posted about 4 hours ago on OSNews
On August 21st, a solar eclipse will sweep across the entire United States for the first time since 1918. Android is helping you experience this historic natural phenomenon so you can learn more about the eclipse and count down to the big day - when you’ll meet the next release of Android and all of its super (sweet) new powers, revealed via livestream from New York City at 2:40PM ET. If a new operating system version is released, but nobody's able to use it, has it really been released?

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posted about 20 hours ago on OSNews
Amiga Love has had a few articles on getting various Commodore machines back online and into the BBS world. From C64s to Amiga 500s (et al) as well as the terminal programs we use; PETSCII capable (i, ii) in case you're trying to hit an C64 BBS from your Amiga or ANSI capable, like A-Talk III, for most other boards. There are a lot of options out there, and the BBS scene is vastly smaller than back in the day, but it's not dead by any stretch. Oh no, dear reader, it is not dead. (I see four lights!) If anything, the interest in this form of socializing and connecting seems to be growing lately as hardware options become easier to build and less expensive to source. Tonight, I finally got my Amiga 1000 online for the first time ever and connected to some of my favorite BBSes. And oh my god, have you ever seen a more beautiful sight? I doubt it. Well, at least not for about 30 years, give or take. About 2000 years from now, Amiga will be the object of a world religion. It just cannot die.

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posted 1 day ago on OSNews
In this mini-test, we compared AMD's Game Mode as originally envisioned by AMD. Game Mode sits as an extra option in the AMD Ryzen Master software, compared to Creator Mode which is enabled by default. Game Mode does two things: firstly, it adjusts the memory configuration. Rather than seeing the DRAM as one uniform block of memory with an ‘average’ latency, the system splits the memory into near memory closest to the active CPU, and far memory for DRAM connected via the other silicon die. The second thing that Game Mode does is disable the cores on one of the silicon dies, but retains the PCIe lanes, IO, and DRAM support. This disables cross-die thread migration, offers faster memory for applications that need it, and aims to lower the latency of the cores used for gaming by simplifying the layout. The downside of Game Mode is raw performance when peak CPU is needed: by disabling half the cores, any throughput limited task is going to be cut by losing half of the throughput resources. The argument here is that Game mode is designed for games, which rarely use above 8 cores, while optimizing the memory latency and PCIe connectivity. I like how AnandTech calls this a "mini" test. In any event - even though Threadripper is probably way out of the league of us regular people, I'm really loving how AMD's recent products have lit a fire under the processor market specifically and the self-built desktop market in general. Ever since Ryzen hit the market, now joined by Vega and Threadripper, we're back to comparing numbers and arguing over which numbers are better. We're back to the early 2000s, and it feels comforting and innocent - because everyone is right and everyone is wrong, all at the same time, because everything 100% depends on your personal budget and your personal use cases and no amount of benchmarks or number crunching is going to change your budget or personal use case. I'm loving every second of this.

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posted 1 day ago on OSNews
Apple is adding an easy way to quickly disable Touch ID in iOS 11. A new setting, designed to automate emergency services calls, lets iPhone users tap the power button quickly five times to call 911. This doesn't automatically dial the emergency services by default, but it brings up the option to and also temporarily disables Touch ID until you enter a passcode. Twitter users discovered the new option in the iOS 11 public beta, and The Verge has verified it works as intended. It's sad that we live in a world where our devices need features like this, but I commend Apple for doing so.

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posted 3 days ago on OSNews
This course walks through the creation of a 64-bit system based on the Linux kernel. Our goal is to produce a small, sleek system well-suited for hosting containers or being employed as a virtual machine. Because we don't need every piece of functionality under the sun, we're not going to include every piece of software you might find in a typical distro. This distribution is intended to be minimal. Building my own Linux installation from scratch has always been one of those things I've wanted to do, but never got around to. Is this still something many people do? If so, why?

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posted 3 days ago on OSNews
On August 11, 1987, Bill Atkinson announced a new product from Apple for the Macintosh; a multimedia, easily programmed system called HyperCard. HyperCard brought into one sharp package the ability for a Macintosh to do interactive documents with calculation, sound, music and graphics. It was a popular package, and thousands of HyperCard “stacks” were created using the software. Additionally, commercial products with HyperCard at their heart came to great prominence, including the original Myst program. Flourishing for the next roughly ten years, HyperCard slowly fell by the wayside to the growing World Wide Web, and was officially discontinued as a product by Apple in 2004. It left behind a massive but quickly disappearing legacy of creative works that became harder and harder to experience. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Hypercard, we’re bringing it back. HyperCard is a lot of fun to play around with - I have an iBook G3 with OS9 and HyperCard installed, to play with - and this makes it far more accessible. Good work!

