The encrypted chat app Cryptocat is launching today for iOS, after an initial rejection in December.
I’ve been waiting for this to become reality; messaging apps aren’t really usable for me until and unless they have a mobile client. Cryptocat pushes secure messaging forward moreso than any other software I’ve seen thus far, and I’m glad to see it finally on iOS.
The hackers appear to be using a variety of techniques to commandeer the devices and make changes to the domain name system (DNS) servers used to translate human-friendly domain names into the IP addresses computers use to locate their Web servers, according to a report published Monday by researchers from security firm Team Cymru.
There are suggestions in the article for how to check if you’ve been infected, and best practices for how to avoid being the target of such an exploit. I highly recommend you run through these now, as they’re good simple suggestions for improving your network security as a base minimum. Team Cymru does excellent work, and I’m glad to see them continue to inform and improve.
These charts show that not only WhatsApp is different, but it is exceptional and did well to capture the moment (i.e., rise of the mobile broadband) near perfectly. They are also not just exceptional, they are a standout with highest rate of growth and getting to that point the fastest.
The paper is incredibly dense, even getting to the level of detail of which flavor of particular encryption algorithms are used in which security controls. I will likely be digesting it for months, but one particular section contained an important nugget that explains why the NSA can’t snoop on your iCloud Keychain passwords.
This will interest a lot of people. I haven’t read the whitepaper yet, and I’m sure it’s well over my level anyway - but it is a good sign that Apple is releaseing these details and increasing consumer confidence in their security. And if there are flaws, I’m sure that those much, much smarter than me will point them out and they will get fixed. Transparency is always better.
Have you ever shoved a
<blink> into a
<marquee> tag? Pixar gets all the accolades today, but in the 90s this was a serious feat of computer animation. By combining these two tags, you were a trailblazer. A person capable of great innovation. A human being that all other human beings could aspire to.
You were a web developer in the 1990s.
Bahahaha. Oh, this whole piece is a delightful trip down memory lane if you did web design/development in the 90’s to the early aughts. The only thing he’s really missing that was iconic of the era is the extensive use of iframes, because, what the hell was that all about in retrospect?
Twitch Plays Pokemon, the crowd-playing experiment in which thousands of people sought to win a game of Pokemon Red through a live-streaming site, has ended with victory for the players.
16 days. It took us 16 days of 24/7 play to beat the game. And we won. Yes, I say we, because although I rarely dipped into the Twitch feed itself and mostly kept up through reddit, I felt really connected to this whole process, and did participate to some degree.
That really is an incredible feat to me, but doesn’t feel like a particular accomplishment. The commands that were inputted weren’t random - they were chaotic. So the commands had some relevance, less the trolls and bots, but it is still quite the challenge to “coordinate” all those commands toward achieving a goal. There was backchannel coordination going on, sure, but it’s still nothing close to what playing the game on Democracy the whole way through would’ve been.
But as I said before, it’s not about winning for me. It’s about the bigger things at play - beyond the game, the narratives surrounding it, how we made coherent fictions of the mass chaos.
For my part, I found myself less interested in the experiment after about a week. Maybe the novelty had worn off, or maybe it had been too much of an emotional rollercoaster. It felt like the big elements had been established by then, and the major events had already occurred. The Ledge. The Tile Maze. Bloody Sunday.
I find myself less and less enthused at the prospect of continuation. People are getting psyched up for Gen 2, but I honestly think TPP should conclude here. Sure, we’ll encounter new situations in Gen 2, and we’ll have some hilarious and frustrating outcomes as a result of the chaos inherent in the system, but… it’s just variations on a theme now.
Let the TPP experiment go out in a bright burst of flame, instead of dragging on through the ashes. The continuation will only cheapen the original experience in my eyes.
Can you replace your laptop with a work-friendly tablet? There was only one way to find out. Joanna Stern pairs four tablets with keyboard covers and puts them to a productivity test
Not as in-depth as I was expecting, but a pretty fair and balanced review of four fairly competitive tablets for serious productivity use.
This article touches well on why tablets have never really done it for me. To me, tablets are still largely “big smartphones” - or, more accurately, “smartphones with more screen real estate”. By that, I mean that I generally find no intrinsic value in a tablet over a smartphone other than an increase in screen size. My caveat is that I’ve only personally tested the first-gen Nexus 7, iPad 2, and first-gen iPad Mini for any decent length of time.
