• From 9to5Google:

    Over the past day, some users could not get certain big websites to load when VPN by Google (on the Pixel 7-8a) or the soon-to-be-deprecated VPN by Google One was enabled. In the latter case, the issue applied to all form factors (Android, iOS, Mac, and PC). 

    Apparently, disabling the VPN fixes the issue. I wasn’t able to replicate this issue on the Google One VPN, nor the Pixel VPN as my Pixel 6 does not support the new “app” for some probably stupid reason.


  • Lately.

    I’ve found myself deep in thought too much. Simple thoughts have become large and complex, and fast. I’ve become anxious and overwhelmed by the state of the world in which we live. But haven’t we all? Haven’t we all had enough of this? You can’t tell me this game of cat and mouse hasn’t worn any of you down, too.

    But, I’ve found comfort in my best friends. I’ve been getting into listening and writing music. I’ve started putting words into my book again. I’ve been trying to be more kind to and patient with myself. Nothing’s perfect, I wish it was, but it has made a difference.

    So, not all is lost. Actually, if I’m being honest, most has been found. And lately… well, that’s enough for me.


  • The WWDC24 Keynote is over, and thus, a long first day of sessions has come to an end. To be completely honest, the real highlight of the event was “Apple Intelligence,” a more private, secure, and simpler way to do AI coming to iPhone 15 Pro and Macs with the M1 chip and later. (Editor’s note: I’m a little bummed Apple Intelligence isn’t coming to A14, A15, or A16, to be honest. I’ll never get a “Pro” iPhone, so there’s no way for me to use these features. At least I have them on my MacBook.)

    With this leap, and their partnership with ChatGPT that made billionaire conspiracy theorist and known idiot Elon Musk* squeamish (and eventually Community Noted by his own platform) for whatever reason, I’m certain that Apple has the lead in building AI. Why? Because they’re building it safely and privately, with the user being the most important part. That should be applauded! That’s how it should be done!

    *I’m not linking out directly to his tirade, Elon can go pound sand, but enjoy this funny interaction that I wholeheartedly agree with:

    Also, Elon uses an iPhone to send out all of his Tweets. So, might be time for him to get a new phone if he hates this Apple Intelligence thing so much! Haha.

    Any way, while the AI craze is likely to die out eventually, it’s here to stay for now. My opinion is that technology should be built with user privacy at the forefront of everything, and Apple is one of the leading companies out there when it comes to privacy. Period. Apple is a trend setter, and I’m hoping the rest of the industry follows their lead here. Privacy and security are a really big deal to consumers right now. More so than ever, frankly.

    Now probably the thing I’ve been most anticipating (for over a year now) RCS isn’t available on the iOS 18 beta (yet?), which is incredibly frustrating. It’s probably coming in Beta 2 or something, but part of me doubts they’ll add it. But that said, a large number of features announced on stage aren’t available on any of the new operating system betas released to developers today. It’s quite worrying, considering that besides Apple Intelligence, none of these updates are particularly “huge” so-to-speak. But, we must be patient!


    Overshadowed

    All of that said, this conference was overshadowed by an incredibly bigger issue with Apple right now: their compliance (or alleged lack thereof) with the Digital Markets Act. You still, in iOS 18/iPadOS 18, cannot sideload or install any app you’d like — let alone any third-party storefronts — on the device you paid for outside of the EU. Meanwhile, on Android, you can just install the app and all Google will do is a virus/malware scan to make sure it’s clean. That’s it. No (real) scare screen, no problem.

    Apple should’ve unlocked this functionality for everyone and got ahead of the regulators here. It wouldn’t have solved every issue, but it would have at least made it seem like Apple was trying to work in good faith. Alas… it wasn’t meant to be.

    I’m a firm believer that if you paid for a thing, you should be allowed to do whatever you want with it. Nobody should stop you, or limit how much you can do that thing, or anything like that. And certainly companies shouldn’t be telling you what you can or cannot run on your device, either. I’m hoping that the Courts and/or Congress will step in and fix that soon.

    The Department of Justice here in the States is currently in a lawsuit against Apple, so hopefully we seem them loosening their restrictions (à la macOS). I’m betting we probably will, considering Apple’s partial loss in Epic v. Apple a few years back.

    Regardless, as I write this post in my text editor to send out to you, I’ve updated my M2 MacBook Pro to macOS 15 Sequoia. Along with the rest of the Apple fleet I currently have around me, of course! (Can’t do the Apple TV yet since it’s at a friend’s house, whoops.) But as I mentioned, there’s not a lot new to report on right now–but the betas across the board have felt relatively snappy on iPhone 11, 12, Apple Watch Series 6, and MacBook Pro (M2, 2022). I’ll keep you posted, though!


