Ifixit flunks Apple's new educational Ipad as nearly un-repairable

Apple's education-centric new Ipad is meant to be used in rambunctious classrooms where drops and other abuse will be commonplace; it is also meant to compete with relatively easy-to-service Pixelbooks that school district IT departments can fix themselves or get repaired by a wide variety of independent, local service depots whose community-based technicians do repairs onsite and also keep local tax dollars circulating in the community. Read the rest

Apple doesn't give a shit about your kids

Apple doesn't give a shit about your child's education. But then, neither does any other tech company: they only care about what they can sell to schools and parents.

This likely isn't news to anyone reading this, but I feel like it needs to be said.

This morning Apple held an education-centric event at a high school in Chicago. They released a new iPad. With the exception of a processor bump and the fact that it supports Apple Pencil, it's very much like the last iteration of the iPad. They're selling it for $329 or, if you're a student or educator, it can be had for $299. Need an Apple Pencil? That'll be an additional $99. Let me reframe this for you: One of the most lucrative companies in the world thinks it's a grand gesture to knock $30 off the price of their hardware for anyone involved in book learnin'. But, if they want to make full use of the iPad's capabilities, it'll cost them another $99 to do so.

This, at a time when when parents are running crowdsourcing campaigns for classroom supplies and to keep schools heated during the cold months of the year.

The real reason that they've shaved a sliver of fat off their pricing is because they're getting bled to death in the education sector by companies churning out less expensive Chrome OS hardware. Google's Chrome OS might not be able to boast the wide assortment of quality apps that an iOS device does, but the operating system doesn't need high-end specs to run on. Read the rest

Apple prototypes hit eBay

A museum's worth of prototype Apple devices--computers, ipods and more--is being auctioned on eBay.

Plain, who spends his days working at a Lexus dealership in Monterey, California, is part of the vintage Apple collector community. But where most collectors are trying to accrue a wishlist of machines sold to the public, Plain prefers the prototypes. ...Now Plain has more 48 different devices in his collection, including two different Mac clones, the Outbound 125 and the Dynamac. And that Cinema Display that was probably used by one of the founders of Apple. But Plain doesn’t plan on keeping all of it. When he gets extras, or stuff that doesn’t really jibe with his personal preference for G4 Cubes, 20th Anniversary Macs and Macintosh Portables, they go up on eBay

Read the rest

'Sneakers' was an extremely popular Apple ][ game

I remember Sneakers as being far, far more exciting than it apparently was.

So much for memory. Read the rest

Apple "plans giant iPhone"

Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is preparing to release a trio of new smartphones later this year: the largest iPhone ever, an upgraded handset the same size as the current iPhone X and a less expensive model with some of the flagship phone’s key features

The Munster Coefficient: the number of paragraphs into a news item that announces an exceedingly unlikely Apple product before you realize that Gene Munster is its sole named source.

Photo: vernhart Read the rest

Report: iCloud plan puts China's Apple users at risk

According to The Hong Kong Free Press, Apple is set to hand over the keys to the the accounts of iCloud users in China to a company owned by the surveillance and censorship-happy Chinese government.

Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) will take over the operation of Apple's Chinese data center at the end of February, making GCBD responsible for all legal and financial transactions between the Apple and China's iCloud users. Once GCBD is running the show, Apple will be responsible for investing one billion USD to build a new server farm in Guiyang and to provide technical support in the interest of preserving data security.

Apple's doesn't like telling folks what iCloud user data they're able to read. The information could be limited to the size of uploaded files and where those files were uploaded, or as comprehensive as being able to browse through the photos taken with an iPhone. That China's communist government, which is big on watching the digital doings of its citizens, censorship and political activism could will soon have access to the iCloud account information of every iPhone, iPad or Mac user in China pretty troubling. 

This isn't the first time that Apple has bowed to pressure from the Chinese government, either. At the ass end of 2017, they happily removed close to 700 VPN apps from the Chinese iTunes App Store, making it extremely difficult for iOS users to view uncensored content. So, say good bye to news stories about China and the rest of the world that hasn't been approved by Chinese state censors. Read the rest

People keep walking into the glass walls at the new Apple campus

Apple employees are hurting themselves walking into the glass walls and doors of the new Apple campus, reports Bloomberg. Apple keeps removing the post-it notes they put up so they know where they are.

Surrounding the Cupertino, California-based building are 45-foot tall curved panels of safety glass. Inside are work spaces, dubbed “pods,” also made with a lot of glass. Apple staff are often glued to the iPhones they helped popularize. That’s resulted in repeated cases of distracted employees walking into the panes, according to people familiar with the incidents. Some staff started to stick Post-It notes on the glass doors to mark their presence. However, the notes were removed because they detracted from the building’s design, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing anything related to Apple. Another person familiar with the situation said there are other markings to identify the glass.

I bet the campus overheats if you leave a magazine on top Read the rest

A single unicode symbol can crash iPhone, iPad and Mac apps

Apple's been in the headlines over the past few months, for all of the wrong reasons. According to TechCrunch, their PR losing streak isn't going to stop any time soon.

