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Dialog Season 1, Episode 2: A Conversation with John Gruber – MacStories
Today, we published the second episode of Dialog Season 1 (called 'Writers and Writing') featuring the first part of a conversation with Daring Fireball's John Gruber.
You can find the episode here or listen through the Dialog web player below.
I'd like to provide some context around this interview as John Gruber was one of the first names I thought of when my colleague John pitched the original idea for Dialog months ago.
When I started MacStories 10 years ago, Daring Fireball was one of my main sources of inspiration: I was incredibly fascinated by the idea that a single person – more than a blogger, a writer – could share his opinions about Apple and technology on a website that was so clearly attached to his name. Gruber's columns and original in-depth software reviews were the blueprints upon which I modeled my writing for MacStories: at the time, I felt that, even though English was not my primary language, I could at least try to do the same, but for iPhone apps and the modern age of the App Store and iOS developers.
podcast  interview  daring_fireball  apple  writing 
11 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Bloomberg Shits the Bed Again on Cybersecurity
First things first: earlier this week WhatsApp announced that they had closed a remote code execution vulnerability, affecting all platforms, that attackers could exploit simply by calling a user’s WhatsApp account — whether the call was answered or not. (A buffer overflow, no surprise.) They revealed to The Financial Times that this vulnerability had been exploited, targeting an unknown but presumably small number of users, by software from NSO Group, an Israeli company that sells expensive, exclusive, world-class hacking tools to governments (or at least NSO claims only to sell their software to legitimate governments). The FT story is locked behind their paywall (which makes me wonder why WhatsApp went to them with the story), but TechCrunch has a good summary.
Long story short, this was a bad bug that was apparently exploited in the wild. A reasonable point to be taken from this story is that end-to-end encryption is not a panacea. If an attacker manages to install malware on your device, whether via remote exploit or physical access to the device, it’s game over, because they’re now inside one of the ends.
It’s like if you have a secure communication line between two rooms, but an attacker gains entry into one of the rooms. The problem is not with the communication line.
security  encryption  messaging  whatsapp  privacy  daring_fireball 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: iOS Apps Grossly Abusing Background App Refresh for Tracking Purposes
Geoffrey Fowler, writing for The Washington Post...
This is all going on via Background App Refresh. You can see which apps have this permission on your iOS device in Settings: General: Background App Refresh (it’s the 8th item in General in iOS 12).
This feature exists for good reasons — it’s how email, messaging, and podcast apps can update in the background. You probably want new podcasts episodes to download in the background overnight. You want current weather information when you wake up in the morning. But anything that can be abused, will be abused, and it looks like a lot of apps are abusing the shit out of Background App Refresh.
I don’t know what Apple can do to make this more transparent — to somehow let you, the user, see what exactly these apps are doing in the background — but I sure hope it’s on their radar. At this point, a lot of these apps — because of the third-party “analytics” libraries they embed — are acting as spyware, pure and simple.
security  privacy  ios  apps  tracking  data  daring_fireball  iphone 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Sniping From Goldman Sachs Rivals on Apple Card
Hugh Son, writing for CNBC...
No shit they’re going to make less money than cards that charge fees and higher interest rates. But they’re going to make money — I’ll eat my hat if Goldman and Apple don’t turn a profit on this card. CNBC’s headline — “A Goldman Sachs rival pulled out of the Apple Card deal on fears it will be a money loser” — makes it sound like they’re going to lose money, which is ludicrous. They’ll make money on each transaction and they’ll make money charging interest on any cardholder who carries a balance. Arguing that they won’t make enough money is just usurious greed.
I don’t use the word lightly, but it’s evil to argue against the software Apple is releasing to help cardholders avoid debt and pay down what debt they owe quickly.
Also, this whole CNBC article seems like a way to sell consumers on getting an Apple Card.
apple_card  credit_cards  banking  money  daring_fireball 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: The Independent on Apple and Privacy
Andrew Griffin, in a lengthy piece for The Independent...
Griffin’s piece is an interesting read, and he was granted rare access to Apple’s testing facilities, but I think it’s a little all over the place, bouncing back and forth between security issues (testing Apple designed chips in extreme temperatures) and privacy issues. I think the above is the main point though — Google and Facebook are both pushing back against Apple, arguing that Apple’s stance on privacy is only possible because they charge a lot of money for their products.
