Class Action Over MacBook Keys Continues; AWS Launches Quantum Computing ‘Bracket; Netflix Tests New Menu, Shuffle Button; FBI Confirms- FaceApp Counterintelligence RiskPosted: December 3, 2019
Apple just came out with its ‘new’ keyboard tech (pretty well a rehash of the previous setup) on the new MacBook Pro 16 inch model. It replaced the infamous ‘butterfly keyboard,’ which has given some people fits, and spawned a class action lawsuit. (For the record, I am typing this on a butterfly keyboard, and my prior laptop also had it….and I haven’t had issues…hope this doesn’t jinx me!) According to engadget.com, Federal Judge Edward Davila has thrown out Apple’s attempt to dismiss the suit underpinning the class action. The suit accuses the company of not only hiding the fragility of MacBook butterfly keyboards, but of failing to provide an ‘effective fix’ or full compensation for customers who paid for repairs. The suit further alleges that Apple violated multiple states’ consumer protection laws. The butterfly keyboard rolled out with the original 12 inch MacBook in 2015 and is on MacBook Pros from 2016 on. For their part, Apple has launched repair programs, which may mitigate their exposure. It will likely take several years before we have an outcome as this winds through the court system.
Amazon has announced ‘Braket,’ its quantum computing service. Techcrunch.com reports that Google, Microsoft, and IBM have been in the news with quantum computing for a while now, nothing had been heard out of AWS…until yesterday. Amazon will not be building its own quantum computer, however. It is partnering with D-Wave, IonQ, and Rigetti, and making the system available through its cloud. Amazon also announced launch of its AWS Center for Quantum Computing and AWS Quantum Solutions Lab. Quantum computing may make your brain hurt….trying to understand it does mine…but it could revolutionize the world in ways we haven’t even imagined yet, so give the wizards some time to play in the cloud with it, and we’ll see what comes out.
Netflix is testing out a new menu that finally includes a shuffle button for TV shows. 9to5google.com says Android Police first uncovered the new layout. It features a 3 button menu for each piece of content on the home screen. The buttons replace the current information button. Tapping brings up options for play, info/episodes, sharing, rating, and seeing similar content. There is also a ‘remove from row’ option so you can delete sites from Netflix’s ‘Continue Watching’ row. A lot of people have asked for the shuffle button….it will allow you to select random episodes of your favorite TV series. No word on when the feature will go live to everyone yet.
Last summer, a lot of people were playing with ‘FaceApp, a Russian app that let you see yourself as older, with glasses, and other effects. At the time, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer thought it a security risk, and asked the FBI. Now, according to 9to5mac.com, the Bureau has responded, and said yes, they think it and other Russian developed apps are ‘potential counterintelligence threats.’ The FaceApp people claimed that no user data was transferred to Russia, where their R&D team was. This, of course, could be true…the data could have been uploaded to servers located elsewhere and accessed from Russia. The FBI went on to say intelligence services in Russia “maintain robust cyber-exploitation capabilities.” The Russian Federal Security Service can also “access all communications and servers on Russian networks without making a request to ISPs.” They, as well as Minority Leader Schumer, warn people to stay away from Russian made apps.