Start Up No.994: Apple yanks Google’s iPhone enterprise certificate, bank accounts emptied by text hackers, Foxconn cuts plans in China, sayonara Ultraviolet, and more


“I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t do that.” What are the ethics of video doorbells? CC-licensed photo by Dave Taylor on Flickr.

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A selection of 11 links for you. Double helpings for email! I’m @charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Death of the private self: how fifteen years of Facebook changed the human condition •The Guardian

John Harris:

»

the Facebook age marks a break from traditional human behaviour in key aspect. In the past, we could regularly take a break from acting, and revert to some sense of our private, authentic selves. Now, as we constantly prod at our smartphones and feel the pull of their addictive apps, when does the performing ever stop?

Along with Russian interference in elections, fake news, Facebook’s approach to hate speech and its insatiable appetite for personal data, this is surely one of the most malign ways in which its presence in our lives is playing out.

What its innovations have done to the divide between our social and private lives highlights a mess of stuff to do with the true meanings of intimacy and privacy, and something that goes even closer to the heart of what it is to be human: who we really are beyond the attention and judgments of others, and whether we even know any more.

This demise of the barrier between our public and private selves is particularly relevant to people going through that stage of life when the very idea of “self” is still in flux: the often difficult period from the stirrings of adolescence to the mid-20s (and, if you’re unlucky, even older). At that point, sensitivity to your peer group is at its height and an obsession with what some people call “social comparison” tends to run deep. We all know the basics: you desperately want to meet all the requirements of whichever code of cool is holding sway, and avoid mockery at all costs. Looks are at their peak of importance. So are clothes.

«

link to this extract

 


“It gives you the freedom to be violent to other people”: what has the alt account become? • New Statesman

Sarah Manavis:

»

On 28 December 2018, a tweet concerning presenter, food critic, and insanely inappropriate joke-maker Giles Coren went viral. It posited that the Times columnist had been using an alternative, anonymous Twitter account to respond to criticism of him. The subsequent thread noted that this alt-account was named after a character in one of Coren’s books, only ever tweeted about Coren or his wife, was followed by some of Coren’s famous friends such as Richard Bacon, and was linked to an email address that looked suspiciously like Coren’s Times’ account (g********n@t******s.co.uk). The account claimed to be a Polish plumber, and had a bio written in broken English; but the avatar was a picture from the cover of Coren’s book.

After receiving thousands of likes and retweets, Coren came clean to owning the account, and changed its arguably racist bio. At time of writing, he has ceased tweeting from it.

Coren was unusual in getting caught, but having an alternative account is now far from unusual. Once a behaviour reserved for “weirdos” on Reddit and Tumblr, it’s become a staple for internet users on essentially every platform. On Twitter it’s your “anon”; on Instagram it’s your “finsta” (fake-Insta); on multiple platforms it’s you and your friends’ “flop”, or simply your “alt”. Even allusions to an alternative account now serve as a meme. HOTM –“horny on the main” – Is a long-standing Tumblr joke, mocking those who post porn, half-naked selfies, and sexts on their main account, rather than restricting such behaviour to their alt.

Today, the alt account is often seen as an online necessity, something many people deem key to staying sane on the internet. But while the alt-account may now be normal, the reasons for having one are diverse. For some, they are positive and relieving; for others, they’re a tool for dangerous harm. In 2019, what has the alt-account become?

«

It’s become a tool for dangerous harm, and it often stresses the owner of the alt because they know they have to keep the link secret. Next, please.
link to this extract

 


Apple blocks Google from running its internal iOS apps • The Verge

Tom Warren:

»

Apple has now shut down Google’s ability to distribute its internal iOS apps, following a similar shutdown that was issued to Facebook earlier this week. A person familiar with the situation tells The Verge that early versions of Google Maps, Hangouts, Gmail, and other pre-release beta apps have stopped working today, alongside employee-only apps like a Gbus app for transportation and Google’s internal cafe app.

