The religion of Apple

You weren’t just imagining the cult-like behavior of the average Macintosser:

Apple devotees are notorious for their steadfast dedication to the computer and gadget manufacturer, standing in line for hours and sometimes days just to be the first to try out a new piece of hardware. According to a new study, the areas of the brain which produce that tenacity in Apple fans are the same spots that fuel religious fervor.

Scientists using an magnetic resonance imagine (MRI) machine presented Apple fans with images of the company’s popular gadgets. Upon doing so, they found brain activity that mirrors how a religious person’s brain reacts when presented with a picture of their chosen deity.

As Chesterton once said, when people cease to believe in God, they don’t believe in nothing; they believe in anything. Including, apparently, Steve Jobs.

No worries

It appears Blogger is having serious technical difficulties. One can only presume Facebook is behind it. Normal posting will resume at the earliest opportunity.

A semblance of sanity

IP addresses are not people. And in related news, routers will not be permitted to vote in the 2012 election:

A possible landmark ruling in one of the mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the US may spell the end of the ‘pay-up-or-else-schemes’ that have targeted over 100,000 Internet users in the last year. District Court Judge Harold Baker has denied a copyright holder the right to subpoena the ISPs of alleged copyright infringers, because an IP-address does not equal a person.

I’ve never understood the idea that an Internet connection can reasonably be pinned to a single individual. Even if there is only one computer connected to the local area network, who is to say that a different individual was not on the machine? But, given the 40-year war on common sense being waged by the U.S. judicial system, I suppose any semblance of sanity is to be celebrated.

Android is less evil than Apple

Talk about damning with faint praise…. Anyhow, being an Android user myself, I was concerned about reports that Google was doing the same thing as Apple in collecting location data on Android users. After looking into the matter, however, the behavior of the two companies appears to be rather different. The reason for my concern was that I had always kept the two options for location tracking, wireless and GPS, turned off, and it seemed astonishing that Google would be so stupid as to attempt to give its users a false sense of location security while secretly tracking them against their clear wishes as determined by their chosen settings. However, numerous people looking into the matter have determined that off really is off.

If you want to find out whether your Android phone is collecting location information tap Menu, Location & Security. You will see the screenshot shown above, which has two options for how your phone collects location information, either via wireless networks or by using GPS satellites. If you do not want your location information tracked, clear both check boxes.

Be aware that if you turn off location tracking, apps like Google Maps that show your location will not work. If you decide to turn location tracking back on, you will see the screen as shown below, telling you that you are allowing Google’s location service to collect anonymous location data, and that collection will occur even when no applications are running.

In other words, the real “problem” with Android is that people who have either never looked at their location settings or ignored at least one, and usually two, pop-up warning that their location will be tracked, don’t realize that they have opted in to location tracking. That’s not an actual problem; although it would be preferable if the default option was always set to off, the total cluelessness of many, if not most users, make it understandable why Google would have the default option set to on. The point is that it’s not nefarious and unlike Apple, Google has provided a way to completely turn off location tracking.

That being said, it is obnoxious that Google ties Android to a Gmail account and it would be vastly preferable if it did not do so. But it’s still to be preferred to the sheltered life in Apple’s technofascistic walled garden.

Can’t say I didn’t warn you

About the technofascists at Apple:

This is sort of a big deal. Apple is, without your consent or any warning labels, logging all of your iPhone’s location data and then transferring it over to your computer when you backup or sync your iPhone. The information is easily accessible — unencrypted and in a standard database format. (The option to encrypt is there, though I haven’t tested whether this option obscures your location data.)

Upshot? Any program you install or anyone you let on your computer could access this data, giving that program or that person full access to where you were and when you were there.

Check out the link. They have a map they were able to make of one of their employee’s locations. This is pretty egregious and is likely to have some unexpected ramifications. Just to give one example, given how popular iPhones are with women, it shouldn’t be hard to see that this “feature” is going to lead to more than a few divorces and breakups in the near future.

Killing the Internet

Succession riots in Egypt:

Egyptians are telling me Egypt’s internet has been disabled and that mobile phone service may be next. Twitter, used to coordinate public protests, has already been cut off.

This tends to raise the question… why does Obama feel that he needs a kill switch for the US internet?

Tech update

Needless to say, I was much amused by this patent application in light of all of the Macintossers initially dismissing the multibutton approach and declaring how stylistically horrific it is. Clearly it is much better to imitate the multibutton approach, only to do so in a manner that forces one operate by sight instead of by touch and places the virtual buttons directly under one’s palm, if for no other reason than Apple has blessed the approach.

Speaking of comparing the effectiveness of different interface approaches, we’re going to be releasing the performance results of various mice soon and it looks to be a bit of a scandal. We have compiled strong empirical evidence indicating that in between the switch from mechanical rollers to optical sensors and the advent of the the multibutton interface, there has been essentially no actual performance difference between so-called high performance gaming mice and cheap office mice. Here is a comparison of four mice, two of which have multibutton support and two of which do not. The difference in performance between the two multibutton mice is the result of their different approaches to the interface; there is a reason, after all, that clumsy people are described as being “all thumbs”. That comparison marks the fastest speeds recorded at 1920×1200 resolution, whereas the sustainable speeds that one can reasonably expect to maintain in consistent use are about 15% slower on both the conventional and multibutton interfaces.

Finally, on the practical application side, there is a new video focused on Mozilla Firefox and demonstrating how the default Firefox mode operates for those who might be interested.