The Apocalypticon ~ lone accident killer, tech housing expensive, hacking through grief, Aussie police ‘lapse’, Chump, Yahoo failure gets massive payout, NSA concession


If only accidents could kill you, how long would you live? Imagine a world in which the only possible way to die was through a sudden accident, such as a car crash, falling down the stairs, or getting struck by lighting. How long could we expect to live in such a world? According to an eye-opening simulation, a very, very, long time, indeed.

Tech made houses too expensive — “You live your comfortable lives,” read a flyer that protesters handed out to passengers, “surrounded by poverty, homelessness, and death, seemingly oblivious to everything around you, lost in the big bucks and success.” This is what protestors told tech commuters in Oakland, California. That moment of backlash was an outgrowth of what I call the New Urban Crisis: the decline of middle-class neighborhoods, the gentrification of the downtowns of certain cities, and the reshaping of America’s metropolitan regions into islands of advantage surrounded by larger swaths of disadvantage.

And high-tech cities will be lonely anyway — The prospect of cities becoming sentient is “fast becoming the new reality,” according to one paper. In Tel Aviv, everyone over the age of 13 can receive personalised data, such as traffic information, and can access free municipal Wi-Fi in 80 public zones. But in a future where robots sound and objects look increasingly sentient, we might be less inclined to seek out behaviors to abate our loneliness. Indeed, one recent study found that exposure to or interaction with anthropomorphic products partially satisfy our social needs, which means the human-like robots of tomorrow could kill our dwindling urge to be around other humans.

Sheryl Sandberg grieved when her husband died suddenly, then wanted the data — Very much in the Silicon Valley-esque spirit of problem-solving, a the Facebook Chief Operating Officer grasped for answers, she reached out to a business school professor Adam Grant, a Wharton School expert on organizational psychology. She knew he would have insight into her situation grounded in data … think Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking meets business case studies.
~ Yikes! And we’re afraid of the possibility robo-chums?

The Australian Federal Police access the metadata of a journalist — And they did this without properly complying with Australia’s new metadata retention laws, AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin has revealed. The vast majority of us would be killed in car crashes (0.011 per cent of all causes of death).

Chump aims to kill the Energy Star program — Because he’s such an idiot who impresses nobody more than himself, the 25-year-old Energy Star program appears to be targeted by Trump simply because it’s run by the federal government. It’s one of 50 EPA programs that will be axed under Trump’s budget plan, which would shrink the agency’s funding by more than 30%. Critics of Energy Star say the government should get involved in the marketplace only when absolutely necessary.

Marissa Mayer ruins company, gets US$247 million payout for her efforts — When poor people fail, they just fail. But when rich people fail, the poor pay them.  Despite Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s veritable failure to rescue the company from a pile of its own rot, and after numerous setbacks including two massive security breaches and dwindling ad revenue, Mayer is set to make about $US186 million ($247 million) as a result of the company’s sale to Verizon, new SEC documents show. This sum does not include Mayer’s salary or bonuses over the past five years, which reportedly add up to more than $US200 million …
~ This even touched New Zealand, where Spark very inadvisedly let Yahoo run its email services. 

Finally, a glimmer of good news — One controversial feature of the NSA rules has for years allowed it to vacuum up communications that aren’t “to” or “from” a foreign target, but merely “about” one, no matter who sends or receives it. Now the NSA says it will end that practice. And in doing so, it concedes a significant win to the privacy advocates who have fought it for years.

Futurology ~ Cassini, NASA chainmail, artificial womb, iWalk, plastic-eatin’ bug, speeding cheap drives, DNA treatment, mass-producing organs, seniors’ VR future, mastodon threatens history


NASA’s 3D-printed chainmail — The biggest improvement NASA has made in its 21st century version of chain mail, developed by a team led by Raul Polit Casillas at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is how it’s manufactured. Instead of a medieval blacksmith spending weeks painstakingly connecting tiny loops of metal, one by one, the material shown above and below is 3D printed by a machine, which means it could be produced as needed on the space station, or on other off-Earth habitats, depending on where we travel in the coming decades.
~ Have at you, space varlet!

