Offering Deniability under Duress


    We, in the infosec community, need to start focusing more on allowing users the flexibility to handle situations of duress rather than just access control.

    As someone who has a unendingly deep appreciation for the work of true journalists, this strikes me as something that is a complete no-brainer. I want to see this in iOS 11 (or a point release of iOS 10) and the next version of Android.

    Why you should deeply fear Trump - a beginners guide


    Many of us have atleast one person in their life who sees no reason to care about the state of politics in the US. For many years I myself was indifferent. This year, I have me eyes wide open, and Aaron entails exactly why I am so concerned.

    Sometimes Netflix is Awesome


    For some time now Netflix has been working to ensure optimal information entropy, it’s an area where small improvements can lead to sizeable benefits for both Netflix and its customers.

    The AVCHi-Mobile streams can deliver the same video quality at 15% lower bitrate according to PSNR and at 19% lower bitrate according to VMAF. The VP9-Mobile streams show more gains and can deliver an average of 36% bitrate savings according to PSNR and VMAF.

    These optimizations are a solid improvement on previous gains, and I think it will work to make Netflix an increasingly pleasant experience, especially in bandwidth constrained environments.

    Joe Cieplinski on Apple Sensationalization


    We seek out more support of our original premise, rather than reading the facts and then drawing independent conclusions.

    I’ve seen an overwhelming amount of negativity in regards to Apple products from the Apple community at large as of late, and to be sure, there are worthwhile criticisms to be voiced.

    But it seems like a lot of criticism is the result of pundits being incentivized for their negativity instead of an actual thoughtful consideration of the facts.

    Immigrants for President 2020


    I know that some of my readers from the states may be having some tough conversations, and awkward confrontations with family over this Thanksgiving long weekend. When you are having these conversations, be sure to get them to read this, make it evident to them the people they discriminated against.

    The Future of Indie Podcasting


    I spoke with five independent podcast operations about how they’re processing the exploits of the bigger fish, and I’m running chunky excerpts from their responses here.

    As more money starts to flow into podcasting, capitalism takes it shape, just like in any other industry. The key question is that when capitalism takes shape in podcasting, is it going to be a mutually beneficially relationship between the name brands and the indies?

    I echo the sentiment that while name brands will likely pave the path to increasing ad-spends and legitimizing the medium, we have our work cut out as indies, in both producing higher quality content than the name brands, and in marketing ourselves.

    Appfigures shares stats on iMessage Apps


    In the long term, I think that the success of iMessage apps will be limited. Not only is the experience of using iMessage apps fraught with confusion, I also think that in today’s App Store its difficult to make money on single purpose utilities, which is essentially the nature of most iMessage apps. iMessage Apps may make great complements to traditional apps, especially if the experience of accessing them is improved, but I think that they are difficult sell on their own.

    However, I have a more positive outlook on the long-term sustainability of sticker packs. I think that its possible for indies who have a great breadth and depth of sticker packs to make money from them, but that long-term sustanability is contigent on iAPs being available for sticker packs.

    If Apple makes iAPs for sticker packs, and sticker packs release more stickers in the form of iAPs. Even if the initial conversion rate for new iAPs is small, I think as those percentage of converters use the iAP, the fear of missing out will perpetuate, resulting in more conversions over time.

    Is 16GB enough?


    I ran out of things to do before I ever ran out of RAM. I only ever made it to 14.5GB before the system decided to start paging out, so I didn’t even have the change to burn up all that delicious RAM.

    While I agree with the premise that 16GB is plenty for most users, including myself, and like Zdziarski, also believe that Apple should not be held responsible for the rampant RAM usage of poorly built 3rd party applications. I also think that there is merit to the idea that 32GB of RAM should be an option, at least in the 15” Macbook Pro, and especially in high-end configurations.

    In the high end 15” configurations, configurations that cost upwards of $4,000 USD, it is problematic to have a machine that is so incredibly capable being potentially limited by RAM. And while Zdziarski shows that it takes a truly special work load to max-out 16GB of RAM, the people paying $4K USD for the Macbook Pro are probably also the kind of people that have such demanding work loads.

    Its also worth noting that some of Apple’s customers are keeping their computers for a considerable period of time (5< years), over this time the nature of what a generous amount of RAM is will inevitably change, and so having a 32GB option would give these customers a way to reasonably protect the utility of their investmentt.

    All said and done though, its not an affront to humanity that the new Macbook Pros are limited to 16GB of RAM, especially given the speed of the SSDs, and the ever increasing practicality of swap.

    Challenging the PC


    When the Surface came to market — way before anyone was ready for it — it started something bigger than even Microsoft realized at the time. While the focus was on Windows 8 and the fact that Microsoft vendors were struggling to both compete with the iPad and fuel PC upgrades, the Surface actually started to challenge the idea of what a PC was.

    Although I continue to see the the Surface as I initially saw it, a comprised device, its hard to deny the forward thinking nature of its existence, something that I initially did not give it enough credit for.

    Designing Effective Sociotechnical Solutions


    Ethan Zuckerman responding to Shane Snow’s apalling piece on “fixing” the prison system.

    This piece is so good I desperately want to quote the entire thing. But I would be remiss to rob you of the constant head nodding that occurs when reading it, so instead I’ll leave you with just my favourite part:

    Of the many wise things my Yale students said during our workshop was a student who wondered if he should be participating at all. “I don’t know anything about prisons, I don’t have family in prison. I don’t know if I understand these problems well enough to solve them, and I don’t know if these problems are mine to solve.”

    I dislike discouraging the act of trying to chart unknown territories in an effort to solve problems in novel ways. But too often, especially in the tech industry, I see technology that lacks empathy and understanding of the market it desgined for, and as a result, I think for those of us working in tech industry, its worth considering these questions for ourselves, and in the context that is relevant to the problems we want to solve.



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