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Comment Re: Missing information (Score 1) 166

Pure water isn't really an option at the municipal level. Even after the water leaves he plant it has to move through miles of pipes to get to your tap, and frequently the city that owns the plant and the city that owns the pipes serving your house are not the same cities. Never mind that the quality of the pipes IN your home can matter as well.

There is a practically infinite number of chemicals that can dissolve in water that would need to be tested forth confirm that the water is pure. And we need to deal with the fact that this is the real world and money/time/equipment/etc are finite resources. I'm not meaning to say that the EPA shouldn't find out what is there, but simply that the presence of a chemical is not enough to indicate anything nefarious. The next step is to determine if there is any reason for concern. They have a program right now screening chemicals for endocrine disruption potential. And not just at any concentration, but at the concentrations seen in the real world (the dose makes the poison after all). However, until we have more reason to be concerned than "look what we found" we should refrain from freakingn everyone out to no benefit.

Look at all of the scares around BPA. We were told it's everywhere, and collectively freaked out. Replacing it with other chemicals that are just as poorly understood. but when the tests were actually performed it was shown that while it *can* act as an endocrine disrupters in cell culture, it is so rapidly detoxified and excreted in the urine that the levels seen in people and water are well below any level of concern.

Comment Missing information (Score 1) 166

Exposure is only part of the toxicological equation. Is there causal (not just an associated) evidence of harm? Do we know what dose is necessary to cause this harm, and what the likelihood of harm is at a particular does? The EPA does an excellent job of surveillance. Unfortunately they do a less than stellar job of confirming there is a problem before someone turns exposure data into the basis for a panicked article about the latest "chemical".

Comment Re:Old price is the problem. (Score 1) 472

Valuable perspective, but it is only one perspective (the IT manager). And I'm not sure it is really relevant since the recommendations at MacRumors.com are not for IT buyers but for personal use buyers. From the "Having to manage my own machine without support from a professional" perspective, a Mac has consistently been the best choice. Yes, they cost more, but I have fewer headaches (though by no means none) related to managing them in the handful of hours each week I have to use it when I'm not earning a living.

Furthermore, your experience is different from other IT managed scenarios in that you are managing for children, and the computers are shared resources. As I recall a couple of years ago there was a /. article about how IBM had moved to letting everyone select their own device and found that Mac's resulted in disproportionately fewer help desk tickets. The money spent on hardware resulted in savings from support. Your mileage may vary of course

I've personally helped dozens of people switch from PC's that they never really felt comfortable with, to Mac's which enabled them to get more from their machines. That kind of productivity gain and piece of mind can't be tabulated on a spreadsheet and so therefore has essentially zero value in an IT managed scenario, but for the day-to-day user of the machine it has great personal value. That is why Macs do so well with people buying their own machine, but not at large corporations.

Finally, the older MBAir that hasn't been updated will probably never be updated. The differences in portability between the Air and the MBPro are almost meaningless at this point. It exists in the line-up to hit a certain price point, and do so profitably. As long as it can fill that role, and still sell in meaningful volumes, Apple will keep it around. It's good business, regardless of what flamebait writers say.

Comment Re: Well... (Score 1) 609

No, I'm not slandering good folks based on a few bad apples. This is what eugenics was originally about. The Nazis didn't invent the concepts of racial superiority and racial purity. They've always existed, the Nazis just took it to the farthest extreme. Eugenics grew out of a combination of the racial ideals and a determine misinterpretation of the implications of Darwins works. Implementation of eugenics, even with only so-called "positive" selections is still dependent upon some external body to determine which groups deserve to be promoted, and is hopelessly biased and confounded with political and economic privledge.

Comment Re: Well... (Score 1) 609

You have clearly never heard about the forced sterilization of people deemed "undesirable" (mentally tetarded, poor, blacks, the insane) by governments the world over.

Evolution is not "survival of the fittest". That is another pop-science mischaracterization. Selective breeding of livestock is also evolution, it's called directed evolution. In this case the humans control the environment, and therefore are able to guide evolution to a desired outcome through manipulation of selective pressures (breed this animals with desirable traits, and cull those without). Culling and control of breeding is an intrinsic part of this kind of guided evolution, and is which eugenics was modeled on. Hence the sterilization and euthanasia of those deemed unfit by bigots.

Comment Re: Well... (Score 2) 609

Actually, eugenics was always based on a flawed pop-science interpretation of evolution. Mainly on the false premise that evolution had an objective goal, and that we could inpret that goal and hasten things along through selective breeding of humans. It was good old fashioned racism and classism with a pseudo science wrapper.

