Apple has unveiled a terrific new video/commercial for the privacy features of the iPhone:
While I do think Apple deserves real credit for resisting government attempts to get a back door into iPhone encryption, I can’t help but view that video a little cynically in light of reports, not so long ago, that more than half of the App Store privacy labels were false.
Bonus shout-out to “Mind Your Own Business” by Delta 5 which provides the background.
Get near-real time info:
More info here, if you’re a glutton.
According to Jeremy N. Bailenson in Nonverbal Overload: A Theoretical Argument for the Causes of Zoom Fatigue, there are four main source of ‘Zoom Fatigue’:
- Excessive amounts of close-up eye contact is highly intense.
- Seeing yourself during video chats constantly in real-time is fatiguing.
- Video chats dramatically reduce our usual mobility.
- The cognitive load is much higher in video chats.
But Zoom, they argue, could make design changes to fix or ameliorate these:
[M]any of these problems could be solved with trivial changes to the design of the Zoom interface. For example, the default setting should be hiding the self-window instead of showing it, or at least hiding it automatically after a few seconds once users know they are framed properly. Likewise, there can simply be a limit to how large Zoom displays any given head; this problem is simple technologically given they have already figured out how to detect the outline of the head with the virtual background feature. Outside of software, people can also solve the problems outlined above with changes in hardware and culture. Use an external webcam and external keyboard that allows more flexibility and control over various seating arrangements. Make “audio only” Zoom meetings the default, or better yet, insist on taking some calls via telephone to free your body from the frustrum.
What I like best about all this is the suggestion that I’ll do better as a Zoom listener if I do other things while listening from time to time. Depending what the other thing is, it might be right. But it’s so Millennial!
These things are DANGEROUS.
Amazon Ring Doorbell Hacked in Florida Swatting Incident:
In a Florida suburb Friday afternoon, local law enforcement received a call from a man confessing to hoarding explosives and killing his wife after seeing her cheat on him. Seemingly distraught, he gave them a play-by-play of the chaos unraveling. However, the crime didn’t happen. The call was made by someone who hacked into his Ring surveillance camera.
When authorities arrived at Courtney’s home, they found her unharmed and couldn’t decipher who the incognito caller was. Then the Ring camera started calling them names. It had been hacked and then used in a version of a swatting prank …
No one was hurt this time, but SWATting incidents can result in fatalities.
So suggests the New York Times in Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is ‘Very Likely to Work,’ Studies Suggest,
Scientists developing a compact version of a nuclear fusion reactor have shown in a series of research papers that it should work, renewing hopes that the long-elusive goal of mimicking the way the sun produces energy might be achieved and eventually contribute to the fight against climate change.
Construction of a reactor, called Sparc, which is being developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a spinoff company, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, is expected to begin next spring and take three or four years, the researchers and company officials said.
Although many significant challenges remain, the company said construction would be followed by testing and, if successful, building of a power plant that could use fusion energy to generate electricity, beginning in the next decade.
Before you get too excited, however, consider my previous post on this topic — in 2018, under the headline Fusion Allegedly Just Five Years Away — BBC:
I’ve written before on how fusion power is always coming, never here. About a year and a half ago I posted this:
Fusion Power is Only 15 Years Away, we’re told. I guess that’s progress since in just the last few years people have said its Always 50 Years Away, or maybe Always 30 Years Away, or maybe formely 30 years away, now its more like 50 years away, or maybe just forever 20 years away, or 13 Years Away.
So ten years away is progress, right? Then again three years ago it ten years away so maybe we’re going backwards?
Or maybe we’re looking at the wrong scientific advance here: what we really have is an odd form of time travel?
But comes now the BBC to tell us that according to some startups, maybe fusion power is just five years away, which certainly seems like the frontier is getting closer…or some startups have at least got fusion going on their hype…
I’m sure someday one of these predictions will be right. Someday. Meanwhile, however, the hype frontier has moved back to ten years from five…
Teardown of pregnancy test (from BBC)
Three not-quite-random facts that caught my eye recently, two about COVID, one about computers.