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posted 3 days ago on OSNews
Ars Technica: The Galago Pro was my daily machine for about a month. While I had some issues as noted above (I don't like the trackpad or the keyboard), by and large it's the best stock Linux machine. The only place where the Dell XPS 13 blows it out of the water is in battery life. As someone who lives full time in an RV and relies on a very limited amount of solar power (300w) for all my energy needs, that battery life is a deal breaker. But in nearly every other regard, this is by far my favorite laptop, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. There is something that comes up in the comments of nearly every review of System76 hardware, and that's how the company doesn't build its own hardware. System76 orders everything from upstream hardware vendors, and, in the case of the Galago Pro, that would be the Clevo N130BU (or N131BU). I've never quite understood what the issue is, but it certainly seems to rub some people the wrong way. Could you save a couple bucks by ordering the Clevo directly? Sure, but you'd have no support, no custom PPA to fix hardware issues, and no community to get involved in. If you just want a dirt-cheap Linux rig, try eBay. What System76 offers is great Linux experience with a piece of hardware that's maybe not the absolute cheapest hardware. However, that is going to change. In addition to launching its own don't-call-it-a-distro OS, the company has announced that will soon begin what it calls "phase three" - moving its product design and manufacturing in-house. There, it hopes to "build the Model S of computers." It's a bold move, starting up hardware manufacturing and an operating system at the same time. It's the kind of plan that might well lead to overextending oneself (after all, even Canonical has backed away from making its own desktop OS). I'm genuinely curious what System76's in-house Linux laptop will be like.

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posted 4 days ago on OSNews
This paper is a gentle but rigorous introduction to quantum computing intended for computer scientists. Starting from a small set of assumptions on the behavior of quantum computing devices, we analyze their main characteristics, stressing the differences with classical computers, and finally describe two well-known algorithms (Simon's algorithm and Grover's algorithm) using the formalism developed in previous sections. This paper does not touch on the physics of the devices, and therefore does not require any notion of quantum mechanics. Some light reading before bedtime.

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posted 4 days ago on OSNews
A perk of connected devices, or at least what gadget manufacturers will tell you, is they can receive over-the-air updates to keep your device current. Those updates don't always go as planned, however. In fact, they can go horribly wrong. Take a company called Lockstate, for example, which attempted to issue new software to its LS6i smart locks last week and ended up bricking devices. That isn't great. I don't know what these people were expecting.

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posted 5 days ago on OSNews
For years, the website Daily Stormer has promoted hatred against Jews, black people, LGBT people, and other minorities, making it one of the Internet's most infamous destinations. But on Sunday, editor Andrew Anglin outdid himself by publishing a vulgar, slut-shaming article about Heather Heyer, a woman who was killed when someone rammed a car into a crowd of anti-racism protestors in Charlottesville. The article prompted a response from the site's domain registrar, GoDaddy. "We informed The Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service," GoDaddy wrote in a tweet late Sunday night. On Monday, the Daily Stormer switched its registration to Google's domain service. Within hours, Google announced a cancellation of its own. "We are cancelling Daily Stormer’s registration with Google Domains for violating our terms of service," the company wrote in an statement emailed to Ars. No company should do business with nazis and white supremacists - ever. Still waiting on the darling of the podcasting industry, SquareSpace, to stop doing business with nazis. We can't remove these sites - and its creators and their philosophy - from existence, but at least we can make life as difficult as possible for them. And, since far too many people in the west do not understand free speech - kicking nazis out of your (virtual) store or house is free speech.

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posted 5 days ago on OSNews
Multiple senior Microsoft officials told me at the time that the issues were all Intel's fault, and that the microprocessor giant had delivered its buggiest-ever product in the "Skylake" generation chipsets. Microsoft, first out of the gate with Skylake chips, thus got caught up by this unreliability, leading to a falling out with Intel. Microsoft’s recent ARM push with Windows 10 is a result of that falling out; the software giant believes that Intel needs a counter to its dominance and that, as of late 2016, AMD simply wasn't up to the task. Since then, however, another trusted source at Microsoft has provided with a different take on this story. Microsoft, I'm told, fabricated the story about Intel being at fault. The real problem was Surface-specific custom drivers and settings that the Microsoft hardware team cooked up. What a train wreck for Microsoft. Incredible.