“We’re working with Apple to fix a temporary disruption to some of our corporate iOS apps, which we expect will be resolved soon,” says a Google spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. Apple has not yet commented on the situation.

Apple’s move to block Google’s developer certificate comes just a day after Google disabled its Screenwise Meter app following press coverage. Google’s private app was designed to monitor how people use their iPhones, similar to Facebook’s research app. Google’s app also relied on Apple’s enterprise program, which enables the distribution of internal apps within a company.

In an earlier statement over Facebook’s certificate removal, Apple did warn that “any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked.”

«

Hell of a scoop. Ben Thompson raised the question in his daily newsletter of why Google’s certificate hadn’t been revoked when Facebook’s had; here’s the answer.

Sure, this might get Facebook and Google working to shift their apps into being Progressive Web Apps. I won’t hold my breath. (Facebook had its certificate restored on Thursday afternoon, Pacific time.)
link to this extract

 


Apple is a hypocrite on data privacy • The Atlantic

Ian Bogost:

»

[In revoking Facebook’s enterprise developer certificate,] Apple didn’t take a position on Facebook’s creation of a paid “research” program to extract data from users. It enforced the terms of a licensing agreement; appearing to fight for user privacy is just a side effect. Apple is flexing its contract-law muscle, not its privacy muscle, and gaining a publicity win in the process. Crucially, Apple didn’t ban Facebook from the App Store or the iPhone platform: You can still download and use Messenger.

Facebook, for its part, maintains that the data-collection activity its Research app undertook was above board and not at all duplicitous. Unlike previous controversies about how Facebook shared user data with developers like Cambridge Analytica or foreign governments, little about the research program was hidden…

…Safari, the web browser that comes with every iPhone, is set up by default to route web searches through Google. For this privilege, Google reportedly paid Apple $9bn in 2018, and as much as $12bn this year. All those searches help funnel out enormous volumes of data on Apple’s users, from which Google extracts huge profits. Apple might not be directly responsible for the questionable use of that data by Google, but it facilitates the activity by making Google its default search engine, enriching itself substantially in the process.

The same could be said for the apps Apple distributes. Companies like Google and Facebook get access to iPhone users by offering their apps—Messenger, Gmail, Google Maps, and so on—for download from the Apple App Store. Most cost consumers nothing, because they exist to trade software services, like email or mapping, for data. That business model helped stimulate the data-privacy dystopia we now occupy.

«

Occasionally I include an article that I disagree with, and I disagree with this one. Bogost is holding Apple to an impossible standard here. It couldn’t know what Facebook was doing with the Enterprise Certificate or the app – to monitor that really *would* be an invasion of privacy, both Facebook’s and the users’. That was a contractual violation, and Facebook was punished for it. Setting Google as the Safari default is a commercial decision, but you don’t have to use it; and Google obeys privacy rules, as far as we can tell. The “privacy dystopia” is our own fault, but you can actually avoid it by not using Facebook or Google (as much as you can).

For Apple to ban Facebook and Google would open up the huge question: what form of “privacy” is sufficient? If people consent to something, what locus does Apple have to deny that? It’s providing a platform. You can give people electricity; some will use it for light, and others will electrocute themselves.
link to this extract

 


Criminals are tapping into the phone network backbone to empty bank accounts • Motherboard

Joseph Cox:

»

Sophisticated hackers have long exploited flaws in SS7, a protocol used by telecom companies to coordinate how they route texts and calls around the world. Those who exploit SS7 can potentially track phones across the other side of the planet, and intercept text messages and phone calls without hacking the phone itself.

This activity was typically only within reach of intelligence agencies or surveillance contractors, but now Motherboard has confirmed that this capability is much more widely available in the hands of financially-driven cybercriminal groups, who are using it to empty bank accounts. So-called SS7 attacks against banks are, although still relatively rare, much more prevalent than previously reported. Motherboard has identified a specific bank—the UK’s Metro Bank—that fell victim to such an attack.