While there’s a great deal of value to be had from the additional screen real estate, and many apps optimize to make use of it, there are some downsides in mobility and portability, even at the Nexus 7/iPad Mini size (with the former edging out the latter; it fits in my pocket). There are usability challenges, too, although I appear to be the only one of my circles really griping about them. I find tablets far more awkward to use than smartphones, especially for an hour or more.
For me, I still primarily move between my iPhone 5 and my 2010 MacBook Pro. Both the second-gen Nexus 7 and iPad Mini with Retina Display are enticing to me, because I think they’re more mature and complete products than their predecessors, but I’ve stayed my hand from pulling the trigger there. I don’t need a tablet right now, and a tablet falls squarely in the nice to have category with no direct impact on my productivity 99% of the time. There has been maybe one instance in the past year where I needed a tablet in order to accomplish something, vice something being somewhat easier to accomplish on a tablet but doable either on my smartphone or laptop.
You might argue that this is First World Problems to the max and that nobody needs a smartphone. You may be right, but expectations and workflows have changed significantly since the mass consumer adoption of smartphones and mobile broadband data.
I find tablet OSes to still be extremely lacking and disappointing overall. For the most part, they’re just smartphone OSes, scaled up - sometimes adding in tablet-specific features, sometimes simply rearranging smartphone functionality to make better use of the extra space. Apple, in my eyes, has lagged significantly behind in this respect compared to major competitors - Android, Microsoft, and even Blackberry.
I think tablets are still a space where serious disruption can take place. A serious, product-focused OS developed specifically for the tablet form factor has the potential to capture the market, and I think tablets have a lot more flexibility in being secondary or even tertiary screens after smartphones and laptops for many consumers.
And I still think that Nintendo could’ve had a real shot if they’d made the Wii U a tablet-based gaming system (making the GamePad a tablet-like portable console, and using an Apple TV-like device to link in with a TV if desired) with a common Nintendo OS platform that would then spread to future devices.
That’s why Jobs dismantled Apple’s pure R&D department, the Advanced Technology Group. The work ATG had done wasn’t all thrown away, but what continued was product-focused rather than technology-focused. Starting with the product and working backwards to the technology instead of the other way around has made all the difference in the world for Apple.
This entire piece merits a read, even if it’s painted with fairly broad strokes. This is one of the many ways in which Apple “gets it” - yes, they screw up, and yes, there is a reality distortion field effect. But this is a big piece of why Apple seems to run counter to many if not all of its competitors and succeed despite what looks to outsiders and analysts as disastrous decisions.
Google is launching yet another crazy moonshot project. This one is a prototype called “Project Tango,” which squeezes 3D computer vision technology—similar to that used in the Xbox Kinect—into a smartphone. […]
The rear of the phone is packed with sensors that would allow the device to “scan” a room and build a 3D model of it, which apps could interact with. This sounds like Google is making an augmented reality platform that could really tell what is in a room, instead of crudely guessing the room geometry based on a 2D camera feed.
I don’t know what this would be used for in the consumer space, exactly, but I love that this exists. I feel like this has much more potential application to the general user than Google Glass. It might be the “Apple Newton” for Google, in that this technology isn’t placed for widespread adoption here and now, but it won’t be so long in the future that this comes standard on mobile devices.
I’m excited to see what developers come up with.
Facebook Acquires WhatsApp for $19 Billion
Everyone’s reporting on it. But I haven’t yet read a single article of value that shows real insight into this acquisition. Yeah, we all can guess the surface reasons of why Facebook acquired WhatsApp - I don’t need fifty fucking articles of that garbage. What I want to know is why $19 billion.
To quote Gruber:
The company only has 32 engineers on staff. So they have roughly 14 million active users per engineer, and the company’s acquisition price works out to $500 million per engineer. That’s simply astounding.
It’s beyond astounding. It’s an absolutely ridiculous number. Or is it? I don’t know. I use WhatsApp daily, and I’ve probably gotten a good couple dozen of my friends to sign up for it. Will that change with this acquisition? That remains to be seen depending on how things go, but from the announcements that have been made, likely not.
I can’t help but feel like Facebook is currently on the path to becoming the “Yahoo of social networks” - not that the comparison holds up to real scrutiny, more of just a gut feeling. I guess I’ll watch and wait like everyone else.