I am very near the end of Wil Wheaton’s updated/annotated memoir Still Just a Geek, which I bought over the summer on a short family trip. I have lots of thoughts—most of them positive—about the memoir and may write a bit more about it once I finally finish. For now, though, since I wrote last week complaining about companies like Apple and ClassDojo restricting hardware and software to support their bottom line at the expense of users, I was struck by a short passage Wheaton included making a case for general purpose computing:
A week ago today, my MacBook Pro suddenly stopped being able to communicate with its SSD. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but I spent most of my Tuesday afternoon wiping everything from the drive and reinstalling macOS so that I could get back to work. While I haven’t kept a physical backup for a couple of years (I accidentally fried mine when moving back into my campus office in Fall 2020), I have all of my most important documents scattered between three cloud services, so this wasn’t too painful of a process.
This is why the EFF and others have concerns about overreach of even clearly well intentioned content moderation. CSAM is clearly despicable, but automated content moderation can make mistakes, and consequences for those mistakes aren’t small.
link to ‘A Dad Took Photos of His Naked Toddler for the Doctor. Google Flagged Him as a Criminal. - The New York Times’
Look, I’m a critic of Apple’s closed system, but it’s laughable for Meta to set itself up as an oprn alternative.
link to ‘Zuckerberg: Apple, Meta are in “deep, philosophical competition” | Ars Technica’
Doctorow is spot on here. Apple may be the most benevolent of the big tech companies, but it still has far too much power over its users.
link to ‘Facebook Says Apple is Too Powerful. They’re Right. | Electronic Frontier Foundation’
By this logic, macOS is malware’s best friend by allowing users to install software outside the App Store. It’s a dumb argument.
link to ‘‘Sideloading is a cyber criminal’s best friend,’ according to Apple’s software chief - The Verge’
This is maybe the best example I’ve seen of app stores being a problematic model. Is there an Android app that could be sideloaded? Definitely isn’t for Apple, and that’s shameful.
link to ‘Apple and Google Remove ‘Navalny’ Voting App in Russia - The New York Times’
This blurb stood out to me: “Apple says, relentlessly, that privacy is the central feature of its iPhones. But as the photo scanning demonstrates, that’s true only until Apple changes its mind about its policies.” Seems to me we shouldn’t be dependent on tech companies’ decisions to ensure privacy.
link to Opinion | The Illusion of Privacy Is Getting Harder to Sell - The New York Times
Please also give me the confidence of an Apple exec explaining how scanning all your photos is “an advancement of the state of the art in privacy.”