I think the point that needs to be made is that free and low-cost products can be subsidized by privacy-respecting advertising — but privacy-respecting advertising is not as profitable as privacy-invasive advertising, as exemplified on Facebook and Google’s humongous platforms.
apple  privacy  facebook  google  advertising  daring_fireball  money 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: 'Nancy Pelosi and Fakebook’s Dirty Tricks'
Kara Swisher, writing at The New York Times:
This is ridiculous. The only thing the incident shows is how expert Facebook has become at blurring the lines between simple mistakes and deliberate deception, thereby abrogating its responsibility as the key distributor of news on the planet.
Would a broadcast network air this? Never. Would a newspaper publish it? Not without serious repercussions. Would a marketing campaign like this ever pass muster? False advertising. […]
By conflating censorship with the responsible maintenance of its platforms, and by providing “rules” that are really just capricious decisions by a small coterie of the rich and powerful, Facebook and others have created a free-for-all with no consistent philosophy.
disinformation  facebook  fake  gov2.0  nytimes  pelosi  politics  video  youtube  daring_fireball 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: YouTube Is the Only Social Platform Taking Down Doctored Pelosi Videos
Kate Riga, reporting for TPM:
YouTube has taken down videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) doctored to make her seem drunk from its platform, saying that the posts “violated our policies.”
“YouTube has clear policies that outline what content is not acceptable to post and we remove videos violating these policies when flagged to us. These videos violated our policies and have been removed. They also did not surface prominently. In fact, search results and watch next panels about Nancy Pelosi include videos from authoritative sources, usually at the top,” a spokesperson told TPM.
Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, are letting the videos live on their sites.
“We remove things from Facebook that violate our Community Standards, and we don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true,” a company spokesperson said in a statement obtained by Politico.
Shame on Twitter and Facebook. These videos are not parody or satire — they’re being passed off as real, and garnering millions of views. It’s dangerous propaganda.
disinformation  facebook  fake  gov2.0  pelosi  politics  video  youtube  daring_fireball 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: ‘Behind Twitter’s Plan to Get People to Stop Yelling at Each Other’
Interesting feature by Nicole Nguyen for BuzzFeed with an inside look at “twttr” — a new version of Twitter currently being tested. Lots of screenshots, and I particularly enjoyed (and would have liked to see more of) senior product designer Lisa Ding’s sketchbook.
I do think most of these designs significantly help indicate reply threading. What’s a reply to the original tweet, what’s a reply to another reply, that sort of thing. Twitter is really just awful for that right now, and always has been. And the fundamental reason why is kind of obvious: Twitter started as a product that did not even have the concept of replies. Users invented them, by starting a tweet with “@username” for whomever they were replying to. Twitter eventually embraced replies as a full-fledged feature, but the way it’s worked out over 13 years (poorly) is a perfect example of a fundamental design precept: the origins of a product forever shape its future.
But again, these “twttr” designs do seem to make replies clearer. That’s good. What I don’t see is anything, anything at all, that addresses the ostensible goal of this whole effort: reducing abuse, hostility, and general bad behavior. Trolls and bullies are Twitter’s core problem, not the clarity of reply threads.
twitter  UI/UX  daring_fireball 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Don’t Hold Your Breath
Reuters:
Samsung Electronics said on Tuesday it cannot confirm the shipping date for its foldable device Galaxy Fold yet and apologized to its pre-order customers in the United States for the delay. The world’s top smartphone maker delayed global sales of the splashy $1,980 foldable phone after reviewers discovered problems with its display, dealing a setback to Samsung and its efforts to showcase its innovation.
“If we do not hear from you and we have not shipped by May 31st, your order will be canceled automatically,” the South Korean tech giant’s U.S. subsidiary told Galaxy Fold pre-order customers in an email late on Monday, which was confirmed by a Samsung spokeswoman.
Today is May 7. How can anyone take them seriously that they do not know if they’re going to ship by May 31? This thing is never going to ship and everyone knows it.
android  daring_fireball  foldable  OLED  smartphone  technology 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Facebook Lawyer Says Users ‘Have No Expectation of Privacy’
Mikael Thalen, writing for The Daily Dot:
A lawyer for Facebook argued in court Wednesday that the social media site’s users “have no expectation of privacy.”
According to Law360, Facebook attorney Orin Snyder made the comment while defending the company against a class-action lawsuit over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
“There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy,” Snyder said.
