Zeynep Tufekci | Digital Technology Invaded Our Lives. Now Women May Pay For It. – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Over 130 years ago, a young lawyer saw an amazing new gadget and had a revolutionary vision — technology can threaten our privacy.

“Recent inventions and business methods call attention to the next step which must be taken for the protection of the person,” wrote the lawyer, Louis Brandeis, warning that laws needed to keep up with technology and new means of surveillance, or Americans would lose their “right to be left alone.”

Decades later the right to privacy discussed in that 1890 law review article and Brandeis’s opinions as a Supreme Court justice, especially in the context of new technology, would be cited as a foundational principle of the constitutional protections for many rights, including contraception, same-sex intimacy and abortion.

Now the Supreme Court seems poised to rule that there is no constitutional protection for the right to abortion. Surveillance made possible by minimally-regulated digital technologies could help law enforcement track down women who might seek abortions and medical providers who perform them in places where it would become criminalized. Women are urging one another to delete phone apps like period trackers that can indicate they are pregnant.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
All important stuff, well explained. Thank you Zeynep Tufekci. The Europeans are apparently passing good laws for protection, that we could copy, and then we wouldn’t be starting from scratch. InconvenientNews.net

Patrick Gelsinger is Intel’s True Believer – The New York Times

Don Clark, who has covered the chip industry for more than 30 years, first interviewed Patrick Gelsinger in 1996.

“Patrick Gelsinger was 18 years old and four months into an entry-level job at Intel when he heard a pivotal sermon at a Silicon Valley church in February 1980. There, a minister quoted Jesus from the Book of Revelation.

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” the minister said. “So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

The words jolted Mr. Gelsinger, reshaping his philosophy. He realized he had been a lukewarm believer, one who practiced his faith just once a week. He vowed never to be neither hot nor cold again.

Now, at age 60, Mr. Gelsinger is hot about one thing in particular: Revitalizing Intel, a Silicon Valley icon that lost its leading position in chip manufacturing.”

Restaurants Ditch Phone Lines, Making Employees’ Lives Easier – The New York Times

“Harley Esposito, 30, was surprised when she couldn’t find a phone number for Hotel Greene, a mini-golf, bar and restaurant space near her home in Richmond, Va. After going to Hotel Greene for a work event, she needed a copy of her receipt. Looking through Hotel Greene’s website, she saw a small note: “We do not have a phone line.”

“I Googled them and didn’t see a phone number listed, and I was like: Oh, that’s weird,” she said. “I was just surprised by it more than anything, because I’ve never seen it before. I was like: How do they expect people to get in touch with them?”

Like Hotel Greene, restaurants around the country are pulling the plug on their phone lines. Channeling all communication through emails, direct messages on social media and reservations apps might frustrate diners and deter those who are technology averse, but restaurants are finding that communicating this way frees up time for front-of-house employees, is more efficient for restaurant administrators and gives flexibility to restaurants operating with a small team or through Covid-related staffing shortages.”

How to Store Your Covid Vaccine Card or Test Results on Your Phone – The New York Times

The state of the digital Covid vaccine card — the bar code that we store on our phones and present to businesses and venues as proof of inoculation — is chaotic.

“While some states, like California and New York, accept digital records as proof of vaccination to allow entry into restaurants and other businesses, states like Alabama, Arkansas and Florida have banned their use. That means anyone who plans to travel in the United States this holiday season has to research the policies at the destination.

Yet it’s indisputable that a digital card is far more convenient than a physical record. For many, the thought of misplacing a paper record may induce great anxiety, so it’s nice to have our inoculation data on devices that we carry everywhere. And companies like Apple and Google have come up with convenient ways to store and retrieve our vaccine credentials.”

It’s Possible to Be Too Rich, Speeding up your phone – The New York Times

What if I told you that your iPhone could feel like new even if you didn’t plunk down $700 for the “most incremental upgrade ever”? Brian X. Chen, The New York Times’s consumer technology columnist, tells you how.

“There is a widely shared conspiracy theory that phone manufacturers deliberately slow down phones as they age to entice you to buy a new device. In reality, the opposite has been true. In the last few years, Apple’s iPhone software updates have made older phones faster, and Google’s Android 12 release, expected in coming weeks, was also designed to improve performance.

It is true that phones slow down over time — but for different reasons. Like a car, smartphones need maintenance to stay in tiptop shape. Here are some tips for what to do to give your phone a boost if it’s feeling sluggish:”

16 Practical Privacy Tips for Your iPhone | Reviews by Wirecutter

“Your smartphone is an extension of your brain, filled with all your emails, search history, and communication with other people. Regardless of whether you’re concerned about corporations collecting your data to monetize your habits or a snooping roommate with a penchant for side-eyeing your incoming messages, or you just don’t want some random stranger to gain access to everything in your phone, here are the settings to change on your iPhone for increased privacy.

