How to turn your Apple Watch into a source of constant terror and dread

A friend was recently telling me about some IOS app they felt I should share on Boing Boing. The app reminds them, once daily to take a moment and appreciate themselves for who they are, be grateful for their time on Earth, and enjoy the opportunity to be here on this unique planet!

You know, all that shit.

I told this friend, "Friend, I don't need that! I have an Apple Watch."

My Apple Watch plays a key role in managing my mental and physical fitness. The watch serves me in two ways:

My lower back pain is marginally better. Pain is less likely to strike when I weigh less, and have 'core strength'

AND my weight and fitness are one of the very few things I can actually control in my life. Being in control of something reminds me trying does make a difference.

The Apple Watch has a wonderful display that reminds me to move and helps gauge both Calories In and Calories Out. That is most of how I stay thin. The Watch also takes messages in from other apps and displays them where I can see them!

In order to maximize the anxiety created by any random alert from my Apple Watch, I have turned on notifications of withdrawals from my personal checking account.

Every time money leaves my account, my wrist buzzes.

Life is a never-ending circus of joy!

The amount of dread the mere existence of this notification creates is incredible! At first, I didn't really notice and wasn't bothered by it. Read the rest

$999 monitor stand explained

This alarmingly funny video shows an "Apple Engineer" explaining the company's forthcoming $999 monitor stand. This guy is better than the "Downfall" meme!

Also funny: to see people who had complained vocally about Apple's lack of truly "pro" gear denouncing it when it finally came along, because it was too pro. Perhaps Apple should have made a promotional video shamelessly explaining the stand and its veblen-tech price. People would have hated it, all the same, but at least it would have been clear who the customer was.

If by "pro" we didn't mean that kind of "corporate buyer" level, what does it mean? That fuzzy-edged class of designers, developers and "creatives" often identified as Apple fans?

Here's one way of looking at it: if you're all in for Apple and were waiting to spend $2500 on a modular computer to edit photos or book designs or write beautifully-typeset articles or the simple code that generates them—people like me!—Apple's answer to that is no. We can get a non-modular iMac, or we can get a Mac Mini with an eGPU and external monitor for the specialized work that requires those things.

If someone sold an eGPU that actually matches the Mac Mini (they're all either huge ugly PCI-slotted toasters or plasticy MXM-slotted bricks) I bet they'd clean up.

Hell, I'd be all in for a pro version with XLR connectors, phantom power—and maybe a SCSI port or two. Read the rest

Developers sue Apple over App Store practices

The lawsuit seeks 'fairer profit, for developers’ digital products.'

What the crowd made of Apple's $1000 monitor stand

Apple announced the long-awaited modular Mac Pro yesterday. It's expensive, starting at $5000, but the faithful wanted some truly pro equipment and they got it. Even the 6k monitor to go with it is hard to fault at $4000, as there's nothing else out there to compete but for a plasticy 8k Dell that's only a little cheaper.

But $1000 for the stand? Even that was a little much for the audience at WWDC, whose collective gasp gave the presenter something to trip over.

Still, compare it to the roasting Steve Jobs got when he announced that Internet Explorer would be the default Mac browser:

Read the rest

Apple to limit third-party tracking in children's apps

You can't trust tech companies' word that the privacy controls they say they're implementing will protect you and your children.

A Wall Street Journal study of 80 apps in Apple’s App Store shows that most apps, including ones selected and featured by Apple editors, are tracking you in ways you would not expect, and cannot avoid. Read the rest

Study: Popular iOS apps use 'background app refresh' to send your location and IP address

You're browsing a news app on your phone in bed, alone, late at night. Did you know your physical location and IP address are being shared with the app maker? Read the rest

Big Tech: "If the USA enforces antitrust laws against us, it means China will win!"

