/Tag: apple

You must gather your party before venturing forth.

First activity with the new laptop: D&D!

Some thoughts:

  • The keyboard is… weird. Not necessarily in a bad way, just in a… very flat. low-key-travel way.
  • The battery drained fast. Like… really, really, within-three-hours fast. I’m hoping this is because I literally only just pulled it off backup restore before the game, so the OS was still thrashing itself indexing files and re-syncing with Dropbox/iCloud/whatever. Because three hours out-of-the-box battery life for a laptop is… not great.
  • The only ports are four USB-Cs/Thunderbolt 3s. Yes, even the power jack. This is very… Apple (I’m old enough to remember when they were the first to do things like remove floppy and CD drives, and this feels like an extension of that) but… in the meantime, damn USB-A to -C hubs are expensive.
  • The screen both feels (and is, resolution-wise) wa-aa-aa-ay bigger than my old MBP, even though they’re both 15-inchers.
  • Speaking of, this one’s also a fair bit lighter (the old laptop is a beast, weight-wise, which I discovered while lugging it through the world’s airports).
  • This is the bottom-of-the-line 15-inch MBP, which means 16 GB RAM and the 256 GB disk. Apparently my old computer also had a 256 GB disk, which means… I have already run out of space on the new device. Er… oops.
  • Space Grey is the best color.

Also, D&D went pretty well and our paladin now has a pet mimic, so… that’s the important thing.

2018-07-19T08:37:28+10:0019th July, 2018|Tags: apple, tech|

Apple Cash.

Dense-but-fascinating look at Apple’s cash reserves (and loans and share buybacks).

One of the most interesting observations is, I think, the fact that Apple has so much cash because it’s so profitable it makes more money than it has things to spend it on; it basically spends as much money as it wants on R&D and still has scads of cash left over. Other companies with similar “problems”, i.e. Amazon, “solve” it by constantly expanding their business into different areas (cloud services, logistics, unstaffed grocery stores, etc.). But Apple… basically does exactly and only what Apple’s always done since it was founded; make personal computing devices.1

(And, well. There’s also this…)

  1. Unless, I dunno. The Apple Car gets announced in between when I put this post on the queue and when it pops off. Although, even then, modern cars—particularly of the electric variety—are arguably just “computers that move”, so… []
2018-07-27T14:37:03+10:0018th July, 2018|Tags: apple, economics, tech|


The story of the team who made iOS’s original emoji icons. Most importantly:

Sometimes our emoji turned out more comical than intended and some have a backstory. For example, Raymond reused his happy poop swirl as the top of the ice cream cone. Now that you know, bet you’ll never forget. No one else who discovered this little detail did either.

2018-01-31T08:19:48+10:0012th July, 2018|Tags: apple, design, emoji, ios|

The security trap.

So, like a lot of companies, Apple has a bug bounty to reward people who report security vulnerabilities in its products. Only problem? iPhone bugs are so rare, that they’re too valuable–both monetarily and for research purposes–to report.

2017-07-11T08:42:21+10:009th October, 2017|Tags: apple, infosec, iphone, tech|


In the early 2000s, the Japanese mobile phone market looked… pretty much like nowhere else in the world. It was its own closed ecosystem of telco-run vendor portals and odd one-off proprietary technologies that was considered pretty much impossible to crack by an “outside” handset.

Except Apple did it, and because they did it, the rest of the world discovered emoji.

2017-07-06T10:14:02+10:0020th September, 2017|Tags: apple, iphone, tech|

Online advertising is broken.

Apparently online advertising lobbyists have their banners in a twist over Apple’s plans to introduce automatic tracker blocking in Safari.

Most current adware blocking and spyware obfuscation is user-directed. That is, if you don’t want your every move on the internet tracked, collated, and onsold by massive shady multinational surveillance companies, you need to both, a) know the problem exists in the first place, and b) know which in the massive ecosystem of imperfect-but-better-than-nothing anti-spyware products is trustworthy enough to use.1

So while companies like Google and Facebook–whose business models are spying and nothing else–wring their hands with weak and useless “initiatives” designed more to stave off the looming threat of government regulation than protect users, Apple (and, to give them credit, Microsoft) are more and more using “protecting privacy” as their market differentiators. This is why Apple, for example, added a “cop button” to Touch ID in response to that ridiculous US ruling about biometrics.2

And it’s why, one assumes, Apple continues to beef up its browser anti-spyware technology. Apple’s motto has always been “it just works”; that is, their products are intuitive for non-tech types. “It just works” when applied to browser anti-spyware means the browser’s default, unconfigured state should be to deny third-party tracking and micro-targeted advertising. If the latter really does provide the “better user experience” that ad lobbyists like to claim, then users missing their micro-segmented Russian propaganda [content warning for discussions of how Facebook’s advertising platform facilitates antisemitism] can opt-in by using a less privacy-focused browser.

… Yeah. I’m not holding my breath, either.

“But free content on the internet relies on ads!” cry the industry shills.

Well… yes and no. First of all, even when content relies on advertising, there’s no reason whatsoever that it has to rely on the hyper-targeted, micro-segmented, deeply personally intrusive style of advertising sold by platforms like Facebook. The sole reason this type of advertising exists is to give ad platforms an excuse to charge more and, thus, make more money. Keep in mind, I’m not just talking about, say, Google showing you ads for garden supply stores when you search for how to fix ruptured garden hose. I’m talking about things like Facebook trying to sell you things based on its inference of your current mood. Removing that level of intrusiveness is not, let’s be completely clear about this, going to kill the internet.

Second of all, I am Internet Old and, as such, I absolutely remember a time before the internet decided “spying on everyone, all the time” was going to be its primary business model. Yes, things looked different–they were much more decentralized, for example, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing–but, again, people managed. Just like they do now with things like non-ad-sourced micropayments and premium content subscriptions. Yes, monetizing in this way isn’t “easy” but–and maybe this is just me–that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Particularly when you consider the sort of content that’s profitable in ad-based attention economies…

In other words, bring on the blockers, I say.

  1. Plug: uBlock Origin, uMatrix, and Vanilla. []
  2. One assumes that, contra Twitter hot takes, similar safeguards will apply to Face ID. []
2018-07-27T14:25:26+10:0018th September, 2017|Tags: advertising, apple, privacy, tech, xp|