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Comic: 2018 Year in Review

MOST OVERDUE UPDATE: a tie between mac mini and macbook air. you were both horribly out of date, but at least you were cheap

BEST PRICE INCREASE: iphone xs? macbook air? mac mini? a literal embarrassment of riches?

IN MEMORIUM: R.I.P. HOME BUTTON SWIPED FROM US TOO SOON

LEAST BAD TECH GIANT: apple, for selling us devices and not selling us to advertisers does that mean youll finally pay for icloud?

Read more comics from The Pixel Project.

Pixel lover and cartoonist. Still have my original Apple IIgs. See more at clango.org or follow him on Twitter @rstevens.

8 Comments
  • Apple CLAIMS not to sell to advertisers. You can't PROVE it as they're closed source. Further, they bake Spybook into the OS. Also, Android+Bouncer+Netguard is arguably as private if not more so. iOS doesn't let me grant permissions just this once, but Android does with Bouncer. iOS doesn't let me stop just one app from going online, but Android does with Netguard. Not to mention that I've had to have my iPhone in "reduce motion" mode since the 31st as I can't turn off it's stupid add animation to EVERY person who sends me "Happy New Year". Apple also doesn't respect privacy as they decide what content is on the store from a political stance, not just virus/NSFW stance.
  • Plenty of companies make Closed Source software, it's called making money out of something you've worked on. Facebook lies dormant in the Settings app, unless you want to use it, which many people do as many people use Facebook, but if you don't want to use it, your phone has no connection to Facebook apart from a silly icon in settings. The permissions in iOS is perfect as it is, it doesn't need to be any more advanced otherwise it just overcomplicates things. If you don't trust an app to go online, then don't use that app. The rest of the permissions decide what data that app can actually send online. If an animation that comes with "Happy new year" is annoying to you, then you don't sound like you'd be very fun at parties. Apple decide what content is on the store based on their own guidelines, there's no conspiracy theory here, nor invasion of privacy.
  • You can make money off open source, like RedHat does when CentOS is *literally* a duplicate of their software with different logos, last I checked. All I meant with closed source is you can't VERIFY that nothing is phoning home. See above, can you prove that it's dormant? You can suspect it is, but you can't *know*. Far from perfect. I shouldn't have to trust an engineer to vet all apps, if I want Imgur to only have access to my photos when I'm actually in the app, why can't I have the permission be revoked when I close it out? It could be done easily with an "advanced permissions" option to switch it from a toggle to a drop down. "Allow access only while in foreground" and "Remove after closing to ask the next time" wouldn't be tricky. It would only "complicate" it for people who opt-in to that setting. The amount of people who think the location thing always being on is normal prove non-techy people wouldn't see that anyways. They gave us "while using" for location, why not two more for photos, read as one, and write as another? Net could be a third. I don't need my wacky whatever camera app to go online, and I should be able to tell it that it can't, an extra toggle won't hurt anyone. They could even make it that you need connect it to XCode to enable those options. So we're on personal attacks because I don't like my phone buzzing incessantly with animations I should be able to turn off but can't because Apple decides how things work instead of me? So much for "think different", has anyone redone Apple's 1984 commercial with Tim Cook on the projector yet? So, Apple allows apps with 1940's German flags (you guys don't let me say the actual word here), but removed the ones with the 1860's southern flag because the guidelines suddenly changed when everyone wanted to take down statues, or because Apple wanted to go with the wind as it were? It's not a direct invasion of privacy, but an adult should be able to make their own private decisions as long as they're not hurting anyone else. Deciding what I can do is removing autonomy, which is removing the rights of people to do things in private.
  • "See above, can you prove that it's dormant? You can suspect it is, but you can't *know*." Actually you can, because you can monitor network requests out of your iPhone, including where they're going to. Are they going to IP addresses owned by Facebook, on a newly set up iPhone that hasn't touched Facebook? Probably not, but that's something you can test for yourself. "if I want Imgur to only have access to my photos when I'm actually in the app, why can't I have the permission be revoked when I close it out?" I'm pretty sure it's this way already. iOS is very careful when apps are doing things in the background, I don't think they have photo access in the background, unless you're doing a specific task like uploading images. Usually tasks like uploading data which you have given permission to, require user interaction (e.g. touch or swipe) in order to submit said data to a server. They also require the information to be sent encrypted, and probably through OAuth as well, but I could be wrong on that last one. "I don't need my wacky whatever camera app to go online" But what's the harm? You haven't provided any personal details, and most camera apps most likely won't go online anyway unless it's a free app which connects to ad services to display ads, or it uses iCloud which goes through Apple's API rather than just a standard connection to a random server. Maybe your camera app uses cloud computing to optimise your image if it has an internet connection? There's no disadvantage to a camera app having internet access, so just having the option "because you can" seems superfluous. The problem is you could make the permissions system incredibly intricate, or incredibly basic, but the main idea behind the permissions system is to protect your privacy to a strong enough level that apps can't take data from you without your permission, which is how the system currently works. The question really is, why would you trust an app with your data only temporarily? Surely it's black and white, you either trust them to have it all the time, or you don't. No one can predict when a company is going to be hacked and have your data stolen from them, all you can do is try to give your data to companies that you trust have a good security architecture. "So we're on personal attacks because I don't like my phone buzzing incessantly with animations" It wasn't really supposed to be a personal attack, but it just sounds a bit