My good friend and fellow OFB writer Dennis E. Powell and I met years ago on a group that championed Free/Open Source software, much for the same sorts of reasons he advocates for his new phone configuration over Apple’s offerings. OFB itself was founded, in fact, to promote such open software, especially Linux, so why would I defend locked down systems from Apple? That’s a story that started 19 years ago, before the iPhone even existed.
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.
It was an unexpected and chilling moment. As is my wont, as I made supper Monday night I had on in the background the Japanese international television station, NHK. The program was about learning the Japanese language by reading the news.
It starts when we’re young, I think, and continues through our lives. That great new baseball glove, we’re encouraged to believe (and are eager to go along with it), will make us far better players. That new car will make us so much more attractive to the opposite sex. That new word processor will bring our writing into a whole new realm of coherence and literacy.
Facebook was down for several hours last week. Wise people considered the incident “a good start.” This came after testimony before a Congressional committee in which Facebook was shown to be engaged in the promotion of things harmful to children in order to make a buck.
Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel write for the New York Times:
If you own a mobile phone, its every move is logged and tracked by dozens of companies. No one is beyond the reach of this constant digital surveillance. Not even the president of the United States.
The interactive graphic at the top of the article is enough to show just how alarmingly accurate tracking data on cell phones can be. If the president can be tracked this easily, it should be a sober reminder to all of us to care more about electronic privacy.