Save iTunes: how the W3C's argument for web-wide DRM would have killed iTunes

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The World Wide Web Consortium's plan to standardize web-wide digital rights management is based on the idea that if an entertainment company doesn't like a new technology, it should have the right to prevent that technology from coming into being. Read the rest

A 15-year-old's new Apple museum

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Alex Jason, 15, used his lawnmowing money to acquire what Cult of Mac says "is becoming one of the most significant private collections of Apple devices in the United States." Jason converted his family's basement into a museum, called the Apple Orchard, and in a couple years he plans to move it into a former library that he and his father plan to convert into the Maine Technology Museum. From Cult of Mac:

His collection includes every big Apple computer model except a rare Lisa 1. He has early portable computers, prototypes of Powerbooks, a green-plastic prototype of a Color Classic and Japanese models of early Macs. The orchard also includes Apple’s failures while Jobs was in exile as well as a computer from the company he started after, NeXT.

Alex showed off his Apple 1 (only around 170 sold and about 60 have surfaced), its keyboard adapted to a briefcase, which provided protection and may explain why all the original chips still work. The original owner, according to a story passed onto Alex, supposedly went to an IBM conference with his briefcase, opened it up and began typing. When curious conference-goers asked what he was doing, he said, “I’m typing on my personal computer.”

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FBI has no plans to share how it hacked into that iPhone with Apple or anyone else

iPhone parts in a NY repair store, February 17, 2016.  REUTERS

Bless their cold, spyin' hearts. The FBI suddenly cares about the rights of technology developers.

On Wednesday, the official word came from the federal agency that it will not be disclosing what vulnerability it exploited to force its way in to the San Bernardino attacker's iPhone, because -- can you hear the gentle clutching of pearls?-- “it did not own the rights to the technical method a contractor used to open an Apple iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters and therefore could not submit details of the mechanism for an interagency government review,” as Reuters puts it.

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Apple campus death: Male employee dead in conference room, reports of a gun involved

Apple's headquarters on Infinity Loop is seen in Cupertino.  REUTERS/Noah Berger
An Apple employee was found dead in a conference room at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino on Wednesday morning. Early reports indicate the victim was carrying a gun. The name of the deceased has not been released at the time of this blog post.

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Weird, fun audio glitch in Apple TV

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BB pal Dustin "UPSO" Hostetler posted evidence of this curious glitch that manifested while he was using his fourth generation Apple TV. A restart eliminated it, but Dustin says, "I wish it was an option! I'd keep it if I could!"

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Looks like Apple's renaming Mac OS X "MacOS"

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Apple's signaled that its desktop operating system is to be renamed MacOS, making the questionable search string "OS X" a thing of the past. The new brand turned up on an environmental webpage at its site (an official manifestation of hints already found in technical documents), though it was soon replaced by the currently-official name. Read the rest

FBI paid 'gray hat' hackers to defeat iPhone security in San Bernardino terrorism case

Tashfeen Malik, left, and Syed Farook died on Dec. 2, 2015, in a gun battle with authorities several hours after their assault on a gathering of Farook's colleagues in San Bernardino, Calif., that left 14 people dead.

The FBI accessed the contents of a San Bernardino terrorist’s phone after receiving help from professional hackers who “discovered and brought to the bureau at least one previously unknown software flaw,” the Washington Post was first to report today.

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The TSA spent $1.4M on an app to tell it who gets a random search

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"TSA Randomizer" is an Ipad app that tells TSA official swhich search-lane to send fliers down, randomly directing some of them to secondary screening. Read the rest

FBI signals it has new iPhone-unlocking powers, and plans to use them: Xeni on KCRW's 'Press Play'

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On today's edition of the KCRW daily news program Press Play, I speak with host Madeleine Brand about what we know, as of today, about any new capabilities the FBI may have acquired in its quest to bypass the security features on Apple iOS devices in various investigations.

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After suddenly dropping Apple case, FBI now defeating security on iPhones in other cases

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Well, that didn't take long, did it. Just days after the Justice Department dropped its high-profile case against Apple over the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, the FBI offered Wednesday to help a prosecutor in Arkansas hack an iPhone and an iPod in a double murder case.

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FBI may have dropped one iPhone case against Apple, but the battle is far from over

NYPD officer across the street from Apple's 5th Ave. store, NYC, March 11, 2016. REUTERS
The Justice Department says that security features on a San Bernardino attacker's iPhone were bypassed by an ‘outside party’, making that one important government case against Apple moot. But many other similar cases, including other cases involving Apple, are going forward. The war on your phone's security is just beginning.

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FBI may not need Apple's help with that iPhone after all, nevermind, maybe

NYPD officer across the street from Apple's 5th Ave. store, NYC, March 11, 2016. REUTERS

In a surprising turn of events, the U.S. government on Monday paused its battle with Apple over an iPhone, and what may be its greater goal of mandating “backdoors” in consumer encryption. On Monday afternoon, the Justice Department told a judge it needs a couple weeks to try 'new' ways of accessing whatever may be on the device, without Apple's help--and with an assist from unnamed experts from outside the agency.

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Apple releases iOS 9.3, with fix for a big iMessage security flaw

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As part of its big iPhone/iPad launch event today in Cupertino, Apple also released a software update that fixes a flaw which made it possible for iCloud-stored images or video sent via iMessage to be decrypted by third parties. Today's iOS update also adds a number of cool new features.

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LGBTQ people and Apple vs FBI

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Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Everyone is focused on the high profile fight between Apple and the FBI, which is a good thing, because the outcome of this case will affect all of us." Read the rest

Apple engineers quietly discuss refusing to create the FBI's backdoor

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If you're one of the few engineers at Apple qualified to code up the backdoor that the FBI is seeking in its court order, and if your employer loses its case, and if you think you have a solemn duty as a security engineer to only produce code that makes users more secure, not less, what do you do? Read the rest

$160 dock makes 12" MacBook more usable (but maybe just wait for a more usable MacBook)

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I've owned a 12" Retina MacBook for about nine months and feel rather ambivalent about it. It's surprisingly powerful and effective for work, but Apple seems to have given up on the USB-C ecosystem at launch. The single power/USB port severely hobbles it, Apple's only made a couple of comically inappropriate adapters, and the third-party options are outright trash that doesn't even work. Enter OWC's USB-C Dock—loads of useful ports!—which Glenn Fleishman says is the first thing worth buying. But you'll have to pay $160 to get it.

If you haven’t purchased a MacBook yet and can wait, it’s worth looking at Apple’s next laptop releases. Thunderbolt 3, which will use USB-C as its connector type, is due out later this year and is already announced for a special Dell developer edition laptop model. Apple’s roadmap is unclear, but it’s likely we’ll see a revised MacBook at the March 21 event or in April, as the first model appeared just over a year ago; it’s just possible it’ll have Thunderbolt 3 included. Other MacBook models will likely see updates this year, too, and Thunderbolt 3 is a natural for the Pro.
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Hack-attacks with stolen certs tell you the future of FBI vs Apple

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Since 2014, Suckfly, a hacker group apparently based in Chengdu, China, has used at least 9 signing certs to make their malware indistinguishable from official updates from the vendor. Read the rest

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