  • The WWDC 2024 Keynote is today!

    I’m incredibly excited! I’ll be watching with one of my best friends, Adam, later. Really interested in how Apple approachs this new AI world we’re living in…

    If you’re curious about what I’m hoping for, or want to see all of my WWDC24 coverage, here are links:


  • I Love My New Window Manager on My Mac

    The other day, I was pointed towards Loop, a fantastic open-source window manager for macOS. And oh my God, y’all, it’s amazing. If you have a Mac, you’ve got to try this. It has entirely replaced Tiles for me.

    It’s so much faster, and it has an incredibly beautiful design. Check it out! (Not sponsored or anything, genuinely love it!)


  • It appears, via a report from 9to5Google, that the company is dropping the ability to contact experts at Google 24/7 for support as a perk for subscribing to Google One. The ‘Support’ tab has been removed from the Android app entirely.

    This news comes after Google announced they’d be killing off the Google One VPN (but keeping it around for Pixel 7 and later users, but not Pixel 6 for some reason…) It feels wrong to do this to their paying customers, but unfortunately, it is all too normal for Google.

    RELATED: I’ve written about the company’s reputation & Pixel update promise(s) before, which you can read here.

    Google needs to understand that Google One needs perks to be successful. I’m saying this as a Google One subscriber. My family pays a pretty penny for increased storage and benefits because we’re Google users. We use Pixels, Google TV, Nest Minis, etc. and we’re very deep in the Google ecosystem. And we have been for years.

    Personally, I believe Google “One” should include the best of Google services in one package, similar to Apple One. Google needs to increase One’s worth, in both senses of the term! That’s my take.


  • Google has announced that Manifest v2 will be phased out, and Manifest v3 will be phased in, beginning 3rd June (next week). The company notes in their blog post what will happen for those still running v2 extensions:

    Starting on June 3 on the Chrome Beta, Dev and Canary channels, if users still have Manifest V2 extensions installed, some will start to see a warning banner when visiting their extension management page – chrome://extensions – informing them that some (Manifest V2) extensions they have installed will soon no longer be supported. At the same time, extensions with the Featured badge that are still using Manifest V2 will lose their badge.

    This will be followed gradually in the coming months by the disabling of those extensions. Users will be directed to the Chrome Web Store, where they will be recommended Manifest V3 alternatives for their disabled extension. For a short time after the extensions are disabled, users will still be able to turn their Manifest V2 extensions back on, but over time, this toggle will go away as well.

    As The Verge noted in a previous article, this move has been deeply unpopular due to its hits to privacy. Additionally, Mozilla Firefox will be adopting most of the Manifest v3 spec, but will still support the features that v3 removes.

    My suggestion is to just switch to Firefox or WebKit-based browser like GNOME Web, and stop using Chromium based browsers, honestly. Google makes dumb decisions with their browser engine.


  • With all due respect to Zac — who is an excellent writer and makes some good points in his article — I really feel as though it skims over the real concerns, so I just want to critique a couple points he makes.

    “…the snapshots and strings of text that Windows Recall logs are safely encrypted on your PC using Device Encryption and Bitlocker. This means if your laptop is ever stolen, intruders can’t access the contents of your storage without an encryption key, and they won’t be able to gain access to any stored snapshots without being logged in to your account.”

    While this may be true, encryption does not equal secure. (And a point I’m going to address in a second entirely calls into question the security of the feature at all.) Even so, if you’re actively looking at Recall information and you unknowingly have malware or a targeted virus on your computer, you’re screwed! Oh, and if you hit share on a Recall thing, all someone has to do is eyeball your “C:\Users[username]\AppData\Local\Temp” folder, and boom, they have that information.

    Thankfully, Zac does agree that malware may be a problem. Which is good! That’s a main concern amongst pretty much everyone right now.

    The entire Windows Recall experience is processed on device, which is partly why it requires a Copilot+ PC to function. Microsoft is offloading the resources required to process a feature like this onto the NPU, which is a secure chip that’s powerful enough to handle the processing of snapshots using AI with little power draw.

    This means Windows Recall works 100% offline, and you don’t need an active internet connection to take advantage of it. It doesn’t even require a Microsoft Account, and as a result is missing some quality of life features such as cross-device syncing. None of that is possible here, because Windows Recall does not upload your data anywhere.