old-fashioned. The world is changing, people use emojis in business email/chat now. You have Slack which is used in many businesses which offers animated GIFs for a bit of fun. Not everything has to be so serious, and the iPhone has never really taken itself too seriously, it's always had funny animations like the icons "shaking", the old YouTube icon looked like an Old TV set. Reduce motion is more an accessibility option for people who find the animations (including the iMessage animations) a bit nauseous, but other than that, a nice animation to go with a Happy New Year message should be something that makes you happy. You're going to get vibrations with all these new year messages anyway, it sounds more like you want to set your phone to DND at midnight, but even then it's only once a year… I don't like Apple's censorship with flags, and adult content. Neither of these things relate to privacy, so I agree with you there. I think the iPhone is supposed to be an easy-to-use device, not giving you too much control where it won't really give a significant benefit to the user. When you want all kinds of intricate customisability, Android is the platform for that. The permissions system hasn't changed much on the iPhone for a long time, and that's because Apple designed it correctly in the first place, I haven't really heard many complaints about it.
  • "Actually you can, because you can monitor network requests out of your iPhone, including where they're going to. Are they going to IP addresses owned by Facebook, on a newly set up iPhone that hasn't touched Facebook? Probably not, but that's something you can test for yourself." In *most* cases. In THEORY, and yes this is tinfoil hat, it could see if it's on a network with no devices, blank contacts, and whatever else, think it's being examined, then not phone home to Spybook. It could only do it when there are other apps installed, and you can't prove if those apps communicate with Spybook either. Again, unlikely unless it's more targeted, but it's *POSSIBLE*. "I'm pretty sure it's this way already. iOS is very careful when apps are doing things in the background, I don't think they have photo access in the background, unless you're doing a specific task like uploading images. Usually tasks like uploading data which you have given permission to, require user interaction (e.g. touch or swipe) in order to submit said data to a server. They also require the information to be sent encrypted, and probably through OAuth as well, but I could be wrong on that last one." Right, but I ran into this today. I wanted to send a check to my bank digitally. I don't want it to have access to my camera/photos unless or until I want it to. Forcing me to go and turn Camera permission on and off each time is tedious. Less is more with privacy. What if Imgur wanted to scan my photos randomly for ad reasons? Why can't I only give it WRITE access to save memes, and occasionally give it read access if I want to upload something? Another example is when you grant an app microphone access, it has it at best whenever you're in the app with it in the foreground. Wasn't there something about ads on TV/sites using specific white-noise to let an app know you're seeing the ad? That's an invasion of privacy for something like a web browser which asks for the microphone permission, but could use it to track ads I see when I have the app open. Either way, it is a privacy issue, albeit not the worst in the world, it's still something that they could easily address as I mentioned previously. Encrypted doesn't matter in this case, as it's encrypted to the server I don't want it going to in the first place. Yes, the camera app isn't *likely* to go online, but it can is all I mean. Photos usually have GPS tags in them, so it's data you don't want them to have if they don't need it is all I mean. If it complicates it, just make it a toggle before you complicate it. As in "Hey, you just turned on advanced permissions, this is complicated. Type 'I like complicated' to proceed." you're going very "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few", which is one thing in hardware (the stick shift in a car being on the right makes it hard for people who only have a left hand*), but software doesn't need to be manufactured, and you can provide more complexity for those who opt in without producing a second physical device. In the software case, I don't think the "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" when the few aren't that minor and the change could likely be done in a few weeks by a few engineers. I'd be less annoyed by the fireworks being forced if it happened once per event, not every time. Yes, it's not world ending by any stretch of the imagination, but it's annoying. It also does that for every Happy Birthday, and I think it did it on the 4th of July. It also forces you to see the animation when you turn reduce motion back off unless you've texted a bit more and the Happy New Year is further up in the chain. They WANT you to see these, when it should be my choice. All this effort to even add the toggle to Reduce Motion to see them anyways, could've gone the other way too is all I mean. I think it's privacy in the sense that they decide what a private person can see and do. Unless it's a virus, the anarchist's cookbook (with the pages that are destructive), or something Chris Hansen should be involved in, they shouldn't interfere once someone is 18+. Ban apps that try to Elsagate the App Store to get to kids, but don't ban on politics of the moment, or politics at all. *Yes, there are other cars that have the shifting done on the steering wheel, but in this case the only person that makes iOS is Apple, so I can't just "buy another iOS device". I can and do have Android devices, but that doesn't negate that I still think Apple should add a toggle that changes permissions from 777 with Photo access to 744 or 722 on the backend. EDIT: Didn't mean to write War and Peace, but privacy is important to me, and I don't think these changes would be TOO difficult to do, and could be done in a way that is OPT-IN not OPT-OUT, so it would just enhance the privacy for tinfoil wearers like myself, at not much cost to Apple (I have a degree in CompSci, I can't see this being too complicated).
  • Enough with the virtue signalling please. Apple builds the lion's share of its products in China. A nation that herds ethnic minorities into concentration camps, persecutes dissidents, wages international propaganda campaigns and is led by a president for life. Apple has more than enough money and clout to raise it's voice about this. They haven't.
  • You forgot the part where Apple *literally* gave China the keys to iCloud (in China).
  • You're right. That counts too.