Tech News

Tech News and Analysis from around the web

Zheping Huang / Bloomberg:
Alibaba unveils Xunxi, a pilot factory it has been operating for three years for developing tech aimed at helping manufacturers adapt quickly to consumer demand  —  - Daniel Zhang is spearheading a drive into new manufacturing  — Company wants to provide back-end technology to manufacturers

Catalin Cimpanu / ZDNet:
Check Point: Iranian hacker group Rampant Kitten, which has been active for 6+ years, has developed an Android malware capable of stealing 2FA SMS codes  —  The malware could steal 2FA SMS codes for Google accounts.  Also contained vague functionality to do the same for Telegram and various social networks.

Dan Goodin / Ars Technica:
A look at iOS 14's privacy-centric features including mic and camera access notifications, local network access control, compromised password warnings, and more  —  Behold: The useful and not-so-useful privacy features you've been waiting for.  —  Eleven months ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook declared privacy a “fundamental human right.”

Chris O'Brien / VentureBeat:
Report: France's centralized StopCovid tracing app only has ~2.4M downloads, with ~700,000 users having uninstalled it and under 200 notifications sent so far  —  When the pandemic was raging across Europe last spring, many politicians and health experts were optimistic that a new generation …

Nick Bastone / The Information:
Sources: Google's pro-privacy plan to block online ad trackers has boosted the US' antitrust probe, as publishers argue it would create an unfair playing field  —  Google has taken a lot of heat for violating people's privacy.  Now it could get in trouble for trying to protect it.

Sean Szymkowski / CNET:
Tesla wins lawsuit against former employee Martin Tripp, accused of hacking Tesla and supplying sensitive info to unnamed 3rd parties; court will seal case  —  The automaker won its case against an ex-employee who sought whistleblower protections and was accused of hacking Tesla's Gigafactory.

Gerry Smith / Bloomberg:
Comcast reaches a deal with Roku to ensure NBCU's Peacock service is carried on Roku devices, after NBCU threatened to pull its TV Everywhere channels  —  - Agreement ensures Peacock is carried on streaming platform  — NBC's threat came amid dispute with Roku over advertising

Jessica Bursztynsky / CNBC:
Unity raises $1.3B in its IPO, closing up 31.44% in first day of trading, giving the company a market cap of around $17B  —  - Shares of Unity, a video game software developer, jumped 31.44% in its market debut Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.  — The stock priced late Thursday at $52 a share.

My grandparents were alive during the 1918 pandemic. I never thought to ask them about it. I wish I had.

New York Times:
In August Facebook said it would crack down on QAnon, but analysis shows QAnon is flourishing on the site, at times aided by Facebook's recommendation engine  —  The social network tried cracking down on the spread of the conspiracy theory and other extremist material.  But QAnon groups are still flourishing on the site.

Natasha Mascarenhas / TechCrunch:
Outschool, a marketplace for online classes, raises $45M Series B, says bookings grew 2,000%+ between Aug. 2019 and Aug. 2020 and it turned profitable this year  —  Outschool, which started in 2015 as a platform for homeschooled students to bolster their extracurricular activities …

Annie Palmer / CNBC:
DOJ charges six people who allegedly bribed Amazon employees and contractors since at least 2017 in a scheme to benefit some third-party sellers  —  - The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday charged six individuals who allegedly bribed Amazon employees and contractors …

Katie Roof / Bloomberg:
Sources: mobile game maker Scopely is in discussions to raise at least $200M at a valuation of around $3B, up from a valuation of $1.9B in March  —  - Valuation would be an increase from $1.9 billion this year  — NewView and Wellington expected to lead the funding round

Tim Baysinger / The Wrap:
WarnerMedia's streaming service DC Universe to rebrand as DC Universe Infinite and become a comics hub, with its scripted original series moving to HBO Max  —  “Harley Quinn” renewed for Season 3 as DC Universe transitions into a comic-book subscription service

Bevin Fletcher / FierceWireless:
Ericsson acquires Cradlepoint, a wireless wide area network gear maker, for $1.1B  —  Swedish telecom equipment giant Ericsson is acquiring U.S.-based Cradlepoint for $1.1 billion, as it looks to expand its presence and accelerate 5G adoption in the enterprise market.

Dan Seifert / The Verge:
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, S7+ review: nice displays with snappy performance but DeX still feels unfinished and widescreen aspect ratio is bad for productivity work  —  Samsung's latest tablets are saddled by familiar problems  —  If you want to buy a tablet that can possibly replace your laptop …

College football 2020.

