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Comment Activation Lock (Score 0) 448

This gives me an opportunity to rant about Apple, in regards to another self-serving, money-grabbing practice. I bought an Apple Watch from the local state government surplus. This is a place where surplus government property ends up when it is no longer needed. It is also where stuff from airports ends up - items that were confiscated (knives, corkscrews, toys that look in any way like a weapon, and other "dangerous" items) and stuff that was lost and never claimed.

I bought the watch knowing it may not even function (although it looked to be in perfect condition), because they did not have the means to charge and test it. They just liquidate whatever comes down the pipe. So I charge the watch and pair it up, and find it has an Activation Lock on it. Now this is a watch that sat at the airport for the prescribed legal amount of time and was never claimed, and then it went to the state level where it was also never claimed. So many months later (or a year or more - it's first gen watch) it was legally sold by the government to me.

So I came to a realization. I have no way of contacting the original owner. I can see that they have a gmail address, but Apple will not show the entire address. Apple will not contact them on my behalf, or otherwise do anything for me to get this watch back into their possession. I cannot use the watch. No one can (I spent a lot of time searching, and there is no way to circumvent at this time). In January Apple removed their online tool that lets people check if a phone or watch has an Activation Lock, so there is not even any good way to know a used Apple product of these types are usable.

So who does this serve? That's easy. Apple. Because I cannot get the watch back to the person who lost it, and because I cannot use it, this watch has been taken off the market. Each instance of a product taken off the market is one that does not complete against the sales of new products. Imagine if iPhones and Apple Watches could never be resold - it would result in a huge increase in sales of new devices (which are the only ones Apple profits off of directly). That is what this accomplishes, because you just never know if a used device is actually usable. It pretty much shuts down the ability for private individuals to resell on Ebay or any other way online that cannot be finalized in person, where the buyer can check the device before they buy it.

Sure, as a side affect, perhaps this reduces the theft of devices to some degree. I argue that is merely a minor side affect. Thieves are going to grab any device they have a good opportunity to take, because it could be an Android phone, or maybe an iPhone that was not registered with iCloud's Find my Device. But I argue the primary purpose is to increase Apple's profit margins further by "destroying" a significant number of devices that cannot be used by anyone else.

Comment Devil's advocate (Score 1) 202

Let me play devil's advocate here. Let's say for a moment that the CIA does indeed have whatever hardware is required to easily brute force modern encryption with the current key lengths we are using. Maybe that's some sort of quantum device or perhaps they have access to standard computing power beyond what anyone imagines. That part doesn't matter for the sake of this argument.

What would you do if you were the CIA? How about release exactly the information we see here - information about some actual tools of some value, in addition to misinformation that makes appear they are stymied by the encryption and must instead go after the endpoints. So we feel all smug and secure, while in reality they can simply access the data in transit. They then use these tools and methods described in the leak as the smokescreen in court (when needed) to show standard methods for acquiring data that is more traditional and highly targeted to a specific device, both to keep their data legal as admissible evidence and to hide their true capabilities.

Or am I giving the CIA way, way too much credit here?

Comment My twitter posts (Score 1) 50

My system posts to twitter accounts automatically. I don't know if these are considered "bots" - they just post community alerts (weather and stuff), and that's all. However, I have noticed that within seconds of when my system tweets a URL, that URL is hit by upwards of 20 times (not by twitter) within a couple seconds. I presume these are the "bots" in question. Further, that happens to accounts that I just set up that don't even have any followers yet.

Comment Porn (Score 2) 391

Men tend to initiate sex much more than women do. Men also tend to watch porn much more than women do. So I have a hunch the ease of access to porn has resulted in men getting their gratification alone while watching porn, thus less sex is taking place. Additionally the normal, average woman does not compare to your typical porn star, which may also result in men developing unrealistic standards and thus not having sex with their partner as much due to higher expectations.

Comment Re:Celcius to Fahrenheit converter failed? (Score 1) 162

In addition to the 0-100 F range being the temperatures a human can expect to encounter in the habitable portions of the planet where we live, the unit size is better too. 1 degree F is about what a human can perceive environmentally. So whole numbers convey just the right precision for forecasts, environmental settings, etc. Whereas with Celsius, forecasts, thermostat settings, etc, must be specified with decimal places, because 1 degree Celsius is too large and imprecise unit for day to day use. Again, because humans can perceive, and thus care about, greater precision than 1 degree C.

Comment Re:$35/mo is not "fairly low-cost"... (Score 1) 95

Yeah, that's very expensive for television channels that are broadcast over the air for free, and currently on a model that is totally funded by advertising. Obviously these streams will also have advertisements, because the programming itself cannot even fill the entire timeslots. I bought an amplified TV antenna from Walmart a few days ago for $32 and I can get more than a dozen channels (and I'm an hour from the nearest TV station). So I would be paying $35 a month to be watching it through the pipes I'm already paying for (my home ISP or cell data) for.... that makes no sense.

Comment Doing their part (Score 1) 88

So if I get this right, India is making a huge income off of outsourcing, H1B, etc, working for American companies developing software and then having that income funneled back into their country, but they won't buy that software even at reduced educational rates? Good to see they're doing their part.

Comment Re:Won't work everywhere, or really anywhere else (Score 0) 181

They're already having problems. I looked into what this company does, and among other eclectic things, they produce film titles. Here is one of their productions, and as you can see, they were sacked and replaced by another company (at great expense - and then that company was replaced by yet another company) before the project was completed.

Comment Cost (Score 1) 401

The plan has a $500 billion price tag, but that's pocket change compared to the cost of dealing with an ice-free Arctic.

Wouldn't billions be saved in shipping and transportation expenses if the Arctic was ice-free? That shortens the distance to Asia right?

Comment Re:Makes no sense (Score 1) 47

That still makes no sense. If it's "games like Angry Birds" then why aren't all "games like Angry Birds" banned? Why do you single out and ban one game? This is specific to Angry Birds. Unless this list uses the term "Angry Birds" to mean "Any blacklisted game". Either way the article still does not explain what is going on here.

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