The IOS update that killed my original iPhone SE was the last straw. I was done with Apple. They’d already skated far out onto the thin ice when they killed the excellent Dark Sky weather application and replaced it with their more-is-less Weather application, which took what was once quick, convenient, easy, and comprehensive — Dark Sky — and replaced it with a jumble of information, often not the information being sought, on a too-busy screen. It would have been forgivable if they had provided a setting that restored the look, feel, and functionality of Dark Sky. They didn’t. They never do. Apple knows best.
As a friend battled viruses on his brand-new Windows computer this week, I thought again about just how spoiled Apple users are by better security and better privacy than Android and Windows folks live with. Long adept at bringing such advantages to the masses that will never try (much less secure) Linux, Apple has one vulnerability is tech prowess cannot overcome: China.
The train ride was from whatever station is near Hamilton to Boston and back. I was in eastern Massachusetts for a horse show, but was taking a day off to do some work, namely visit the new digs of Miguel deIcaza and Nat Friedman, two of the brighter stars in the Linux firmament, and to interview them.
They were great to talk with, and the steampunk dÃ©cor at their new company, Ximian, was bracing. I’d probably remember it pretty clearly even if that were the only thing that day which was out of the ordinary. But it wasn’t.
By now most of us know the unpleasant drill. The credit card company calls or texts you and says there appears to be an unauthorized purchase. Somehow, that happened (near as I can tell, merely coincidentally) on three different accounts for me within a week in July. One has turned into a continuing pain months later: Apple Card. Some of this is a fault of the card, but the greater fault lies in a weak bit of design in Apple’s platforms I otherwise love.
It was expensive as mute buttons go. That seems clear to me, but anyone else might need a little explanation. For the last number of years I have had in my bedroom what was the cheapest little flat-screen television that WalMart had to offer in about 2015, so it wasn’t much good seven years ago and today no one would purchase even a telephone with its low video specifications and lack of inputs.
Everyone loves to show off some photos of their latest trip or family party. So, here I’ll share some to start off this week’s column. Never mind if you would rather not see my family’s party or my vacation — these aren’t those anyway. I’ve been under-the-weather and keeping my distance from folks. Here’s another secret though: they aren’t anybody’s.
It started before the pandemic, but the pandemic let it take root and become the norm. We don’t often have funerals any more, at least not religious services in which we mourn the departed and beg God to welcome our dead friend or relative into the splendor of eternal Heavenly life. Instead, the obituary now frequently ends with “A celebration of life will take place at a later date.”
Science fiction literature is full of situations where electronic devices become self aware and begin making their own decisions. Some of us, I suppose, have come to think that it’s ultimately inevitable.
Just now, as is the case each morning, I opened a terminal window on my computer’s desktop and typed a command: “apt update”. The window filled with characters as each of several online “repositories” was checked. Soon I was given a list of the software packages, including the operating system itself, that had security updates and bug fixes available. There being some, I then typed “apt upgrade” and a minute or two later those fixes had been downloaded and installed.