The wires are the problem, and Jobs fully understood this. I talked about this in yesterday's podcast. They had the Mac office, school, backpack, pocket, the living room should belong to Apple. Not with a dongly thing and "content." It should be the Apple experience at room scale. I want a full scale Apple/Pixar experience in my home.

Gotta wonder if Trump and Barr are planning on disrupting the huge turnout for early voting in Virginia. Actually I don't wonder, I'm sure they will. These are all antifa's, some very fine people, but some very not fine people too. Send in the little green men.

If Steve Jobs were alive, our living rooms would be very different.

Woodward betrayed us. Every time I hear a new recording of Trump talking, in April, about how horrible the virus is, I want everyone to think how much different it would be if those recordings had come out in April, not September.

Chuck pointed me at Gigster, which I didn't know about, as a place I might hire a contractor to create a Linux version of Frontier. I'd like to see it run on Ubuntu, both in the graphic environment and headless.

I use Frontier to manage my source code, which no longer runs on the newest version of the Mac OS. I desperately want it to run on Linux so I can get out of this situation. In the meantime, I bought a new iPhone, and just updated it and got this awful dialog when I plugged it into my Mac. I clicked on Learn More hoping to find out which version of the OS it wants to install, but it doesn't say. I am running High Sierra, 10.13.8. I'm not going to update the Mac. I guess that means I'll be relying on the new Pixel 4a more and more, because I can't give up my ability to run Frontier on my desktop. Not a good situation, but as they say it is what it is.

I'm on a podcast roll these days. 17-minutes worth of rambling about how Apple should fix the TV problem, which btw is all those freaking wires. The tech has advanced so much, you could blow people away with elegance, ease of use, and power, and so what if it costs three times as much as the competition. We're accustomed to paying for the best. I should note that I have some $AAPL stock, purchased in 1997 and held since then so when Apple screws me in software at least I make up for it in my brokerage account. I'm so puzzled why I'm not using Clubhouse these days. And I'm totally maxed out on new services. OMG no more please. Also a story about hanging out with Don Pearson who did the sound for the Dead.

A do-it-yourself Bernie Biden lawn sign.

An idea for a business. Home entertainment system makeovers. I have so many friends with obsolete entertainment systems. They work fine. You get used to them. It was exciting when you got it 10 years ago and you still feel that. But. Things have gotten so much better and so much cheaper. Now, for very little money, relative to the amount of time you use it, you can have something much nicer. You could make people really happy and make a good living doing it, I think, at least for a little while until word gets out you just have to buy a new screen and then work out from there. 💥

I believe self-executing functions in JavaScript are obsolete with ES6. I never liked and rarely used them. I prefer to use features put there by the designers, rather than use a clever hack that makes you wonder why the feature wasn't put there.

Now in ., you can create a simple block and declare your variables with let. No clever hacks needed.

Some real-world example code.

  • { //insert headline for 1st level subs
    • let htmltext = "";
    • let ixButtonsArray = ix + 1;
    • let theButton = theButtons [ixButtonsArray];
    • function div (classname, val) {
      • return ("<div class=\"" + classname + "\">" + val + "</div>");
      • }
    • function add (s) {
      • htmltext += s;
      • }
    • add (div ("divButtonEmoji", theButton.htmlEmojiCode));
    • add (div ("divButtonTitle", theButton.theTitle));
    • add (div ("divButtonVal", ix));
    • opInsertRawHtml (htmltext, right);
    • }

The block, like a bundle in Frontier, allows you to collapse some code, hide its variables from the containing code, without declaring a new routine. It's essential that you put a comment at the opening left curly brace to say what the block does. If that's not easy to do that indicates a refactor is needed, imho.

I have a series 5 Apple watch, reading this review, can't see a reason to get the series 6. I use it mainly for timing my exercise, and to see what the temperature is outside and of course the time. I charge it every night, but it never gets less than 1/2 battery. I already have a pulse oximeter, and I take a reading once a day, and record it.

I have a new iPhone SE, new Pixel 4a, and a new Subaru, which supports both kinds of phones. I love all three very much. I previously had a super high end iPhone, but I'm a middle class kind of guy, and the SE is much more my speed. And for the first time I've been able to use an Android phone for navigation and listening to podcasts and audio books. I took a drive to Albany on Tuesday, and was able to test it out. It all works, in an unsurprising manner, except Google Maps on the Android has one feature that the iPhone version desperately needs. The map re-orients so that the direction you're heading in is always up and to the right. On the iPhone it's kind of random. Hard to parse. And the layout is much better for a driver, who can't spend any time puzzling out what the computer trying to say. If you have a turn in 2 miles, there's a box that says Right Turn in 2 Miles. And it counts down as you get closer. Next time I'm driving I'll try to take a picture (obviously with the iPhone).