Get them in court and all of sudden they’re honest.
facebook  privacy  daring_fireball  legal 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Facebook’s Creepy Data Sharing With Phone Carriers
Sam Biddle, reporting for The Intercept:
Offered to select Facebook partners, the data includes not just technical information about Facebook members’ devices and use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks, but also their past locations, interests, and even their social groups. This data is sourced not just from the company’s main iOS and Android apps, but from Instagram and Messenger as well. The data has been used by Facebook partners to assess their standing against competitors, including customers lost to and won from them, but also for more controversial uses like racially targeted ads.
Some experts are particularly alarmed that Facebook has marketed the use of the information — and appears to have helped directly facilitate its use, along with other Facebook data — for the purpose of screening customers on the basis of likely creditworthiness. Such use could potentially run afoul of federal law, which tightly governs credit assessments.
Mark Zuckerberg, last month: “I believe the future is private.”
facebook  privacy  security  daring_fireball  telco  data  sharing 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: 'Facebook Is Trying to Make the Word “Private” Meaningless'
Good piece by Casey Johnston for The Outline on the hollowness of Facebook’s newfound push for “privacy”:
He emphasized several times that Facebook will not be able to see the content of this material, saying it was private “even from us” several times about several features, and emphasizing the words “safety” and “secure.”
But what his presentation elided was the fact that Facebook does not need to see the content of what people are saying in order to advertise to them. The metadata — who, or what (as in a business), you’re talking to, and even where you are or what time the conversation is taking place as it comes together with other pieces of information — provides more than enough information to make a very educated guess about what you’re interested in, to the point that knowing specifically what you are saying adds almost nothing.
facebook  advertising  privacy  security  daring_fireball  metadata 
12 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: WWDC by Sundell
John Sundell:
However, not everyone is able to actually attend WWDC in person. Not only do you have to win the “lottery” in order to qualify for purchasing a ticket, you also need to have the monetary means to be able to fly to, stay at, and attend the conference. So for a huge amount of people, WWDC can feel a bit out of reach.
I wanted to do something about that. This website is for everyone who wants to closely follow WWDC, but from anywhere in the world. Starting right now, this site will be updated daily with articles, videos, podcasts, and interviews, covering all things WWDC — from recommendations on what session videos to watch, to in-depth looks at new APIs, to interviews with people from all over the Apple developer community.
A lot of great content here already. And the site is very fast — no JavaScript, no tracking, no nonsense.
apple  conference  WWDC  web  daring_fireball 
16 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: YouTube Gamed Into Recommending Russian Propaganda on Mueller Report
Guillaume Chaslot:
One week after the release of the Mueller report, which analysis of it did YouTube recommend from the most channels among the 1000+ channels that I monitor daily?
Russia Today’s!
This video funded by the Russian government was recommended more than half a million times from more than 236 different channels. […]
Technology can enable two worlds:
One where accountability keeps cheaters in check
One where social media is manipulated by armies of fake accounts
I’m on Facebook’s case more frequently, but YouTube might be just as complicit in distributing massive-scale propaganda pushed by fake accounts they could surely detect but don’t in the name of the almighty god both companies worship: engagement. They both use devilishly clever algorithms to target this propaganda, not to flag it.
algorithm  disinformation  mueller  propaganda  report  russia  youtube  daring_fireball 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: More on iFixit Pulling Its Galaxy Fold Teardown
...My bet is that their “partner” is in hot water with Samsung over their having handed the Fold unit over to iFixit. iFixit knows pulling the teardown makes them look bad, like they’re caving in to a demand from Samsung, but they’re doing it anyway to protect or perhaps even as a favor to this “ally in making devices more repairable”, a description I suspect might mean “someone who has in the past and might again in the future get us early access to hardware through unofficial channels”.
I.e., iFixit is doing a favor for their source, not a favor for Samsung, even though they know some will see it as a favor for Samsung.
Alternatively, the really bad look for iFixit is that their “partner” is a marketing firm that is also a partner for Samsung, and getting pre-retail-availability to iFixit was originally part of the marketing rollout for the Fold and iFixit is really just going along with this so that they keep getting pre-retail-availability access to Samsung devices.
It’s a bit inside baseball but the whole thing is just weird, because, as I said at the top, reviews just don’t get pulled unless the review itself — not the product — is flawed.
foldable  OLED  technology  smartphone  daring_fireball  teardown  android 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: iFixit Removes Galaxy Fold Teardown
iFixit:
After two days of intense public interest, iFixit has removed our teardown of Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. That analysis supported our suspicions that the device provided insufficient protection from debris damaging the screen.