The news highlights the gaping holes in the world’s telecommunications infrastructure that the telco industry has known about for years despite ongoing attacks from criminals. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the defensive arm of the UK’s signals intelligence agency GCHQ, confirmed that SS7 is being used to intercept codes used for banking.

“We are aware of a known telecommunications vulnerability being exploited to target bank accounts by intercepting SMS text messages used as 2-Factor Authentication (2FA),” the NCSC told Motherboard in a statement.

«

The bank will deny it and blame the customer. You don’t even have to know which bank it is to know that is how this will pan out.
link to this extract

 


How colonization’s death toll may have affected Earth’s climate • HISTORY

Sarah Pruitt:

»

As the 15th century drew to a close, some 60 million people lived across the Americas, sustaining themselves with the bounty of the vast lands they inhabited.

But with the arrival of the first European settlers, waves of new diseases, along with warfare, slavery and other brutality would kill off around 56 million people, or around 90% of the indigenous population.

Now, scientists from the University College London (United Kingdom) argue in a new study that this “Great Dying” that followed European colonization of the Americas may have actually affected Earth’s climate.

Their version of events, published in Quaternary Science Reviews, goes like this: After so many indigenous people died, no one was left to tend many of their fields, and trees and other vegetation quickly reclaimed huge expanses of land previously used for agriculture. As a result, enough carbon dioxide (CO₂) was removed from the atmosphere to actually cool down the planet, contributing to the coldest part of the mysterious period that historians have called the Little Ice Age.

«

So that’s twice that Americans will have been major contributors to climate change – once to cool, once to warm. A bit Thanos, though.
link to this extract

 


The next privacy worry is Ring doorbells and Nest security cameras • The Washington Post

Geoffrey Fowler:

»

We’re on a slippery slope. You’ve got a legal right to film in public places, including your entryway. There’s little agreement whether private cameras slash crime rates, yet police are setting up voluntary registries for private cameras in dozens of communities. Cities such as Washington have begun paying up to $500 for cameras on private property. Detroit is going further: its mayor wants to mandate security cameras at businesses open late, with a live feed going straight to police.

Meanwhile, Ring’s owner Amazon filed an eerily specific patent to put its controversial Rekognition facial-identification software into doorbells. The purpose: to automatically flag “suspicious” people. (Amazon CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post, but I review all tech with the same critical eye.)

We should recognize this pattern: tech that seems like an obvious good can develop darker dimensions as capabilities improve and data shifts into new hands. A terms-of-service update, a face-recognition upgrade or a hack could turn your doorbell into a privacy invasion you didn’t see coming…

In the future, what if your doorbell misidentified someone as a crime suspect? What if it logs a “dreamer” — an undocumented immigrant brought to the United States as a child — visiting, or living in, your house? Your family and friends are the ones whom this tech surveils the most.

«

That latter point is the most cogent. Bonus points to Fowler for the phrase “Big Doorbell” in the piece.
link to this extract

 


Foxconn’s $20bn projects in US and China hit by growth fears • Nikkei Asian Review

Lauly Li and Cheng Ting-Fang:

»

Foxconn will postpone most of the production planned in a 61bn yuan ($9bn) display panel project in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou for at least six months, according to internal documents obtained by the Nikkei Asian Review. In the US, a $10 billion investment in display production in the state of Wisconsin has been suspended and scaled back as a result of negotiations with new Gov. Tony Evers, a Foxconn document obtained by Nikkei shows.

Foxconn’s decision to delay work on the two factories throws into doubt the promise of fresh investment and employment at a sensitive time for both economies. China’s economic growth has slowed to a 28-year low, while in the US, President Donald Trump continues to seek wins on his vow to bring manufacturing jobs back to America.

