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‘Not a Damn Thing’

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Michael C. Bender, reporting for The New York Times:

Unbeknownst to the public, however, Mr. Trump again pushed inside the White House for significant new gun-control measures more than a year later, after a pair of gruesome shooting sprees that unfolded over 13 hours. Those discussions have not previously been reported.

On Aug. 3, 2019, a far-right gunman killed 23 people at a Walmart store in El Paso. Early the next morning, a man shot and killed nine people outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio. Both assailants used semiautomatic rifles.

At the White House the next day, Mr. Trump was so shaken by the weekend’s violence that he questioned aides about a specific potential solution and made clear he wanted to take action, according to three people present during the conversation.

“What are we going to do about assault rifles?” Mr. Trump asked.

“Not a damn thing,” Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff, replied.

“Why?” Trump demanded.

“Because,” Mr. Mulvaney told him, “you would lose.”

Mick Mulvaney now works for CBS News, which I’m sure is proud to employ him.

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jheiss
26 days ago
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Not that I want to defend any of Trump's goons, but don't blame Mick for pointing out the truth. Blame the systems that give disproportionate representation to small, rural states. Blame our constitution that gives every state two senators and at least one representative. Or blame the filibuster. Or better yet try to change those somehow so that the actual majority of the population can write the laws that we want and need.
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MacOS Server, Adieu

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Andrew Cunningham, writing last week for Ars Technica:

Apple announced today that it is formally discontinuing macOS Server after 23 years. The app, which offers device management services and a few other features to people using multiple Macs, iPhones, and iPads on the same network, can still be bought, downloaded, and used with macOS Monterey. It is also still currently available at its normal $20 retail price but will no longer be updated with new features or security fixes.

Cunningham has a good rundown of its history, and Michael Tsai, as ever, has a good roundup of links. I don’t have much to add, but we should all pour one out for Mac OS X Server.

The thing to remember is that in the 1990s, it was industry-wide conventional wisdom that no one could put a consumer or prosumer interface in front of Unix. People who were already using NeXTstep would scream from the rooftops “We already have it” but no one could hear them. Mac OS X brought Unix to the masses. But Mac OS X Server went even further, and didn’t just use Unix as an under-the-hood implementation detail of the modernized Mac operating system, but put a Mac-style interface in front of a lot of Unix-as-fucking-Unix server features.

The shift to “cloud computing” was inevitable. Yes, there’s nothing magic about “the cloud” — they’re all just computers. But before cloud computing teams and companies really needed their own servers. Mac OS X Server — and its long-gone hardware counterpart, the Xserve — enabled small teams to do remarkable things for the time, without the expertise of a Unix guru sysadmin on staff.

Mac OS X Server was never a significant factor in Apple’s financials. But it was a huge factor in re-establishing the company’s credibility with creative people — people with taste — who understand and demand technical excellence.

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jheiss
60 days ago
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Man, the businesses full of Sun, HP, and SGI workstations I supported in the mid to late 90s sure would have been confused by these comments. That was no longer true by the 2000s, but the 90s?
wmorrell
60 days ago
All those still existed into the mid-2000s, they were just overshadowed by Windows XP having complete consumer dominance. Even then, I liked the Sun workstations more than generic XP boxes.
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HomePods Are Appreciating in Value

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Sean Hollister, writing for The Verge:

I thought it was really strange when Apple kept selling the original $299 HomePod months after it got discontinued. But now, it’s starting to make sense — not only are some people still willing to pay a premium for the somewhat smart speaker, they’re willing to pay more than Apple charged for it.

We took a look at eBay sales numbers after spotting 9to5Mac editor-in-chief Chance Miller’s tweet, and we soon discovered it wasn’t just a joke: on average, an Apple HomePod fetched $375 this past week. That’s 25 percent more than Apple charged.

I don’t think it’s strange or incredible that HomePods are fetching $375 on eBay. They’re wonderful devices, and there does not exist any competing product with even vaguely the same sound quality at anything near their price. People who think HomePods are overpriced peers to Alexa and Google voice dinguses have no idea how good HomePods sound, especially when paired.

What’s strange and somewhat incredible is that Apple discontinued them without a replacement.

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jheiss
66 days ago
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But what Apple used to excel at and either forgot or just got wrong in this case is that amazing hardware isn't worth much without the corresponding software. And Siri just isn't as good or useful as the competition.
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Life

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Food for thought. . .

 

Source: Too Much Coffee Man

The post Life appeared first on The Big Picture.

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jheiss
84 days ago
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I sure hope that last PLAY gets to repeat at least a few times.
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★ The D.O.J. Goes After Google’s ‘Communicate With Care’ Program

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Jon Brodkin, writing for Ars Technica:

The US Department of Justice and 14 state attorneys general yesterday asked a federal judge to sanction Google for misusing attorney-client privilege to hide emails from litigation.

“In a program called ‘Communicate with Care,’ Google trains and directs employees to add an attorney, a privilege label, and a generic ‘request’ for counsel’s advice to shield sensitive business communications, regardless of whether any legal advice is actually needed or sought. Often, knowing the game, the in-house counsel included in these Communicate-with-Care emails does not respond at all,” the DOJ told the court. The fact that attorneys often don’t reply to the emails “underscor[es] that these communications are not genuine requests for legal advice but rather an effort to hide potential evidence,” the DOJ said. [...]

CCing lawyers is a common practice, but the DOJ says Google took it to an “egregious” level. “Google’s institutionalized manufacturing of false privilege claims is egregious, spanning nearly a decade and permeating the company from the top executives on down,” the DOJ said.

