Shazam!? 

Casual opinions of Apple seem to be reaching the negativity of many hardcore fans, if for different reasons.

Yet another example of Apple actually not being good at software and everyone else seems to be better at software than Apple is.... For all that Apple can make really beautiful devices – and used to make really beautiful operating systems – its software has never been all that great and ultimately a streaming service is a piece of software and they just don’t have the user experience people want.

– Felix Salmon, discussing Apple’s acquisition of Shazam on Slate Money, “May the Fox Be With You Edition”

This comment about Apple was offered up as a concluding remark with full approval from his co-hosts. It wasn’t even an argument buffered by recent high profile operating system bugs in iOS and macOS.

It was simply Apple doesn’t make very good software anymore full stop, no dissent, time for an ad read. If anything, the comment is less charitable than a typical ATP broadside.

Basically, public sentiment of Apple’s software quality really seems to be cratering, high customer sat notwithstanding.

I can’t imagine not using Apple software. I’d give up the hardware before the software. And maybe this is an inevitable result of being the de facto provider for a swath of the chattering class, but I hope someone at Apple is figuring out how to get back into everyone’s good graces and not just with the iMac Pro crowd.

Students, the Website You’ve Visited at High School Will Now Be Seen by Your Parents and the Highest Bidder 

We want parents and schools to be able to monitor children while they are online, but do we want anyone and everyone else to be tracking them as well? We might not be able to be so discerning.

“This is the basic dilemma of cloud computing. Your data is no longer yours. And the only thing that protects your data is the contract with whoever you’re doing business with,” said Joel Rosenblatt, director of computer and network security for Columbia University, who has written extensively on data security issues.... “Anything can be hacked,” Rosenblatt said. “It’s not a question of if, but when.”

Systems built to monitor student online activity are tasked with protecting present harms, but we should task them with preventing future harms as well. There is probably no good reason to keep even 6 months worth of internet tracking data, nearly all of the value has to be in realtime inspection particularly if self-harm or other imminent threats are the paramount concerns.

The ‘Alt-Right’ Created a Parallel Internet. It’s an Unholy Mess. 

Alt-tech is also a victim of the same market forces that have held back other small tech start-ups. Much of the internet’s basic architecture is controlled by a handful of gatekeepers — Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon among them. Those companies run back-end services that allow developers to build reliable products, the app stores that allow them to reach a mass audience, and the advertising platforms that allow them to make money. Without the support of Silicon Valley’s giants, it’s nearly impossible to compete, no matter what your political views are.

On the one hand, cry me a river. On the other hand… noooooope. There is no other hand.

The Price He Will Pay 

“What’s taking so long?” everyone asks.

Seth Masket reminds us to be patient, that democracy is a process, generally a plodding one. He concludes with this gem:

Overall, it’s worth remembering that Trump is just finishing up what is usually the most productive year of any presidency. The current GOP tax bill notwithstanding, he doesn’t have much of a record of accomplishment, he’s deeply unpopular, and he and his children are in substantial legal jeopardy. His main legacy will likely be a series of new laws and practices designed to prevent someone like him from abusing power or even obtaining it in the first place. This is what pushback looks like. It’s no doubt incomplete, dissatisfying, and slow for Trump’s critics, but rest assured that Trump is not “getting away with it.” He’s paying a price for his behavior, and that price is likely going up.

The “Batman Effect”: Improving Perseverance in Young Children

From a recent study published in Child Development:

This study investigated the benefits of self-distancing (i.e., taking an outsider’s view of one’s own situation) on young children’s perseverance. Four- and 6-year-old children (N = 180) were asked to complete a repetitive task for 10 min while having the option to take breaks by playing an extremely attractive video game. Six-year-olds persevered longer than 4-year-olds. Nonetheless, across both ages, children who impersonated an exemplar other—in this case a character, such as Batman—spent the most time working, followed by children who took a third-person perspective on the self, or finally, a first-person perspective. Alternative explanations, implications, and future research directions are discussed.

Via the indispensible Marc Bernardin during episode #198 of Fatman on Batman.

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