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posted 5 days ago on OSNews
AMD isn't only getting back in the game on processors - they also just finally truly unveiled Vega, the new line of Radeon graphics cards. AnandTech benchmarked the two cards, and concludes: Unfortunately for AMD, their GTX 1080-like performance doesn't come cheap from a power perspective. The Vega 64 has a board power rating of 295W, and it lives up to that rating. Relative to the GeForce GTX 1080, we've seen power measurements at the wall anywhere between 110W and 150W higher than the GeForce GTX 1080, all for the same performance. Thankfully for AMD, buyers are focused on price and performance first and foremost (and in that order), so if all you’re looking for is a fast AMD card at a reasonable price, the Vega 64 delivers where it needs to: it is a solid AMD counterpart to the GeForce GTX 1080. However if you care about the power consumption and the heat generated by your GPU, the Vega 64 is in a very rough spot. On the other hand, the Radeon RX Vega 56 looks better for AMD, so it's easy to see why in recent days they have shifted their promotional efforts to the cheaper member of the RX Vega family. Though a step down from the RX Vega 64, the Vega 56 delivers around 90% of Vega 64’s performance for 80% of the price. Furthermore, when compared head-to-head with the GeForce GTX 1070, its closest competition, the Vega 56 enjoys a small but none the less significant 8% performance advantage over its NVIDIA counterpart. Whereas the Vega 64 could only draw to a tie, the Vega 56 can win in its market segment. Vega 56's power consumption also looks better than Vega 64's, thanks to binning and its lower clockspeeds. Its power consumption is still notably worse than the GTX 1070's by anywhere between 45W and 75W at the wall, but on both a relative basis and an absolute basis, it's at least closer. Consequently, just how well the Vega 56 fares depends on your views on power consumption. It's faster than the GTX 1070, and even if retail prices are just similar to the GTX 1070 rather than cheaper, then for some buyers looking to maximize performance for their dollar, that will be enough. But it's certainly not a very well rounded card if power consumption and noise are factored in. So, equal performance to Nvidia's competing cards at slightly lower prices (we hope), but at a big cost: far higher power consumption (and thus, I assume, heat?). For gaming, Nvidia is probably still the best choice on virtually every metric, but the interesting thing about Vega is that there's every indication it will do better on other, non-gaming tasks. It's still early days for Vega.

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posted 6 days ago on OSNews
We take you through a demo of our restored Xerox Alto. We go through the Neptune file browser, the Bravo text editor, the Draw and SIL programs, network booting, ftp, telnet, Smalltalk, some games and new programs we have made for the Alto. A great video showing off how the Alto - the precursor to the Star, the mother of all graphical user interfaces we still use today on our desktops and phones - works.

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posted 6 days ago on OSNews
I spend an inordinate amount of time searching for information about macOS. Whether I am researching the answers for my section in MacFormat magazine, or trying to solve my own problems here, I am also daily reminded of Apple's wholesale failure to provide consistent and complete documentation of its flagship product. The idea you would donate an inordinate amount of time and effort for free to the richest company in the world to perform work they ought to be doing is wholly and completely baffling to me.

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posted 8 days ago on OSNews
Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is a high-end edition of Windows 10 Pro, comes with unique support for server grade PC hardware and is designed to meet demanding needs of mission critical and compute intensive workloads. Windows 10 Pro for Workstations - a glorious throwback to classic Microsoft naming schemes - provides users with ReFS, persistent memory, and more, and allows up to four processors (instead of two) and a maximum of 6 TB of memory (currently 2 TB).

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posted 8 days ago on OSNews
In this review we've covered several important topics surrounding CPUs with large numbers of cores: power, frequency, and the need to feed the beast. Running a CPU is like the inverse of a diet - you need to put all the data in to get any data out. The more pi that can be fed in, the better the utilization of what you have under the hood. AMD and Intel take different approaches to this. We have a multi-die solution compared to a monolithic solution. We have core complexes and Infinity Fabric compared to a MoDe-X based mesh. We have unified memory access compared to non-uniform memory access. Both are going hard against frequency and both are battling against power consumption. AMD supports ECC and more PCIe lanes, while Intel provides a more complete chipset and specialist AVX-512 instructions. Both are competing in the high-end prosumer and workstation markets, promoting high-throughput multi-tasking scenarios as the key to unlocking the potential of their processors. As always, AnandTech's the only review you'll need, but there's also the Ars review and the Tom's Hardware review. I really want to build a Threadripper machine, even though I just built a very expensive (custom watercooling is pricey) new machine a few months ago, and honestly, I have no need for a processor like this - but the little kid in me loves the idea of two dies molten together, providing all this power. Let's hope this renewed emphasis on high core and thread counts pushes operating system engineers and application developers to make more and better use of all the threads they're given.

