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


  • External Link: What Is Differential Privacy?

    June 20, 2016
    Khürt Williams
    Featured articles from around the web. Apple briefly announced “differential privacy” at this year’s WWDC keynote, but didn’t go into details as to exactly what that means. Cryptographer Matthew Green isn’t sure what Apple means either, but he is familiar with the concept of differential privacy, and in a blog post, explains the basics and how Apple could be implementing it. To make features like Spotlight ...

  • Ars Technica’s Lengthy Review of OS X El Capitan!

    October 2, 2015
    Khürt Williams
    This is … the fourth straight release not to drop support for any older Macs, a refreshing change after several successive versions that kept trimming the support list. Leopard ended support for older G3 and G4 Macs, Snow Leopard dumped PowerPC entirely, Lion excluded 32-bit Intel Macs, and Mountain Lion dropped anything that couldn’t go entirely 64-bit. The minimum system requirements, which haven’t changed since ...

  • Lightroom 6 arrives

    April 21, 2015
    Khürt Williams
    It’s been almost two years since Lightroom 5 was released, which at the time was a major update to the photo editing program’s look and performance. The biggest change in this version of Lightroom is speed. Lightroom 6’s performance is based heavily on your computer’s GPU and processing power, but Adobe is promising speed increases on most modern machines. Even if you’re using a ...

  • iCloud Photo Library: The Missing FAQ

    April 16, 2015
    Khürt Williams
    With the release of Photos for Mac in OS X 10.10.3, Mac users have not only a replacement for the much-maligned iPhoto but also access to iCloud Photo Library, an iCloud feature for syncing photos that Apple introduced in iOS 8.1. In theory, this feature should “just work,” magically syncing all your photos across all your devices. But like so many things in the ...

  • 1Password 5.4 for iOS: The “Go Go Gadget Watch!” Edition

    April 16, 2015
    Khürt Williams
    You’ve come to love 1Password as the handiest of multi-tools on all your gadgets: your computer, your phone, your tablet…and now, your watch. That’s right, 1Password for Apple Watch is here, ready to save the world (and, more importantly, your time)

  • How to set-up parental controls on your iPad

    April 16, 2015
    Khürt Williams
    Now-a-days, kids are far more technologically advanced than most of their parents were at the same age much less now. This is both a blessing and a curse for us as parents, though. I think it’s great that my 7 year old can pick up an iPad and get his reading and math homework done using a touch interface that he is already very ...

  • How to use Photos for OS X: The ultimate guide

    April 8, 2015
    Khürt Williams
    With Photos for OS X, all the pictures and videos you’ve taken on your iPhone or iPad, or imported into iPhoto or Aperture, will always be available to you on any of your Macs, as will any future pictures and videos you take or import, including your DSLR images, even in RAW. Add to that automatic, intelligent grouping based on time and place, and ...

  • ▶ How to create mail merge documents with Pages and Numbers | Macworld

    January 5, 2015
    Khürt Williams
    ▶ How to create mail merge documents with Pages and Numbers | Macworld: There is, although it’s not a feature directly built into either app. This is possible through the power of AppleScript (don’t worry, I’m not going to ask that you learn AppleScript in order to carry out this job). Instead, I’ll direct you to the Mac OS X Automation site. Here you’ll find ...

  • Reuk — Manual Camera Controls for iPhone

    January 5, 2015
    Khürt Williams
    Reuk — Manual Camera Controls for iPhone: Reuk is a super simple camera app for iPhone that lets you take complete control of your camera’s settings. It puts the camera settings at your finger tips so you can tweak them to get the photo to appear just the way you want it to in the final result. (Via beautifulpixels.com)

  • January 13, 2015: The World At Your Fingertips, Courtesy of Princeton Public Library

    January 1, 2015
    Khürt Williams
    Become an advanced coder, watch your favorite television series, manage your investment portfolio, and receive live, one-on-one homework help, all from the comfort of your own home! Learn how to have the world at your fingertips with the help of Princeton Public Library. Librarians Janet Hauge and Erica Bess will highlight a selection of popular and easily accessible online tools available through the library’s digital ...