US Customs is seizing refurbished Apple batteries and calling them "counterfeits"

Louis Rossman is one of the highest-profile independent Apple repair technicians, famous in part for fixing devices that Apple has declared to have reached their end-of-life, diverting these devices from landfill and keeping them in the hands of the people who paid good money for them. Read the rest

Apple's new parental control: Daily Stormer is in, sex-ed is out

The new parental controls in Ios 12 have all the same problems that all parental controls have: they overblock legit material (with a bias for sex-ed, especially sex-ed targeted at girls and queer kids, including Teen Vogue) and underblock all kinds of other material (neo-Nazi publications like The Daily Stormer and Reddit's pornographic /r/Gonewild are not blocked). Read the rest

Apple invites press to New York for Oct. 30 event, here's what's predicted...

Apple invited consumer technology reporters to an event scheduled for next Tuesday, October 30, at New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House. The late-October event will presumably feature something different from the September iPhone-centered event. Read the rest

A history of the tech worker uprising

Tech-sector workers have enormous market-power: companies find it easier to raise cash than to use it to hire qualified developers. Read the rest

Forensics company advises cops not to look at seized Iphones, to avoid facial-recognition lockouts

A leaked police-training presentation from digital forensics company Elcomsoft (a company that made history due to its early run-in with the DMCA) advises officers not to look at Iphones seized from suspects in order to avoid tripping the phones' facial recognition systems -- if Iphones sense too many unlock attempts with faces other than those registered as trusted, they fall back to requiring additional unlock measures like passcodes or fingerprints. Read the rest

Apple investigated by CBC News over Genius Bar repair policies and pricing

Through the use of hidden cameras, consulting with private computer repair joints, and chatting with right-to-repair advocates, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation has cast a very unflattering light on Apple's Genius Bar and its pricing and repair policies. Read the rest

iPhone Xs charging and connectivity woes can be cured with a software update

Last week, we warned you about a couple of ugly, low-rent bugs baked into Apple's decidedly high-falooting iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. A number of users, including Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy fame, have reported that the handset has a hella hard time, in certain circumstances, recharging. If you plug in a Lightning cable while the phone's in standby, there's a good chance that it's not going to be juiced up. Given the high price of ownership associated with Apple's latest smartphones, that's twelve different flavors of bullshit. Fortunately, Apple agrees and has come up with a software fix for the issue, as well as one for poor cellular connectivity reported by a whack of the new iPhone's owners.

From The Verge:

Apple has issued an update to iOS 12, which fixes several bugs that have plagued iPhone XS and XS Max users since the phones were released. The IOS 12.0.1 update is available to download now in Settings —> General —> Software Update on your iPhone or iPad.

The update should fix one of the biggest issues on the iPhone XS and XS Max: users reported poor Wi-Fi reception compared to their previous iPhone X devices when used in their homes, but it doesn’t address the separate LTE issues. It also resolves the widespread issue of iPhone XS devices requiring to be unlocked before recognizing the Lightning cable charger.

So, if you've got a handset giving you guff, get on it.

Image: Apple Read the rest

New Macbooks and Imacs will brick themselves if they think they're being repaired by an independent technician

Last year, Apple outraged independent technicians when they updated the Iphone design to prevent third party repair, adding a "feature" that allowed handsets to detect when their screens had been swapped (even when they'd been swapped for an original, Apple-manufactured screen) and refuse to function until they got an official Apple unlock code. Read the rest

Incredible 19 square feet LEGO model of Apple Park

Automotive engineer Spencer Rezkalla spent three years building this astounding 19 square foot LEGO model of the just-opened Apple Park. The 1/650th scale model contains roughly 85,000 pieces, including 1647 trees. From Rezkalla's project gallery on Flickr:

I've always wanted to build a horizontal skyscraper. These are sometimes also called "groundscrapers".

In 2014 I came across some drone footage of an enormous circular excavation being dug into the California earth. When I discovered this was the start of the foundation for a new low-rise Apple "spaceship" campus, I knew I had found an interesting and suitable candidate.

Read the rest

Some iPhone Xs and Xs Max owners are having problems charging their new handsets

When you pay 1,000 bucks for a thing, it'd be nice if it, you know, does what it's supposed to. In the case of a smartphone, that means taking calls, accessing the Internet, taking great photos, downloading apps--the usual. Arguably, none of these abilities baked into our pocket computers is as important as its being able to recharge its internal battery. If the battery don't work, all else don't work. Guess what? There are a number of reports that Apple's new iPhone XS and XS Max have batteries which, in many cases, don't work.

