Over the past few years, one of the most important advancements in computing has been the availability of high-quality encryption. As online companies, governments, and hackers continue to expand their attacks on personal computing devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones, the need to protect your data has never been more important. While companies like Microsoft offer more and more options to protect your data, including BitLocker in Windows 10 and OneDrive Personal Vault in the cloud, the perceived threat to governments gets stronger.
Over the past few years, we have seen countries like Australia
try to outlaw strong encryption under the guise of national security. This week, a report from Politico suggests that the current US administration is considering asking Congress to pass legislation to require all encryption be breakable.
Of course, this makes the practice of encryption useless if it is able to be bypassed. Any time there is a backdoor into a security system, the backdoor leaks and the security system is breached. The fear or frustration over encryption, in terms of governmental involvement, has been heightened since the attack in San Bernardino in 2017. Law enforcement had an iPhone that they believed had useful information on it, but an officer had screwed up, permanently locking the device. They asked Apple to bypass the security, but
Apple refused, citing device security. They made the same claim, that once a hack was built, it would leak.
In response to Apple's refusal to create a special version of iOS that would bypass the security on this device alone, the Department of Justice began petitioning for "responsible encryption," which is a term which means that the only responsibility the encryption platform has is to the government, not to their customer. The extension of this misleading and incredibly dangerous idea is where we pick up the thread this week. If the administration, in particular, the DOJ and FBI, get their way, then encryption would no longer hold the value that it was designed to hold. All encrypted data would be required to have a backdoor that would be guaranteed to leak, exposing all of your personal data to hackers. On the other side of the argument has been the Commerce and State Departments, which have always fought on behalf of the consumer.
Unfortunately, this information comes from leaks of a black box meeting, whose content was not intended for public consumption. That means that until someone pitches the idea formally, this is all just rumor. Hopefully, it will remain that way.
released Switch Online, the company's online gaming service, one of the big draws was its included games. The company announced that, like Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus, Switch Online would come with games every month. Playing into the brand's long gaming history, the included games were announced to be Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games, titles from the company's original home console.
With the release of the SNES Classic console, it was expected that Switch Online would eventually begin offering games from later consoles - especially the SNES. Those expectations were confirmed this week, as Shuntaro Furukawa, president of Nintendo,
said in response to a question about future retro hardware to go with the NES Classic and SNES Classic, At this place we cannot tell new information about future classic hardware among others, but we are thinking about providing an extension of the online service which is currently providing Famicom (NES) software, as well as other methods of providing them.
This would be a popular move for Nintendo. While the original NES games are popular, expanding the catalog to include SNES, N64, and GameCube games would help appeal to a wider range of gamers. For some of us, we grew up on NES games, and are happy to revisit them on the go. For others, however, their introduction to gaming happened on later consoles. Bringing games from those consoles to Switch Online would allow younger gamers to experience the nostalgia that my generation has already had the opportunity for.
This is not the first time we have had evidence of slightly newer games coming to Switch Online. In January, a report suggested that 22 SNES titles were found within the service's listings, but were not currently available to the public. This leak would suggest that Nintendo has been planning this move for a while, and could even be close to releasing some SNES titles to the console.
Would SNES titles bring extra value to Switch Online for you? Let us know in the comments.
In 1996, two people joined the team at Apple: Steve Jobs returned from his excommunication to head the company and Jony Ive came in to help design some of the company's new products. While Jobs left the company before passing away many years ago, the era of his leadership has remained in Ive's designs. Nearly 23 years later, the Steve Jobs Era is officially coming to an end, as
Apple announced Jony Ive's departure. CEO Tim Cook said, Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple's revival cannot be overstated, from 1998's groundbreaking iMac to the iPhone and the unprecedented ambition of Apple Park, where recently he has been putting so much of his energy and care.
Jony Ive will be founding his own design firm, where he will get the opportunity to work on projects that are not Apple-based, and likely not tech-based. After nearly a quarter century working on just Apple products and projects, it will be good for him to flex his design muscle again. That's not to say that Ive will be excluded from Apple projects going forward. Cook said that Apple will engage Ive's firm on future projects, though did not go into detail.
There is no doubt that Apple would not be where it is today if it weren't for the combined efforts of Jobs and Ive. In fact, there is a good chance the company would not have survived the 90s without the products that these two brought to market. Some did not stand the test of time, while others are still considered top-notch designs. The iMac series, for example, is viewed as some of the silliest products the company has ever released. From the fruit-colored bubbles to the swivel desk lamp looking computer, the iMac has always been the joke of the industry. On the other hand, the early iPhones, especially the iPhone 4, the iPod, and the iPad, have all led the industry in their designs, for better or worse.
The problem is that the company's designs have stalled in the last few years. While the iPhone X might have introduced the notch design that many others have emulated, the phone's overall design was not a significant departure from the past decade. The iPad and iPad Pro have essentially remained unchanged for nearly a decade. The likelihood is that Jony Ive has been in a design rut because he has not been able to explore additional projects. Outside of the iterative product projects, his only real design flex has been Apple Park, the company's spaceship campus.
Hopefully, the introduction of new design ideas will energize Apple's product development teams. With someone else heading up the design efforts, perhaps Apple will be able to join the rest of the mobile industry in implementing standards, such as developer-enabled NFC, USB-C, and more. The phones might return to their origins of being ergonomic. We might even see a computer that doesn't look like a giant cheese grater. Only time will tell, however.
Since purchasing DirecTV, AT&T has seen constant user loss. The loss could have been even worse than publicly reported, with a
recent lawsuit accusing them of misreporting numbers. But, if we just look at the reported numbers, the company has lost 350,000 subscribers o er the past 2 quarters. Even DirecTV Now, the company's streaming service, has lost users ending in 1.5 million total. Because of this, AT&T is having to make hard decisions about the future of DirecTV.
reports, AT&T is considering selling or spinning off the division entirely. The most likely end result for satellite TV would be similar to satellite radio: a single company. As of now, it looks like DISH Network is interested in purchasing the company, its assets, and its users. This would make the combined DISH/DirecTV the only consumer-facing satellite television subscription service.
In reality, DISH is most likely interested in the contracts that the company has, plus their streaming infrastructure. Streaming television services are quickly creating a challenge for traditional cable and satellite television providers. Services like DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, and more, are becoming lucrative, and DISH Network might just be looking at entering that business.
If they purchase DirecTV, however, they will have one new challenger to contend with from AT&T's other media division: WarnerMedia. The service, which
came to light last year, is thought to combine a number of WarnerMedia's big properties, including HBO, into a single service. A leak suggests the price will be between $16 and $17 per month.
While $17 per month might sound like a lot at first, it is important to note that HBO NOW currently runs $15 per month. If you simply add Cinemax to the mix, an additional $2 is a steal But, when you bundle in other WarnerMedia properties, such as Warner Bros. television and movies, the price gets even more reasonable. Of course, this number is just a rumor at this point, and things could change between now and the official launch of the service, which is expected in March 2020.