How to Manage Your Online Personal Data

5 days 11 hours ago

Louise Matakis put together a guide on how to manage your online personal data, and figuring out who buys, sells, and barters it.

Personal data is often compared to oil—it powers today’s most profitable corporations, just like fossil fuels energized those of the past. But the consumers it’s extracted from often know little about how much of their information is collected, who gets to look at it, and what it’s worth. Every day, hundreds of companies you may not even know exist gather facts about you, some more intimate than others. That information may then flow to academic researchers, hackers, law enforcement, and foreign nations—as well as plenty of companies trying to sell you stuff.

A good guide as usual from Wired.

Andrew Orr

Sir Tim Berners-Lee Wants to Fix the Web with New Startup

5 days 12 hours ago

Sir Tim Berners Lee, the inventor or the World Wide Web, has a new, a project. Called Inrupt, it wants to develop a new web structure to put people back in control of their data. Data would be stored on an individual’s “pod” instead of a company’s server. Wired spoke to Sir Tim about the project.

Inrupt aims to drive the development of the Solid platform and transform it from an innovative idea to a viable platform for businesses and consumers. “My group in the CSAIL [Computer Sciences and Artifical Intelligence Laboratory] Lab at MIT had been working on Solid for some years,” Berners-Lee says. “The initial goal of Inrupt is to add the energy and resources of a startup to the open-source efforts to make the Solid movement happen.”

Charlotte Henry

7-in-1 MacBook Pro USB-C Hub: $34.99

5 days 12 hours ago

We have a deal on a 7-in-1 MacBook Pro USB-C hub. This device has one Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and SDXC, micro SDXC, and TF card ports. You can get it through our deal for $34.99.

Bryan Chaffin

This AI Tool Scares the Crap Out of Elon Musk

5 days 15 hours ago

OpenAI, an AI research institute cofounded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman, built an AI text generator that its creators worry is dangerous.

Jack Clark, policy director at OpenAI, says that example shows how technology like this might shake up the processes behind online disinformation or trolling, some of which already use some form of automation. “As costs of producing text fall, we may see behaviors of bad actors alter,” he says.

Based on the examples I think it’s safe to say this AI would pass the Turing Test.

Andrew Orr

Allstate’s iCracked Purchase Could be a Win For Consumers

5 days 15 hours ago

Insurance company Allstate’s purchase of repair firm iCracked Tuesday confirmed its position as a key player in the right to repair movement. Malcolm Owen on AppleInsider commented that the deal could help Allstate speed up device repairs claims process. In the future, customers may only have to be without a phone for hours, not days.

At the same time as bolstering its consumer offerings, acquiring iCracked also makes Allstate a major force in the right to repair movement in the United States, due to its business involving third-party repairs. executive director Gay Gordon-Byrne confirmed to Motherboard the outfit has already loaned a lobbyist to assist the push for legislation in New Hampshire. The purchase is already being seen as a positive for the movement, with iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens claiming “I’m optimistic that this partnership will elevate the visibility of the work that we’re doing together.

Charlotte Henry

It’s Not Just Amazon – Lots of Residents Don’t Want a Tech Giant as Their Neighbour

5 days 16 hours ago

This week, Amazon scrapped plans for a New York headquarters. However, it is not just in Queens where local residents don’t want a tech giant setting up a campus. As Rick Noak pointed out in the Washington Post, there is growing opposition from people in Berlin, Melbourne, and Dublin to tech firms expanding in their cities.  In Melbourne, the opposition is to an Apple flagship store. They may be thousands of miles apart, but residents in these cities share some coming concerns.

Tech companies bring in small armies of workers but these are rarely recruited from the neighborhoods in question and the new arrivals drive up prices for locals. There is also often opposition to the companies on ideological grounds or simply the fact that a global corporation is taking over key parts of beloved neighborhoods. While city leaders may love the new additions, residents don’t.

Charlotte Henry

Buycott Lets You Make Value-Based Shopping Decisions

5 days 16 hours ago

I think it’s great if you can do business with companies that align with your personal values. This can go both ways. I like Apple’s stance on environmentalism and privacy. Other people boycott Starbucks because its cups don’t mention the word Christmas, or buy dophin-safe tuna. Whether we agree with those shopping decisions or roll our eyes, we’re avoiding or gravitating towards companies that support what we believe in. It’s pure free market capitalism. Which is why apps like Buycott are helpful. With this app you can: Join campaigns to support causes you care about, scan product barcodes to learn a product’s history, and make a purchase decision on the product and communicate your decision to the company. One thing to keep in mind: Buycott’s privacy policy says the app collects your location and other data. App Store: Free

Andrew Orr

Why I (Still) Love Mac User Groups

5 days 18 hours ago

In this week’s episode (#318 for those keeping track) Dr. Mac explains why he loves Apple User Groups and why you’re missing out if you’re not part of one. 

Bob LeVitus

Do You Cover Your Webcam Lens With a Sticky Note?

6 days 6 hours ago

There is a certain practice, born, perhaps, of obsolete data and just plain paranoia. People place a sticky note over their Mac’s webcam when not in use. Is this a valid, efficacious practice? There are even commercial products that have a nicer look to them. John Gruber digs into the practice and the technology both old and new. There’s a lot to learn in this column by John. Check it out.

John Martellaro

Apple Infrastructure, Attention to Details, Apple Car/AR/Glasses, with John Martellaro – ACM 501

6 days 7 hours ago

Does Apple have the infrastructure it needs for a cohesive future? Once that seemed clear, but Bryan Chaffin and guest-host John Martellaro say it’s become harder to see, if so. They then pivot to how augmented reality will figure into Apple’s future plans and products. They cap the show by weighing Apple’s ability to pay attention to details as the company grows.

Bryan Chaffin

ProBASE X Laptop/Monitor/iMac Stand Features Drawer, Hub with 6 Ports: $144.99

6 days 8 hours ago

We have a deal on the ProBASE X Laptop/Monitor/iMac stand. This jet black stand features a storage drawer on the left and a 6-port hub on the right. It connects to your computer via USB 3.0, and for output, it has two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, a MicroSD card slot, an ethernet port (10/100/1000Mbps), and a QuickCharge port. This device is $144.99 through our deal, 8% off retail. 

Bryan Chaffin

What Happens When U.S. Personnel Serve a Foreign Intelligence Agency?

6 days 10 hours ago

Remember that story about the iPhone hacking tool called Karma? Lawfare published a good piece detailing the consequences of U.S. spies working for a foreign intelligence agency.

Along the way, the Americans came to appreciate that their efforts at times did indeed include surveillance of political opponents of UAE authorities, and further that the UAE service at times targeted Americans despite assurances that this would not occur (or at least that the operations Project Raven in particular conducted or supported would not be directed at Americans).

That’s probably the biggest point of the story. Americans spying on Americans on behalf of another country.

Andrew Orr
2 hours 33 minutes ago
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