“Foxconn decided to slow the investment pace and scale back a bit at the moment because of weakening macroeconomic conditions and the uncertainties brought by the trade war,” a person with knowledge of Foxconn’s decision told Nikkei.

“If Foxconn expands as planned regardless of the rapidly changing market dynamics, it could eventually hurt the company’s business. It’s much safer to wait and carefully reconsider the next step,” the person added.

Foxconn’s moves to hold up planned investments come after the company took cost-cutting steps that included shedding 100,000 workers by the end of 2018.

«

So not just Wisconsin. (Thanks to Pete Kleinschmidt for the pointer.)
link to this extract

 


Want to get away with posting fake news on Facebook? Just change your website domain • Poynter

Daniel Funke:

»

Sinclair Treadway, who runs the [fake news purveyor] YourNewsWire site from Southern California with his husband Sean Adl-Tabatabai, told Bloomberg in November that the move to rebrand was a direct result of declining revenue due to Facebook’s fact-checking program. Once a fact-checking outlet like Snopes rates a link, image or video as false, its future reach decreases in the News Feed. (Disclosure: Being a signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network’s code of principles is a necessary condition for joining the project.)

YourNewsWire initially resorted to deleting debunked articles. Alternatively, it turned to changing headlines on debunked stories and requesting fact-checkers like (Poynter-owned) PolitiFact revoke their original flag.

Seemingly unsatisfied with these approaches, YourNewsWire decided to pull the plug on its website altogether and move everything to a new URL.

So far, it seems like its strategy is succeeding.

«

link to this extract

 


Samsung breaks 19-quarter tablet decline to post 7% growth in recovering global market • Strategy Analytics

»

Windows [tablet] shipments fell 4% year-on-year to 7.1m units in Q4 2018 from 7.3m in Q4 2017. Microsoft shipments increased 25% from the previous quarter on high seasonality and as a result, it has retaken its leadership position in Windows Detachable 2-in-1s with the release of the lower cost Surface Go and a refreshed Surface Pro all in the last half of 2018. This is the fourth straight quarter of year-on-year shipment and revenue gains for Microsoft.

Eric Smith continued, “Apple iOS shipments grew 10% year-on-year to 14.5m units in Q4 2018, pushing its worldwide market share to 26% of the tablet market. By growing double digits, Apple added 2 percentage points to its market share year-over-year. Apple is attempting to remake the computing market with more mobile iPad Pros for productivity while offering lower priced iPad slates for entertainment. The product mix tilted toward iPad Pro due to the launch of its newest products in that line and boosted ASPs to $463 this quarter from $445 in 2017.

“Meanwhile, Android shipments fell to 32.9m units worldwide in Q4 2018, down 6% from 34.9m a year earlier and up 35% sequentially. Market share fell 3 percentage points year-on-year to 60% as many branded Android vendors find it very difficult to compete on price in the wake of Apple lowering its iPad prices. The slate market is particularly sensitive to price and the Android segment is dominated by Slate models.”

«

The market shrank overall, by 1%. That’s not “recovering”; that’s “stabilising”. Tablets don’t seem to be going away, but neither are they taking everything over.

link to this extract

 


Ultraviolet shuts down: cloud locker closes this summer • Variety

Janko Roettgers:

»

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), the industry consortium that has been tasked with running Ultraviolet, will shut down the service on July 31.

DECE will start to inform its users of the wind-down this Thursday, and is advising users to not delete their Ultraviolet movie libraries. Users should instead make sure that their libraries are connected to the service of at least one retailer, which they can then use to access their movies and TV shows going forward, according to an FAQ document that is slated to be published on Ultraviolet’s website on Thursday morning.

DECE president Wendy Aylsworth told Variety in an exclusive interview this week that the decision to discontinue Ultraviolet was a response to the evolution of the market for online entertainment. “The marketplace for collecting entertainment content was very small when Ultraviolet started,” she said. “It was siloed into walled gardens at the time.”