Cassini’s latter images — A Deep Space Network receiver picked up a signal from NASA’s Cassini orbiter as it emerged from its first trip through the gap between Saturn and the gas giant’s rings. In the ensuing data came pictures of the planet’s north pole and cloud tops from only 3000 kilometres away, our closest look yet at the upper part of Saturn’s atmosphere, where the pressure is about the same as it is at sea level on Earth, revealing ‘stringy’ clouds and odd lights. So what were we seeing?
~ In September, Cassini’s ‘final’ descent’ – let’s hope its crash isn’t seen as an act of war. 

Artificial womb birthed sheep, humans next? Inside what look like oversized ziplock bags strewn with tubes of blood and fluid, eight fetal lambs continued to develop much like they would have inside their mothers. Over four weeks, their lungs and brains grew, they sprouted wool, opened their eyes, wriggled around, and learned to swallow, according to a new study that takes the first step toward an artificial womb. One day, this device could help to bring premature human babies to term outside the uterus.
~ Can you keep them in the freezer till you want them? 

The iWalk2.0 hands-free crutch is a ‘high-tech peg-leg’ — The single ‘leg crutch’ straps to your leg and provides a built-in shelf upon which you rest your injured foot. It promised a way to walk around normally, arms completely unencumbered.
~ Basically, this is a high-tech peg-leg which gets you mobile again.

Plastic-munching caterpillar — In a chance discovery, a research team from Europe has learned a common insect larva is capable of breaking down the plastic found in shopping bags and other polyethylene-based products. This trash-munching caterpillar could inspire scientists to develop a new chemical process to tackle the growing problem of plastic waste.
~ So is its poo non-biodegradable? 

Optane memory speeds cheap hard drives — The primary reason your cheap laptop loudly chugs along at glacial speeds is because of the hard drive. Cheap laptops use cheap hard disk drives, which are much slower than the solid state drives found in better computers. But Intel’s new Optane Memory changes that. This little US$70 chip makes a cheap hard disk drive run as fast as a solid state drive by using a brand new type of memory.
~ Finally, something usefully revolutionary in the tech world!

DNA-based test much quicker at finding cancer — In the latest trial, reported in the journal Nature, 100 patients with non-small cell lung cancer were followed from diagnosis through surgery and chemotherapy, having blood tests every six to eight weeks. By analysing the patchwork of genetic faults in cells across each tumor, scientists created personalized genomic templates for each patient. This was then compared to the DNA floating in their blood, to assess whether a fraction of it matched that seen in their tumour.
~ Promising. 

Medical researchers have been able to create certain kinds of living cells with 3D printers for more than a decade — Some companies are getting closer to mass production of higher-order tissues (bone, cartilage, organs) and other individually tailored items, including implants.
~ I still want that small, three-fingered, two-thumbed hand in the middle of my chest so I can eat  a sandwich while holding a large iPad with both hands. 

Seniors’ future in VR — A four-years home-bound 78-year-old senior just made a transatlantic voyage while seated upright in his bed. He visited Stonehenge, a favorite vacation site of his; the streets of London’s Russell Square, near his old apartment and the stretch of Broadway where he lived and worked for so many years. Back and forth the man moved his head, his eyes obscured by the Gear VR headset he wore.
~ The bedridden man represents a population that has been forgotten by the VR industry: seniors.

US mastodon find threatens human history narrative — Workers building a new freeway in San Diego in 1993 made a fantastic discovery: a  backhoe operator scraped up a fossil, and scientists soon unearthed a full collection of bones, teeth, and tusks from a mastodon. The mastodons died out some 11,000 years ago.
But the dig site turned out to be even more revelatory and soon had archaeologists swooping in to study a number of stone tools scattered around the bones, evidence of human activity. After years of debate over the dating technology used on the mastodon, a group of researchers now believes that they can date it and the human tools to 130,000 years ago – more than 100,000 years earlier than the earliest humans are supposed to have made it to North America.
~ I would expect this idea could be confirmed with DNA studies. 

Retro case, Samsung Galaxy S8, Apple Music Video


Slickwraps Retro Case protects your iPhone like it’s 1984 — It looks good, it has a raised bezel to protect the screen, and there are even little ‘feet’ on the back corners of the case to keep the camera lens from getting scratched on a surface. The sides are clear, and it’s only that glorious back of the case that looks Mac-ish (left). Slickwraps Retro Case costs US$36.99. [I want one!]

