Privacy, Secure Communications, and Law & Order

Understanding Apple and privacy | iMore.

I’m concerned that there is often a false dichotomy presented between privacy and security:

“It’s vital to understand that privacy and security, while often mentioned together, are not one and the same. Privacy demands security, but security does not demand privacy. Historically, privacy has often been violated in the name of security.”

In this context, I can’t quite tell if the author is talking about “secure communications”, rather than, say, “domestic security”. One could easily say: “(communication) security has often been violated in the name of (domestic) security.”

Perhaps we could define our terms more clearly.

But I still think there’s truth in the article: people’s privacy and communications security is dependent on a certain degree of law and order, yet is often violated in service of that same law and order.

Edit: Copy and paste error. I adapted this from a post to the Cyber101x forums on edX.

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A Quote that Reminds Me of My 4WD, from Author J.R. Vogt

This quote reminds me of how I treat the exterior of my 4WD – it might help people understand how any marks on my vehicle will quickly disappear under a layer of dirt:

‘They ambled between rows of identical white vans until they came across one which might’ve been white in a previous lifetime. Mud splatters, rust, and flaking paint covered the paneling, and it wouldn’t have looked out of place on someone’s front lawn alongside plastic flamingos and beer cans.
Dani stared at it in faint horror. “I thought we were supposed to maintain a clean image.”
He patted the side. “Mebbe all the rest like to waste time sprayin’ their vans down every time it gets a speck of dust on the bumper. Me? So long as it gets me where I gotta go, it’s all the fancy-shmancy wheels I need.”’
“Enter the Janitor” by Josh Vogt, available on iBooks.*

I crashed iBooks on OS X Yosemite trying to copy and paste this quote. So it’s not just the iOS 8 version that has quality issues. To reproduce: start the app, open a book, select some text, and click “Copy” in the menu that appears near the text. It’s that simple. (Using the Command-C keyboard shortcut, or the Edit menu Copy command, doesn’t trigger this crash.)



Edit: Changing all posts to “Standard” format, as the other formats look weird in the archive view.

* This link is to the Australian iBookstore – I apologise to my international readers for any store switching this causes.# Surely Apple could just give it to you in your native store? Software quality again!

# And I apologise to my U.S. readers for any confusion they experience being referred to as “international”.

Updated: OS X Yosemite: Whole-System Lockups

Is Apple’s software quality declining?

I’ve been running OS X Yosemite for a few months. It regularly locks up – the mouse and UI freeze, and the sound loops.

This often happens when I’m watching videos*, or web browsing, but it’s happened even when my MacBook Air is idling. It seems to happen more often under load, but can strike at any time.

I’ve tried the typical troubleshooting processes:

  • quitting software that would otherwise be running all the time (it didn’t help),
  • checking for disk corruption,
  • and even eagerly installing each software update shortly after it comes out.§

Is it a hardware failure leading to a kernel panic?
Or a software problem that gets triggered infrequently?
I could probably find out. I have the skills. I could check the logs.
But my point is, I shouldn’t have to know. I shouldn’t have to care. Not in the Apple world.

The last time I had this much trouble with an Apple product was around 2003, with a faulty iBook logic board.~

And, while I won’t write in detail about them now, I regularly notice several other issues with the Apple ecosystem, from the irritating to the trivial:

I’d love to see some of these issues resolved in OS X Gala (10.11) and iOS 9. But I won’t be holding my breath.



* It happens more often when I’m watching multimedia, and it is much more noticeable. There’s nothing quite like a one-second sound loop to attract your instant attention.

Like compiling a large software project, or running multi-process testing. Anything that gets the fan running.

§ However, eagerly installing Apple software updates has recently become a risky game, too.

~ Well, several faulty iBook# logic boards, actually, but that’s another story – a bad lot, apparently. At least they were all under warranty.

# That’s the iBook laptop, not the iBooks app and iBookstore.

To be more precise, the iPad will quit background processes, then spin them straight back up again, filling the logs, cache, and RAM with useless garbage, right in the middle of a memory crisis. But somehow, Facebook always survives.

+ Just for fun, now I’m referring to the iBooks app, not the iBook laptop.

x I’m guessing that iOS 8 – iBooks – Night Mode – Extra Dim – iPad 2 – Landscape just didn’t quite make it into the testing matrix.