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


  • Hands-on with the new Photos features in macOS Sierra and iOS 10

    August 3, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Featured articles from around the web. Photos has long been a snooze of an app in iOS, and when its OS X complement arrived in Yosemite, it was underwhelming. Through many small releases in El Capitan, Photos’ stability improved and features expanded. Now, in iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, Photos is poised to be much more useful for the most common task after sharing: searching. Apple ...

  • → Switching to Apple’s two-factor authentication

    August 3, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Featured articles from around the web. Apple has, for a while now, offered two separate additional security measures to protect your Macs, iOS devices, and iCloud account, but thanks to some inexpert nomenclature, it can be a little difficult to tell them apart I’m glad Dan Moren figured this out and wrote it up, because Apple sure didn’t make it easy to even know ...

  • New Backdoor Allows Full Access to Mac Systems

    August 3, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Featured articles from around the web. My pal PowerUser82 has found another ‘pearl’ to share with me: New Backdoor Allows Full Access to Mac Systems, Bitdefender Warns → A new piece of malware, dubbed Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor by Bitdefender researchers, exposes Apple systems to cyber-espionage and full, clandestine control from malicious third-parties. The backdoor is embedded into a fake file converter application that is accessible online on reputable sites offering Mac applications ...

  • USS Enterprise comes out of the workshop ↦

    August 3, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Featured articles from around the web. In my very first post to this site, I linked to an article about how the original “Star Trek” USS Enterprise model had been moved out of the Smithsonian for a loving restoration. Seeing that model was the highlight of my childhood trip to the Air & Space Museum, despite all the historic, non-fictional stuff on display there. Anyway, the ...

  • Digital Audio Progress Highlights Tech’s More Human Future

    August 3, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Featured articles from around the web. What happens when a technology gets as good as it can? It’s an interesting question, and not necessarily as far-fetched or ill-timed as you may imagine. Consider the world of digital audio. As a musician, music lover, former music equipment industry journalist and self-professed audiophile, I admit to caring a lot more about audio than most, but there are certain facts ...

  • Apple has A Reputation for Discarding Legacy Features before the Competition

    August 3, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Featured articles from around the web. Apple has a reputation for discarding legacy features on their products well before their competition and sometimes before their time. Each time it does so, it creates a firestorm of reaction. You might think Apple does it just for publicity’s sake. But looking back, their decisions have generally proved to be insightful, if not always understood. I recall the fury ...

  • 8 hidden features of macOS Sierra (Macworld)

    August 3, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Featured articles from around the web. It’s been a week since macOS Sierra was announced by Apple, and I’ve gotten a chance to spend a few days using it. If you’ve only seen the highlights from Apple’s keynote, though, you may have missed a bunch of cool features that have flown beneath the radar. Here’s a look at some interesting features that you might have ...

  • What to do when your iPhone or iPad is stolen

    August 3, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Featured articles from around the web. Mikah Sargent, writing for iMore, with a heart-sickening tale: On the night of Monday, June 13, someone stole my 12.9-inch iPad Pro from my bag during the annual Beard Bash event. I won’t go into the gritty details, but suffice it to say my valuables (as well as those of my colleague Serenity Caldwell) were in a secure location. Unfortunately, ...

  • ∞ Links to macOS Sierra reviews

    August 3, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Featured articles from around the web. Here are some posts worth reading, each with an individual take after spending some quality time with the macOS Sierra beta. Read more at The Loop

  • Comparing Messaging Apps

    August 3, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Featured articles from around the web. Michah Lee has a nice comparison among Signal, WhatsApp, and Allo. In this article, I’m going to compare WhatsApp, Signal, and Allo from a privacy perspective. While all three apps use the same secure-messaging protocol, they differ on exactly what information is encrypted, what metadata is collected, and what, precisely, is stored in the cloud ­- and therefore available, in theory ...