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Reading List - The Mac isn't Dead, Encryption and the Press Clause, The best camera, 94 year old genius

Apple's Craig Federighi, talking to a small group of reporters near its headquarters in Cupertino.

We certainly see, as I know you do, a wide spectrum of views expressed in internet forums about all things, including our products. I think it’s not entirely unreasonable and it’s understandable that some people who love their Macs so much and see something new that Apple is talking about in the form of iPad, creating in some of them a sense of insecurity: ‘What does this mean? There’s a thing I really care about, I don’t want to see it go away, I see this other new thing on the scene, what does this mean to me, what does this mean to the product I love?’ So I understand how that would come out in the form of concern that this is happening, but this is not happening. The Mac is — we say it over and over, we’re saying it again here — a huge part of our future, we’re deeply invested in it.

It’s a reasonable question, and this is why we’re here today, specifically, to address that question above all else. We’re committed to the Mac, we‘ve got great talent on the Mac, both hardware and software, we’ve got great products planned for the future and as far as our horizon line can see, the Mac is a core component of the things Apple delivers, including to our Pro customers.

We’re really serious about this idea that we wanna figure out how to better communicate with pros. We understand their jobs rely on this stuff, they make important decisions about this stuff — they need to hear from us. We do have a process we need to go through, to make products and not tell competitors what we’re doing and on and on. But we’re trying to have it not all be one-way and find the right balance there.Craig Federighi

John Gruber was at the meeting too.

Let’s not beat around the bush. I have great news to share:

Apple is currently hard at work on a “completely rethought” Mac Pro, with a modular design that can accommodate high-end CPUs and big honking hot-running GPUs, and which should make it easier for Apple to update with new components on a regular basis. They’re also working on Apple-branded pro displays to go with them.John Gruber

I followed a link from Bruce Schneier's web site.

Someone in the comment section brought up an interesting point. Language is code. I don't know what two people speaking German are saying because I don't know German and hence can't decode their conversation. This is what the USA did when it used Native American languages to send secret messages during World War II. The Japanese had no experience with those languages and so had no way to decode the military messages. Why does the US government think encryption codes, which are advanced mathematical "languages", are any different?

Almost twenty years ago, a hostile debate over whether government could regulate encryption—later named the Crypto Wars—seized the country. At the center of this debate stirred one simple question: is encryption protected speech? This issue touched all branches of government percolating from Congress, to the President, and eventually to the federal courts. In a waterfall of cases, several United States Court of Appeals appeared to reach a consensus that encryption was protected speech under the First Amendment, and with that the Crypto Wars appeared to be over, until now.

Nearly twenty years later, the Crypto Wars have returned. Following recent mass shootings, law enforcement has once again questioned the legal protection for encryption and tried to implement “backdoor” techniques to access messages sent over encrypted channels. In the case, Apple v. FBI, the agency tried to compel Apple to grant access to the iPhone of a San Bernardino shooter. The case was never decided, but the legal arguments briefed before the court were essentially the same as they were two decades prior. Apple and amici supporting the company argued that encryption was protected speech.

While these arguments remain convincing, circumstances have changed in ways that should be reflected in the legal doctrines that lawyers use. Unlike twenty years ago, today surveillance is ubiquitous, and the need for encryption is no longer felt by a seldom few. Encryption has become necessary for even the most basic exchange of information given that most Americans share “nearly every aspect of their lives—from the mundane to the intimate” over the Internet, as stated in a recent Supreme Court opinion.

Given these developments, lawyers might consider a new justification under the Press Clause. In addition to the many doctrinal concerns that exist with protection under the Speech Clause, the Press Clause is normatively and descriptively more accurate at protecting encryption as a tool for secure communication without fear of government surveillance. This Article outlines that framework by examining the historical and theoretical transformation of the Press Clause since its inception.Encryption and the Press Clause by D. Victoria Baranetsky, First Look Fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, J.D. 2011, Harvard Law School

Photographer David DuChemin on choosing the "best camera".

You should also know that if you can’t use even the best, sharpest, fastest, low-lightest camera intuitively, and if it doesn’t get out of the way quickly for you and just let you do your thing, it’s not the best camera for you. And if you don’t know those things, if you don’t have a list of must-have features, then you don’t need them. Like the idea that the best camera is the one you have with you, it doesn’t answer every question or serve every circumstance. But while the geeks are arguing about this stuff on the forum you’ll be out making photographs with a camera that lets you focus on the things that are ultimately truly responsible for making photographs – being present, seeing in new ways, making creative decisions about interpreting your scene and finding the best expression of the thing that has captured your imagination.David Duchemin

John Goodenough is a 94-year-old inventor with several patents to his name, including a new one for a more efficient battery.

When I asked him about his late-life success, he said: “Some of us are turtles; we crawl and struggle along, and we haven’t maybe figured it out by the time we’re 30. But the turtles have to keep on walking.” This crawl through life can be advantageous, he pointed out, particularly if you meander around through different fields, picking up clues as you go along. Dr. Goodenough started in physics and hopped sideways into chemistry and materials science, while also keeping his eye on the social and political trends that could drive a green economy. “You have to draw on a fair amount of experience in order to be able to put ideas together,” he said.Pagan Kennedy writing for the New York Times

Quick thoughts some of the innovations of 2015

A friend posted an article, The 40 most exciting innovations of the year, one her Facebook profile. What follows are my initial thoughts on some of the innovations.

I think the solar powered Internet aircraft will be shot out of the sky by counties that don't want Western meddling in their internal affairs or exposure to Western "subversive" content that could further weaken their culture. Imagine if China launched free Internet over the Midwestern USA?

The gene editing tool is scary shit. I know it will be abused in Asia to eliminate the possibility of having girl babies. Having too many males in any given population often leads to war.

The poop-to-water or waste-to-power technology could be installed everywhere. Not just Africa, but even here in the USA. Imagine if each US municipality could manage it's own waste? Imagine if each house could be independent of the grid?

Google+ posts and conversations operate similarly to Slack. Slack is geared toward corporate email but Google+ circles and messages pioneered the concept. I just wish more people would see the benefit over traditional email. Ever try to follow an email thread involving multiple recipients? Trying to make sense of who said what when becomes nearly impossible. Now try the something on a Facebook or Google+ conversation. Much easier, right? That’s how Slack kills email.

The basic income project smacks of communism which we already know does not work. I want as much money as possible. Programs like these always mean an increase in taxes for higher income earners. Now if the program is based on increasing taxes -- or eliminating loop holes -- in the 1%, then there is a way to pay for it. But I expect it will be the middle class who will bear the burden.

I can't cut the cable yet. The new Apple TV makes it very easy to do. It has apps for every major cable and broadcast channel, Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Vimeo and YouTube. But the cable and broadcast apps only work if I select my cable provider and enter my account details. This is a limitation imposed by the cable companies to fend off competition. Instead of competing by providing value, they restrict competition with contracts. Sigh.

I really wish we could have finger-print readers on everything. The iPhone 6 has spoiled me. Tap a full her and I'm logged into m device. I find I'm rather annoyed by having to tap out a password to access my iPad Air. I'm considering upgrading to the Air 2 simply because it has a finger print reader. I've used 1Password for serval years to mange account credentials for over 1500 web sites. It can only be unlocked with my LIVE finger.

The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed.Williams Gibson

Innovation isn't always sexy

Innovation isn't always sexy, it isn’t always the stuff people go crazy for. Innovation is more generally the little things that add up to big changes over time.

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