Apple said it will replace the keyboards of a “small percentage” of MacBook and MacBook Pro models due to issues such as repeat letters, characters that do not appear and keys that don’t respond consistently.
In a support post, Apple said it will service the keyboards free of charge.
The models eligible are:
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2016)
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, 2017)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
Apple also noted:
The type of service will be determined after the keyboard is examined and may involve the replacement of one or more keys or the whole keyboard. The service turn-around time may vary depending upon the type of service and availability of replacement parts.
More than a year after her arrest, Reality Leigh Winner is pleading guilty. The former NSA contractor—who allegedly supplied the media with secret intel on Russians hacking US voting systems—planned to enter her plea agreement Friday in federal court, Engadget reports. “I do know that she has always…
The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that access to historical cell-site records of a person’s location based on their mobile phone will require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before searching a person’s historical location records.
This is the first time the high court has ruled on whether a phone subscriber has a legitimate expectation of privacy regarding a telephone company’s records of their cellphone location data, according to Aloke Chakravarty, a partner in the Denver-based law firm of Snell & Wilmer.
“This is a landmark case for privacy, and how the court will deal with emerging technologies going forward,” Chakravarty said via email. “It creates a new lens through which to view a government’s ability to obtain third-party records where a criminal defendant neither possesses the records, doesn’t have a property interest in them, may not even know they exist, and he cannot personally even access them.”
While the government can still obtain a warrant for cellphone location records, that is a higher standard than is often possible to achieve early in an investigation or before specific individuals have been identified as suspects, Chakravarty said.
The Court’s decision revolved around a 2011 robbery case involving Timothy Carpenter, a man accused of a Detroit robbery whose wireless provider allowed the FBI access to four months of phone location data in order to build their case against him.
In all, the FBI collected 12,898 location points cataloging Carpenter’s movements over 127 days, which place him near four of the robbery locations at the time they occurred.
A Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals judge had ruled the FBI didn’t need a court warrant because mobile phone location data is not protected by the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure.
In a 5-4 ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court determined the Fourth Amendment “protects not only property interests but certain expectations of privacy as well.
“Just because you have to entrust a third party with your data doesn’t necessarily mean you should lose all Fourth Amendment protections in it,” Roberts wrote.
The case, Chakravarty said, is critical to consumer mobile privacy, but more broadly, for signaling that users have a privacy interest in the data third party companies collect about a user of their services; in short, the government’s search of those records must be reasonable.
Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit digital rights group, said the Court sent a strong message by recognizing that cell phone tracking “has the capability to lay private lives bare to government inspection.
“Equally as important, it rejected the government’s tired argument that sensitive data held by third parties is automatically devoid of constitutional protection,” Crocker wrote via email. “Like the Internet, cell phones are all but essential to modern life, and for years. This is a major victory, and we hope it signals the eventual demise of the Third Party Doctrine for good.”
The Court compared cellphone location data to an earlier case involving GPS devices used by law enforcement to track a vehicle over an extended period of time. The precedent in the earlier case was that “longer term GPS monitoring in investigations of most offenses impinges on expectations of privacy.”
“Society’s expectation has been that law enforcement agents and others would not… secretly monitor and catalogue every single movement of an individual’s car for a very long period,” Roberts wrote. “Allowing government access to cell-site records contravenes that expectation.”
Historical cell-site records, the court determined, presents an even greater privacy concern than the GPS monitoring of a vehicle.
The time-stamped data from a wireless provider’s mobile tracking technology provides “an intimate window into a person’s life,” revealing not only his or her particular movements, but through them his “familial, political, professional, religious, and sexual associations.
“Critically, because location information is continually logged for all of the 400 million devices in the United States – not just those belonging to persons who might happen to come under investigation – this newfound tracking capacity runs against everyone,” Roberts concluded.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who first introduced the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act in 2011 to require warrants any time the government accesses Americans’ electronic geolocation information, said the ruling “strikes a blow against the creeping expansion of government intrusion into the most personal parts of Americans’ lives.
“The court’s recognition that digital devices can generate ‘near-perfect surveillance’ of a person’s private life is a validation of the vital protections against unreasonable search and seizure provided by our Constitution,” Wyden said in a statement.
Privacy involving mobile phones has been a hot-button issue as of late.
In May, it was revealed that LocationSmart, a U.S. company that aggregates real-time data about mobile phone location, had been unwittingly leaking the information via its website because of a software vulnerability.
