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


  • How to use Leopard’s iCal with Google Calendar

    March 3, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    Some time last year Google updated their online Calendar service to support the CalDAV protocol. CalDAV is a standard protocol that allows access to web based calendars from desktop clients like iCal. Now from within iCal I can schedule create calendar entries that appear in my Google web calendar and vice versa. Google provides instructions on how to setup iCal to ...

  • How to setup Leopard Mail.app to use Gmail

    February 28, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    In last month’s post I mentioned that I had already configured my Mac to use some of Google’s free services and how I felt that this was a cheap way to get some of the same features offered in MobileMe. Namely, I configured Mail.app for use with Gmail, synced my Address Book to my Gmail Contacts, and connected iCal to my Google Calendar. ...

  • How to get the features of iDisk for Free (sort of)

    February 2, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    When Apple released MobileMe as a replacement for .Mac I decided it was time to give it a try.  Mind you, I already have a free Gmail account with 8GB (and growing), and a free Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Contact.   I had already configured Leopard’s Mail, iCal and Address Book for use with these services and for just $20/year Google sold me ...

  • A review of the Diabetes Log iTunes App

    January 23, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    The iPod Touch is like the iPhone except for the phone … and the GPS … and the camera. Just like the iPhone I can browse the web and check email with Wi-Fi, and play movies, music and games downloaded from the iTunes App Store. It’s a super ultra-portable. I have an iPod Touch and I have diabetes and I am a geek. ...

  • Why Apple will get your money

    January 13, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    To followup on yesterdays conversation. The vision I have for the IT infrastructure of my home ( yes, I used IT infrastructure and home in the same sentence ) revolves around Apple product. No surprise there. My vision is one where the computers in the house automatically and seamlessly backup on a regular basis without user intervention. I have already put some money ...

  • MobileMe iDisk and Windows XP

    January 13, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    One of the discussions on the Apple MobileMe iDisk forum is how to get iDisk mounted as a drive on Windows XP. While Apple has provided instructions on how to do this on Vista nothing was said about XP. The solution that worked for me was similar to the one that Apple provided for Vista and involves using the “Add Network Place” ...

  • MacWorld 2009 Keynote News

    January 7, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    The weeks and days leading up to MacWorld ’09 were full of speculation about new Apple product and Steve Jobs health. There were rumors of new Mac MacBooks, a revamped Mac mini, and Apple TV. The fact the Phill Schiller would be leading the keynote at MacWorld fueled the rumors that Steve was dying. Of course, Steve let us know that ...

  • ShareTool – remote access for any Mac application or service that uses Bonjour

    January 5, 2009
    Khürt Williams
    When my MobileMe account came up for renewal, I let it expire. I did not need it. I had found cheaper and better alternatives. When Apple’s $99 MobileMe service was released I was quick to register. With MobileMe I could access my mail, contacts, and calendar information in the “cloud” and keep everything in sync across my Macs, my iPod Touch (not ...

  • Digital certificates and signatures

    October 14, 2008
    Khürt Williams
    Recently the topic of spam came up in one of the meeting of the PMUG.  Someone suggested that digital signatures was one solution to the problem of spam but there was no clear understanding of digital signatures and how they help with the spam problem.  I intend to write a concise but easily understood series of article on digital signatures, email encryption, and how ...

  • Spotlight on Time Machine

    September 19, 2008
    Khürt Williams
    I like my Time Capsule. Together with Time Machine my MacBook and Mac mini have been wireless archived … or so I thought. Over the last few weeks I started to notice my MacBook huffing and puffing ( the fan would come one and stay on ) and Time Machine seemed to be taking forever to complete backups. My Mac mini ...