• Competing Interests

    August 19, 2016
    Khürt Williams

    I enjoyed reading the Washington Post Tim Cook interview. The interview was wide in scope and really gives you a window into the mind of Apple’s CEO. I recommend it. One section that raised my eyebrows was the discussion of security and privacy. This issue is a fascinating one to me because Apple has taken such a leading role in advocating privacy rights for consumers. As Tim explaned in the interview, “Customers should have an expectation that they shouldn’t need a PhD in computer science to protect themselves.”

    Elsewhere in the interview, Tim talks about Apple’s mission.

    The DNA of the company is really what I was talking about there. The North Star has always been the same, which for us, is about making insanely great products that really change the world in some way — enrich people’s lives. And so our reason for being hasn’t changed.

    I absolutely believe the folks at Apple get out of bed in the morning to make great products. However, it really isn’t that simple. If you don’t believe me, perhaps I could interest you in a 16GB iPhone. Making insanely great products has always required compromises. Apple has to make a profit if they want to stay in business and every Apple product (just like any other company’s product) that comes to market requires thousands of small compromises. That’s always come with the territory but until recently, I’ve never really thought of Apple having a competing North Star. Now I wonder.

    Privacy is a big deal to Apple. Tim explained:

    Privacy, in my point of view, is a civil liberty that our Founding Fathers thought of a long time ago and concluded it was an essential part of what it was to be an American. Sort of on the level, if you will, with freedom of speech, freedom of the press.

    I think this is more than CEO puffing. I think Tim, and the rest of Apple leadership, feels this in their bones and they are absolutely willing to go to bat for consumers on the issue of privacy. They took a drubbing over the San Bernardino case and I suspect they’d do it all over again. The question, however, becomes what happens when protecting consumer privacy gets in the way of making insanely great products? If Apple’s unstoppable force hits its own immovable object, who wins?

    There are plenty of consumers already getting off the Apple services bandwagon in favor of Google precisely because the way Google does everything on its servers results in some insanely great user experiences. Apple is responding by trying to get those types of services on-device–as opposed to the less private cloud storage as Google does. We’re early days on this but it seems, at least for the immediate future, that the cloud service solution is better, faster, and more adaptable than on-device.

    If Tim Cook were sitting here right now, I suspect he’d argue that the 2016 version of an insanely great product is one that (in addition to many other features) protects user privacy and going back to the issue of compromises, it’s probably better that you not let somebody else index all of your photos, even if that would make it easier to search out pictures of canteloupes. I agree with that particular compromise but as we move into the next few years, I think the goals of great products and protecting user privacy aren’t always going to align.

    Read more at MacSparky

  • 1Password to rule them all

    April 29, 2011
    Khürt Williams
    Take a look at 1Password. I’ve been using it for several years. Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android. Syncs across all devices using encrypted Dropbox folder. Compatible with Safari, Firefox and Chrome.

  • Google Chrome adds more protection

    April 27, 2011
    Khürt Williams
    Last month I wrote an article about ( While most browser cookies can easily be deleted, Flash cookies and other forms of web tracking can not. This makes it difficult to keep your web surfing habits safe from spying eyes. The folks who develop the Google Chrome browser think that things should be different. They are ...

  • Backup Strategies and More with Dave Hamilton, President of The Mac Observer

    March 31, 2011
    Khürt Williams
    PRINCETON MACINTOSH USERS GROUP PRINCETON, NJ 08540 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Alan Fox PHONE: 973-912-7725 EMAIL: PMUG site: TOPIC: Backup Strategies and More SPEAKER: Dave Hamilton, President of The Mac Observer, Inc. LOCATION: 10 Guyot Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. See for map and directions. WHEN: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 7:30 p.m. FREE: Open to the general public A topic that is — or should be — hot on everyone’s minds these days is backups. While most ...

  • Review : Tango video and chat app

    March 28, 2011
    Khürt Williams
    When Apple released the iPhone 4 last summer they added a front facing camera and updated iOS with a new application called FaceTime. FaceTime allows two people with iPhone 4 to video chat. The feature is very popular with parents who travel a lot. They can use FaceTime to stay in touch with the kids or other loved one.  The Apple ...

  • How to delete Flash Cookies from your browser

    March 21, 2011
    Khürt Williams
    On-line advertising agencies and web site managers are using sophisticated means to track our on-line habits. Given that a handful of companies control the on-line advertising space, it can be incredibly challenging to protect your privacy while surfing the web. Most of the modern browsers have features that give consumers some level of control over tracking cookies. Normally this involves restricting ...

  • Review: iCameraHDR

    March 15, 2011
    Khürt Williams
    I love HDR and I love iPhone photograph apps. I’ve bought about 10 since I purchase my iPhone 4 last spring. Right now I have four in a Photography folder on my iPhone. One of those is a new app, iCamera HDR. iCamera HDR is from Everimaging Ltd, the same developers who produce HDR Darkroom, an HDR application for the ...

  • How to sync your iPad Mail, Calendar, & Contacts with Google Sync

    March 7, 2011
    Khürt Williams
    Overview Recently my Director lamented the fact that he could not sync his Google account services to his iPad without using iTunes. He had configured his iPad to access his Google mail and calendar but he could not add new entries to the calendar. The sync was one way from Google to his iPad. He was frustrated that he would add a ...

  • Mobile and More: Highlights from the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show

    March 1, 2011
    Khürt Williams

  • Event : 6th Annual Philly Emerging Tech Conference

    February 28, 2011
    Khürt Williams
    Registration is open for the 6th Annual Philly Emerging Tech Conference (a.k.a. Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise), which is set for April 27 – April 28 at the Society Hill Sheraton in Philadelphia. The Early Bird rate, available through February 15, is $295 per person. If you can take advantage of the group discount (4 colleagues or friends, not necessarily from the same company, registering at ...

  • How to create an OS X Installation on a Flash Drive

    February 28, 2011
    Khürt Williams
    The Problem Recently some of my MacBook hardware failed. The MacBook had been sitting in a corner unused for a long time. My iPad has come to replace it as my main portable device. Most of what I wanted to do — read the news, email, calendar, magazines — can be done quite easily from my iPad. The MacBook was neglected ...