Apple Watch rumored to get Taptic Engine-based Solid State Buttons

Makes sense to me.   One less point of failure, and one less point of water ingress.   I wonder if they can make a digital crown that feels like its being spun when it isn't?   The Taptic home button on the iPhone 7,  as well as the Taptic Trackpad on the MacBook Pro have both blown me away by how real they feel.  Something tells me they can pull this off.

Facebook "inadvertently" set 14 million users' share settings to PUBLIC

For a period of four days in May, about 14 million Facebook users around the world had their default sharing setting for all new posts set to public, the company revealed Thursday.

The bug, which affected those users from May 18 to May 22, occurred while Facebook was testing a new feature.
— Heather Kelly / CNN

First off,  I'm getting really tired of these articles calling things "bugs" or "glitches".   That's lazy reporting.   How did it happen?  Why did it happen?   What new feature were they testing?  Why would that change people's privacy settings?  Get in the weeds and do some reporting for once! 

Second, isn't it so bizarre that this kind of thing never seems to happen the other way,  where things are accidentally set to private?  Oh wait,  I forgot about this Mark Zuckerberg quote:

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard just ask. I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS.
[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it. I don’t know why. They “trust me”. Dumb Fucks.

Screw this garbage company.

Highlights of WWDC 2018

I have to say,  for a "slow" year,  this was one heck of a WWDC.   Apple has picked off two of my major issues with iOS and MacOS this year.   The Ability to use 3rd Party Mapping software in Carplay,  and a system-wide dark mode for MacOS.   Still nothing that will help Spotify or Podcast apps work as well as they do on Android phones with Google Assistant,  but all in all, a pretty solid year.   Here's The Verge's 14 minute supercut if you want to dial down to the details.

iOS 11.4 released with support for AirPlay 2, stereo paired HomePods, and more

For the three people who purchased more than one HomePod,  I guess this is a big deal?   I dunno, this doesn't do anything for me.

Just days before iOS 12 is unveiled to the public, Apple is fulfilling two promises made a year ago in iOS 11. First announced earlier this morning, iOS 11.4 is now available for iPhone and iPad. The new update includes AirPlay 2, HomePod stereo pairing, Messages in iCloud, and more...

...iOS 11.4 is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models capable of running iOS 11. The update introduces AirPlay 2, the next-gen version of Apple’s media streaming technology, which reduces latency and supports multi-room playback from iOS for the first time.
— Zac Hall /

Apple charges customer $871.42 to replace a key on a MacBook Pro

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 3.39.40 PM.png

Yet another victim of what I have begun to call "Crumbgate".

Twitter user Dustin Curtis posted about his recent experience with Apple's repair service and his MacBook Pro.  He stated that his "T" Key stopped working on his 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro,  and that the estimated repair cost from Apple to fix that single key would be $871.42.   You will find his original tweet embedded below:

He is not the only one.   In fact there is a class action lawsuit regarding the "butterfly-switch" keyboards in the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models.   Even the generally positive bunch of Apple pundits have been grumbling about this as a problem for over a year.   Many posting to twitter about how their own keyboards had failed and had to be replaced (most for free under AppleCare).

Now the cost of $871.42 is NOT the cost to replace a single key.   Not in the least.  The issue with this model of keyboard is that it is in fact, nearly impossible to replace a single key.   The course of action to replace a broken keyswitch on a modern MacBook Pro is to replace the ENTIRE TOP OF THE COMPUTER.   Which all said and done (if you don't have Applecare) will apparently cost you $871.42.   Dustin Curtis himself, in a later tweet put it best:

This keyboard first appeared in the 2015 12" MacBook.   I have to think that they have been aware of this problem for some time.    As far as I know, they tried to mitigate the issue with the 2017 models by adding a small bit of rubber under each key.   Though that doesn't seem to have helped.   As a cursory search of twitter finds people with broken MacBook Pro keyboards on nearly a daily basis.   

Apple itself has posted a knowledge base article on this issue,  stating that you should hold your laptop up in the air at a certain angle and spray compressed air in between the keys in the hope of dislodging any crumbs.   That knowledge base article would be truly hilarious if it wasn't a nearly thousand dollar problem for each user who encounters Apple's own design flaw.

The fact that Apple itself has the gall to be charging full price for repairs on a problem they themselves designed is unconscionable.   Especially when people have had to bring their laptops back to Apple 2 or 3 times for the same issue.   Even if the customer HAS Applecare Insurance and the repair itself is covered,  it still means that you will be without your $1000+ computer for nearly a week.   Most people who purchase laptops at those kinds of price points need them for their work.   While some people may be able to afford to have a backup machine on hand,  I know I don't have the means for that.

This is a huge issue for the MacBook Pro.   And I have to recommend highly at this time that you do NOT purchase one.    If for some reason, you absolutely NEED a MacBook Pro right now,  find a 2015 model with the old style keyboard on Ebay.   Otherwise,  wait for the next generation.  And then wait a month for the longer term reviews to come out.  I can't stress this highly enough. 

I used to think you could buy almost anything sight un-seen from Apple.   You used to KNOW that they made good stuff,  and that while it was expensive,  you knew you were getting your money's worth.    I wish I still felt that way.

Woman says Amazon Echo recorded private conversation, sent to one of her contacts

Woman says Amazon Echo recorded private conversation, sent to one of her contacts

This could be seriously bad for Amazon.   If this story gains traction (I have a feeling it will), this could be a disaster that is billions of dollars in size.

Gary Horcher from wrote:

A Portland family contacted Amazon to investigate after they say a private conversation in their home was recorded by Amazon’s Alexa — the voice-controlled smart speaker — and that the recorded audio was sent to the phone of a random person in Seattle, who was in the family’s contact list.

”My husband and I would joke and say I’d bet these devices are listening to what we’re saying,” said Danielle, who did not want us to use her last name.

”We unplugged all of them and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house,” she said. “At first, my husband was, like, ‘no you didn’t!’ And the (recipient of the message) said ‘You sat there talking about hardwood floors.’ And we said, ‘oh gosh, you really did hear us.’”

Danielle listened to the conversation when it was sent back to her, and she couldn’t believe someone 176 miles away heard it too.

”I felt invaded,” she said. “A total privacy invasion. Immediately I said, ‘I’m never plugging that device in again, because I can’t trust it.

If this is true,  it's a total and complete breach of trust with Amazon.   We've been told over and over that the Alexa only records when it hears the trigger word and waits for a command.   While it is doing that,  it has a light ring on the device that lights up to alert the user that it's recording.

If it was able to record without the light being on,  and sent that recording without the user's permission to someone in their phone contacts.   Well, this could put Amazon in a world of trouble.

The most annoying part of this article is the fact that there are so few details.   HOW was the information sent?  Via text,  via email?   It seems like an awfully strange path for a bug to take.

I have a (unfortunate) sneaking suspicion that this may be something malicious that was added by someone in the staff at Amazon,   and that was accidentally triggered somehow
(a certain phrase or frequency of sound perhaps?).

Amazon for their part issued an apology for the incident stating:

Amazon takes privacy very seriously. We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future.

Pretty weak considering the magnitude of this issue.   I have an Amazon Echo in my home.   I'm considering unplugging it for good after this.   I suggest you consider the same.