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Brian Johnson
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Brian Johnson

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WatchOS 2.2.1 is out - bug fixes and security improvements
Apple Watch wearers received a new software update today in the form of watchOS 2.2.1 that has been made available to the public.
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Brian Johnson

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Apple Watch update is out. 
'There's a new software update awaiting Apple Watch owners. watchOS 2.1 is now available through the Watch app on iPhone. The update includes Arabic language support for Siri plus other bug fixes a...
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Thanks so much!
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Brian Johnson

Outdoor Photography  - 
 
Motif #1 in Rockport, MA is known as "the most often painted building in America."
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Nancy Rice's profile photo
 
I was just there this week. Beautiful spot.
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Brian Johnson

Outdoor Photography  - 
 
Sunset on Cape Cod
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George Horne's profile photo
 
WOW !!!!
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Brian Johnson

Speculate Updates  - 
 
Haven't seen this reported anywhere else, but it looks interesting...
A new feature called Collections is coming soon to Google+, according to sources of ours. While we have limited information about Collections at this time, from what we understand, the feature wants users to create “collections” of their interests, which makes it sound a lot like Pinterest meets ...
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Brian Johnson's profile photoOleg Moskalensky's profile photoJohn Blossom's profile photo
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+Oleg Moskalensky Not disagreeing. I think that it will reflect very badly on them. They certainly fouled up some of the details badly...
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Have your watch alert you when you accidentally leave your phone behind.
Pretty cool idea - I wondered why this wasn't built into the OS.   Trying it out, I did notice the occasional false alert.  That isn't surprising, since it relies on the strength of the Bluetooth connection and external factors can interfere with the Bluetooth signal.   Nonetheless, if you are the type of person who might walk out the door without your phone, having your watch alert you might be just what you need.
If you own an Apple Watch, this useful new app will warn you when you leave your iPhone behind.
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Mark Page's profile photoBrian Johnson's profile photoMatthew Seigel's profile photo
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downloaded this, was turned off that needed to connect to all of my contacts etc. was that required or just requested? how much sign up did you need to do for their other security services?
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Brian Johnson

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The other day I was checking out at a store of a major chain. As I was about to pay, I saw that they had replaced their credit card terminals, and the new terminals were labeled with features for all three types of credit card payments - wireless payments such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, smart card chip, and of course, the traditional magnetic strip. When making my payment, it turned out that only the magnetic strip reader was working.

The clerk informed me that they weren't going to turn on the other features until after the holiday season. Apparently, executives of the store chain were worried that unfamiliarity with the new payment methods would slow down the checkout lines.

That's right - they decided to risk a massive credit card hack so they could get more customers through their stores.

Sigh.

I’d really like to see a major news outlet do a story on this - keep a list of which big chains are supporting chip or wireless payments and which are still swipe-only.

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Cory J. Shiverdecker's profile photoBrian Johnson's profile photoJohnathan Chung's profile photo
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This was an interesting read too. It's a case study on someone who spoofed the chip with a man-in-the-middle attack: 
http://www.wired.com/2015/10/x-ray-scans-expose-an-ingenious-chip-and-pin-card-hack/

"When a buyer inserts his or her card and enters a PIN, the card reader queries the card’s chip as to whether the PIN is correct. A fraudulent chip can listen for that query and pre-empt the real chip with its own answer: a 'yes' signal regardless of whatever random PIN the fraudster has entered."

Hopefully the new systems have resolved the issue.
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Brian Johnson

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Isn't that where you are supposed to find them?
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How does Texas define "freedom"?

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

Two news stories came out of Texas at roughly the same time:

Texas, which had in the past outlawed sugary soft drinks and deep-fat fryers in the schools, is considering bringing them back. According to Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, it’s being proposed in the name of “freedom, liberty and individual responsibility.”

Elsewhere in Texas, two sisters aged 7 and 8 opened a lemonade stand to raise money to buy their dad a gift for Father’s day. They were shut down for not having a government-issued permit.

