Podcast 497: Calmly discussing FBI vs. Apple

In the week since our last podcast, a cathartic session with security expert and our friend Rich Mogull, Apple’s tiff with the FBI has been boiling away. Apple’s filed a motion to dismiss the order, got a small victory in a different but related case in New York, and as we sat down to record, the company’s chief counsel and senior VP, Bruce Sewell, was sitting down in front of the House Judiciary Committee.

So there’s plenty more to obsess over in this story, but that’s not the only thing we have to discuss. We also follow up on why that weird Error 53 message was so cryptic, and our expectations for the next Apple event.

Read more »

0

Podcast 496: Apple vs. the FBI

Just for starters, if you haven’t been following the whole brouhaha between Apple and the FBI, this podcast isn’t going to make the most sense. Glenn and Susie are joined by security expert and Macworld contributor Rich Mogull, and they all have strong feelings that tend toward the Dark Side.

Our FAQ has a pretty good overview of the situation as it stands today, and will be updated as new events unfold. Rich wrote a stunner of a piece on how this could eviscerate civil liberties as we know them, and Glenn touched on the international implications as well. More links are in the show notes below, and obviously we’ll be keeping an eye on this story as it develops.

Read more »

1

iOS

Podcast 495: Bugs, more bugs, and the epoch fail

Every piece of software has bugs. Some are understandable—because after all every piece of software has bugs—but some are just dumb, like an especially egregious one that completely bricks a 64-bit iOS device if you manually roll the date back far enough (although lord only knows why you would) or the even worse Adobe one that just empties an entire folder on your hard drive.

Compared to those, our complaints about stuff like iTunes beachballing, Photos not syncing as expected, or Safari crashes seem minor. Two of Apple’s biggest software executives went on John Gruber’s podcast last week to discuss, among other things, the percpetion that Apple’s software quality is on a downward slide. Unsurprisingly, they disagreed—but at the scale Apple is operating today, even if the crash rate declines, thousands more people would be affected by each issue, compared to a smaller user base. And “the data says our software is better than ever” is a small comfort when something isn’t working and you can’t figure out why.

Read more »

0

iOS

Podcast 494: Error 53 is only helpful to robots

Things break. And getting something fixed instead of just tossing it is a good thing to do. But your best intentions can go awry, if, say, you get an iPhone 6 fixed by a third party, and the Touch ID button gets separated from the secure element—you might see a cryptic Error 53, along with a phone that's not so much a phone as a brick. Glenn and Susie discuss why this makes sense for Apple to do from a security standpoint—but Apple still screwed up by not making this abundantly clear from the start. And it turns out you can't really get an Apple Watch repaired outside an Apple Store—not even in Queens.

Elsewhere, Google is giving out 2GB of free Google Drive storage for doing a security check you should do anyway. (Do this same check on Facebook while you're at it, although that network will only reward you with baby photos and a dead battery.) Also a big shout-out to Dan Moren, whose recent column was tweeted by Phil Schiller.

Read more »

0

Podcast 493: VR hints, smaller iPhone rumors, Apple still doomed

Everyone's antsy for Apple's next move. This week we discuss the rumored March 15 event, and how we think a lot of people could get pretty excited about a "new" 4-inch iPhone 5se. The new iPad Air should have some cool features too, and it probably makes sense that Apple would happily roll out new mayonnaise loops but avoid getting locked in to a yearly refresh cycle for the Apple Watch hardware itself.

But new iPhones and iPads aren't enough to impress those weirdos on Wall Street, who are obsessed with viewing Apple's business three months at a time, and aren't that wild about where the company is right now. We talk about if that's reasonable, and what it could mean for regular customers like us. Oh, and speaking of the earnings call, what's this about Tim Cook's interest in VR?

Read more »

0

Podcast 492: How to travel like an international superspy

Susie's back from some last-minute travel, just in time to talk travel with Glenn and Rich Mogull, a security researcher, Macworld contributor, and world traveler who knows all about how to keep your data safe and secure even when moving around in countries that are actively trying to snoop on you.

For instance, we've all heard of "burner" devices—something cheap that holds no more of your personal data than necessary, that you use temporarily and then trash or donate when you're done. Well, that doesn't help us Apple fans much, does it? While it's true you probably won't want to buy a new iPad just to throw it away after a trip to China or Russia, it turns out iOS is generally secure enough that you can back up and wipe a device before you leave, use it during your trip, and then erase it again when you get home, ready to restore to your previous backup. Rich has other great tips too, from VPNs to knowing the special rules at border crossings.

Elsewhere, we praise Apple's new Music Memos app, shake our heads at the Crash Safari prank, and discuss with admiration Tim Cook's tough stand on privacy.

Read more »

0

iOS

Podcast 491: Make A-Mac-ica great again

With Susie on assignment in Florida, Leah Yamshon (Macworld’s associate managing editor) joins Glenn Fleishman to discuss Donald Trump’s fiat economy plan to make Apple produce its hardware in America, the New York Senate’s desire to criminalize a lack of back doors in smartphones, and the return (or continued existence) of Gatekeeper exploits.

Leah and Glenn also talk about VLC, a universal format player, for Apple TV; their continued irritation at some Apple TV features; and Netflix’s plan to block more subscribers outside the U.S. who aren’t using their new 190-nation plan.

We also decided on a future episode topic. Keep your ideas coming, too!

Read more »

0