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posted 10 days ago on OSNews
In what's never going to be a regular occurance, I'm linking to a Twitter thread. Chris Espinosa tweets: Just as I was wrapping up an email and getting ready to leave work, a co-worker rolled his chair over to show me an "interesting" thing. Go ahead, read it. UNIX, man. Not even once.

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posted 10 days ago on OSNews
It's being reported by the Wall Street Journal that Amazon is among the companies which contributed to Essentials $300 million coffers. They also reveal that Best Buy and Amazon will be retail partners for the upcoming phone launch. The best bit of news, though, comes in the form of a set of dates. Although we still have no idea when the phone will launch (Essential has now very much overshot its 'end of the month' June prediction), Essential president Niccolo de Masi says, "I will give you an exact date in a week." Those are some serious investors for Andy Rubin's new devices company.

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posted 12 days ago on OSNews
The Verge does this thing where they list what they consider to be the best laptop or phone or whatever, and they state the Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best phone for most people. Samsung's Galaxy S8/S8 Plus is the best phone for most people. It's available across all four US carriers and unlocked. It has the best display on any smartphone right now, a head-turning, premium design, a top-of-the-line camera, reliable battery life, and fast performance. Thanks to Samsung's popularity and the support of all four carriers, the S8 also has plenty of accessories, from cases to battery packs to wireless chargers, available to it. You can definitely make a case for the S8 being the best phone for most people, but personally, I still consider the iPhone to be the best, safest choice for most non-geeky people. Personally, I prefer Android, and for my personal use, iOS on the iPhone is an exercise in frustration - but iOS provides a more consistent, all-around phone experience that remains fairly static from phone to phone, it's a little simpler to grasp than Android, and Apple has an excellent support system in many countries that's far better than Samsung's hands-off let-the-reseller-handle-it approach. I wonder - what do any of you consider the best phone for most people? If one of your non-geeky family members seeks your advice, which phone do you suggest they get? The Verge named the Surface Laptop the best laptop, which I find a baffling choice. It's new and unproven, so we have no idea how it'll hold up over the next few years. An odd choice for sure.

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posted 12 days ago on OSNews
When you get that "out of space" error message during an update, you're only "out of space" on the user storage partition, which is just being used as a temporary download spot before the update is applied to the system partition. Starting with Android 8.0, the A/B system partition setup is being upgraded with a "streaming updates" feature. Update data will arrive from the Internet directly to the offline system partition, written block by block, in a ready-to-boot state. Instead of needing ~1GB of free space, Google will be bypassing user storage almost entirely, needing only ~100KB worth of free space for some metadata. I promise not to make some snide remark about Android's update mess.

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posted 12 days ago on OSNews
Several years ago, we published a round-up of thermal pastes that started with Thermal Paste Comparison, Part One: Applying Grease And More and concluded with Thermal Paste Comparison, Part Two: 39 Products Get Tested. Since it's so hot outside (at least in our U.S. labs), we're trying to cool so many new CPUs and GPUs, and readers keep asking for it, we decided to combine and update those stories, adding a range of new thermal pastes and pads. Thermal paste and how to apply it are probably more divisive than anything else in technology. So many different methods, old wives' tales, folklore, and god knows what else.

