Container Delivery Saturday #1377



We will see if my container has been put through the washing machine cycle on Saturday. Have my fingers crossed that my household goods have made the ocean, rail, trucking journey with minimal rock and roll. Lots of travel in the pipeline. The show goes on the road on Monday for a month. Lot’s of fun ahead.

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Apple Launches Recall Program for Some MacBook Pros



Apple has launched a 15-inch MacBook Pro Battery Recall Program. It is limited to MacBook Pros that were sold during a specific period of time. The reason for the recall is safety concerns about the battery overheating.

The recall does not affect any other 15-inch MacBook Pro units or other Mac notebooks.

Apple has determined that, in a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units, the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk. Affected units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 and product eligibility is determined by the product serial number.

Customer safety is always Apple’s top priority, and we have voluntarily decided to replace affected batteries, free of charge.

To participate in this recall program, Apple asks that you check to see which 15-inch MacBook Pro you have. Confirm that your model is “MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015)”. If you have that model, the next thing to do is enter your computer’s serial number into the Apple website (linked above) to see if it is eligible for the program.

There are several service options for those who have computers eligible for the program. One is to find an Apple Authorized Service Provider, and another is to make an appointment at an Apple retail store. Apple recommends that you back up your data before service, and points out that service can take 1-2 weeks.

This is an important recall because of the danger of having the battery overheat. Those of you who have friends and family who are using a 15-inch MacBook Pro may want to make sure they are aware of the recall.


Senate Hearing to Explore Facebook’s Libra Project



Well, that didn’t take long! The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will hold a hearing about Facebook’s Libra project on July 16, 2019. Reuters reported that the hearing will explore the Libra project as well as any data privacy considerations it may raise.

This comes after Senate Banking Committee members wrote to Facebook asking for information on rumors about its cryptocurrency project in May of 2019. The Committee wanted to know how Facebook would protect consumer information.

Senator Sherrod Brown (Democrat – Ohio), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs wrote “This new cryptocurrency will give Facebook competitive advantages with regard to collecting data about financial transactions, as well as control over fees and functionality”. He continued:

“Facebook is already too big and too powerful, and it has used that power to exploit users’ data without protecting their privacy. We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight. I’m calling on our financial watchdogs to scrutinize this closely to ensure users are protected.”

In addition, Representative Maxine Waters, (Democrat – California) Chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services posted a statement about Facebook’s cryptocurrency. She wrote “I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action. Facebook executives should also come before the Committee to provide testimony on these issues.”

My best guess is that Facebook failed to consider that creating its own cryptocurrency could result in questions from legislators. Either that, or Facebook decided it was better to ask forgiveness than permission with Libra.


Google is Investing $1 Billion in Bay Area Homes



Google announced that they are investing $1 billion in housing across the San Francisco Bay Area. They chose this location because Google is one of the Bay Area’s largest employers. Google wants to help solve the problem of a chronic shortage of affordable housing options for middle and low-income residents.

First, over the next 10 years, we’ll repurpose at least $750 million of Google’s land, most of which is currently zoned for office or commercial space, as residential housing. This will enable us to support the development of at least 15,000 new homes at all income levels in the Bay Area, including housing options for middle to low-income families.

After that, Google will establish a $250 million investment fund so they can provide incentives to enable developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units across the market. Google will also give $50 million in grants through Google.org to nonprofits focused on the issues of homelessness and displacement.

In addition, Google will work with local municipalities to support plans that allow residential developers to build quickly and economically. And, Google will also fund community spaces that provide free access to co-working areas for nonprofits, improve transit options for the community and Google’s employees, and support programs for career development, education, and local business.

Personally, I think this is a great idea! One of the problems California has is the lack of affordable homes for middle-income and low-income individuals and families. It is nice that Google is using some of its wealth to help solve this problem.


Facebook Announced Libra Cryptocurrency and Calibra Wallet



Facebook announced Libra, its very own cryptocurrency powered by blockchain technology. It is also introducing Calibra, a digital wallet for Libra. The wallet will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app. Facebook expects to launch these products in 2020.

For many people around the world, even basic financial services are still out of reach: almost half of the adults in the world don’t have an active bank account and those numbers are worse in developing countries and even worse for women. The cost of that exclusion is high – approximately 70% of small businesses in developing countries lack access to credit and $25 billion is lost by migrants every year through remittance fees.

I see a problem. People who don’t have bank accounts might not be able to afford a smartphone to access Calibra and the Libra cryptocurrency on. I suspect Facebook is aiming mostly at businesses and not-so-much on people who are poor.

Facebook says that Calibra will let you send Libra “to almost anyone with a smartphone, easily and instantly as you might send a message, and at low to no cost.” In time, Facebook hopes to offer additional services for people and businesses, such as paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code, or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.

According to Facebook, Calibra will use the same verification and anti-fraud processes that banks and credit cards use. There will be automated systems that proactively monitor activity to detect and prevent fraudulent behavior. If someone gains access to your account and you lose some Libra as a result, Facebook will offer you a refund.

What about privacy? Facebook says Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook or any third party without consumer consent. Personally, I wonder exactly how that consent will be given. Will users have the choice to opt-in to giving consent? Or will Calibra require that consent before people can use it?

Facebook also says Calbra customers’ account information and financial data will not be used to improve ad targeting on the Facebook family of products. Given Facebook’s history, it would be wise to be skeptical of that claim.


Most Children who Watch YouTube Don’t Use YouTube Kids



The YouTube Kids app was designed for children who were age 13 or younger. According to Bloomberg, most of the children who are watching YouTube don’t use YouTube Kids.

Children who do watch YouTube Kids tend to shift over to YouTube’s main site before they hit thirteen, according to multiple people at YouTube familiar with internal data. One person who works on the app said the departures typically happen around age seven. In India, YouTube’s biggest market by volume, usage of the Kids app is negligible, according to this employee. These people asked not to be identified discussing private information.

The article also noted that many parents don’t know the difference between YouTube and YouTube Kids. So, it’s entirely possible that the children of those parents are watching the main YouTube – which is definitely not designed for kids to watch.

Children who leave YouTube Kids and start watching the main YouTube don’t want to go back to YouTube Kids. The main complaint appears to be that these children see YouTube Kids as “babyish”. They aren’t wrong about that. One of the biggest YouTube Kids channels is called Cocomelon. It is a channel of nursery rhymes.

Parents need to decide for themselves how comfortable they are about allowing their children to watch the main YouTube instead of the kid version. It wouldn’t be very hard for a child to accidentally come across disturbing content simply by clicking on the videos that an algorithm suggests to them. This is not to say that everything on YouTube Kids is entirely safe for children, as it has had some not-safe-for-kids content. YouTube has worked to try and remove that content.

Parents who are concerned about what their children are watching on YouTube have a few options. The way to have the most control is for the parent to pre-screen YouTube videos and then watch those videos with their child. Doing so will take time, but will enable a parent to replace the YouTube algorithm with their own, personal, judgement about what is safe for their child to watch.


New Media Productions Studio #1376



Audio show debut from the New Media Productions Studio in Southern Michigan. The first show from the new studio or actually office of the new studio. Not a lot to show you can see the latest on Facebook on where I am in the build process. Lot’s of tasty morsels in today’s show enjoy the podcast. I am getting a bit anxious though on the container delivery as it is taking its sweet time transversing Indiana and Ohio seems to be on the slow track

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