The buggy service, originally discovered by a Carnegie Mellon doctoral student, was taken offline by LocationSmart. The Federal Communications Commission is now looking into the data breach.
Apple has also been embroiled in a fight with law enforcement over its use of encryption cracking services used to break into the iPhones of customers who are under criminal investigation.
Local and regional police departments and federal agencies are lining up to buy technology from two companies whose products can bypass iPhone security mechanisms.
Amid those reports, Apple rolled out a new feature in iOS 12 to prevent further intrusions by locking down the USB port on iPhones. Privacy advocates applauded the move.
Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit digital rights group, said law enforcement is in the “golden age of surveillance,” with an unprecedented ability to look into people’s lives and more data available than ever before. Tech firms, he said, shouldn’t have to “weaken security for millions of innocent users, just to keep one exploit working longer.”
The Supreme Court decision, however, provides little direction to law enforcement or to the third-party holders and users of this data, Costello said.
If the location data at issue before the court revolved around what websites a defendant visited, it would probably have been less controversial, Costello noted.
“As data analytics and marketing information is increasingly the currency of the cyber-realm, this type of data collection is going to increase, going to interconnect,” Costello said, “and in the view of five of the justices, whether transactional data becomes entitled to specialized content-like privacy protections will be determined by a post-hoc review of what you can do with the data, depending on the ‘nature of the particular documents sought’ and the legitimate expectation of privacy in their contents.”
All browsers are equal, but some are more equal than others.
That’s true for a whole host of characteristics, whether it’s their affect on notebook batteries or the size of the extension library, the speed with which engineers address security vulnerabilities or how well the browser deals with ad trackers.
It’s also true of how fresh each browser is at any given moment.
Because the Big Four browser makers – Google, Mozilla, Microsoft and Apple – upgrade their wares (Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari, respectively) at different rhythms, some are usually fresher than others.
[ Further reading: What’s in the latest Chrome update? ]
That’s fresher, as in they have new features and tools, under-the-hood functionality or easily-visible UI (user interface) changes.
Which browsers get refreshed the most? Which the least? We’ve done the calculations for you.
Google updated Chrome eight times in 2017, the most of any of the Big Four browsers.
From Chrome 56 (Jan. 25) to Chrome 63 (Dec. 6), Google refreshed the browser on an average tempo of 45 days, the shortest interval of the big four. The shortest stretch between updates was 41 days (Chrome 57 to Chrome 58, the latter in April), while the longest was 50 days (a two-version tie in July and December).
So far this year, Google has upgraded Chrome four times, with an average interval of 43.5 days, or slightly shorter than in 2017 as a whole.
Mozilla refreshed Firefox seven times in 2017, coming in second behind Google and Chrome in the frequency sweepstakes.
Last year, Mozilla upgraded Firefox 51 (Jan. 24) through Firefox 57 (Nov. 14) on an average cadence of 49 days, a span about 10% longer than Google’s Chrome. The shortest interval between updates was 42 days (Firefox 51 to 52, the latter in March), while the longest was 56 days (Firefox 55 to 56, in September).
So far in 2018, Mozilla has updated Firefox three times, with an average span of nearly 60 days, considerably longer than in 2017.
Microsoft upgraded its Edge browser, the default for Windows 10, only twice in 2017.
Although the Redmond, Wash. company was reportedly considering cutting ties between its Windows 10 upgrade tempo and that of Edge by offering the latter in its online app market, it has not done so. Splitting Windows 10 and Edge, of course, would let Microsoft refresh Edge more often than twice each year, the frequency of its operating system feature upgrades.
In 2017, Microsoft rolled out Edge 15 (April 5) and Edge 16 (Oct. 17) 195 days apart, the second-longest period between upgrades. In that same period, Google released more than four Chrome updates, while Mozilla launched nearly as many.
Microsoft has upgraded Edge just once this year, on April 30, when it issued Windows 10 version 1803; Edge 17 was part of that operating system update.
Note: The company does push out security fixes for Edge throughout the year as part of its monthly patching efforts.
Apple retooled Safari just once last year, when it upgraded macOS from 10.12 (Sierra) to 10.13 (High Sierra) .
Like Microsoft, Apple weds its browser upgrades to its operating system refreshes, so it has just the one opportunity to add significant features and functionality, the reason why its annual list of additions and improvements is extremely long by the standards of Chrome or Firefox.
Apple has yet to upgrade Safari this year, although it plans to deliver Safari 12 this fall as part of macOS Mojave, and as a separate download for users of the two prior editions, High Sierra (2017) and Sierra (2016).
