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Archive for October 2014

Yosemite, iOS 8, Spotlight, and Privacy: What you need to know By Rene Ritchie, Monday, Oct 20, 2014 a 8:31 pm EDT

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According to Landon Fuller, who collected the data in the first place,
this is not just about Spotlight, and the data will continue to be
sent to Apple even if Spotlight Suggestions -- or any of a number of
other seemingly relevant system configuration options -- are disabled.

See

https://github.com/fix-macosx/yosemite-phone-home

for the raw data and analysis, without either the Apple apologism of
iMore or the journalistic spin of the Washington Post article they
cite.

Of course it is in Apple's interest to say that they care about
security and privacy, to emphasize how much effort they put into
minimizing data (we've heard this one from James Clapper before!), and
to claim that their snooping serves to benefit users by providing more
accurate answers.  None of this changes the surveillance they have
built into their system or how difficult it is to avoid!

Yosemite, iOS 8, Spotlight, and Privacy: What you need to know
By Rene Ritchie, Monday, Oct 20, 2014 a 8:31 pm EDT
http://www.imore.com/yosemite-ios-8-spotlight-and-privacy-what-you-need-know

A story made the rounds earlier today calling into question the new Spotlight Suggestions feature in OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. In an effort to garner attention, it reports the collection and usage of the information required to enable this feature in a needlessly scary way. As any long time reader knows, security and privacy are always at odds with convenience, yet features like Spotlight Suggestions — and Siri before it — do an excellent job balancing as much convenience as possible with maintaining as much privacy and security as possible. Here’s Apple’s statement on the matter:

“We are absolutely committed to protecting our users’ privacy and have built privacy right into our products,” Apple told iMore. “For Spotlight Suggestions we minimize the amount of information sent to Apple. Apple doesn’t retain IP addresses from users’ devices. Spotlight blurs the location on the device so it never sends an exact location to Apple. Spotlight doesn’t use a persistent identifier, so a user’s search history can’t be created by Apple or anyone else. Apple devices only use a temporary anonymous session ID for a 15-minute period before the ID is discarded.

“We also worked closely with Microsoft to protect our users’ privacy. Apple forwards only commonly searched terms and only city-level location information to Bing. Microsoft does not store search queries or receive users’ IP addresses.

“You can also easily opt out of Spotlight Suggestions, Bing or Location Services for Spotlight.”

Here’s the original charge:

Apple has begun automatically collecting the locations of users and the queries they type when searching for files with the newest Mac operating system, a function that has provoked backlash for a company that portrays itself as a leader on privacy.

The “backlash” cited by the sensationalistic story is not the result of the story but the result of sensationalism, and that’s disappointing. We depend on major publications to provide us with accurate information for our benefit, not for their own benefit. Where they could have taken the time to look into it, assess the facts, and help people understand, they chose to double down on FUD, and that’s not only disappointing, it’s distressing.

So what are the facts? Apple discloses how Spotlight Suggestions work in both the Spotlight section of System Preferences on the Mac, and in the Spotlight section of Settings > General on iPhones and iPads.

There’s also a Spotlight Suggestion check box on both so that you, the person using the device, can easily turn it off if you value privacy and security over convenience. (And if you are such a person, and have already disabled location services, Spotlight honors that setting and doesn’t send the information.)

Apple links to the following text right from the prefs/settings pane on both OS X and iOS. Not only is it simple to find, it’s plainly written and understandable:

When you use Spotlight, your search queries, the Spotlight Suggestions you select, and related usage data will be sent to Apple. Search results found on your Mac will not be sent. If you have Location Services on your Mac turned on, when you make a search query to Spotlight the location of your Mac at that time will be sent to Apple. Searches for common words and phrases will be forwarded from Apple to Microsoft’s Bing search engine. These searches are not stored by Microsoft. Location, search queries, and usage information sent to Apple will be used by Apple only to make Spotlight Suggestions more relevant and to improve other Apple products and services.

If you do not want your Spotlight search queries and Spotlight Suggestions usage data sent to Apple, you can turn off Spotlight Suggestions. Simply deselect the checkboxes for both Spotlight Suggestions and Bing Web Searches in the Search Results tab in the Spotlight preference pane found within System Preferences on your Mac. If you turn off Spotlight Suggestions and Bing Web Searches, Spotlight will search the contents of only your Mac.

You can turn off Location Services for Spotlight Suggestions in the Privacy pane of System Preferences on your Mac by clicking on “Details” next to System Services and then deselecting “Spotlight Suggestions”. If you turn off Location Services on your Mac, your precise location will not be sent to Apple. To deliver relevant search suggestions, Apple may use the IP address of your Internet connection to approximate your location by matching it to a geographic region.

