2019

Apple ditches dreaded butterfly keyboard for magic on 16 inch MacBook Pro

(November 13, 2019) The quest for thin-thin-thin-thin MacBook Pro's led Apple to introduce the Butterfly keyboard with the 2015 Retina MacBook Pro. While it made the MBP ultra-thin, the keyboard is widely reviled and extremely prone to breaking. The Retina MBP butterfly keyboard is one of the reasons to avoid all MacBook's from 2015 to 2019 model years. Back in July rumors were that Apple would replace the MBP keyboard with a radically different design. Today Apple fixes that with a new 16 inch MacBook Pro that has improved CPU, improved graphics, faster memory, and a whole new keyboard. It's not the bendable glass keyboard rumored back in July, and instead the keyboard was borrowed from the Magic keyboard shipping with iMac's. The new keyboard uses a scissor design as did the pre-Butterfly keyboards, but Apple didn't simply revert to the older design. Instead created a new scissor switch design based on the aforementioned Magic keyboard. The CPU and GPU improvements are also worth mentioning, but the keyboard was such a sore point with users to prevent us from talking about anything else. Oh, by the way, Apple also updated the Mac Pro and its associated ultra-pricey display, but the MacBook Pro keyboard took up all the space. Apple's press release below has all the information.

Microsoft announces readiness to join OpenJDK project, any sign of Hell Freezing Over?

(October 30, 2019) Today Microsoft sent an email to the primary mailing list of the OpenJDK project making an announcement many thought would never happen. That Microsoft is ready to contribute work to the OpenJDK project. Those of us with long enough memory recall the turmoil in the software industry because of Microsoft's predatory approach to Java nearly twenty years ago. In recent years Microsoft has had a huge change of policy, and is now readily working with all kinds of open source projects. That Microsoft is willing to join the OpenJDK project is a grand step forward, and is incredibly welcomed.

Twitter reminds us we are the product, by providing our data to 'partners'

(August 7, 2019) Remember - if you're using a service for free, that means you are the product. Twitter, Facebook, etc, are rich well funded companies, but the service they provide is free for the users. How do these companies make their money by offering a free service? Recently Twitter disclosed they've been sharing data with "partners", but they've now stopped doing so. Honest injun.

Pres. Trump attacks Internet after white supremacist massacres in Texas and Ohio

(August 5, 2019) Today Pres. Trump, in a statement about about the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend, called for an end to activities on social media networks which incite hatred and violence. In the speech he blamed everyone else but his own actions as being the source of this violence. While the other things named, video game violence, online radicalization, and so on, are partly to blame for the rising violence, Pres. Trump's own words and deeds are also to blame.

The case of Pres. Trump and the two-headed Presidential seal from an alternative universe where Trump is a Russian agent

(July 26, 2019) On Tuesday, at the Turning Point USA conference, President Trump appeared at a campaign-rally-like event where somehow a fake Presidential Seal appeared. The seal which presented on the stage behind Pres. Trump as he basked in the audiences attention, and it looked enough like the real thing to fool everyone. But it was strangely different. The eagle had two heads, and the slogan was strangely different, and so on. How did a fake Presidential Seal appear on the stage at an official President Trump event? And who created this fake seal, is a byproduct of the Internet Age.

US Dept of Justice opens investigation into Big Tech (Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc)

(July 23, 2019) Today the US Dept of Justice announced an investigation into "the Practices of Market-Leading Online Platforms" as Pres. Trump continues attacking Big Tech. In the past year or so, so-called Conservatives have criticized social media platforms for supposedly silencing their voices. While the DOJ press release doesn't reference that criticism, it's very likely that the two are connected.

EU opens investigation into Amazon unfair selling practices

(July 18, 2019) On Wednesday, the European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, said the EU had begun an Investigation into whether Amazon uses data from 3rd party retailers in order to gain an unfair advantage in selling its own products. The issue is one American lawmakers, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, has raised, namely that Amazon is both a seller in the Amazon marketplace as well as the operator. That dual role naturally raises huge questions.