Since then, services had become more comprehensive, giving fans of movies and TV shows more options to access and collect their titles. Aylsworth acknowledged that there has also been a move toward subscription services, but said ownership of movie and TV show collections would continue to play a significant role for the industry going forward. “It’s very clear to us that it is on very sound footing,” she said.

Ultraviolet launched in 2011 with support from all of the major Hollywood studios except Disney. The service also had buy-in from Lionsgate and other independent studios, and struck partnerships with online retailers, including Walmart’s Vudu service, FandangoNow, and some of the online services run by studios like Sony Pictures.

«

Inevitable. Never saw why one would go with that when services like iTunes and Netflix were available.
link to this extract

 


Errata, corrigenda and ai no corrida: none notified

14 thoughts on “Start Up No.994: Apple yanks Google’s iPhone enterprise certificate, bank accounts emptied by text hackers, Foxconn cuts plans in China, sayonara Ultraviolet, and more

  1. re. Alt account: I don’t have those, but I do have my mom’s credentials for various stuff. I just use a separate browser (Edge ! I won’t miss it ;-p). Also, Xiaomi phones and some other OEMs have an “Alternate account” feature (Android tablets have full multi-user). My Canadian brother uses that to freeload on my second phone when he comes over to France.

    Had the discussion with my 12yo nephew about always counting on what you publish/send ending up in the worst possible hands, like his grandma’s. I’m still not over that time I (sales director) had issues with the new tech director not Getting Things Done. I wrote the wishy-washiest email to signal my issues, framing it as the French legal concepts of “results requirements vs efforts requirements” (tech guy was from a product company, we were a service company). Idiot CEO read the whole piece to the tech guy who was smart enough to see through the gift wrapping. Complicated relationship ensued.

  2. re. Apple and privacy. The first 4 steps for any privacy-conscious user are
    0- hack your HOSTS.TXT file to cut out bad domains
    1- Install privacy addons (uBlock Origin and the EFF’s Privacy Badger)
    2- use a VPN
    3- remove any Unique ID from the browser

    Apple does none of that. And allows only the VPN ? Android allows all 4 (HOSTS.TXT requires root IIRC). I’m really not getting the one-sidedness of the privacy discussion.

    • 0 – this is the job of an adblocker. There are plenty of those available on the App Store, and the Mac App Store. Your use of “any” here is overreach. Plenty of people are privacy-conscious, but would have no idea where to start on this task, and could do serious damage to the usability of their system by doing it.
      1 – see 0.
      2 – such as Onavo? A VPN only hides what you’re doing from your ISP. There are plenty of examples of VPN companies selling data.
      3 – Apple blocks 3rd party cookies in Safari; that and other anti-tracking moves have worried ad tech companies.

      If you change to a different search engine in Safari on iOS or MacOS, outside companies will find out only what you let them; Apple makes clear what it gets from you and lets you deny it. Google, as has been shown, tracks you on an Android phone even when you try to turn tracking off.

      That’s how distorted this “privacy” discussion is. People don’t take notice of what is happening. They just shrug.

      • 0- No. Not possible on iOS. Or only after jailbreaking, which is mostly impossible these days (as opposed to Android’s rooting which is still quite easy though not recommended). https://stackoverflow.com/questions/4783923/can-i-edit-an-ipads-host-file
        1- Indeed, that’s the job of an ad-blocker and of a tracking blocker. Safari only supports those in a very limited way, as opposed to Firefox on Android which supports the dekstop best-of-class uBlock Origin and EFF’s Privacy badger.
        2- Indeed, VPNs are very powerful. This doesn’t mean they’re all bad, that’s gross over-generalization a,d the same features that allow bad VPNs to siphon off you data and usage allow good VPNs to hide them. Separating the wheat from the chaff is indeed too complex for me, CNET takes a stab at it https://www.cnet.com/best-vpn-services-directory/
        3- Firefox addons do a lot more than Safari does even with addons. Again, Apple is doing *something* but Android can do more and better – with some work. That’s the general theme here.