Tech vlogger Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy has the goods on the issue, which he illustrates by using a multitude of new iPhones:

These sorts of issues aren't unique to Apple's iOS devices (remember AntennaGate?) or Android hardware (the display falling off of my Blackberry a few years back was powerful fun). However, when folks are forking over a good chunk of their monthly income to pick up what they believe to be a premium device--and according to the reviews of the iPhone XS and XS Max they are very luxe in the functionality and feels department--it's a reasonable expectation that hardware works right out of the box. Sure, minor glitches are to be expected with a complicated piece of hardware like a smartphone. There's a lot going on inside of them. But something as basic and as important as it not being able to charge under certain circumstances is too huge a quirk to easily forgive. Read the rest

Google, Amazon, Twitter, other Big Tech to Congress: New California data privacy rules too tough

Executives from Google, Twitter, AT&T, Amazon, Apple, and other big tech companies told a U.S. Senate panel today they support updating federal law to protect data privacy, but they want Congress to block California's tough new privacy rules. Read the rest

A 17-year-old is leading Michigan's Right to Repair movement

Surya Raghavendran started fixing phones when Apple tried to charge him $120 to fix the defective screen they'd installed in his phone; instead, he followed online instructional videos and fixed it himself. Read the rest

Apple's fine-print reveals a secret program to spy on Iphone users and generate "trust scores"

Buried in the new Apple Iphone and Apple TV privacy policy is an unannounced program that uses "information about how you use your device, including the approximate number of phone calls or emails you send and receive...to compute a device trust score when you attempt a purchase." Read the rest

Play a free text adventure game using Apple Shortcuts

Space Alert is a simple and clever proof-of-concept text adventure game made using Apple's new Shortcuts app for iOS 12. Demo video above. From creator Marcel Wichmann:

Apple recently released iOS 12 and with it Shortcuts, an app that let’s you automate a bunch of stuff on your iOS devices. I didn’t find any useful way of automating anything, so I built a game. A text adventure, to be precise. It’s short and kind of stupid but… it’s free?!

Space Alert (via WAXY) Read the rest

Cloud computing and DRM: a match made in hell

As part of yesterday's International Day Against DRM, Public Knowledge's John Bergmayer published It’s Always DRM’s Fault, which uses this month's viral story about an Apple user named Anders G da Silva whose movie was deleted from his Itunes because he moved from one country to another. Read the rest

Google changed the settings on Android phones without their owners' permission

A decade ago, Steve Jobs admitted in an interview that Apple had the means to remotely kill core functionalities and apps on iOS devices. Apple purportedly made this possible to ensure that their hardware could not be taken over with malicious apps. I remember being very not OK with this, at the time. But over the years, I completely forgot about it.

Until this week.

From The Verge:

Yesterday a mix of people who own Google Pixel phones and other devices running Android 9 Pie noticed that the software’s Battery Saver feature had been switched on — seemingly all by itself. And oddly, this was happening when the phones were near a full charge, not when the battery was low. As reported by Android Police, initially it was assumed that this was some kind of minor bug in the latest version of Android, which was only released a few weeks ago. Some users thought they might’ve just enabled Battery Saver without realizing.

But it was actually Google at fault.

The company posted a message on Reddit last night acknowledging “an internal experiment to test battery saving features that was mistakenly rolled out to more users than intended.” So Google had remotely — and accidentally — changed a phone setting for a bunch of real-world customers.

Not cool.

Sure, you can argue that it was an honest mistake made by Google's OS development team: they hadn't meant to screw with Android Pie users' handsets. Hell, as soon as it happened, Google hit the interwebz to admit to the mistake. Read the rest

Apple's claims about recycling and sustainability are kinda entirely nonsense

Apple has always talked a good game where recycling and environmentalism are concerned. They're quick to point out that they recycle what they can and are always on the hunt for new, sustainable manufacturing practices to adopt. They've got robots named Liam that take old stuff apart to make new stuff! While the company's PR machine is spinning that it's Apple's dream to one day make all of their products out of completely recycled materials, they're presently shitting the bed on the most basic of sustainability practices.

From Motherboard:

Apple rejects current industry best practices by forcing the recyclers it works with to shred iPhones and MacBooks so they cannot be repaired or reused—instead, they are turned into tiny shards of metal and glass.

"Materials are manually and mechanically disassembled and shredded into commodity-sized fractions of metals, plastics, and glass," John Yeider, Apple's recycling program manager, wrote under a heading called "Takeback Program Report" in a 2013 report to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "All hard drives are shredded in confetti-sized pieces. The pieces are then sorted into commodities grade materials. After sorting, the materials are sold and used for production stock in new products. No reuse. No parts harvesting. No resale."

...A document submitted to North Carolina's Department of Environment Quality in September 2016 shows that Apple's must-shred policy hasn't changed in recent years, even as it continues to position itself as a green company: "All of the equipment collected for recycling is manual and mechanically disassembled and shredded.

Read the rest

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