Mark Zuckerberg offered to let Chinese premier Xi Jinping name his firstborn (seriously), Apple purged the Chinese App Store of privacy tools at the request of the politburo; Google secretly built a censoring search-engine for use in China, but America's Big Tech companies are sounding the alarm that they will no longer be able to promote America's global dominance if any of the US Big Tech breakup plans are executed. Read the rest

In less than one second, a malicious web-page can uniquely fingerprint an Iphone, Pixel 2 or Pixel 3 without any explicit user interaction

In a new paper for IEEE Security, a trio of researchers (two from Cambridge, one from private industry) identify a de-anonymizing attack on Iphones that exploits minute differences in sensor calibration: an Iphone user who visits a webpage running the attack code can have their phone uniquely identified in less than a second, through queries to the sensors made through automated background processes running on the page. Read the rest

DRM and terms-of-service have ended true ownership, turning us into "tenants of our own devices"

Writing in Wired, Zeynep Tufekci (previously) echoes something I've been saying for years: that the use of Digital Rights Management technologies, along with other systems of control like Terms of Service, are effectively ending the right of individuals to own private property (in the sense of exercising "sole and despotic dominion" over something), and instead relegating us to mere tenancy, constrained to use the things we buy in ways that are beneficial to the manufacturer's shareholders, even when that is at the cost of our own best interests. Read the rest

Apple removed a teen's award-winning anti-Trump game "Bad Hombre" because they can't tell the difference between apps that criticize racism and racist apps

Bad Hombre is an award-winning satirical game created by 16-year-old Jackie George. Two days after it won the Shortly Award and was recognized in her school newsletter, Bad Hombre was removed from both Apple's App Store and Google Play (George notes that her town of Naples, FL is very conservative with a lot of Trump supporters and is suspicious that one of her neighbors reported the app). Read the rest

Discovering whether your Iphone has been hacked is nearly impossible thanks to Apple's walled garden

This week, we learned that the notorious Israeli cyber-arms-dealer NSO Group had figured out how hijack your Iphone or Android phone by placing a simple Whatsapp call, an attack that would work even if you don't answer the call. Read the rest

Supreme Court greenlights Apple customers' lawsuit over App Store price-fixing

The Supreme Court has ruled on a key question in Apple Inc v Pepper, a class action suit arguing that the App Store violated antitrust law by driving up prices through the monopolistic tactic of prohibiting users from buying apps from third parties, and then taking a 30% commission on every app sold, which led software companies to raise prices in order to remain profitable after Apple had taken its cut. Read the rest

Apple's growth strategy is a textbook case of antitrust abuse

Apple bought between 20 and 25 companies in the past six months, according to CEO Tim Cook, who also said that this was business as usual for the company. Read the rest

Big Tech lobbyists and "open for business" Tories killed Ontario's Right-to-Repair legislation

In February, Liberal Party opposition MPP Michael Coteau introduced Right to Repair legislation after he was charged $400 to fix the cracked screen on his daughter's Samsung phone; that bill is now dead, as are dozens of Right to Repair bills introduced in US state houses, after Conservative MPs, heavily lobbied by US Big Tech firms, killed it before it could proceed to committee. Read the rest

How to: make a hackintosh

Ernie Smith has produced a spectacularly complete guide to making a "hackintosh" -- that is, a Mac OS computer running on PC hardware, giving users the option of more RAM, different screens and keyboards, and many other axes of freedom otherwise denied to Mac OS users. Apple doesn't make it easy, but the community's extensive work has put the seemingly impossible within your grasp. Read the rest

Leaked Apple docs describe support program for 3rd-party repairs, just as right-to-repair bills in 20 states would require

Documents from Apple leaked to reporters describe a program of support for third-party repairs, and the details sound like it was intended to comply with the requirements of a slew of new right-to-repair bills proposed in some 20 U.S. states. Read the rest

Apple is still lumbering iMacs with 5400 RPM hard drives

Apple, in 2019, weds fantastic 5k displays—almost impossible to find anywhere else—with storage technology so obsolete you can listen to it in a quiet room.

What people generally don't know, however, is that the hard drives themselves are of a radical new design that is completely silent. What you're hearing fizzling and popping away is actually a tiny carbon-fired auxiliary power supply. They come with enough coal to last 20 years and there's a tiny little hatch to shovel more in. The only hurdle is that to get to the boiler, you need to get past the machine's glued-on display. But Apple just announced the perfect tool for prizing it off.

A 1TB m.2 SSD is now just $120 at retail. [Amazon]

Photos: Apple; xpixel/Shutterstock Read the rest

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