Note: The company does update Safari with security fixes throughout the year as part of the patches it releases five or six times annually.
IDG Communications/Gregg Keizer
The Big Four browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari – upgraded at varying velocities in 2017.
Video: What is a 2-in-1 hybrid device?
As smartphones transitioned to becoming all-touchscreen faces, these newer keyboard-free designs were still considered smartphones. But remove the keyboard from a Windows laptop and you strip its identity, leaving you with a whole other class of device: The tablet.
Indeed, the term “2-in-1” for a laptop with a detachable screen is a construct to accommodate iPad-inspired notions of what a laptop should be from a company that argued there really wasn’t a standalone tablet category. Still, the term is particularly paradoxical. Microsoft did the most to popularize keyboards as integral parts of tablets, yet those products (like the Surface Pro), with nearly identical functionality, are not considered “2-in-1s” even when the keyboard covers are in the box.
In any case, the convention highlights the historically strong association of laptops with keyboards. At the launch of the BlackBerry Key2, TCL Mobile justified the continued importance of keyboards on phones were by praising their primacy on laptops. As I argued in my last column, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. Despite that, some momentum in the great keyboard debate has begun to flow the other way — from smartphone to laptop. After all, some of the same justifications for keyboard elimination apply — more flexibility, larger display area, fewer moving parts, and a thinner profile. Already, the attack on the bezel has already convinced a few laptop makers to relocate their cameras although convertible momentum remains strong.
Still, there have been experiments. The first Surfaces, for example, said as much about the optional nature of a keyboard for a laptop as it did about the value it brings to a tablet. Microsoft even teased the possibility of a range of purpose-built covers such as a music mixing design. In 2016, Lenovo experimented with a flat, outlined keyboard area that doubled as a stylus drawing area on its Yoga Book clamshell devices for Android and Windows. To be sure, typing on those devices entailed a learning curve, and Lenovo plans for a Chromebook version never bore fruit. Still, when I wrote about the Yoga Books, I found them to be the first convertibles that could compete with slates as tablet form factors.
Asus’ “Project Precog” announcement at Computex — a clamshell that replaces the input half with another display — recalls an earlier effort by Acer with its first Iconia device in 2010. Indeed, even Apple’s oft-maligned touch bar can be seen as clearing some runway for “bifold tablets.” Once, the idea that Apple would remove the MacBook’s keyboard was the stuff of Onion parodies. But the company, which has done more than any other to acclimate us to typing on glass, has filed a patent for a way to minimize reflection on the keyboard-area portion of a laptop that might lack one.
The long-awaited linchpin component in all this has been foldable displays, a technology that seems perpetually around the corner and one that would pay even greater dividends for smartphones; Microsoft and Samsung have been frequently cited as pursuing such devices, surpassing the recent (and perhaps last) efforts of ZTE in such an endeavor. After all, despite the availability of secondary laptop displays (including one currently being crowdfunded), even modest laptop screens have enough screen real estate to handle their tasks. The size constraints of hands and pockets, though, keep providing a stronger push to to drive smartphone screen-to-bodies ratio to 1 or higher.
Previous and related coverage:
Early smartphone users cursed the awkwardness of software keyboards. But for BlackBerry to come back, it will need to crack a market that has embraced typing on glass.
Asus Project Precog is a concept of the future of laptops.
Minimalist tablets that relied exclusively on screen input were once the “it” gadget at CES. But while major Windows vendors are announcing more Surface-like detachables, the market is dominated by convertible clamshells.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 patching pace is so fast at this point that one Patch Tuesday doesn’t cover all the bases. Instead, we’re seeing one massive Cumulative Update on Patch Tuesday, and a second — typically large — grab bag of patches later in the month.
You have to wonder what’s happening, though, when Microsoft can deliver its second bundle of patches for 1709, 1703 and 1607 before the second patch for the latest version, 1803, sees light of day.
The Win10 patches
KB 4284822 for Win10 1709
KB 4284830 for Win10 1703
KB 4284833 for Win10 1607
The Monthly Rollup Previews
KB 4284842 — the Win7 Monthly Rollup preview — doesn’t seem to have much. Just like the other Win7 patches this month, it inherits this bug:
There is an issue with Windows and a third-party software that is related to a missing file (oem<number>.inf). Because of this issue, after you apply this update, the network interface controller will stop working.
And of course there’s no mention of which third-party software.
KB 4284863 — the Win8.1 Monthly Rollup preview — is a tad longer but, again, doesn’t seem to cover much.