FTC fines Facebook $5 Billion, which will be seen as slap on the wrist

(July 12, 2019) Today via the Wall Street Journal we learn that the Federal Trade Commission has approved a $5 billion fine against Facebook over privacy violations. But because Facebook makes so much money every year, and has billions of dollars in the bank, the company may just see it as a slap on the wrist and keep on keeping on.

MAGA Republican running for Congress sues AOC over Twitter Block

(July 10, 2019) Following a recent Federal Court ruling that Pres. Trump cannot block folks on Twitter, a MAGA Republican running for Congress has sued Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) over being blocked from her personal Twitter account.

Pres. Trump like other government officials cannot block twitter users from his account

(July 9, 2019) A federal court has ruled that President Trump cannot block twitter users from seeing his postings, because he uses that account to conduct official government business. The ruling is applicable to any government official conducting official business through postings on Twitter.

FBI, ICE mined driver’s license photos for facial recognition

(July 8, 2019) Tens of millions of U.S. citizens have had their faces scanned by the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without their knowledge or consent, according to new documents collected by researchers at Georgetown Law. The goal, to develop a facial recognition database that would recognize "illegal immigrants", is dubious at best. But the action was taken without approval by Congress, or the individual people.

Raspberry Pi team amps up popular Linux single-board-computer with Raspberry Pi 4 model B

(June 24, 2019) The Raspberry Pi 4 is now available at the same traditional starting price of $35. This popular linux single-board-computer (Linux SBC) comes in the same familiar form factor, but with upgraded specs across the board. Perhaps the most important is it can be purchased with up to 4GB of memory, but there's a lot more to consider.

Apple offering MacBook Pro 'Flexgate' fix - how to check if your MacBook Pro is eligible for fix

(May 22, 2019) Apple is finally admitting to the Flexgate problem affecting MacBook Pro's sold between October 2016 and February 2018. The problem was that the display cable was too short and, after repeated opening and closing of the display, the display would stop working. After many months of not saying a thing about this issue, Apple has launched the MacBook Pro Display Backlight Service Program in which affected laptops will receive a free fix. Curiously, earlier reports by MacBook Pro owners suggest the Flexgate problem exists in 2015 MacBook Pro's, but Apple is limiting the repair effort to 2016 MacBook Pro's.

Wikileaks founder Assange faces Espionage charges, but nothing on his role in Trump-Russia conspiracy

(May 22, 2019) In April, Julian Assange was arrested in London, and the USA immediately filed for extradition over one count of assisting in the computer hacking in 2010 that lead to the release of leaked documents. When Assange assisted in the hacking to acquire those documents, he stepped over a line. Today the USA Dept of Justice filed additional counts against Assange related to the 2010 leak, but the Dept did not file any indictment related to Assange's role in the conspiracy between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government to release Clinton e-mails during the 2016 campaign.

Trump Administration bans 5G equipment from Chinese company Huawei

(May 15, 2019) Today the Trump Administration announced a ban against 5G Networking equipment supplied by Huawei, a Chinese company. The move was long expected but has to be seen within the context of the stupid trade war launched by the Trump Administration. The Administration has claimed buying networking equipment from China is a grave national security risk.

NY Times: Russian propaganda inflaming fake 5G Wireless Apocalypse story

(May 12, 2019) According to the NY Times, RT News (a Russian propaganda outfit) is inflaming negative stories about 5G Wireless in order to undermine The West. While RT is a Russian propaganda outfit, one wonders just how truthful this article is. The two substantive claims - RT News is inflaming the backlash on 5G Wireless - 5G Wireless is inherently safe - may be true, or may itself be talking points supplied by the 5G Wireless industry.

Apple's 2019 MacBook Pro - 8 core laptop

(May 12, 2019) Apple has released what it calls the fastest Mac laptop ever. The latest MacBook Pro has an 8-core 8th or 9th generation Intel Core processor allowing Apple to claim MacBook Pro now delivers two times faster performance than a quad-core MacBook Pro and 40 percent more performance than a 6-core MacBook Pro.

