Spoiler: Because it could gut Facebook’s ad business

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Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash

Have you ever pulled a stray thread on a sweater? Your effort to neaten it up sometimes leads to carefully stitched fibers coming undone. With enough pulling, the whole knit falls apart.

Apple’s App Transparency Tracking (ATT) technology, which is delayed until next year, could have that effect on technology and the Internet.

Apple ATT is a simple concept: Force app developers to reveal exactly when and how they’ll collect and share user data and what they might do with it. …


I tried a high-tech solution to your face mask problems

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Every face is different. Even twins have subtle differences that help us tell them apart. We lead with our faces, opening broad smiles to signal friendliness, pressing our lips into a thin line of determination, or turning the corners down to telegraph displeasure.

If you're following health safety guidelines, though, your expression is hidden behind an ill-fitting face mask. …


I have enough stories in my life

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Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

Is it wrong to say I’m tired of things evolving? Maybe it’s because the more things change they more they become like everything else.

Since I joined Twitter back in 2007, I’ve appreciated its simplicity. Sure, Twitter has changed from its early, SMS-only days, first finding clever ways to squeeze more information into tweets like clowns in an impossibly small car. When the doors burst open, Twitter finally expanded to the more expansive 280 characters. Over time, we got videos, GIFs, and threads that that could spool out endless Twitter thoughts (this one is 1/12).

Despite these changes, Twitter’s remained, fundamentally, true to its microblogging heritage. Yes, that’s what we called Twitter in the early days, “A micro blog” service, which meant blog-like missives in brief. …


Apple Silicon launches with stellar battery life and uncompromising power

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Apple’s MacBook Air with Apple M1 will look quite familiar to MacBook Air fans (Photo: Lance Ulanoff)

The MacBook Air’s brain transplant is an unalloyed success. After running on Intel gray matter for more than a decade, the transition to Apple silicon is surprisingly smooth and, in most ways virtually unnoticeable.

Shortly before the world plunged into a pandemic, Apple upgraded its popular, ultra-slim notebook with a new Intel 10th Generation Core i CPU and replaced the derided butterfly keyboard with the reengineered Magic keyboard it first unveiled with the 16-inch MacBook Pro in 2019. Little did we know that this would be the last MacBook Air with an Intel processor.

As COVID-19 took hold and Apple, like virtually everyone else, adjusted to our new reality, the company was cooking up a generational shift, one that it would have to unveil during its first-ever virtual World Wide Developer’s Conference. …


Thanks so much for the conservatives talking points duet

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Photo by Aaron Weiss on Unsplash

TikTok is living on a bubble of consequence as it waits for a U.S.-based corporate savior to snap it up before the U.S. government shuts it down at the end of November. In the meantime, mainstream America and, with it, mainstream media is in a constant state of TikTok discovery: “TikTok what is it? why should I care?”

Meanwhile, millions and millions of Gen Z-ers (and the occasional middle-aged skate-boarder) around the world are lip-syncing, dancing and skitting their way to middling and sometimes global recognition.

Last night the august, journalistic monolith 60 Minutes entered the fray, attempting to explain the social media phenomenon to its aging audience and basically stirring up extant fears with a tiny parade of mostly right-wing talking heads. …


Hello, again

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(Credit: Lance Ulanoff)

I feel like Tom Hanks in Cast Away (spoiler alert) standing at the dusty intersection of two endless dirt roads, wondering which way I should go.

The path I’m on starting today is something of a continuation, but with a slight curve.

This is the start of my Medium blog.

I know, I’ve been writing on Medium for years and was for a time an “official” columnist. …


Great sound, price, design, impressive intelligence, and admirable smart home control make this a winning product

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Apple’s HomePod mini

One can’t help but wonder what Apple’s smart home business and strategy would’ve been like if it had released the cute, yet formidable HomePod mini in 2018. This remarkable $99 smart speaker is essentially everything we want from a smart home companion and digital assistant. It’s small, attractive, powerful, smart and, as far as I can tell, secure. It works with thousands of internet of things gadgets (while still missing some key ones) and is as easy to use as anything from Amazon.

Why did we have to wait so long?

When Apple finally unveiled the long-awaited HomePod mini a few weeks ago, I was primarily bowled over by the price. Apple’s favorite “entry-level” number is $199 and, to be honest, we haven’t seen that in a while. $99 is a psychographic level that triggers consumer pleasure and loosens wallets. …


There’s no turning back from Apple Silicon

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Apple’s new M1-based MacBook Air, MacBook pro 13, and Mac mini. (Credit: Apple)

For years, I’ve marveled at the raw power of Apple’s bespoke silicon, those A-class chips that appeared to have almost limitless headroom. Apple appeared to know something about mobile processors that its competitors, more specifically Qualcomm and, secondarily, Intel, did not.

It wasn’t just the benchmarks, which right on through the new iPhone 12 and its A14 Bionic, continue to handily beat the best Qualcomm has to offer. …


DJI resets the bar for entry-level drones

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DJI mini 2

Innovation is not the only measure of good product development. If you already have a good product, one people know and love to use, your goal should be equal parts innovation and improvement. It’s a difficult balance to manage but, when done right, it almost always produces a winning combination that pleases product devotees and attracts new customers.

The DJI mini 2 drone is that kind of update.

Same look and feel

At a glance, the DJI mini 2 (at some point, DJI dropped “Mavic” from the name) is virtually unchanged from the original personal drone. However, a handful of alterations make a noticeable difference in performance and operation without messing up the drone’s core attraction: almost-pro-level performance in an ultra-tiny, lightweight package. …


In the digital age, polling places need some basic IT support

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Hello, I’m a poll worker. Not just one of the people who sit at the table pointing you in the direction of one DS200 voting machine or another. I’m basically IT for the operation.

This happened totally by accident. …

About

Lance Ulanoff

Tech expert, journalist, social media commentator, amateur cartoonist and robotics fan.

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