        There was a time Apple was “making the hard decisions so their users didn’t have to make them, and getting paid for it”‘. These are decisions Apple could make and solutions they could provide, if their money truly was where their mouth is. Right now, those are all key and basic things Android does and iOS doesn’t.

      • Same reply w/o sources/links:

        0- No. Not possible on iOS. Or only after jailbreaking, which is mostly impossible these days (as opposed to Android’s rooting which is still quite easy though not recommended). stackoverflow.com/questions/4783923/can-i-edit-an-ipads-host-file
        1- Indeed, that’s the job of an ad-blocker and of a tracking blocker. Safari only supports those in a very limited way, as opposed to Firefox on Android which supports the dekstop best-of-class uBlock Origin and EFF’s Privacy badger.
        2- Indeed, VPNs are very powerful. This doesn’t mean they’re all bad, that’s gross over-generalization a,d the same features that allow bad VPNs to siphon off you data and usage allow good VPNs to hide them. Separating the wheat from the chaff is indeed too complex for me, CNET takes a stab at it cnet.com/best-vpn-services-directory/
        3- Firefox addons do a lot more than Safari does even with addons. Again, Apple is doing *something* but Android can do more and better – with some work. That’s the general theme here.

        There was a time Apple was “making the hard decisions so their users didn’t have to make them, and getting paid for it”‘. These are decisions Apple could make and solutions they could provide, if their money truly was where their mouth is. Right now, those are all key and basic things Android does and iOS doesn’t.

      • Once again – and this is your biggest failing – you make the category error of thinking that because you know how to do something complex, that everyone else will both want to and should want to. This is the same category error that was made by companies which thought vast tracts of people would want to root their Android phones and install another OS. Newsflash: they went bust.
        I know how to edit the hosts file on a PC, and I tried it once and decided it was for the birds. It is not even remotely reasonable to suggest to people that they should edit their hosts file. It is dangerous because you don’t know what relies on it. You should know this. It’s like advising people to wire their own houses. Some might not die or burn the place down. This is no use to those who do.
        1 – there are lots of adblockers on iOS. I stopped counting after 50 on the App Store. You can run more than one at a time.
        2 – you admit that a VPN exchanges one risk for another harder-to-quantify one, but still advocate it. Examine your logic. It’s got a hole in it.
        3 – Safari’s built-in anti-tracking systems aren’t “add-ons”. Few people download an extra browser, compared to the total population. Fewer will download add-ons. Defaults are where the majority are. Consider the privacy protections that Safari on iOS offers and compare it to those offered by Chrome on Android. Get back any time you like with which one, by default, prevents adtech tracking.

        The solutions you think are important aren’t the ones Apple thinks are important. Things which aren’t *defaults* aren’t useful to the majority of the population. Your problem is that you think your personal niche – where one happily edits the hosts file, installs different browsers and add-ons, and uses VPNs – is the majority view, and you are utterly wrong in that.

      • This is not about what is my niche and what isn’t, or what is default and what isn’t; this is about what is best practices for privacy and security. All the tutorials I’ve seen everywhere say: block ads, block trackers, use a VPN, block hosts. You’d expect a company that PRs majorly on that to aim at best practices, not at “slightly better defaults and lets call anyone who does more a ridiculous nerd” (or have others do it for us).

        iOS does a bit more with defaults. But one would assume Apple has the means and knowledge to ùatch by default what an average vaguely techie schmuck like me can do in 15 minutes on Android. There’s nothing “complex” about it, it’s 3 apps and 2 addons to install. The difficult part is knowing you should do it, not actually doing it. Again, I thought Apple lien is that they make those decisions for you.

        But Apple is only pushing the envelope to “let’s do the bare minimum that puts us ahead of default Android” (ie, far behind correctly configured Android). Again, Android does all 4 recommended things (which BTW are not recommended by *me* as you say, but by *everyone*). That’s why this is a PR move, not a heartfelt stance.

