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  • Apple blames Beats headphones explosion on third-party batteries

    tundraboy said:
    Headline is inaccurate. The headphones did not explode. The batteries did.
    That's a critical piece of information that this article failed to mention.  Since you mentioned it, I did a Google search and found that I believe to be the original article from when the incident actually happened:

    They clearly state that the batteries are what exploded.  In which case, I agree - Apple has nothing to do with this.  And it has nothing to do with "approved" brands.  Most batteries - even no-name ones - don't explode.  The fact that these did means that they were manufactured very poorly.

    They are the ones who need to be sued, but (as another reader pointed out) it may be impossible if they are a fly-by-night operation in a foreign country.
  • First look: Fitbit guns for Apple Watch Series 3 with Ionic smartwatch

    ...Fitbit Pay, an Apple Pay competitor which is still expanding U.S. bank support but should work anywhere NFC payments are accepted. Apple Pay often requires specific support by merchants.
    Let's correct this bit of misinformation.  Apple Pay uses the exact same technology used by contactless cards.  Which is why so many merchants make you sign the PIN pad even though ApplePay is authenticating the user via his fingerprint.

    There are some merchants that accept contactless cards but reject Apple Pay.  These merchants (or their banks) have installed explicit software designed to look for and disable Apple Pay.  Usually for political/ideological reasons (don't want to support Apple, wants to promote a competing mobile wallet tech, etc.)  Convincing a merchant to remove their Apple Pay-disabling firmware is not "requiring specific support", no matter how many press releases to the contrary the merchant may make.

    Are there places that accept NFC payments that do not accept Apple Pay?
    There are.  And every time I've looked closely, I've found that the merchant (or bank) in question is an investor in some competing mobile payment technology and is deliberately looking for, and disabling, Apple Pay thinking it will somehow boost popularity of the tech they are promoting.

    WalMart is one of the worst examples.  To be fair, they are blocking all contactless/NFC transactions, not just Apple Pay, but they definitely fall into this category.  They and 14 other companies explicitly decided to block mobile payments in order to promote "CurrentC", their own mobile payment system (which requires granting the service direct access to you bank account) that after 4 years of vaporware was shutdown and abandoned.  Today, WalMart still won't support NFC, but is instead trying to convince customers to make their in-store purchases through the WalMart app, which doesn't work anywhere else.

    Why not just accept NFC payments?  Because WaMart's CEO has some personal vendetta against Visa and MasterCard and is looking for some excuse to get rid of them, so they are using passive-aggressive BS to try and make customers pay with other mechanisms (like direct debits from checking accounts) instead.
  • Tips: Turn off iOS 11 Smart Punctuation to avoid data entry problems

    I would love to see more details about what's really going on here.  In iOS, user input comes in the form of an NSString object (or a String object in Swift).  These string objects are fully UNICODE enabled, include length counters, and do not use NULL bytes as terminators.

    If an application is grabbing the raw data and treating it as a C-style string, whether for internal use or for use with an external framework, then problems like this are likely to occur, because the byte-stream can include zero values.

    On the other hand, if the application is doing the right thing, and calling appropriate member functions to get (for example) a UTF-8 representation of the UNICODE string, then there shouldn't be any zeros in the resulting byte stream.  If there are, then Apple's got a bug somewhere, which will clearly need to be fixed.

  • Voters shoot down human rights committee proposal at Apple shareholders meeting

    This is hardly news.  Anyone who holds stock in any major company sees propositions like this all the time.  I have never once seen any company recommend a yes vote for any shareholder proposal, and it is very very rare that any pass because ultimately most shareholders want their shares to gain value and they trust the corporate management to do what is necessary to bring that about.  And this is perfectly logical - someone who doesn't trust management to maximize the stock's value isn't going to buy it in the first place.

    Very few people are buying shares for the purpose of using them as leverage against the company for activist purposes.  It's all about making a statement that everybody receiving a proxy will (presumably) read, not about making any real change.  There are too many outstanding shares and too high a price to be able to buy (or control) a large enough block to forcibly pass something the board opposes.  If you had that kind of money, you could more easily implement your changes by creating a non-profit foundation of some kind.
  • Battery tech suitable for future iPhone promises 3x the power density, full charge in minu...