Comment Re: Low bar (Score 1) 42

I don't see it. This means that slightly more than 2 years ago Samsung hit a slump and have just pulled themselves out of it. Apple just hit their slump last quarter. I don't see that as evidence that Only Apple is slumping, but that they are on different timelines for whatever reason. In fact, for Samsung, it doesn't even necessarily mean they've pulled out of the slump. For all we know (I haven't looked at their past performance) their peak could have been five years ago, and they are only now where they were 2 years ago when the slump was still on a downward trajectory. Recovering, but not yet recovered.

Comment Re:If you really want an answer (Score 1) 71

The success of any new product or service has always been contingent on it being marketable. The difference between the golden age of yesteryear and today is that we now try to figure out the viability of success beforehand so that we don't waste as many resources on untenable things, whereas in the past the new thing would come about and then disappear when the business went under. In the long run, there isn't much of a difference for the failed vs never tried.

Economics is the science (and I use that term very loosely) of allocating scarce resources among multiple possible uses. It sucks, but it happens to suck less than all of the alternative in actual application.

Comment Re:so.. where is this going to go (Score 1) 135

I don't believe they've ever said that their phones were completely secure, not even today. Security is not binary complete or absent, there are levels of security, often resulting from trade offs between security and other features like ease of use. You seem to be upset at Apple for breaking a promise they never in-fact made.

Unless you've got a specific Chinese or Russian law to which you can point, your assertion is baseless. I don't disagree that these governments would very much like to have this information, but I fully expect that in the interest of public perception and geo politics, they rely on hackers to get access to these devices a la the Israeli company that the FBI has turned to in order to gain access. Any weakness that these hackers exploit could be closed in future software or hardware updates, leading to an arms race of sorts between Apple and the hackers (government affiliated or not)

One difference here is that the FBI was hoping to get the courts to compel Apple to do the work for them. Once it became clear they were going to lose the case on appeal, they turned to a 3rd party. The former head of the NSA essentially said that he believed the FBI was more interested in the precedent than then actual data because the NSA could have gotten them the data without the court case. I have no illusions that Apple is only looking out for my best interest, and was fighting this case based on their collective conscience. However, that doesn't mean that their business objectives and my personal interests can't align at times, or that I shouldn't support them when our interests coincide but for different reasons.

Comment Re:so.. where is this going to go (Score 1) 135

The iPhone 5C already has a backdoor; that's the problem. Furthermore, you can be certain that the NSA and other agencies can get in through that back door. Apple winning or losing makes no difference to that. But if Apple wins, it gives the appearance that your data is protected when in fact it is not. Furthermore, if Apple wins, it will give more ammunition to people demanding laws that require explicit backdoors.

So in your opinion we are damned if we do and damned if we don't? The lack of completely secure phones today (or at least back when the iPhone 5C was sold) completely invalidates any potential advances to make them more secure in the future, and if Apple wins in court then the legislature will (despite having failed to do so during the first encryption debate) of course pass laws to grant such a back door in the future. That's an awfully pessimistic view. If legislators from my state start supporting such a bill, they will get an earful from me, and I imagine that most of the tech industry will throw their lobbying weight around as well to prevent such a bill.

We know such a phone would be affordable, easy to use, and popular: there would be no user visible changes. Nor would it be any more expensive, because Apple already has a custom, secure crypto chip that could have implemented the PIN wipe securely without backdoors and at no extra cost.

You may believe that, but I see no reason to believe you are correct. There is a cost, even if not in money, to a completely secure phone. The costs are time and the hassle of remembering, or sharing it when you ask someone else to use your phone for you, etc. Those may be small costs, but to some they are big enough to result in many people still not having even a 4 character pin to protect their phone. You and I may value security (probably to differing degrees), but many don't at all, and requiring a pin that could wipe the phone if a kid gets their hands on it and tries too many wrong passwords/pins scares many. Myself included. I've been locked out of my phone several times because my 2 year old got the phone and tried to get into it, or because it became activated in my pocket some how and ran up several attempts without any deliberate action on my part.

Security may be easy in a technical sense, but to make something that is both secure, easy to use, and desirable to a wide range of buyers all at the same time is something different entirely. Apple prioritized ease of use and desirability over security. Their call, don't buy if you don't want, but they've increased their emphasis on security over time. Maybe they'll never get to where you'd like them to be, but I'm glad for any improvement since I hate the Android and Windows phones I've used thus far. A little protection is better than none.

My guess is that the weak security architecture of the iPhone 5C was deliberate

And unless you've got real evidence, that is just an opinion. And not even one that is logically consistent, since one of the issues at the heart of this case is that the iPhone 6 and 6S are even more secure, meaning the work around that the FBI wants Apple to implement for the 5C won't work on these newer phones.

Comment Re:so.. where is this going to go (Score 1) 135

How does the public lose if Apple wins?