Apple has also posted a privacy section on their website, and an updated version of their iOS 8 security document that reiterate what they’re doing and their long-standing position on privacy. Here’s the relevant parts:

To make suggestions more relevant to users, Spotlight Suggestions includes user context and search feedback with search query requests sent to Apple.

Context sent with search requests provides Apple with: i) the device’s approximate location; ii) the device type (e.g., Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod); iii) the client app, which is either Spotlight or Safari; iv) the device’s default language and region settings; v) the three most recently used apps on the device; and vi) an anonymous session ID. All communication with the server is encrypted via HTTPS.

The white paper goes on to explain how locations are blurred, anonymous IDs are only kept for 15 minutes, recent apps are only included if they’re on a white list of popular apps, etc. (It starts on page 40 of the above-linked PDF if you’re curious about the specifics.)

So, again, Apple is only doing what they need to do to provide the conveniences of the feature they announced — the same way they’ve needed to collect enough data to answer questions with Siri in the past, or show you locations on Maps, or find your iPhone, iPad or Mac, and the list goes on.

If you don’t like or want it, you can turn it off. That’s the real story here — education. How it works, and what you can do with it and about it.

If you have any concerns or questions about Spotlight Suggestions, let me know in the comments!

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Written by youryblog

October 24, 2014 at 2:17 PM

“Most Of The Times I Ever Lost A Lot Of Money With Somebody, They Graduated From Harvard.” (from LinkedIn)

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https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141015122055-29092–most-of-the-times-i-ever-lost-a-lot-of-money-with-somebody-they-graduated-from-harvard

Barbara Corcoran barreled into our office with opinions about everything and everyone. A ledge outside our offices on the 25th floor of the Empire State Building would make a perfect terrace, she said, offering the exact negotiating tips for snagging it. My questions weren’t precise enough, she thought. I should ask about the real estate firm she founded, Corcoran Group, first, then Shark Tank. She eyeballed one of the other editors and decided that he was dressed all wrong: cowboy boots, the pointier the better, were immediately called for. Corcoran’s bright yellow blazer would have made her the center of attention even if she hadn’t said a word. But with the torrent of thoughts coming out of her, the jacket was merely a set piece to the Barbara Show — and everyone had stopped working to watch.

The fact that there hasn’t already been a show centered on Corcoran before Shark Tank seems like a few decades of lost opportunity. How can you resist, after all, someone who, despite selling her 1,400-person brokerage for $66 million, insists that she’s never had a plan and that “the left side of your brain is totally overrated in business”? She knows what she’s good at and what she’s bad at and makes it clear that she loses interest very quickly.

What grabbed me is how counter all of her ideas are to the modern bible of entrepreneurship: The modern entrepreneurs say No wisely, focus on one segment, aim for megatrends. Corcoran’s feeling is that you try as many ideas as possible and fail enough times until you achieve success. No PowerPoint or detailed Excel. “I’m not a believer in the MBA type stuff,” she says. “Most of the times I ever lost a lot of money with somebody, they graduated from Harvard.”

You can watch her business philosophy play out on Shark Tank where a solid story and a gung ho entrepreneur will capture her eye and her wallet. Or you can see it play out in the very fact that she’s on Shark Tank.

Recently, she wrote about how she’d gotten hired and quickly cut from Shark Tank: Someone from executive producer Mark Burnett’s team reached out to her to be part of the original team of sharks. (For those not yet hooked, Shark Tank is a show where eager entrepreneurs pitch their company to a panel of business pros — the sharks. Each shark can try to buy a piece of the entrepreneur’s business on the spot.) She signed a contract, bought five outfits and prepared to head to Los Angeles. A few days before her flight, a call came in from Burnett: he was dropping her in favor of someone else.

Corcoran banged out an email: “I understand you’ve asked another girl to dance instead of me. Although I appreciate being reserved as a fallback, I’m much more accustomed to coming in first.” She laid out all of the rejections in her life and how she turned each into a success. She didn’t wait for karma to come around and bless her at some later point; she got mad and she fought for what she wanted now.

The right brain took over. Burnett relented and had her come out for a bake off against her rival.

Watch the video to get a full sense of Corcoran’s drive and what she can offer to the legions of entrepreneurs today.

—–

Some other highlights from the interview

On the future of brokers:

The brokerage business was changed the minute the Internet was born… It took the power of information, which is what the broker had the best of — that was their lock and key — and handed it right to the consumer. It took the emphasis off information. And it put the total emphasis on quality of service.
What will happen with the 6% commission? I’d be a fool to say it will stay as it is. But how far it might erode? I don’t really know. I’m not a fortune teller.