    But you know that you'll never get a phone that can go 3x as long between charges.  If such a battery is invented and becomes practical and affordable, the phone manufacturers (including Apple) will shrink the battery to 1/3 its size and use the remaining space for something else (or just make the device even thinner, just for bragging rights.)  You'll still be unable to go a whole day between charges if you actually use it for running apps.

    tallest skilbeowulfschmidtwaverboy
  • Mac mini 2018 Review: Apple's mightiest mini yet

    sirozha said:
    I believe that the quad-core i3 CPU in this Mac Mini has only four threads instead of eight threads; that is there’s only one thread per core. Please confirm that.

    If this is the case, the multi-threading performance of this i3 CPU should be inferior to the multithreading performance of the 2012 Mac Mini’s quad-core i7, which has eight threads (two threads per core). 
    You are correct.  The i3 and i5 models are not hyperthreaded so their 4 and 6 cores, respectively, translate to 4 and 6 threads.  The i7 model is hyperthreaded, so those 6 cores give you 12 threads.

    But comparing it against previous generation minis is not reasonable, because you're looking at many generations of CPU evolution.  The new mini uses 8th-gen processors.  The previous minis (2014) use 4th-gen processors.  And the 2012 model uses a 3rd-gen processor.  Even with half the number of threads, I would expect that 8th-gen i3 to outperform a 3rd-gen i7.
  • Apple Card vs Amazon Prime Rewards Visa: which credit card offers the most cash back and b...

    Only, when you go to buy something on Amazon and you're using its card, you will be offered a discount right away. At checkout time, you can choose to reduce the price by using this cashback figure. All credit card experts say no, though, don't do it. Pay the full price and let your cashback accrue through the month.
    Why?  Who are these "all credit card experts"?  Please provide a link to an article from one of these experts because I couldn't find one after 30 minutes of web searching.
    dpbruno said:
    Does the Amazon card give you credit when you buy gas from a warehouse club ? Do you get 1% or 2%...all credit cards that I know of only give 1-to 1.5%...except buying at costco with their credit card.
    The Costco card is one of the best deals these days.  Assuming you are already paying for Costco membership (of course), you get:

    4% back from gasoline purchases (any gas station, not just Costco) for the first $3,000 per year
    3% back from travel and restaurants
    2% back from purchases from Costco (on-line and in-store)
    1% back from everything else

    The only downside to the Costco card is that your rewards are not cash back, but an annually-issued voucher that can only be redeemed on purchases from Costco.  But that's not a problem for me, because my family shops there a lot.

    In my daily life, I use the Costco card for gas, travel, restaurants and Costco purchases.  For everything else (the 1% tier), I use by bank's card, which is 1% back (in the form of points) on everything, because I can redeem those points for gift cards from lots of different stores (including Amazon and Apple).
    I've caught two separate cases of fraud that way that I would not have caught otherwise.  The first was a $25 charge for gas at a BP.  Just reviewing a statement 30 days later I would not have questioned.  But, from the text I knew something was up.  And, when I called the card company they told it had been made 300 miles away.  (It also helps with Apple's "Family Sharing" since I have the Apple Alert turned off.)
    Another good thing is to log on to the card's web site on a regular basis.  I do so every night as a part of managing my household finances (record the day's expenses, check web sites for all credit cards, check/schedule payments from the bank's web site, etc.)  Fraudulent charges don't happen very often, but when they do, I see them that day and have plenty of time to dispute them before the statement arrives.

    I also make a point of retaining all my receipts from credit purchases until the statement arrives.  I reconcile each month's statement against those receipts and question anything I don't recognize.  It take a bit of time, but it's important because mistakes may go ignored otherwise.  Like one time where a restaurant accidentally (I assume accidentally) mis-typed a gratuity, making it $10 higher than it should have been - when I saw the statement didn't match my receipt, I was immediately able to call the restaurant and get them to fix it.

    The only real pain in the neck here is (of course) Amazon, which will often (but not always) merge the charges for separate orders that ship together or create separate charges for a multi-item order where the items ship separately - making the invoices (printed at the time of purchase) not match the credit statement and forcing me to log-on to Amazon to review the final invoices.