Australia: National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014


The Sydney Morning Herald: The Senate in Australia voted 44 to 12 on September 25 and passed the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the bill. Here are some factoids:

I am guessing the NSA will be quite happy with the results.





iPhone 6: Torture Test


What is the worst case scenario for torturing an iPhone 6 Plus? Josh Lowensohn, The Verge:

There’s a test for when people sit on a soft surface, when the iPhone is sat on, as well as what Apple considers the “worst-case scenario,” which is when it goes into the rear pocket of skinny jeans and sits on a hard surface – at an angle.

And that is what some of us do. Accidents happen, and it is a normal part of life. If you have bent your iPhone 6 Plus Phil Schiller recommends you go to the Genius Bar.





FBI Director James Comey: Thoughts on Encryption


Igor Bobic and Ryan J. Reilly, The Huffington Post:

“I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no one in this country is beyond the law,” Comey told reporters at FBI headquarters in Washington. “What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law.”

Last week Apple announced your passcode in iOS 8 encrypts data on your iOS device, and Apple has no way to comply to government requests for personal data on your iOS device. I do not want to make blanket statements about the FBI — the FBI employs a couple of my friends — but it seems Comey believes making it difficult to gain access to personal information on your mobile device is somehow above the law. I am not aware of any laws that make it illegal to encrypt your personal data on your phone.

The only way to access personal data on an iOS device is to acquire the iOS device and figure out the passcode on it. That figuring out the passcode part is what the FBI needs to work on. Fortunately for the FBI as more and more people use their fingerprints as passcodes, it will not be too difficult to unlock TouchID-locked iOS devices. Most suspects are fingerprinted, right? Of course shrewd villains will turn off their iOS devices, which will require the passcode to be typed in upon reboot.

I do not envy the difficult job of protecting the United States and her citizens from threats.





The Blind Pursuit Of Thinness


Vlad Savov, The Verge:

This would all be quite innocuous if thinness was just an extra layer of custard smothered atop your technology cake, but it all too often comes at a price. Small batteries and compromised cameras are the first victims of the desire for a thinner phone. Or, if the camera doesn’t stink, it’s because it actually protrudes out from the phone’s body, as you’ll find in Samsung’s 6.7mm Galaxy Alpha and Apple’s new iPhones, both hovering at just around 7mm. I’ll let you in on a carefully guarded secret: there’s no real difference between 7mm and 10mm, let alone between 6.7mm and 6.9mm. If only Samsung and Apple could have let their belts out a little, we could now be looking at devices with more cohesive, bulge-free designs and potentially more generous batteries to boot. And let’s face it, an iPhone 6 Plus that was a little thicker on aluminum might not have had to deal with the present controversy about how bendy it is.

I have said this a couple of times before regarding the camera lens bulge on the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and I will say it again: Apple made the wrong design choice. The iPhone 5s was thin enough. I understand the iPhone 6 Plus might need to be a bit thinner since the it has a considerably larger mass than the iPhone 5s, but not so thin as to require the camera lens to bulge out.

There is no front and back symmetry. The verbiage on Apple.com and product showcase videos hail the seamless integration between display and the chassis. It seems there was a lot of work that went into that. But what happened to the back? This design choice reminds me of cars with decent fronts but with ugly backs. A particular generation of the Toyota Camry comes to mind: decent front, absolute ugliness in the back. Whoever made the decision to make the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus thinner to the point of having the camera lens bulge out of their seamless unibody needs to rethink priorities. Thin is good, but thin causing lenses to bulge out is not. The camera lens bulge on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is bad design.

A thicker chassis would have made the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus more rigid. If thin was the most important priority, Apple should have developed a stronger less-maleable aluminum alloy to compensate for the thinner design.

With a thicker body, an all-day battery could have been. Can you imagine toward the end of the day not having to worry about charging your iPhone? Can you imagine not having those moments when you are wondering if your iPhone will last through an after work dinner gathering? How about those moments when you are thinking whether or not you should ask the waitress where the nearest power outlet is? Today, in 2014, there are many more important things to people who depend on their smartphones all day long than it being a few tenths of a millimeter thinner. Battery life is one of them.

