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  • Apple's AirTag helps you keep track of your things for $29 each, $99 in a four-pack

    For those who don't know what "Lost Mode" means, which is everyone on Earth, I will explain it. Lost Mode does not change the behavior of the AirTag, it changes the behaviour of Apple's Find My servers. If you tell Apple's Find My servers that you want to put an item into "Lost Mode", what that will do is tell Apple's Find My servers that you are authorizing anyone who finds your lost device to be able to see your contact information on their screen so that the finder can call you to say that they found your item.

    It's really a badly named feature. It should be called "Mutual Contact Mode." Because it tells the finder who the owner is, and it suggests to the finder that they call you. If you don't put the item into Lost Mode, you can still see the item in your Find My App, but you won't be able to receive a text or a phone call from anyone who finds it.
  • Render tool Redshift lands on macOS with native Apple Silicon support

    michelb76 said:
    Really hoping we're finally getting decent GPU's on the mac.
    When you say "on the mac," do you mean (a) the Mac Pro or (b) the Mac Mini or (c) the iMac? Depending on what you meant, I have different opinions:

    • The future Mac Pro is likely to support "decent GPUs." Although I'm not sure how you define the word "decent." If your definition includes nVidia GPUs, then no. I don't think nVidia is willing to support the Metal 2 API in their video cards' firmware. Apple will not add an extra layer of API translation which nVidia expects to be built into macOS.
    • The Mac Mini (future versions) might support external GPUs, but I wouldn't count on it. The Mac Mini (and iMac) would burn most of its Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth (at least for one of its two busses) on video traffic if it allowed people to obtain external GPUs for 6K monitors. A single 5K monitor would use 60% of Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth and a 6K monitor (or dual 4K monitors) would use 75% of the bandwidth.
    • The iMac is unlikely to support external GPUs, because of its built-in monitor. You bought Apple's monitor, so you accept Apple's video technology with it.
    Intel managed to persuade millions of customers to settle for built-in Intel Iris graphics. I'm sure Apple can likewise convince millions of customers to settle for Apple GPUs for certain models of Macs.
  • US official calls Cook's idea to vote on iPhone 'preposterous'

    A small part of my job was writing and updating a "digital certificate policy" for my government, which includes a section on identity-proofing, and the document was approximately 100 pages in length. Voting with a personal device (which I believe would have to use digital certificates, and therefore require certificate policies) is theoretically possible but opens up multiple cans of legal, procedural, and financial worms. And neither the article nor the comments have addressed the biggest problems. I don't think most people are even aware of what the issues even are.

    I won't make a list of the problems, which would take tens of pages, but I'll tell you this. If it was easy, why doesn't Apple already do it? E.g., when I buy an iPhone, Apple has NO IDEA who I am (even if I buy it in an Apple store, [rather than Walmart] they didn't even require a credit card until recently, and even then, some credit cards are corporate and not personal.) I don't have to show them any ID to prove my identity. I could be an illegal alien. I could be a foreign diplomat. I could be a shared corporate phone. So exactly how does Apple propose that the government know who the person at the other end is, if Apple doesn't even know themselves? Is Apple going to rely on the identities provided by the telephone company which provides the wireless services? Wouldn't that be an important part of the process since Apple iPhones can be privately sold without informing Apple? And this is just 5% of the problem.

    Most countries probably have their federal certificate policies online. Just google your country's own certificate policy and read it. I suspect that in the US only the federal government (no state government) has a certificate policy, and since voting is largely a state responsibility, each state would have to write one before any of this could work. I don't think the federal government has the constitutional authority to set up the certificate policy required for voting in the individual states. But the feds may have authority over voting in D.C., (also Puerto Rico, Guam, etc.) so that would be a good place to experiment, since it's such a geographically small zone, which is important when part of the policy involves visually verifying IDs to approve the device's certificate. If you can't get it going in a small jurisdiction first, then you certainly can't get it going nationwide.

    The US probably won't be the first country to achieve voting on personal devices. It might be one of the last to get there due to constitutional issues. It's more likely that some dictatorship which already holds everyone's personal information can achieve this first. I can certainly see a country like China, which recently introduced digital currency, attempting this in the near future, since they are heavily invested into tracking their people already. Of course they don't have elections in dictatorships, but I can see China wanting to prove their technological superiority (and at the same time improve on their ability to track citizens.) My bet would be on Singapore getting there first. They have an interest in these sorts of technologies, and they have a good mix of high tech, small geography, and a very dominant single political party to make this happen fast, if they want to.
  • Apple says water bottle logo 'nearly identical' to its own, objects to trademark

    Trademarks aren't words or images, they are words or images used by its owner ALONG WITH its goods and services. If this company sells only bottled water, they are possibly entitled to use a trademark that Apple already uses, since Apple doesn't sell water. They could even call their company "Apple Water." Right now there are 4686 trademarks that contains the word "Apple," some of which are very close to Apple's company name. As long as the company doesn't fall in any of the same lines of business as Apple, they can likely re-use a trademark that Apple uses.

    This same mechanism also protected Apple from being sued by the Beatles who owned several "Apple" trademarks themselves. This case was settled in 2007; I presume Apple paid the Beatles to use the same trademarks. They might have even transferred ownership of the marks.

    According to the USPTO, “likelihood of confusion exists between trademarks when the marks are so similar and the goods and/or services for which they are used are so related that consumers would mistakenly believe they come from the same source. Each application is decided on its own facts, and no strict mechanical test exists for determining likelihood of confusion.” 

    Here are some examples of trademark words that are used by multiple companies that don't sell the same products: Virgin, Delta, United. You may instantly recognize multiple companies that share these identical names/trademarks.

    As long as two companies do not share the same goods and services, they can both register the same trademark. At this time the 45 recognized groups of services are: Chemicals; Paints; Cleaning Substances; Industrial Oils; Pharmaceuticals; Common Metals; Machines; Hand Tools; Computers and Scientific Devices; Medical Supplies; Appliances; Vehicles; Firearms; Precious Metals; Musical Instruments; Paper Goods; Rubber Products; Leather Goods; Building Materials; Furniture; Household Utensils; Ropes and Textile Products; Yarns and Threads; Textiles; Clothing; Lace and Embroidery; Carpets; Games and Sporting Goods; Meat, Fish, Poultry; Coffee, Flour, Rice; Grains, Agriculture; Beers and Beverages; Alcoholic Beverages; Tobacco Products; Advertising and Business Services; Insurance and Finance Services; Construction and Repair Services; Telecommunications Services; Shipping and Travel Services; Material Treatment Services; Education and Entertainment Services; Science and Technology Services; Food Services; Medical and Vet Services; Legal and Security Services.

    In the case of Prepare, Prepare sold groceries, but they did it through an app, which made Apple's case stronger against them. In this case I don't see overlap.
  • Leviton announces second-gen Decora hubless HomeKit switches and plugs

    No Thread support? It's already obsolete.