Without commenting on Google’s program or the specifics of the DOJ’s accusations, the broader issue makes me think about the nature of digital communication. Pre-email, business communication between colleagues was typically either in-person (not recorded), on the phone (not recorded), or via printed memoranda and reports (recorded, on paper). During a legal inquiry, printed memos could be subpoenaed or subject to discovery, and phone records could too. But telephone records only show who called whom, when, and for how long. The content of phone calls wasn’t (and still isn’t) recorded.

Email corresponds directly to the form of printed memos. That’s even where email lingo like “CC” and using a “Subject” line comes from. (“CC” originally stood for “carbon copy”, which is how those copies were actually made — using carbon paper.) Emails are seemingly just like paper memos, only digital. But, because email is so much more profoundly convenient to use, both to send and receive, it quickly became more casual. Psychologically, using email for work feels a lot more like face-to-face conversations or phone calls. Many people with office jobs send thousands of emails per year at work. Only a maniac sent out thousands of printed memos per year pre-email.

I don’t think you have to be doing something immoral or on shaky legal footing to want to communicate with colleagues privately, without fear of those communications being exposed in future legal inquiries. Any sort of strategic deliberation is something you’d naturally want to remain forever private. So I get the basic desire. But I think a loose policy of just cc’ing company attorneys on we-want-this-to-remain-private emails is a poor strategy. The emails are still there. And the DOJ and state attorneys general can look at this behavior, see that the lawyers aren’t really involved in the discussions, and raise a stink about it, as they have with Google. Whatever the contents of those emails, this “Communicate With Care” program looks shady.

Last year, writing about a Phil Schiller email that was made public through discovery in the Epic v. Apple lawsuit, I asked a question in a footnote:1

It really has all been email, too. Unless I’m missing something, not one piece of communication entered into evidence — from either Apple or Epic — has been anything other than an email message. Not one message from iMessage or any other messaging service. I find that very surprising. Do Apple executives never use iMessage to discuss work? Nor Epic’s? If anyone with legal expertise can explain why this is, let me know.

I got a few answers from readers. Basically, there’s little that would stop either side in a lawsuit from demanding access to private messages from services like iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, etc. In criminal investigations, of course, law enforcement often does attempt to obtain such messages — law enforcement tries to obtain everything. But in many civil proceedings there’s an unspoken gentleperson’s agreement not to pursue such messages through discovery, being deemed too broad, too personal, too invasive. Technically, there’s a big difference between these services and email. Email is stored unencrypted on a server. The aforementioned messaging services are end-to-end encrypted. You’d have to get them from the individual parties’ devices — presuming they weren’t deleted.

So what I don’t get about Google’s “Communicate With Care” policy is why it involves email at all. Why not a policy recommending against using email, period, for anything deemed confidential? I get that Google is in a uniquely awkward position regarding post-email messaging services, but how about just using a service other than email that’s end-to-end encrypted? Or discussing all such matters in person or over voice? Part of me thinks this “Communicate With Care” policy at Google is just arrogant, but more than that, I think it’s just foolishly stubborn. If you don’t want it discovered, don’t put it in email.

On the other hand, as Eric Schmidt himself once advised, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”


  1. Speaking of footnotes, post-publication, a friend pointed me to at least one iMessage exchange that was entered into evidence in Epic v. Apple — exhibit PX-0276, between Apple employees Herve Sibert and Eric Friedman. I can’t find a link online, but it was part of a trove of evidence that was briefly hosted on Box.com during the trial. I’ll host a copy of the PDF here. It doesn’t strike me as particularly interesting in and of itself, but it does show that at least one iMessage exchange was entered into evidence. ↩︎

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jheiss
93 days ago
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I used to work for a former competitor of Google's, and their policy for certain types of communication (legal and patents were two I remember) was just that: don't use email. Pick up the phone, or meet in person. (Direct IM would have probably been OK too, but I don't think Legal was comfortable officially recommending that.)
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Apple TV App on Android TV and Google TV No Longer Lets Users Buy or Rent Movies

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Rasmus Larsen, writing for FlatpanelsHD:

The Apple TV app arrived on Google TV in early 2021 and on Android TV in the summer of 2021, complete with Apple TV+ access, channels, and the ability to rent and purchase iTunes movies directly on the device.

The latest app update has removed the option to rent and purchase movies on Android TV and Google TV devices. The two buttons have been replaced by a new “How to Watch” button which states: “You can buy, rent or subscribe in the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, and other streaming devices.” [...]

It is unclear why Apple has downgraded its app on Android TV and Google TV but it could be related to commission rates.

I can confirm via, as they say, sources familiar with the matter, that this is entirely about Apple and Google not being able to reach mutually agreeable terms on in-app payment commissions. Until this update, Apple had been running on an exemption not to use Google’s IAP. The exemption expired, so Apple TV on Android TV is now “reader only”. Apple TV on Amazon’s Fire platform has long been “reader only” as well for the same reason: Apple would rather not sell or rent any content at all on these platforms than do so while paying Google/Amazon the commissions they demand.

Ben Lovejoy, commenting on FlatpanelsHD’s report at 9to5Mac:

If so, it would be ironic at a time when Apple is defending its own App Store commissions against developer complaints and antitrust investigations around the world.

I don’t think Apple going read-only on these platforms is ironic at all. Apple is doing on these platforms what all developers can choose to do on Apple’s platforms: if they don’t like the commission rates, don’t sell anything.

What’s hypocritical is Apple offering a “How to Watch” button, with a simple clear explanation of how you can buy or rent new content to watch on Android TV by making the purchase on a different device. That’s not allowed on Apple’s own platforms — Apple has a rule against explaining the rules.

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jheiss
97 days ago
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It's not ironic at all, except that it is totally ironic.
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