Using a smartphone is always a risk when it comes to privacy. Your cell provider tracks your location all the time, and it’s nearly impossible to identify exactly what data each app collects and sells. But everyone can take a few steps to mitigate privacy concerns. Some of these steps come at the cost of convenience, but we’ll explain how each setting works so that you can decide what’s worth the trade-off for you.”

How to Clean Your Filthy, Disgusting Laptop – The New York Times

“You know your laptop is filthy. You can see the dirt and grime on your keyboard. You can see that circle of skin oils on the middle of the trackpad. So when’s the last time you cleaned it?

Using a freshly cleaned laptop is almost as satisfying as getting a brand new one. The keys are clean, the screen is free of smudges and you fall in love with that three-year-old MacBook all over again. It’s also a useful skill if you buy or sell used laptops, since the previous owner doesn’t always leave them in pristine condition.

“You don’t need much to clean a computer,” said Jolie Kerr, New York Times contributor, cleaning expert and host of the podcast “Ask a Clean Person.” “I use exactly four things to keep my laptop clean: Rubbing alcohol, microfiber cloths, cotton swabs and canned air.” Ninety percent or higher isopropyl alcohol is ideal, since it won’t damage the internal components. And if you have some particularly tough grime or oil, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (or other melamine sponge) can also work wonders, though it should be a last resort since it’s abrasive.”

Greg Bensinger | Apple and Facebook’s Feud Reveals Americans Like Privacy – The New York Times

Mr. Bensinger is a member of the editorial board.

“Many of the biggest tech firms have long insisted that consumers care more about free services than the privacy they surrender to use them.

Companies like Facebook pointed to their own exponential growth and insisted that consumers were voting with their feet.

Turns out, that was nonsense.

When offered an actual choice in the new operating system that runs iPhones, Americans are all in on privacy.

Just 6 percent of U.S. daily users of Apple’s latest mobile software are opting to allow companies like Facebook and its many affiliates to hoover up data about them and sell it to advertisers, according to Flurry Analytics. (The figure is higher globally, at about 15 percent.)     . . .   “

Thomas Friedman | Cyberspace Plus Trump Almost Killed Our Democracy. Can Europe Save Us? – The New York Times

To clean up the fake news on the internet, we should quickly get rid of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.
“It stipulated that internet/cyberspace companies, which at the time were mostly crude search engines and aggregator sites . . . could not be held liable for defamatory or false posts by people using their platforms, the way The New York Times or CBS could be. ” Tom Friedman writes that Europe is leading the way.

. . . .  ” Shoshana Zuboff named this business model “surveillance capitalism,” and in a Times Op-Ed a year ago she detailed how these sites morphed from “bulletin boards” to “hyper-velocity global bloodstreams into which anyone may introduce a dangerous virus without a vaccine.”

Alas, our lawmakers were either too gridlocked, too bought off or too tempted to use these platforms themselves to produce serious legislation. And the platforms said, “Don’t blame us — regulate us.” But they all also used their vast lobbying powers to resist that.

The result? “While the Chinese have designed and deployed digital technologies to advance their system of authoritarian rule, the West has remained compromised and ambivalent,” Zuboff wrote last month in this paper. “This failure has left a void where democracy should be, and the dangerous result has been a two-decade drift toward private systems of surveillance and behavioral control outside the constraints of democratic governance.”

opean Union, which is already wary of the huge power of these big U.S. companies, has already forced search engines like Google to grant E.U. citizens the right to delete unfavorable or inaccurate online material about them from searches and is more sensitive to the dangers of fringe parties, will use its clout as the world’s largest trading bloc to show us how to democratically project our values into cyberspace.

A few weeks ago, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, released an open letter that pulled no punches. She noted that she had watched on television “as the angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. I found those images deeply unsettling. … This is what happens when messages spread by online platforms and social media become a threat to democracy.”

She noted that in December the E.U. leadership had proposed to the European Parliament a Digital Services Act and a Digital Market Act to make sure that “what is unlawful in the analogue world is in the future also unlawful online … We also want the platforms to provide transparency regarding how their algorithms work. … We also want clear requirements for internet firms to accept responsibility for the way in which they distribute, promote and remove content” and to mitigate the systemic risk they can pose.” . . .

Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service, Worldwide – Gartner Reprint

Published 12 November 2020 – ID G00448214 – 46 min read


UCaaS providers develop, operate and maintain their own multitenant cloud-based UC services, which often prove less costly for customers overall than premises-based solutions. This Magic Quadrant will help digital workplace application leaders make the most suitable choice for their organization.

Strategic Planning Assumptions

By 2022, 74% of organizations will move at least 5% of their normally full-time, on-site workers, who had switched to working from home temporarily, into permanent remote-working positions.
By 2023, more than 50% of large organizations will connect to cloud providers using direct cloud connectivity from their WANs, up from 10% in 2019.
By 2024, 74% of the new unified communications licenses purchased by organizations will be cloud-based, up from 48% in 2019.

Source: Gartner Reprint