Big Mac box to construct the rest of his set-up – with which he still managed to take a series of stunning portraits of strangers.

These portraits are absolutely gorgeous. It’s no wonder even ex-Googlers say that if you care about photography, you choose an iPhone.