Let me spell it out for you Apple design people: we do not want or need an iPhone to be thinner. We do not need it to be lighter either. We do not want the camera lens to bulge out. We do not want our iPhones to bend when we accidentally sit with the iPhone in our pant pockets. Here are some things we do want:

Work on these things. You guys have two years to make the iPhone 7 better than the iPhone 6. And just in case, for good measure: you do not need to make it thinner.





iPhone 6 Plus: Bend Test


Using a four-point bend fixture one hundred pounds of force was applied to the center of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, and the iPhone 5s. How much did they bend? Here are the results:

Conclusion? The Galaxy Note 3 is made of plastic, so it bent more, but rebounded to its original shape. The iPhone 6 Plus, because it is made of aluminum, did not rebound and stayed bent. And is more prone to bending than the iPhone 5s.





VIZIO P-Series



VIZIO: The P-Series 4K UHD LCD TVs from VIZIO sport a lot of fancy-sounding features:

Prices (US$, a penny less than):

Nice.





iPhone 6: Camera Review by Lisa Bettany


Lisa Bettany:

Even though they share the same 8-megapixel CMOS sensor and five-element f/2.2 lens, after a few days of shooting with the iPhone 6, I can say that it is better than the iPhone 5S. With Apple’s new Focus pixels sensor feature and advancements made in noise reduction algorithms and local tone mapping, I do see significant improvements to low light and details in shadowed areas.

Looking forward to Bettany’s iPhone 6 Plus camera review.





iPhone 6 Plus: Most Durable 5-Inch Plus Phone




Nathan Olivarez-Giles, The Wall Street Journal:

Having put the new iPhones through its gauntlet of durability tests this weekend, SquareTrade found that the iPhone 6 holds up impressively well in drops, spills and slips — despite the fact that the new, thinner iPhones are tougher to hold onto given their smooth edges and bigger screens.

The iPhone 6 Plus fared well, too, managing to beat out Samsung’s Galaxy S5 as “the most durable phone with a screen larger than five inches.” This comes as a surprise, and not only because the Galaxy S5 is known for its waterproofing, but also because hundreds have already taken to Twitter to gripe that an iPhone 6 purchase means a case purchase, too.

If I were to purchase an iPhone 6 or a 6 Plus I would definitely get a case. For two reasons: one is the ugly toyish-looking antenna bands, and the other is for insurance, just in case I have it in my pants and sit on it. It would not be a leather case or a thin plastic case; it would be one of those foam-polycarbonate-metal-constructed rugged cases. John Gruber on the iPhone 6 Plus getting bent:

I cannot believe that this “bent iPhone 6 Plus” thing is becoming a thing. […] If you feel pressure like this on your iPhone 6 in your pocket, you need looser pants. And if you put your phone in your back pocket and sit on it, I’m not sure what to tell you.

I think it unreasonable to assume no one will ever sit down with an iPhone 6 Plus in her front or back pocket. We all make mistakes, but this kind of ‘mistake’ should not lead to a bent phone. You are wearing the wrong type of pants? I think the more accurate assessment would be: Apple needs to make the iPhone 6 Plus more resilient to being bent inside pockets.

In the meantime perhaps the UnderTech Undercover Woman’s Concealment Short Shorts (takes you to Amazon.com) can be modified to carry an iPhone 6 Plus.





iOS: In-App Browsers Can Keylog


Craig Hockenberry:

How many apps on your iPhone or iPad have a built-in browser?

Would it surprise you to know that every one of those apps could eavesdrop on your typing? Even when it’s in a secure login screen with a password field?

[…]

You should never enter any private information while you’re using an app that’s not Safari.

An in-app browser is a great tool for quickly viewing web content, especially for things like links in Twitterrific’s timeline. But if you should always open a link in Safari if you have any concern that your information might be collected. Safari is the only app on iOS that comes with Apple’s guarantee of security.





iPhone 6 & 6 Plus: iOS 8.0.1


The Verge: Apple released iOS 8.0.1 today for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Do not update. Why?

If you already updated, iMore has a fix.

A few cracks I have noticed recently: iPhone 6 Plus supply far short of demand (supply chain management fail, forecasting fail, or marketing ramming its schedule down the throats of SCM folks at Apple), iPhone 6 Plus getting bent out of shape (external design folks flexing its muscle over structural integrity engineers), and a botched patch (iOS software folks simply failing to test thoroughly).





   



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