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  • Testing thermal throttling and performance in the 2018 i7 Mac mini

    I got the i7 2018 mini and love it. My wife and I both use it when working from home and we have a 27" 4k and a 21" 1080p monitor. Nothing too graphics intensive.

    The fan almost never comes on. The only time I heard it was playing a movie for my kids while VMWare updated windows in the background. The fan noise is noticeable but not terrible: it's probably in the neighborhood of 45db when really going, about as loud as my supposedly-whisper-quiet dishwasher.

    Performance is great. I am curious about how much electricity the machine uses under different conditions; if it's hijacking my sonos setup to be airplay compatible and also letting me use it as a VPN for my other devices when I'm away I wonder if I'll be paying through the nose, or not. But no complaints: this is a great machine for the money and should last until Apple obsoletes intel-only macs in ~2024.
  • Apple iOS App Store is trouncing Google Play in services, subscriptions

    This article is helpful for refuting pay-for-play "journalism", but a better comparison between the two companies is to point out that Apple has three significant revenue streams:
    #1 Hardware
    #2 Services, aka, taking a cut on stuff (app sales, music sales, etc)
    #3 Metadata

    Google doesn't have #1 (hardware) in a meaningful way, their #2 (services) is search, and they're in a web-tracker/cookie war for #3 (metadata) with facebook, and all the other trackers. 

    Metadata is becoming more valuable than search or services-related data because of a) privacy laws like the EU's, but also because b) metadata is typically not considered to be about the person (eg, in the US, law enforcement doesn't need a search warrant to collect "pin registry" info like every phone number you dial, the IPs/websites you visit, certain info shared with a cell tower like your phone's location, etc).  Apple can block web trackers - and doesn't need its own web trackers - because the hardware is the tracker. The data doesn't need to be personally linked to a particular device or individual - it's better for obeying privacy laws and avoiding corporate liability if it doesn't - because the metadata can be aggregated (literally, everything "a device" (not a person) does and goes to, merged with other devices on a shared device ID) into an impersonal (not personally identifiable, nudgenudgewinkwink) profile that is then marketable to sellers (not selling personal data, selling access to groups of metadata regarding devices... which are really individual people if you do any significant re-identifying legwork but laws are dumb and that's how the laws currently work in the USA. 

    EU is much more restrictive with their new privacy law, but there still is a "this isn't personal info, it's 'just' metadata" line where it is possible to make lots of $$$ without all the compliance headaches. The rest of the world is the wild west; no laws or arbitrarily enforced ones, on privacy. Google will always (always?) have search-ad revenue, but without a deep well of metadata it's little more than clickable banners shot into the dark.  Long term that's problematic for Google, they know it, and they're trying to use hardware and trackers to address the issue.  Facebook is, too.  etc. And Apple's trying to block web trackers because it's in their interest to do so.  And here we are.
    avon b7watto_cobra
  • US politicians pressure AT&T to cut ties with China's Huawei in 5G development

    There are two issues:
    1) Many of the underlying communication systems rely on dual-use technology, and so regulated under the EAR (US export control list from a non-military wing of the feds). Huawei (and ZTE, and others) contracts with the PLA for same types of communication technologies. So a US firm working together with Huawei could aid a foreign military power and violate the EAR. AT&T doesn't want to do that, and congressional folks are implicitly threatening this (this is the pressure they're applying to AT&T).
    2) There have been strong concerns for close to two decades that many Chinese firms are funded (run?) indirectly by the PLA (People's Liberation Army). The PLA is very wealthy and powerful (duh) so not a huge stretch of the imagination given China's governing structure. There isn't direct [public] evidence making this connection but the scuttlebutt is that intelligence agencies from multiple countries strongly believe this to be the case. Insert "CIA guarantees there are WMD in Iraq" joke here.

    If you're a US business you do not ever want to violate export controls, because people go to jail for doing that (google "export control jail" for a fun 45 minutes of reading) and there isn't the same kind of corporate immunity shielding employees for violating export controls like there are for other white-collar crimes. So the AT&T execs got a threatening call from congress and they knew to take it personally.