On what it’s like seeing signs for the Corcoran Group everywhere, but no longer having any say in its operations.

How do you just stop caring? You can’t do it.

I walked past our Madison and 89th office only two days ago. It was about 5:00 at night. I was annoyed that there were no fresh mums in those planters I had picked out. And so what did I do? I had them delivered anonymously the next day. And the guy planted them up for me.

Little nutsy, but walking by there, I thought: “Where are the bright yellow mums?”
So you don’t ever give up ownership of the association. It’s like your kids left town. But you’re always their mother.

But one other thing that drives me crazy, people constantly say, “Oh, I just bought an apartment from your firm.” That used to be the best news. I’d hug them and thank them for the commission. Now it’s, like, “Ah, crap.” I pretend I’m happy but I’m miserable. Another lost commission. That drives me crazy. Happens all the time.

On how she hires (and how the people she’s investing in should hire):

Who did I look for in a partner? Someone who was opposite. that’s how I met [early Corcoran President] Esther Kaplan, the most … organized, the most detail-oriented, the most controlling person I’ve ever met in my life.

And the bigger the business gets, the more it’s gotta look like a giant crayon box with a million different colors. That’s what gives the business its substance.
Most people like to hire pals that they get along with that are similar to themselves. Always the wrong call.

The first call I’m making on all 26 people I’ve invested in is what are their strengths? I’m listening with ears wide open to see what they do well. And then the next step I’m doing is convincing them they need help and who they oughta hire for help… every one of my most successful businesses from Shark Tank, the seven big winners to date, have opposite personalities at the helm.

On why a show about business investing is a hit
I think it’s inspirational. [People are thinking] I don’t wanna work for somebody. I wanna be in business for myself. And they’re coming up with ideas. And that’s why you see more kids on that show.

Written by youryblog

October 16, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Bluerays

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A disc with a capacity of 25 gigabytes is equivalent to 23.28 gibibytes, depending on whether you are using a base-2 system or a base-10 system. Additionally, some of that space is reserved as overhead for the file system as well as error-correction information. This results in a true recordable capacity of 23.28 gibibytes instead of the 25GB stated on the package. http://blog.cdrom2go.com/2010/12/maximum-capacity-of-a-blu-ray-disc/

The same situation is true of dual-layer Blu-ray discs. These are normally rated with a 50GB capacity, but in practice you can record about 46.57GB of data on a disc. Again, this is due to differences in the way the disc capacity is measured plus a small percentage of space reserved for file system information.

Written by youryblog

October 6, 2014 at 1:07 AM

Posted in HW, IT, MacOS

Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers and journals

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My updates:

AIRCC’s International Journal of Computer Science and Information Technology (IJCSIT) (see below about AIRCC)

International Journal of Computer Science and Information Technologies  http://www.ijcsit.com see more about this journal here: http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2009/06/10/nonsense-for-dollars/

LIST OF STANDALONE JOURNALS (just for myself only). Copy from http://scholarlyoa.com/individual-journals/

Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-accesfs journals

This is a list of questionable, scholarly open-access journals. We recommend that scholars read the available reviews, assessments and descriptions provided here, and then decide for themselves whether they want to submit articles, serve as editors or on editorial boards.  The criteria for determining predatory journals are here.

We hope that tenure and promotion committees can also decide for themselves how importantly or not to rate articles published in these journals in the context of their own institutional standards and/or geo-cultural locus.  We emphasize that journals change in their business and editorial practices over time. This list is kept up-to-date to the best extent possible but may not reflect sudden, unreported, or unknown enhancements

Last updated October 5, 2014

Appeals: If you are a publisher and would like to appeal your firm’s inclusion on this list, please go here.

LIST OF PUBLISHERS Beall’s List: copy from http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/

Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers

This is a list of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. We recommend that scholars read the available reviews, assessments and descriptions provided here, and then decide for themselves whether they want to submit articles, serve as editors or on editorial boards.  The criteria for determining predatory publishers are here.

We hope that tenure and promotion committees can also decide for themselves how importantly or not to rate articles published in these journals in the context of their own institutional standards and/or geocultural locus.  We emphasize that journal publishers and journals change in their business and editorial practices over time. This list is kept up-to-date to the best extent possible but may not reflect sudden, unreported, or unknown enhancements.

Last updated October 4, 2014

Appeals: If you are a publisher and would like to appeal your firm’s inclusion on this list, please go here.

Written by youryblog

October 5, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Posted in Conferences, Research