PMUG Blog

  • 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


  • Listing the largest file or sub-directory in the current directory

    October 26, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    OS X Daily posted a tip on how to find the largest file in a directory.  I have my own that uses the du UNIX utility.  The du utility displays the file system usage statistics for each file and directory argument. To use it, type du in a Terminal window. The first column of output is the number of bytes and the ...

  • Snow Leopard

    September 21, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    On August 26 Apple released the latest version of it’s MacIntosh operating system, OS X 10.6, code-named Snow Leopard. Some have called it a service pack while other say it is a foundation for something bigger. Whether a service pack or future proof update, the sales figures have Wall Street buzzing causing Apple’s share price to soar. Good for my IRA ...

  • A brief history of Apple

    September 12, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    I’m working on blog postings about Snow Leopard and iTunes 9. There is so much to cover that it is taking longer than I expected. In the mean time here’s some information I culled from Wikipedia.org. The Apple II was chosen to be the desktop platform for the first “killer app” of the business world—the VisiCalc spreadsheet program. In December 1980, Apple launched ...

  • Sync Google/Yahoo Contacts with Address Book (again)

    September 5, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    I wrote an blog post back in March explaining how iPhone and iPod Touch users could sync Address Book with Google and Yahoo on Leopard. Well … Snow Leopard removes the iPod Touch/iPhone requirement. Here’s how you do it. Open the address book application Open the address book’s preferences Click the accounts tab Check the synchronize with Google Click the configure button. Fill in the information Let the address book do its ...

  • Write to NTFS on your Mac using MacFuse and NTFS-3G

    August 14, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    One of the things mentions in its online, print and television ads is how easy it is for Macs to exchange data with Windows based PCs. Macs can network with Windows over standards based networks, connect to Windows based files servers, and communicate using Microsoft Exchange email servers. They can even run Windows. This ease of integration with the Windows world is ...

  • Backblaze: Time Machine for the Cloud

    July 31, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    Last year my friend had to deliver some distressing news to his wife. The external hard drive on which he had been storing their family photos failed. The problem had started a few weeks earlier when his wife mentioned that the hard drive was making some strange noises. My friend had planned on backing up the disk to DVD but being ...

  • iPhone OS 3.0 enables bluetooth on iPod Touch 2G

    June 19, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    I was pleasantly surprised to find out that upgrading to iPhone OS 3.0 enabled previously hidden Bluetooth functionality on my second generation iPod Touch. After upgrading (the iTunes servers were jammed so I did it after midnight) I noticed a small Bluetooth icon in the upper right hand corner of the home screen. So I went straight into Settings->General and … what do you know, ...

  • How to create a wireless mesh network with Apple AirPorts

    May 10, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    Being able to get a robust wireless network signal around my house was something that I struggled with for some time. My Comcast cable broadband connection came in through my garage and basement so that is where I had placed my wireless access point (WAP). The cable coax connected to the broadband bridge which was then connected to my 802.11n Apple Time Capsule ...

  • How to protect your Gmail account

    May 8, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    Researchers at the at a Defcon hackers’ conference revealed a flaw in the way Google’s Gmail handles session cookies. According to the Hacking Truths. web site: The problem lies with the fact that every time you access anything on Gmail, even an image, your browser also sends your cookie to the website. This makes it possible for an attacker sniffing traffic on the network to ...

  • Sync Yahoo and Gmail Contacts with Leopard’s AddressBook

    March 8, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    Both Yahoo and Google provide a method for importing and exporting email addresses to and from OS X AddressBook but I wanted an easier way to keep things synchronized. Fortunately, if you are running OS X 10.5 (Leopard), the AddressBook application provides a straight forward way to do so.