Wikileaks and Assange stopped being Hero's, became political hacks, according to Mueller Report

(April 21, 2019) Within the released and redacted Mueller Report is details of Julian Assange's efforts to ensure Wikileaks played a partisan role in the US Election of 2016. Wikileaks portrays itself as a journalistic organization, but Assange's effort to play a role in ensuring Clinton lost is not the action of a journalist. Journalists do not pick sides, but report events. Some wish us to see Assange as some kind of hero of the people. Perhaps Assange and Wikileaks used to play a positive hero-of-the-people role, but taking sides in political contests has destroyed that image of Wikileaks.

Samsung Fold, the first foldable cellphone - screens break in reviewers hands - similar to Apple Flexgate

(April 18, 2019) With great fanfare Samsung recently introduced the Samsung Fold, it is a cellphone with the first foldable screen on any device. That sounds kind of cool, that you might not require adding a screen protector to keep the screen safe. If it works I'm sure all the cool kids will salivate over it. But, in light of the Apple Flexgate problem we should not be surprised to learn that screens on the Samsung Fold's given to Tech Reviewers are breaking.

Atty General Barr clears Trump of collusion because of single charge against Wikileaks founder Assange

(April 18, 2019) Last weeks arrest of Julian Assange is playing a strange role in US Attorney General William Barr's decision around whether the Trump Campaign is guilty of conspiracy with Wikileaks to damage the Clinton Campaign by releasing stolen emails. The USA has charged Assange with a single count from 10 years ago of aiding Bradley Manning (now known as Chelsea Manning) break into top secret computers to steal documents that were then released by Wikileaks. The line of reasoning behind the single charge for Assange is also crucial in saying the Trump Campaign did no wrong, in Barr's eyes.

FCC warns against illegal set-top streaming devices

(April 17, 2019) The FCC is charged with enforcing rules about radio-frequency equipment like WiFi devices. Seeing an increase in uncertified video set-top boxes, the FCC issued a warning last week that manufacturers and retailers of such products are subject to huge fines, and everyone should stop using these things.

Wikileaks founder Assange arrested, not charged in leaking Clinton emails during 2016 campaign

(April 11, 2019) The USA is extraditing Julian Assange from British custody after he was arrested today on an outstanding warrant from 2012. Assange has not been charged with his alleged involvement in the conspiracy to interfere with the 2016 elections, but has curiously been charged with a single count from 2010.

Facebook has/had hundreds of millions of account passwords stored as plain text

(March 21, 2019) The latest Facebook security fiasco is that plain-text text files containing hundreds of millions of Facebook account passwords were kept on Facebook internal servers. It is thought these password files were not available to the public, but still represent a security risk because Facebook employees could then access and use those passwords for who-knows-what purposes.

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan calls for Amazon HQ2 in Youngstown Ohio area

(February 18, 2019) With Amazon's decision to cancel plans for Amazon HQ2 in Queens NY, other locales could be jockeying for attention. In this interview, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D) makes the case for Ohio as the best location for Amazon HQ2. There are many locales around the country with airports and universities where America's high-tech industry could locate their operations.

Amazon cancels planned HQ2 in Queens NY after massive protest by locals

(February 14, 2019) In November, Amazon stunned folks across the country by announcing plans to build an HQ2 facility in Queens NY, and another HQ2 facility in Arlington VA. The Queens location became controversial almost immediately, and today Amazon announced cancellation of the Queens HQ2 project. In canceling the project, Amazon said they would not reopen the HQ2 search at this time, meaning Amazon is missing out yet again on the opportunity to expand in the Midwest.

Amazon uses dirty energy, failing at clean energy promise, says Greenpeace

(February 14, 2019) Despite a promise to use clean renewable energy, Amazon's largest data center in North Virginia is wholly dependent on dirty electricity from coal and natural gas. Loudoun County Virginia, colloquially known as Data Center Alley, thanks to the many Internet hubs in the Reston/Herndon/Ashburn area, and is served by a utility, Dominion Energy, that relies heavily on coal and natural gas. One of Amazon's biggest AWS hubs is located there, as are data centers owned by many tech giants.