A very false narrative: Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple’s iPhone — It’s hard to escape the media pronouncements that iPhones are now boring again after Samsung unveiled its latest Galaxy S8, Apple’s Mac business is being overshadowed by more exciting Surface Windows PCs from Microsoft and that Apple Watch is a disappointing dud. But all of those media narratives are wrong, according to Daniel Eran Dilger, and here’s why.
Meanwhile, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has delivered a Samsung spoof ad. From the narrator: “When our engineers designed this phone, they asked one simple question: how can we design a smartphone that won’t catch on fire?”
The answer? “The Galaxy S8 has been completely overhauled with revolutionary new features like larger screen display, better camera, and no fire.”

Apple Music redesign on the way for iOS 11, including original video content — Bloomberg is ‘reporting’ [as this is a rumour] that a new version of Apple Music, most likely embedded in iOS 11, will ship later this year that begins shifting the emphasis of the service from music to original video programming. The report notes that the new Apple Music service could host upwards of 10 original shows by the end of 2017. [Don’t speculate, wait and see.]

Classic Mac game, Air Force bugs, MacPhun members, Bad Boy


Crystal Quest Classic — Crystal Quest now runs under macOS 10.7 (Lion) and later. That’s a big thing because Crystal Quest, which is in Macworld magazine’s Game Hall of Fame and received a rare 5-mouse review from MacUser but it hasn’t been available for decades.
Developer Game Mechanics has faithfully recreated everything about it by using the original source code, graphics, and sounds. Today, Crystal Quest Classic looks, plays, and sounds just like the original.

US Our Force fights bugs — The US Air Force has announced a program for sharing vulnerabilities that it will launch next month. The Air Force bug bounty program will let hackers comb several public Air Force websites for software vulnerabilities. Cash prizes are available for discovered bugs, and this new program also does something new that others of its kind don’t. Here are the details.

MacPhun creates memberships for Luminar, Aurora users — Sign in and get member benefits for MacPhun’s various imaging software packs. Membership (free) helps you manage your software, enjoy exclusive videos from top photographers, show off your photos in premium contests and more. Register for free to access all the benefits.

The best part? We’re just getting started. Rest assured, your account will keep evolving month after month, offering new and unique benefits to improve your photography. You’ll love it! Get started today.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story confirmed as Apple Music exclusive — Almost immediately validating rumours, a new documentary on Bad Boy Records Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop — has been announced as an Apple Music exclusive, arriving on June 25. The film is centred around Bad Boy owner Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, the rise of the label during the 1990s, and efforts to put together 20th-anniversary shows in 2016.

Five Tip Friday ~ some for Mac users: Back to my Mac, non-printing characters, old file versions, emptying Trash, files as pathnames


1/ Set up and use Back to my Mac on macOS Sierra — If you have an iCloud account, you can use ‘Back to My Mac’ to connect to your other Macs over the Internet. You can then use Screen Sharing to control the remote computer from anywhere you are connected to the Internet.
(To use Back to My Mac, you must have an Apple AirPort Base Station or AirPort Time Capsule set up for NAT-PMP, or NAT Port Mapping Protocol, or a router set up for UPnP (Universal Plug and Play)
You can also share files between computers, including files that aren’t stored in iCloud Drive (such as files in your Downloads, Movies, and Pictures folders). First you set up Back to My Mac on each computer, and then you can connect from one Mac to the others. Do the following on each computer you want to use with Back to My Mac:
Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click iCloud.
Select Back to My Mac.
If you aren’t signed in to iCloud already, you must set up iCloud before you can select Back to My Mac.
Follow any instructions you see to turn on sharing services, select “Wake for network access,” or make any other changes necessary for Back to My Mac.
To connect to your Mac:
In a Finder sidebar, look in the Shared section for the Mac you want to connect to.
If nothing is listed in the Shared section, hold the pointer to the right of Shared, then click Show.
If you don’t see the Shared heading in the sidebar, choose Finder > Preferences, click Sidebar, then select Back to My Mac in the Shared section.
Click the computer you want to use, then click Connect As or Share Screen. (From Apple World Today).