We were provided our Galaxy Fold unit by a trusted partner. Samsung has requested, through that partner, that iFixit remove its teardown. We are under no obligation to remove our analysis, legal or otherwise. But out of respect for this partner, whom we consider an ally in making devices more repairable, we are choosing to withdraw our story until we can purchase a Galaxy Fold at retail.
I was — and remain — genuinely curious who supplied them with a unit. It couldn’t have been a review unit — those have to be returned and review terms always forbid taking devices apart. Maybe from a carrier?
foldable  OLED  technology  smartphone  daring_fireball  teardown  android 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: The Drumbeat of Impeachment
...Zealots, fools, and well-meaning idealists who don’t understand how the U.S. political system really works cry “impeachment” against every president. There were cries for it against Obama (despite the fact that his administration was the most scandal-free of any in modern history), against both Bushes, and Reagan. And of course Bill Clinton was impeached, over charges that, whatever you think of their merit, were indisputably less significant than what the Mueller report revealed about Trump.
In short, “impeachment” is oft used lightly on the political fringes. In the wake of the Mueller report, it’s starting to be used by sober-minded people who fully understand the gravity of its place in our Constitution — a measure of last resort. Alexander Hamilton described impeachment power as an “awful discretion”. Trump himself is now tweeting about impeachment, betraying, unsurprisingly, that he has absolutely no idea how the process actually works. The fact that he’s tweeting about it — and stonewalling Congressional oversight to profoundly unprecedented degrees — shows that he’s worried, but this only serves to move impeachment further into the political mainstream.
Ignore the noise and listen closely — the drumbeat is growing.
politics  gov2.0  trump  impeachment  daring_fireball  Dems  congress 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Know When to Fold ’Em
Timothy W. Martin, reporting for The Wall Street Journal, “Samsung’s Galaxy Fold Smartphone Release Delayed”:
Samsung Electronics Co. is delaying the rollout of its Galaxy Fold smartphone until at least next month after some tech reviewers said their test devices had malfunctioned.
The Galaxy Fold, the industry’s first mainstream foldable-screen device, was slated to start selling in the U.S. on Friday, with a price tag of nearly $2,000. But Samsung, citing the problems reported by reviewers, said Monday it plans to announce a new release date for the phone in the coming weeks. […]
The launch delay came hours after the South Korean technology giant abruptly scrapped prerelease media events planned for Hong Kong on Tuesday and Shanghai on Wednesday. The company at the time didn’t specify why the two media briefings had been aborted.
“We are conducting a thorough inspection into the issues reported by some of the reviewers of early Galaxy Fold samples,” a Samsung spokeswoman said. “We will share the findings as soon as we have them.”
This is a sign of deep dysfunction within Samsung. Let’s think this whole thing through.
foldable  OLED  technology  smartphone  daring_fireball  android 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: '15 Months of Fresh Hell Inside Facebook'
Hard to summarize this massive Wired cover story by Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein other than that Facebook is a terrible company run by terrible people, particularly Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. We all have a lot of reading on our hands with today’s release of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel report, but this one is worth queuing up and setting time aside for. A few highlights:
In addition to general mendacity and capriciousness, Facebook decisions are often inept...
Zuckerberg was jealous of Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom...
And vindictiveness...
Who believes this was a coincidence? Anyone?
facebook  business  daring_fireball 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: 'Secrecy, Self-Dealing, and Greed at the N.R.A.'
Mike Spies, reporting for The New Yorker:
The N.R.A. and Ackerman have become so intertwined that it is difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. Top officials and staff move freely between the two organizations; Oliver North, the former Iran-Contra operative, who now serves as the N.R.A.’s president, is paid roughly a million dollars a year through Ackerman, according to two N.R.A. sources. But this relationship, which in many ways has built the contemporary N.R.A., seems also to be largely responsible for the N.R.A.’s dire financial state. According to interviews and to documents that I obtained — federal tax forms, charity records, contracts, corporate filings, and internal communications — a small group of N.R.A. executives, contractors, and venders has extracted hundreds of millions of dollars from the nonprofit’s budget, through gratuitous payments, sweetheart deals, and opaque financial arrangements. Memos created by a senior N.R.A. employee describe a workplace distinguished by secrecy, self-dealing, and greed, whose leaders have encouraged disastrous business ventures and questionable partnerships, and have marginalized those who object. “Management has subordinated its judgment to the vendors,” the documents allege. “Trust in the top has eroded.”
Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people.
gov2.0  politics  guns  NRA  corruption  daring_fireball 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194

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