The .Net Previews
KB 4291493 for .Net Framework 3.5.1, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, and 4.7.1 for Windows 7 SP1 and Server 2008 R2 SP1
KB 4291495 for .Net Framework 3.5, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, and 4.7.1 for Windows Server 2012.
KB 4291497 for .Net Framework 3.5, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, and 4.7.1 for Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2
Of course, I don’t recommend that you install any of them yet.
Let us know if you hit any problems on the AskWoody Lounge.
The latest in airport security: Get ready to have your face scanned if you’re flying into or out of Florida’s Orlando International Airport on an international flight. Other airports already use facial scanning for some departing international flights, but Orlando will be the first airport to require the scans for…
I’m no psychologist, but I’m pretty sure Google has an issue with commitment.
The company famous for flip-flops has just reversed course yet again with the introduction of a new podcast app for Android. Google Podcasts, announced earlier this week, marks the company’s second standalone stab at an Android podcasting service. (It also marks the launch of yet another instance of awkwardly overlapping Google services, since podcasts are currently available, too, in the wholly separate Bizarro World of Google Play Music — but that’s another story for another time.)
In and of itself, the surface-level rationale for releasing a new podcast app now seems sensible enough. Per Google:
Podcasts have become an essential part of life. But, it can still be difficult to get started and find new shows you’ll love — and work still remains in making podcasts accessible and discoverable for all.
There’s another side to this story, though. And it adds a fascinating extra layer into the equation.
We launched Google Listen … to give people a way to discover and listen to podcasts. However, with Google Play, people now have access to a wider variety of podcast apps, so we’ve discontinued Listen.
When you stop and think about it, that statement remains true today: Android (and other platforms) have plenty of excellent podcast app options — and many of them, unlike Google’s new app, are fully cross-platform and available anywhere. Despite the company’s current proclamation, then, it isn’t especially difficult to get started with podcasts or to find new shows you’ll love.
So why is Google really doing an about-face and undoing its earlier “undo,” then? Simple: It’s all about the ecosystem, baby. Google’s focus nowadays is increasingly on establishing itself — Google — as the primary ecosystem in our lives. The Google Assistant serves as the connective tissue that ties that ecosystem together. And what’s a key component of the company’s new Podcasts app, my dot-connecting companion? Yup, you guessed it: its tight integration with Google Assistant, both on your phone and in your home.
It’s all about the ecosystem, baby
Right now, Google is in the midst of a massive, multifaceted campaign to get as many people invested in this newly focused ecosystem — the Google ecosystem, powered by the Google Assistant — as possible. Understandably, it’s all about business, as we discussed in detail earlier this year: Google’s financial success revolves primarily around online ads. Everything Google does ultimately serves to reinforce its ability to deliver such ads as frequently and effectively as possible. But as people spend less time surfing the open web and more time using apps and connected devices, the future of the online ad industry is being threatened by irrelevance.
Google Assistant, however, is designed to be everywhere. It’s carefully crafted to be a next-gen version of that classic Google search box — a version that isn’t stuck on your screen but instead follows you wherever you go and works with or without a visual accompaniment.
So, yes, launching a new “native” Android podcast app now certainly could increase the number of people listening to podcasts around the world, as the app’s product manager told The Verge this week. It could open the door to some genuinely useful new A.I.-powered podcast-consuming possibilities in the future. But Google had a native podcast function available in Play Music already — and in Google Listen before that. If all the company wanted to do was enhance the audio-listening experience and bring it to more people, it could have done so at any point along the way, with any of its previous podcast efforts.
What’s changed isn’t some newfound appreciation for the podcasting medium. It’s a newly pressing need to add more value and reach into the Google Assistant with the hopes of making it a more integral part of people’s lives — a tether that keeps us connected to the Google ecosystem from morning to night. The new podcast app, like so many other recently debuted or pivoted Google products, is at its core a vessel for that bigger-picture ambition. Above anything else, it exists to highlight the usefulness of the Google Assistant and to get you in the habit of interacting with that next-gen ecosystem-anchoring interface.
The new Podcasts app is but one tiny piece of a much grander and more significant goal, in other words — a goal that, at the end of the day, is all about ensuring Google’s survival as the world’s default search engine and home page, even in a world where the traditional search box isn’t always present.
That doesn’t change anything about the app’s usefulness or appeal, of course. But as an educated tech user, there’s value in occasionally pressing pause and stepping back to understand the context of the services in front of you and precisely what their creators stand to gain from providing them.
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