WTF Weekly 4

📱

The T2 chip increases Mac performance, according to AppleInsider. AppleInsider tested a Mac mini with the T2 against a 4k 2019 iMac with the same CPU but no T2, and concluded that video encoding is much faster on the Mac with the T2.

Initially my reaction to this was “it’s the hard drive, stupid”, but AppleInsider tried to account for the performance differences between SSD and 5400 rpm platter drives by using an external SSD on the iMac as well as also testing with an external laptop platter drive on the Mac mini. Personally I would have set them both up with the same external drives for each test, assuming that’s not what they actually did.

Either way, it’s getting harder to believe that an all-Apple-designed processor Mac isn’t on the roadmap.

Netflix hopes people believe its nonsense about why it removed AirPlay capability from its iOS apps. Unfortunately, less technical people probably will.

Truthfully, I don’t care about AirPlay from Netflix on iOS devices to a TV anyway because I have an Apple TV for that, but it’s just a jerky move with a completely laughable excuse as to why Netflix did it in the first place. Netflix clearly wants nothing to do with Apple’s attempts to TV-Appify the viewing experience. I wish they just had the courage to say so. Courage, Phil Schiller style!!

Can Apple News even Math? As a person living in the US who signed up for the News trial subscription the minute it was available, I have to say there are several things about the service that leave me scratching my head. Granted, the economics of it aren’t my problem, but the publishers involved absolutely have to wonder.

Also note the numbers in that article make the gigantic assumption that most people who signed up will keep News past the trial period1 or that replacement subscribers and then more people beyond that tally will sign up later.

I really have no idea how it’s all going to shake out, but this seems a lot to me like one of those Apple rollouts that the company swears will change the world and then eventually quietly abandons it.

📰🗞

Big Japanese banks finally stop using 1800s technology. Don’t worry, it’s not their computing systems that are so old. It’s just that banks have finally noticed it is 2019 and have decided that personal mark stamps aren’t really modern identification verification technology.

I enjoyed this story immensely because when we lived in Japan in the 70s and 80s, my father of course had to acquire his own 判子 (hanko, typically written as ハンコ) for official paperwork of all kinds. And in Japan, there is definitely official paperwork of all kinds.

By the way, if you’re into nostalgia or cultural experimentation, you can buy your own hanko from an online hanko store. I’m thinking about it myself!

The AI knows when you’ll die. I’m always amused and bemused simultaneously when financial advisors ask “how long do you plan to live after you retire”, but now I think maybe this AI was created just for them.

The only thing creepier would be an AI that knows when you’re going to die because it’s planning to terminate you itself. I’m sure that’s coming in an upgrade.

Dear Leader, the mobile app. Continuing the creepy theme, the amount of mind control the Chinese are willing to endure just keeps setting new standards. Now they’re succumbing to pressure to get high scores in their knowledge of their country and their dear, dear leader.

This sounds like literal hell on earth to me. Having to spend hours and hours consuming official propaganda is bad enough, but being graded on it and shamed publicly and even having your paycheck lowered for poor scores out-Orwells even 1984’s grim vision of the future. I’m actually a bit surprised so little attention is being paid to what’s going on in China right now. Terrifying is by no means too strong a word for it.

🔐💣

‘Exodus’ Spyware posed as legit iOS app. Really the thing to learn here, if you don’t already know it, is be cautious about apps you download. Unlike on Android, most malicious iOS apps have to operate by tricking you into giving them permissions to do certain things you really don’t want them to.

Which brings up another point – for all the complaints about the Apple walled-garden, mobile malware is a huge issue and Apple intended to prevent it from becoming pervasive on their devices. They’ve largely succeeded. The occasional bad actor sneaks through, and of course there are always nation state level attacks, but Android, with its “open” Google Play store, is a raging security dumpster fire.

Patch your Verizon Fios router. I’m never a fan of default routers for this very reason. Granted, a lot of third-party dedicated routers have security issues too, especially cheaper ones that aren’t worth the time and money for the vendor to keep secure, but quite often the ones the ISPs give out are embarrasingly horrible.

The bad thing about vulnerabilities exposing large numbers of devices that can be probed for across the internet is that they can be automated and turned into a large-scale attack, as opposed to the FaceTime bug that had people pooping their pants all over the internet, but that was a one-to-one exploit that by design had to alert the user that a call attempt was made.

People are really bad at understanding real risks versus scary sounding ones.

Hacker Eva Galperin has a plan to eradicate stalkerware. Stalkerware is a serious problem that doesn’t get enough attention, probably because security and tech in general are skewed heavily male in too many ways, and men don’t really worry about this kind of thing (or apparently care that it happens to women).

Kudos to Eva for not only addressing the issue, but for pressing US antivirus and security companies to care by getting Kaspersky onboard.

⚾️🏎

Braves/Rockies snowed out one day after warm, sunny game in the same park. Colorado is weird.

Jolyon Palmer says pressure is mounting on Sebastian Vettel. If anyone should know about the pressure of not performing up to expectations in Formula One, it’s Jolyon Palmer (and I don’t mean that at all as a dig).

Vettel is not looking like a four time world champion right now, but his vastly less experienced teammate Charles Leclerc is definitely looking like a future one.

Magic Johnson doesn’t want to be Lakers president of operations anymore. I normally don’t care at all about basketball of any kind, including the NBA2, but even so the dynamics of the Lakers right now are intriguing.


  1. I’m not going to ↩︎
  2. I can’t even tell you the names of anyone on the current Portland Trailblazers roster. ↩︎

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