The Horror of a 'Secure Golden Key'

An extraordinarily clear and understandable post by Chris Coyne that explains exactly what's wrong with the idea that by protecting our data, Apple (and Google, and other service providers) are only serving to protect the guilty. In fact, they're protecting us all, and in many ways.

Beyond all the technical considerations, there is a sea change in what we are digitizing.

We whisper “I love you” through the cloud. We have pictures of our kids in the bath tub. Our teens are sexting. We fight with our friends. We talk shit about the government. We embarrass ourselves. We watch our babies on cloud cameras. We take pictures of our funny moles. We ask Google things we might not even ask our doctor.

Even our passing thoughts and fears are going onto our devices.

Time was, all these things we said in passing were ephemeral. We could conveniently pretend to forget. Or actually forget. Thanks to the way our lives have changed, we no longer have that option.

This phenomenon is accelerating. In 10 years, our glasses may see what we see, hear what we hear. Our watches and implants and security systems of tomorrow may know when we have fevers, when we're stressed out, when our hearts are pounding, when we have sex and - wow - who's in the room with us, and who's on top and what direction they're facing*. Google and Apple and their successors will host all this data.

We're not talking about documents anymore: we're talking about everything.

You should be allowed to forget some of it. And to protect it from all the dangers mentioned above.

As I increasingly use my various devices as an outboard brain (which I do, a lot), I need things to be ephermal. I need to be able to tell my outboard brain to forget stuff with only slightly more difficulty than my real brain forgets stuff. And I want to know that eg the NSA isn't creeping on stuff I've already forgotten.

A Watch Guy's Thoughts On The Apple Watch After Seeing It In The Metal

Benjamin Clymer:

Will anyone be trading in their Lange Double-Split for an Apple Watch? Certainly not. But, will the average Lange owner buy an Apple Watch, wear it on the weekends, and then, after a great workout with it, decide to leave it on next for a vacation to the beach, and then maybe on casual Friday to the office? It's possible. Apple products have a way of making someone not want to live without them, and while I wasn't able to fully immerse myself in the OS yesterday, what I saw was impressive. So while certainly not direct competition for haute horology watchmaking right now, the Apple Watch is absolutely competition for the real estate of the wrist, and years down the road, it could spell trouble for traditional watches even at a high level. When you realize you just don't need something anymore, there is little desire to buy another.

This is basically how I'm thinking about the Apple Watch. It's another watch to add to my (small) collection of mostly inexpensive but nice looking watches. I may find that I love the features it brings with it, and I may wind up wearing it a lot.

I still think the 3D emoji are butt-ugly, though.

What I want Apple to do with Podcasts

On this week's The Talk Show, John Gruber, Adam Lisagor, and John August spend some time talking about Apple's new Podcasts app. At one point (46m 34s, if you're playing at home), Gruber outlines what he wants Apple to do with Podcasts.

"The thing I want from a podcasts app - the thing I want from Apple - is I want them to put my podcast subscriptions in the cloud. And […] when I say 'I've subscribed to this podcast' it's all stored in the cloud, and then whichever device I look at, they all just know which ones I subscribe to. 'Cause the way this works is if I subscribe to a new show on my Mac in iTunes, today, then I go to my iPhone and open it up, that podcast is not in the Podcasts app yet. I have to sync it. That's crazy right? Isn't that what Steve Jobs told us a year ago that we wouldn't have to do anymore?"

What I want might be a little greedier, and probably a lot more work for Apple to do, but it seems technically feasible. I'll lay it out:

  • I want what Gruber wants, sure. I want a list that's stored in iCloud with all my podcast subscriptions.
  • I want it to be updated with which episodes I've listened to and which I haven't.
  • Additionally, I want it to store playback time location.
  • I want it to be a system-wide store, like Calendars, that can be read and written by third party applications.

The upshot would be huge. If I'm talking with a coworker, and he says "Oh, hey, do you listen to "The Moth"? This week's episode is really good" , and I could open iTunes and click the subscribe button on my Mac, and I listen to the first 20 minutes before I have to head off to a meeting. Fast forward an hour, and I'm about to head home. I open Instacast, and it sees the updated iCloud Podcasts info, and after downloading the episode of The Moth, I can pick up right where I left off before my meeting. When I get home, I turn on my AppleTV and I can listen to the last part of the episode right there, through the AppleTV's native podcast support.

Instacast, on it's own, handles most of this. It syncs subscribed podcasts, episode status, and playback location across the iPhone and iPad App pretty well. This seems like a great spot for Apple to come in with a good solution to take work off its developers, and give its customers a better experience.