2/ Viewing non printing characters in word processor documents — Pages has a way that you can show and hide what it dubs invisible characters, so if you need to see paragraph returns, tabs, spaces, and so on, it’s as simple as pressing Shift-Command-I or choosing View > Show Invisibles in that program.
Microsoft Word can do this too. If the text within a document is behaving oddly, figuring out whether something behind the scenes is working against you is the way to go.
Whenever you hit keys like Tab, Return, Spacebar, and so on, Word is actually sticking ‘nonprinting characters’ in, including ‘page break’.
Turning this view on and off is simple. In the most recent version of Word, select the Home tab in the toolbar then click the giant paragraph sign, which looks of like a backwards ‘p.’ It’s a toggle button (on or off), so to turn off showing those nonprinting characters, press that button again.
You can also control which nonprinting characters show all of the time, whether you’ve toggled this button on or not. That option is available by clicking on Word>Preferences from the menus at the top of the program. Once the Preferences window opens, choose View and you’ll see exactly which characters you can choose to have showing all of the time (from Mac Observer).

3/ Deleting old versions of files — Enter the File menu in applications that support this macOS feature and choose Revert To>Browse All Versions. Navigate to the version of the file that you’d like to remove first. Once you’re there, move your cursor to the top of the screen, and your formerly hidden menu bar should reappear.  Then choose File > Revert To > Delete This Version.

4/ Force the Trash to empty — Sometimes the Trash refuses to delete a file. Quit any app that you were using with the file, then try and empty the Trash.
If that doesn’t work, the app might have one or more background processes that are using the file. Restart your Mac, then empty the Trash.
If that doesn’t work, you might have a startup item or login item that is using the file. To temporarily prevent such items from opening automatically, start up in safe mode by holding down the Shift key while your Mac starts up. Then empty the Trash and restart your Mac normally. Beyond this, you’ll have to use Recovery Mode, which you can read about at Apple World Today.

5/ Files as path names — This is verging on old school computing’, but from El Capitan, Macs have had the ability to copy files or folders as pathnames in Finder.
As an example, let’s pretend that you wanted to point someone to this file:
/System/Library/WidgetResources/AppleClasses/Images/slide_track_vbottom@2x.png
Look at how long that path is! If you were to type that out, being sure to get all of the capitalisation and so on correct, it’d take a while and it would be so easy to get just one letter wrong, which stops it working (note also that every backslash represents a folder – this is the same protocol used in web addresses).
The easier way to go is to use a shortcut: first, select the file or folder you want to copy the pathname for, then press the shortcut Option-Command-C, which is short for Finder’s Edit>Copy as Pathname menu item.
(If you plan on using the Edit menu for this rather than the shortcut, know that you have to hold down Option in order for “Copy as Pathname” to appear.)
Finally, go to wherever you’d like to put in the path, which could be an email, a message, or even Terminal, and just press Command-V to paste it as you normally would.

Control Center bug, iPhone browsing anonymity, robots on iPad design, smartphone stabiliser


Rigiet stabiliser will be well-priced even if you don’t back it on Kickstarter

iOS Control Center bug Is freezing certain iPhones — An iOS Control Center bug plaguing some Apple customers is causing some iPhones to freeze and restart. It happens when you tap any three buttons in the Control Center at once. iOS versions affected by this include iOS 10 and even the latest iOS 10.3.2 beta. Here’s what you need to know.

A Tor Browser might not be your best solution for internet privacy — There are a number of ways to make sure you have a good experience browsing while keeping things private on iDevices. Jeff Butts looks at some of the methods for doing that.

Emergence of robots will, remarkably, force a change in iPad design — The iPad was developed, in the Macintosh era of maturity, as a simpler alternaive for content consumption. It nicely eliminated the headaches of PC complexity and security concerns. Today, things are radically different, and the need to be able to create content and generate personal revenue is much more pressing than when the iPad was first conceived almost a decade ago.

Prototype review: Rigiet smartphone camera stabiliser — If you want to hand hold an iPhone 7 Plus to film high quality video, you need a gimbal. Dobot has announced the start of its Kickstarter campaign to bring the Rigiet stabiliser to market for just US$189 (or $129 to backers of the Kickstarter campaign) but even the regular retail price is over $100 less than the DJI Osmo…

2m Final Cut Pro X users, AI guru, Californian heist, iWork updated


Final Cut Pro X now has over 2 million users, Apple says — Final Cut Pro X , once a controversial redesign of Apple’s professional video editing suite, has just topped 2 million users, Apple announced at this week’s National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas. It took significantly less time to jump from 1 million to 2 million than to reach that first milestone, an Apple representative said. Pro X has been on the market since June 2011. Since then Apple has made numerous updates to Pro X, addressing many of the original complaints. It has nevertheless had to fight to keep Final Cut relevant, faced with competition like Adobe’s Premiere Pro CC.