If Apple loses, then they and other cell phone manufacturers will be required to include backdoors and maintain work arounds for the government indefinitely. Sucks to be you if the FBI wants access to your phone, and sucks to be you if someone other than Apple or the Government is able to get access to the tools or reverse engineer the work around.

If Apple wins, then it will still be possible in the future to develop completely encrypted bullet proof phones in the future because their will not be a court president validating the Justice Departments use of the All Writs Act to compel companies to build in back doors for the government. Even if Apple never does develop said phone, there will at least not be a legal precedent preventing anyone else from doing so.

Don't buy into Apple's PR, but looking at the case I fail to see how them winning such a suit, should it come up again, would hurt me.

Also, while it has been possible for more than a decade, that doesn't mean such phone would be affordable, easy to use, or popular. Apple is a purveyor of mass market technology. I get that they haven't done so for business reasons, but since no one else has either I won't fault them for it. If Google, Microsoft, or even forbid BB were to beat them to the punch on such a phone I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple taken to task for it, but of the phones available now Apples seems to me (not a security expert mind you) to be the next best thing.

Comment Re:so.. where is this going to go (Score 1) 135

Lets be clear, Apple - Like every other company in the world - has a statutory obligation to obey any law of any country within which they operate. If China were to say tomorrow "no encryption on any device" Apple would have to choose to either stop selling, try to fight the law in court, or comply. In the US the company is choosing option 2, but if they lose they will have to revert to either option 1 (fiscal suicide) or option 3. The issue here is that the west has been able to, through political machinations and public shaming, been able to rein in some of the initiatives countries like China have tried to put in place. If the government of the US is to go all hypocrite by demanding far more then they have ever accepted China requesting, then they will be less likely to comply with the machinations of the west next time. I have no illusion that Apple doesn't obey laws I find repugnant in other countries, but I'm going to be damned if I'm going to let my country pass similar laws without supporting Apple if they try to object on my behalf, even if they aren't doing it for me per se.

Apple has never said they have your best interest at heart, mearly that their opposition to this court order, and your best interest happen to coincide. and besides, it's hardly as if the FBI isn't trying equally hard to portray the absolute fiction that this is about a single phone, and not the legal precedent to use this same maneuver to get every seller of encryption software in the US to have to decrypt on demand for the FBI or other law enforcement agencies at any time. A lot of the press i've read seems to indicate that Apple was quite surprised by the route the FBI was taking up until they filed very publicly in court. They have not denied that they've worked with law enforcement before, and that the do what they can with the tools as they currently exist, but the FBI is asking them to now develop new tools to undermine security that already exists. That is new and what they are fighting.

The encryption on iPhones has gotten more comprehensive at every revision of the hardware/software. That it wasn't bullet proof at d1 or that it isn't bullet proof now is not evidence that it isn't more secure than previous models by leaps and bounds. Fact is the on device encryption was added to secure the phones against hackers, not the government. The problem now is that the government has found that they too cannot get into the devices and are trying to get the court to grand them powers the congress and deliberately decided in the past NOT to grant them by use of a legal loophole and some pretty blatant lying in the press.

Comment Re:so.. where is this going to go (Score 1) 135

Cook should build phones that just cannot be broken into, not even by someone with full access to the source code, firmware signing keys, and hardware.

That does appear to be the way he is pushing his engineers. However, in the mean time there are billions of iPhones out there for whom this level of protection is not yet possible, and cannot be retroactively applied. I don't even believe that Cook has attempted to portray his actions as altruistic, just that what is in the best interest of Apple Inc., and what is in the best interest of owners of Apple devises are in sync with each other on this issue.

Apple Inc sees no value and only cost associated with developing and maintaining a special version of IOS that can be used to by-pass their current security protocols. If Apple had already developed such a device on their own he wouldn't be able to keep the FBI from requesting that he use it on their behalf. However, the tools don't exist precisely because Apple sees no value in creating them other than avoiding a very public fight with the FBI over this issue. The negative PR from this is nothing compared to the negative PR of those tools escaping and getting into the hands of identify thieves, or celebrity stalkers, or hostile foreign governments, etc.

Keep in mind that Cook is a gay man, and he managed to keep that more or less a secret for most of his career as a public figure at Apple. In 2016 that doesn't mean what it used to in the US, but in Russia and many other countries around the world it is a crime that can lead to incarceration, torture, and death. I wouldn't be surprised if for Mr. Cook personally, the idea that a government that would view people like him as sub-human or criminals due to their sexual preference might request the exact same tools that the FBI is requesting is terrifying. Or if you want to take sexual preference off of the table, you can trot out any persecuted minority. China very recently planned on passing a law of similar scope and due to pressure from the US government and western technology companies they abandoned it. If the US creates this precedent, the Chinese will take it even further, and while you may think the FBI is trustworthy I doubt most people would extend similar trust to the governments of every country in which Apple operates.

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