Some things I just don't understand.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/06/11/texas-considers-bringing-soda-machines-fryers-back-to-schools-the-reason-why-is-so-texas/

http://www.people.com/article/texas-police-shut-down-little-girls-lemonade-stand-operating-without-permit

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Brian Johnson

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Bluetooth Beacons - consumer boon or Trojan horse?

The biggest privacy danger with beacons occurs when a single company collects data from many beacons.

You may have heard about bluetooth beacons - they first got a lot of press when Apple announced its version. These are small devices that broadcast an ID number using a low-power Bluetooth standard. Both Apple and Android devices can support them.

They are promoted as a boon to stores - plant some beacons in your store, and when customers approach your store, your loyalty app can recognize the beacon, know you are near (or in) your store, and present the phone holder with a store coupon or list of daily specials. The beacons might even know which portion of the store you are in, so you get deli specials when you are in the deli section. Cool, huh?

When beacons were first announced, the industry was quick to point out that a beacon can’t collect information about you - all it can do is broadcast an ID. What the companies usually neglect to mention is that the app that receives and interprets the beacon is just another app on your phone, and the app can do anything with the location data that it wants, including send it somewhere.

So the traditional advice is to configure each app according to your needs. Maybe you don’t mind that your grocery store knows you are there - so you configure your grocery store app to permit beacons. But you might not want the department store chain to have that info - so you turn off beacons in your department store app. Unless your department store app and your grocery store app are configured to recognize each others’ beacons, you have some control over who is collecting information about your store visits.

But what happens if the same app handles beacons for many stores? Now you have far less control over your information. Want to get those grocery coupons? Allow the app to use beacons. But now that app not only tracks your visit to the grocery store, it might also track your visit to the liquor store, the bookstore, and many other places you might visit (or just walk by, if the beacon is placed near the door.)

Facebook wants to be that app that tracks all your moves.

Facebook is building (or perhaps has built) beacon support into the Facebook app. They want stores to use Facebook beacons instead of proprietary store beacons. As an enticement, they are offering free beacons to stores to use - walk into the store, and the Facebook app will light up with store info and/or in store coupons. Of course, to do that, your Facebook app will tell Facebook that you just walked into the grocery store. Or the department store. Or the adult bookstore. Or the liquor store. You get the idea.

And of course, we don’t know what Facebook will ultimately do with this info. The teenage girl who posted that she just broke up with her boyfriend after a huge fight? We may not know what the fight was about, but Facebook might learn that she started visiting Babies R Us stores, and make an educated guess
That employee who is venting on Facebook that he didn’t get the raise he thought he deserved? Only Facebook will be able to correlate that with visits to the coffee shop next door to your biggest competitor.

Sites like Facebook are already tracking your moves around the web. Now Facebook wants to track your moves around the mall.

Ultimately, you will decide (I hope) whether to grant Facebook access to all those beacons. Think carefully. 
Six months after its initial trial run, Facebook's Place Tips program is finally expanding nationwide. Place Tips employs Bluetooth beacons to push FB po
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Facebook -- who has already demonstrated, multiple times, that they are unethical by design -- is about the last company I'd want to be able to do this! Well, OK, maybe after Huawei and Kaspersky.... ;-)
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Brian Johnson

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When marketing jumped the shark

HD toothpaste? Really? That's so passé. I won't settle for anything less than 4K toothpaste.

(And before you ask, it really was right next to the 3D toothpaste in the store aisle.)
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Brian Johnson

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Love this. There is a concern that in general we are not exposed to enough diverse viewpoints, but instead only see "news" that reinforces our preconceptions and biases. Social media is one of those areas of concern.

So in the spirit of objectivity, Facebook releases a study that says yes, your Facebook newsfeed is filtered to show a bit more of what you agree with than what you disagree with. (You can't turn off that filter.). But, according to Facebook, it's not their fault, it's yours, since their algorithm is weighted by what you do.

In other words, it's your fault you don't "like" things you don't like. 
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