    It was recently discovered that Recall works completely fine without any real issue on devices without NPUs, including systems with Intel/AMD processors (though a few dependencies are obviously missing on x86_64 systems.) So whilst the claim that it “requires” a Copilot+ PC to function correctly, that only really means “out of the box.” You can get it working on other PCs, and that’s the real concern.

    Additionally, Recall is not discriminatory about what sort of information it’ll grab. Microsoft themselves have warned it will grab your passwords and banking info. The discrimination feature seems to be integrated fairly well into private browsing on many of the popular web browsers.

    And let me raise you this question: who’s going to use that to check their bank statements or make a purchase every time? Or even use Edge at all, for that matter? Sure, Edge has gotten better since switching to Chromium, but it’s still a bloated piece of trash that hardly anyone trusts, so I’m not entirely convinced it’s a great substitute.

    And yes, you can exclude certain apps and websites from showing up in Recall at all, but I don’t trust Microsoft to respect the damn settings. I mean, the company has shown they don’t respect your default browser (hell, they’ve probably stolen your data without you even knowing). They shove ads down your throat in an operating system you paid for.

    The UK, by the way, is currently launching an investigation into this Recall feature. While it’s unclear why, it’s probably due to all of the concerns raised by users like me, as well as literal cybersecurity professionals. In an interview with SC Media, Patrick Tiquet, VP of Security & Architecture at Keeper Security said:

    “Microsoft’s Recall feature raises a few alarms, including security risks of potentially capturing and store detailed and sensitive information, as well as concerns surrounding invasion of privacy. The potential of sensitive information being stored without proper security protocols, puts your cybersecurity and even your identity risk.”

    Even the malware protection giant themselves, Malwarebytes, chimed in on Twitter with their own thing:

    Encryption, even with the popular BitLocker tool, simply aren’t enough to quell people’s concerns. Even barring the concerns, this feature has some serious privacy and security implications. Can Microsoft, a company known for not caring about user choice (see: Edge forcing itself down your throat, Microsoft not letting you change default browsers easily or uninstall Edge at all, etc.), really be trusted to handle something like this?

    For people like me, who are well-versed enough to know when to sound the alarm and jump ship: this is that time, and we are. I already have, I’m writing this on Pop!_OS, actually. I’ve returned home to Linux for the first time since switching to Windows in 2014 and macOS in 2016. (Though I still use macOS, of course!) I simply refuse to let Microsoft tell me how to use my computer, dictate what browser, search engine, and apps I use on my computer.

    Freedom, privacy, and security matter. I will use 1Password, I will use Firefox, I will use whatever the hell default programs I feel like on my computer. Everyone should have that freedom. End of story.

    I stand behind my claim that Windows 11 is just one of many nails in Microsoft’s coffin. It’s, in fact, a data-collection beast. It’s phoning home to Microsoft, even if you tell it not to. Microsoft is simply masquerading as a hardware/software giant, when it’s actually one of the most successful advertising powerhouses on the planet.

    Why? Because we, the people, believed many of their past lies, and went along with it. Because Windows is “easier” to deal with than Linux (you have a point, but it’s getting easier with distributions like Pop!_OS.) Because games “just work” on Linux (Valve and the Steam Deck are changing this with Proton.)

    So yeah, I can confidently say that Windows is spyware pretending to be “The best Windows yet.” And Microsoft? It’s 100% spyware, let’s just call it what it is. There’s no debate here to be had, either, I think it’s fairly well known that the telemetry is awful and only gets worse as the years go on.

    That’s why I don’t trust Recall or anything that comes out of Microsoft anymore. That’s why you shouldn’t either. Be skeptical. And if you can (not everyone can), leave Windows behind. Go to a Mac, if you really don’t want to touch Linux. Just run away.


  • From 9to5Google:

    “While VPN by Google One is going away next month, the company will continue to offer a virtual private network for Pixel owners. Ahead of that, the service is now called ‘Pixel VPN by Google.’ […]

    That new version shown in those screenshots is not yet available, so Pixel 8+ owners should also expect an update. Meanwhile, VPN by Google One is installed on a 7 Pro running Android 14 QPR3 Beta 2.2, but there’s an account error when attempting to enable it.

    We’re presumably waiting for that app or stable system update.”

    Check out the article to see the screenshots of the app listing on the Play Store.

    Listen, I personally believe they should enable this feature on Pixel 6 and later, and even Pixel Tablet. It’s possible for them to do, and frankly, they should. Especially with how they’re marketing the service to users.

    That’s just my take, though.


  • “Have you actually seen how they water test phones for IP ratings?” No, never! But holy cow, this is cool. Check out the Thread on Twitter (linked above!) There’s even a chat with Apple’s John Ternus in there too.