        I’m unclear why raising that point seems hurtful to the point of getting ad hominem.

      • fastcompany.com/90270394/the-digital-privacy-tools-you-need-to-be-using-now

        Notice the first 2 ones. What’s the issue with Apple providing (in the case of the browser, even allowing) them ?

  3. BTW, this is probably the best value for money on the Android side (ie, in smartphones generally) today: https://www.gsmarena.com/xiaomi_redmi_note_7-review-1883p5.php

    Seems the camera app could use a bit of work, it’s better than its predecessors but probably underperforms its sensor. I’ll probably be recommending that one in 80% of cases, with half of the remainder wanting to spend less, and half wanting to get iOS or something more. There’s an upcoming Pro model with a better sensor and SoC, it might make sense in some cases. I’m still mad they unannounced the Mi Max 3 Pro ;-p

  4. OK. I’ve put my finger on it. My main issues are with that paragraph:
    “The solutions you think are important aren’t the ones Apple thinks are important. Things which aren’t *defaults* aren’t useful to the majority of the population. Your problem is that you think your personal niche – where one happily edits the hosts file, installs different browsers and add-ons, and uses VPNs – is the majority view, and you are utterly wrong in that.”

    1- me vs Apple. Of course we don’t think the same things are important. Apple is a commercial company whose goal is to maximize profit, and I’m an idiot trying to navigate PR to get at the truth. What’s eerie to me is being disqualified for not agreeing with Apple, while having at least some experts on my side. Is it “money makes right” ? It feels I’m the only one thinking Apple has an agenda, and that what it says should be examined & contextualized.
    2- Indeed, defaults are what count. But they’re not the only thing that exists. At one time, Apple wanted to build “the best computer”. So now it is “a slightly better default” ? Do we have to pretend better options don’t exist, and idolize Apple for going a quarter of the way ?
    3- No, I don’t think my case is typical, I’m actually spending a lot of time helping others (mostly seniors and juniors) navigate IT. But I’m saying it is relevant. The solution I advocate a) is significantly better than Google’s, MS’s and Apple’s defaults and b) isn’t that complicated to implement for an individual (you’re disingenuously trying to make copying a file and installing 3 apps+2addons sound complicated, it isn’t). For a company the size and resources of Apple to make them default would be trivial. Which, to me, begs the question “why don’t they ?”. I’m unclear why you don’t go that step.

  5. Interesting: https://www.engadget.com/2019/02/03/xbox-live-cross-platform-android-ios-switch/

    Feels a bit half-baked though. Cross-platform gaming-social is nice, and plays off MS’s forte vs Sony, but it’s a far cry from a complete cross-platform gaming stack. “xBox everywhere ?”. I’m curious if/when MS is thinking of:
    – getting a major cross-platform client gaming dev system either in-house or bought up (Unity…)
    – getting a major cloud/server gaming infrastructure
    – making a Mobile gaming device (Android or Windows ? x86 or ARM ?)

    The device in particular is an interesting question. On the one hand, it’s hard to get Mobile gamers to pay more for devices, games, and service. On the other hand, Nintendo shows it’s quite possible to move console gamers to something more mobile, at console prices. And any business in that segment would be purely additive for MS.

    I’m guessing the choice to either a) have completely different+incompatible ecosystems under the same brand, b) get something x86 to be sufficiently mobile or c) transition all Gaming to some kind of cross-platform UWP runtime environment is full of hurtful compromises.

    • PS: other action in the general area:

      – Apple’s rumored “Netflix for games” subscription service. I’m curious how that will handle IAP.
      – the perennial attempts at cloud gaming, amusingly forever forgetting that local processing and storage is cheaper, faster and more reliable than mobile (maybe even fixed) connectivity, ping, bandwidth, and cloud storage+processing. Increasingly so too.

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