AirPort Utility – adjusting Basestation preferences — “My AirPort’s light is orange instead of green. What do I do?” AirPort Utility’s habit of blinking devices’ status lights amber when updates are available is kind of a pain, but  a couple of preferences you can change to be sure that your users aren’t notified of updates, so you can decide to go forward with new software when you’re ready (and not just when AirPort Utility wants you to). Melissa Holt explains.

Apple AI guru Tom Gruber speaks of artificial intelligence’s ‘inevitability’ at TED — Speaking at the TED conference, Siri co-founder and Apple AI expert Tom Gruber declared that artificial intelligence should be used less to replace humans, and more to enhance aspects of humanity that are unreliable or fail with time, like memory.

Robbers nab $24K worth of Apple goods in Corte Madera, CA heist — Apple devices usually come with a Designed in California label. Now 17 iPhones, three iPads, and two Macs can wear a Stolen in California label, as the devices were stolen from an Apple retail outlet at The Village at Corte Madera mall in Corte Madera, California.

Keynote, Numbers, Pages iWork apps updated for both macOS and iOS — On Tuesday, Apple updated its Pages, Numbers, and Keynote applications for iOS and macOS, with the biggest addition being a numeric keypad for Numbers users on the iPad.

Dutch ruling on refurbs, slashed commissions, Uber sued for tracking, Google Photos AirPlay-able


Netherlands judge rules Apple can’t swap refurbished iPads for broken ones — Another court ruling in the Netherlands mandates that when Apple needs to replace a broken iPhone or iPad, it must do so with a new unit, and not a refurbished one. [Parsimonious is one thing, Apple, but some things are just mean. But wait, there’s more …]

Apple slashes affiliate commission rate on apps from 7 to 2.5% — Apple on Monday alerted members of its link affiliate program to a sharp reduction in their take from apps and in-app purchases, down from 7 percent to just 2.5.

Uber sued for $5M over ‘Hell’ app used to track Lyft drivers — Fresh off revelations of the ridesharing service’s run-in with Apple, Uber is being sued for the use of an app called Hell, which allegedly tracked drivers from the company’s main US rival Lyft. [In Auckland, I use Zoomy instead of Uber, it’s much fairer to the drivers and just as good.]

Google Photos 2.14 adds AirPlay functionality — Google Photos for iOS was updated yesterday with official AirPlay support, adding the capability to stream photos and videos to TVs through Apple TV. Google Photos version 2.14 finally brings support for AirPlay to the app, almost two years after it was first launched. Prior to this release, iOS device users who wanted to “beam” photos and video to their TVs could not use an Apple TV as an AirPlay receiver. [Honestly, why does anyone trust or use Google?]

WD with USB-C, securing your wifi router, Carpool Karaoke delayed again


Western Digital G-Technology line gets Thunderbolt 3, USB-C upgrades — At the 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas, Western Digital Corporation announced upgrades to the G-Technology product line targeted at creative professionals. The big news is the addition of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C technologies to the product family to optimise the speed and performance of the G-Technology product lines.

A network scanner helps you secure your wi-fi router — When you’re thinking about internet security and privacy, it’s easy to get consumed with keeping tabs on who might be tracking you from remote spots. What many people often forget about, though, is staying in the know about what devices are on your physical or wireless network that shouldn’t be there. Here are the various ways you can explore which devices are active on your home or office network.

‘Carpool Karaoke’ delayed until later in 2017 — Apple’s first attempt at original video content has been delayed again. “Carpool Karaoke,” which is a spinoff of the namesake segment on The Late Late Show with James Corden, was first announced last July. Initially the show was to debut in March and was then pushed back to this month. Now the latest from Apple after postponing a launch party is that Carpool Karaoke:The Series will premiere on Apple Music later this year.” [And I care … not one bit.]