TechCrunch reports that an IOS software development house has discovered that two unicode symbols, when inputted into a number of popular iOS apps, will cause the apps to crash. In many instances, once the apps crash, it's impossible to open them again. TechCrunch was able to recreate these crashes on a number of pieces of hardware running iOS and a Mac running the latest version of MacOS:

The bug crashes apps including Mail, Twitter, Messages, Slack, Instagram and Facebook. From our testing, it also crashed Jumpcut, a copy and paste plugin for Mac. While it initially appeared that the Chrome browser for Mac was unaffected and could safely display the symbol, it later crashed Chrome and the software would not reopen without crashing until uninstalled and reinstalled.

This isn't the first 'text bomb' issue that Apple's been confronted with. In January, it was discovered that it allowed a specific web address to crash any iPhone it was texted to.

Given that this bug effects so many different devices (all of which I use) I'm hoping that it gets sorted out fast.

Image courtesy of Pxhere Read the rest

If Siri existed in the 1980s

Leave it to Squirrel Monkey (previously) to imagine what Siri might have been like in the eighties. In this spoof called Wonders of the World Wide Web, they give the ancient alter ego of Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant a garbled, synthesized voice which I found particularly funny. Be sure to watch the whole video, as it just gets weirder as it goes along.

(Tastefully Offensive) Read the rest

Remove the DRM from iTunes movies with TunesKit

More and more people watch movies and TV shows at home, exclusively through the use of streaming services like Hulu or Netflix, but I'm not one of them. I'm not against streaming: the problem is that my partner and I live, full-time, in a 40 foot long motorhome, puttering around North and Central America. A lot of times, our rambles take us to places where the Internet connectivity is lousy. The upload/download speeds we get from RV parks or in the parking lots we surf are good enough for me to do my work online, but make for a buffering-filled nightmare if I even think about streaming anything. And if we decide to camp for a few weeks in a national park, I have to travel back towards civilization and a cellphone signal, just to check my email. We read a lot of books, but we both love movies. To keep us entertained, I've collected a hard drive full of just over 500 movies, and close to 300 hours of TV shows. Some are ripped from DVDs that I bought over the years, but most of them were purchased and downloaded from Apple.

For the last several years, I've had a real hate on for iTunes. So far as software goes, it's twitchy, slow and far from user friendly. I can't count how many times that iTunes has lost the artwork for the movies that I own. It makes me a little nuts. I also absolutely loathe iOS 11's TV app. Read the rest

Apple's long-awaited podcast data-transparency reveals an ad-listening audience with no clear format-preferences

Apple's podcast feature in Itunes is probably the most successful podcatcher extant, and it's long been understood that the app gathers extensive data on listeners' habits: what they listen to, when and where, and how they listen (skipping ads, increasing playback speed, etc). Read the rest

Apple, Google add 45 minutes to commuter-bus run to avoid 280 highway, where the buses' windows keep getting smashed

No one's sure how the windows on commuter buses between San Francisco and Silicon Valley keep getting smashed on a stretch of the 280 -- maybe it's a pellet gun, maybe it's thrown rocks -- but Apple and Google have informed employees who use the service that their commute is about to get 45 minutes longer as they take alternate routes to avoid that highway. Read the rest

At long last, open video formats are triumphing

Apple was the last major holdout on proprietary video codecs, the only major industry player that hadn't signed onto the Alliance for Open Media, home of the AV1 video format, a successor to On2's groundbreaking open formats of the early web years, which led to the company's acquisition by Google in 2010. Read the rest

Federal prosecutors say that Ohio man used MacOS malware that covertly operated cameras and mics and exfiltrated porn searches for 13 years

An indictment in the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio's Eastern Division alleges that Phillip R Durachinsky created a strain of MacOS "creepware" called Fruitfly, which was able to covertly operate the cameras and microphones of infected computers as well as capturing and sharing porn searches from the infected machines; the indictment alleges that Durachinsky used the software for 13 years, targeting individuals, schools, and federal agencies including the Department of Energy. Read the rest

One week after release, iPhone X's Face ID reportedly defeated by a $150 mask

The Vietnamese security company Bkav says that a prototype mask costing $150 can reliably defeat Apple's Face ID authentication system. However, the company (which has a good track record for defeating facial recognition systems) has not released technical details for the defeat and says that it was able to accomplish the task "Because... we are the leading cyber security firm ;)." Read the rest

Excellent, plain-language explainer on corporate and 1 percenter tax evasion, with a simple solution

The New York Times has collaborated with Berkeley economics prof Gabriel Zucman to produce an interactive explainer that walks through the baroque tax-evasion strategies deployed by multinationals like Google and Apple, as well as the super-rich, using plain language and explanatory graphics to get past the deliberately eye-glazing tedium of these arrangements, a shield of boringness that has allowed the super-rich to hide $8.7 trillion from tax authorities while taking advantage of national courts, education, roads, police, and health care. Read the rest

Wolfenstein: 30+ years of killing Nazis

I killed them on the Apple ][. I stopped them in 3D. Now we have Nazis in America, both in real life and the latest installment of Wolfenstein. BJ Blazkowicz makes it clear, Nazis gonna die. Read the rest

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