Customer Letter – Apple Feb 16, 2017

Extract from a letter from Apple to its customers about a US court order threat to its iPhone encryption:


Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.

The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.

The Threat to Data Security

Some would argue that building a backdoor for just one iPhone is a simple, clean-cut solution. But it ignores both the basics of digital security and the significance of what the government is demanding in this case.In today’s digital world, the “key” to an encrypted system is a piece of information that unlocks the data, and it is only as secure as the protections around it. Once the information is known, or a way to bypass the code is revealed, the encryption can be defeated by anyone with that knowledge.

The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.

The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals. The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.

We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack. For years, cryptologists and national security experts have been warning against weakening encryption. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data. Criminals and bad actors will still encrypt, using tools that are readily available to them.

Source: Customer Letter – Apple

IBM News room – 2014-01-23 Lenovo Plans to Acquire IBM’s x86 Server Business – United States

IBM News room – 2014-01-23 Lenovo Plans to Acquire IBM’s x86 Server Business – United States.

Lenovo and IBM have entered into a definitive agreement in which Lenovo plans to acquire IBM’s x86 server business. This includes System x, BladeCenter and Flex System blade servers and switches, x86-based Flex integrated systems, NeXtScale and iDataPlex servers and associated software, blade networking and maintenance operations. The purchase price is approximately US$2.3 billion, approximately two billion of which will be paid in cash and the balance in Lenovo stock.

IBM will retain its System z mainframes, Power Systems, Storage Systems, Power-based Flex servers, and PureApplication and PureData appliances.

The agreement builds upon a longstanding collaboration that began in 2005 when Lenovo acquired IBM’s PC business, which included the ThinkPad line of PCs. In the period since the companies have continued to collaborate in many areas.

IBM will continue to develop and evolve its Windows and Linux software portfolio for the x86 platform.  IBM is a leading developer of software products for x86 servers with thousands of products and tens of thousands of software developer and services professionals who build software for x86 systems.

Australia: STATE OF THE ENERGY MARKET 2013 (pdf document)

From the Preface:

The Australian Energy Regulator’s seventh State of the energy market report comes at a time of changing dynamics in the energy industry. Declining electricity demand has led to surplus generation capacity in most regions and has delayed the need to invest in electricity networks. Additionally, greater stability in global financial markets has eased finance costs for energy businesses. In 2013, these developments translated into more stable retail electricity prices in most jurisdictions.

Reforms to the energy rules announced in November 2012 aim to deliver future decisions on network revenues and investment that are in the long term interests of consumers. In 2013 the AER published guidelines under the Better Regulation program on implementing the rules. The guidelines will apply first to regulatory determinations taking effect in 2015.

In retail, the transition to national regulation is continuing,with New South Wales on 1 July 2013 becoming the fourth jurisdiction following South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT to implement the National Energy Retail Law. Consumers in those jurisdictions now enjoy access to the AER’s price comparator,

Dynamics in the eastern gas market differ from those in electricity. While domestic demand has weakened, international demand for liquefied natural gas LNG exports from Queensland scheduled to commence in 2014–15 is exerting pressure on gas prices. Policy makers are introducing reforms to help alleviate pressures in the eastern gas market.

This edition of State of the energy market explores conditions in energy markets over the past 12–18 months in those jurisdictions in which the AER has regulatory responsibilities. The report consists of a market overview, supported by five chapters on the electricity and gas sectors. As usual, it employs accessible language to reach a wide audience. I hope this year’s report is a valuable resource for policy makers, consumers, industry and the media.

Andrew Reeves


December 2013

via 746_SOEM_Chapters_Singles_3.pdf.

Dell offers to fix laptops that smell like cat pee

Dell offers to fix laptops that smell like cat pee.

Everyone knows the internet is all about cats, but Dell may have taken that too literally with one of its new computers. The company this week issued one of the funniest customer service notes in the world of tech when it offered to replace a part in laptops that smell like cat urine.

See Dell’s post here


New sulfur-based battery is safer, cheaper, more powerful than lithium-ion | ExtremeTech

Scientists at the DoE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have struck the battery mother lode: They’ve created an all-solid lithium-sulfur battery that is cheaper, less flammable, and has four times the energy density of conventional lithium-ion batteries.

via New sulfur-based battery is safer, cheaper, more powerful than lithium-ion | ExtremeTech.

iPad 2 Heart Risk Discovered By 14 Year Old Girl | Defibrillators

warning for people with implanted defibrillators … If a person falls asleep with the iPad 2 on the chest, the magnets in the cover can “accidentally turn off” the heart device, said Chien, a high school freshman in Stockton, California, whose father is a doctor. “I definitely think people should be aware. That’s why I’m presenting the study.”

While the study was done with an iPad 2, any device that incorporates magnets can, in theory, cause the same effects.

via iPad 2 Heart Risk Discovered By 14 Year Old Girl | Defibrillators.

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