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posted 13 days ago on OSNews
Before I link you to the story this item is actually about, I want to tell you about one of my biggest frustrations with computer hardware and software. It's something that I have to work around every single day, and its consequences bother me almost every few minutes. Hardware and software have no idea how to handle people who lead multilingual lives. Like hundreds of millions of people, I speak and understand several languages, but on top of that, I use two languages every single day: Dutch and English. I switch between these two all the time, often even multiple times a minute when juggling multiple friends, clients, work-related material, entertainment, and so on. I might be writing an e-mail to a client in English, work on a translation in Dutch, WhatsApp with a friend in English, and write a Facebook post in Dutch - switching between all of these. Software has no idea what to do with this. The most operating systems like Windows and OS X can do is offer a small icon somewhere tucked away to manually switch input languages, which is incredibly cumbersome and just wholly impractical to perform every time you have to switch languages. It gets even worse on mobile operating systems, which are heavy on the autocorrect (I cannot type on a touchscreen), so if my input method is still set to English while I'm typing something in Dutch, it gets autocorrected into meaningless garbage (it's only recently that both Android and iOS at least offer some form of true multilingual input). It's even worse when it comes to these voice assistants the entire technology industry is trying to ram down our throats, like Google Assistant or Apple's Siri. Do you know what you need to do to switch voice assistant input language on an Apple Watch or Android Wear device? Are you ready for it? You need to perform a full wipe and set up the device as new. Since my use of Dutch and English is split about 50/50 - or maybe 60/40 - the end result is that for about 50% of the time, I cannot use any of these devices to reply to an e-mail or write a text message. While Android Wear 2.0 has a keyboard and handwriting recognition, I have no idea how to change the input language for those input methods. Even if I could by tapping around - the point of these things is that you can use them without having to look away from whatever you're doing (e.g. cycling). And just in case you think this kind of multilingual use is rare or an edge case: just in the United States alone, dozens of millions of people speak both Spanish and English every single day. This is not an edge case. This is not a peculiarity. This is daily reality for possibly hundreds of millions of people all over the world. There's countless other daily irritations that arise from this inability of software to deal with multilingual use (Win32 vs. Metro vs. Chrome vs. Office vs. etc., which all have their own input language switching mechanisms I manually have to keep track of), but the point I want to make is the following. Because software has no idea how to deal with multilingual use, I know for a fact that very few of the engineers working on Windows or Office or iOS or WatchOS or Android or whatever lead multilingual lives, because any person who uses multiple languages every single day would be able to spot these problems within 15 minutes of use. If the manager responsible for WatchOS led a multilingual life, or had a bunch of people on his team that led multilingual lives, WatchOS would've never been released without the ability to easily switch Siri input language. Despite what some low-level Googler claims in his rambling manifesto of idiocy, diversity matters. Or, as ex-Googler Yonatan Zunger puts it way more eloquently: Engineering is not the art of building devices; it's the art of fixing problems. Devices are a means, not an end. Fixing problems means first of all understanding them - and since the whole purpose of the things we do is to fix problems in the outside world, problems involving people, that means that understanding people, and the ways in which they will interact with your system, is fundamental to every step of building a system. If, at this point in time, you still don't understand the importance of diversity when developing products, you are beyond help, and have no place on any product development team. Read more on this exclusive OSNews article...

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posted 14 days ago on OSNews
A new Apollo accelerator board has been released. What are these? 
Apollo Accelerators is an Amiga Classic accelerator board product line. It uses the Apollo core which is a code compatible Motorola M68K and ColdFire processor but is 3 to 4 time faster than the fastest 68060 at time. It also brings Amiga Classic near to Amiga NG by bringing digital video with millions of colours. The Vampire V4 improves upon its predecessors in numerous ways. As always, the Amiga community always manages to keep their own computers relevant and up-to-date, if even for just a small group of users. Amazing.

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posted 18 days ago on OSNews
Today, it hit me that iOS is already ten years old. I consider iOS a relatively new and fresh operating system, but can we really say that at ten years old? In order to figure that out, I quickly threw together a little graph to visualise the age of both current and deprecated operating systems to get a better look at the age of operating systems. It counts operating system age in terms of years from initial public release (excluding beta or preview releases) to the last release (in case of deprecated operating systems) or until today (in case of operating systems still in active development). I've included mainly popular, successful, consumer-oriented operating systems, leaving out more server or embedded oriented operating systems (such as UNIX and QNX), which tend to have vastly different needs and development cycles. As far as the nomenclature goes, Windows 9x includes everything from Windows 1.0 to Windows ME, and Mac OS covers System 1 through Mac OS 9.2.2. Windows CE is currently called Windows Embedded Compact, but its line also includes Windows Phone 7, Windows Mobile, and Windows PocketPC. Red indicates the operating system is no longer being developed, whereas green means it's still under active development. The only question mark in this regard is Windows CE; its latest release is Embedded Compact 2013 in 2013, and while I think it's still in development, I'm not entirely sure. This graph isn't a scientifically accurate, well-researched, quotable piece of information - it takes many shortcuts and brushes several questions aside for brevity's sake. For instance, looking at the last official release doesn't always make sense, such as with Windows Service Packs or Mac OS X point releases, and I haven't even been entirely consistent with these anyway. On top of that, the graph doesn't take months or weeks into account, and just counts everything in terms of years. Linux shouldn't technically be included at all (since it's just a kernel), and you can conceivably argue that, for instance, Mac OS X is older than its initial release in the form of 10.0 since it's so heavily based on NEXTSTEP. Amiga OS is also a bit of a stretch, since its development pace is slow and has even died down completely on several occasions. You could maybe possibly argue that BeOS is still in active development in the form of Haiku, but I consider Haiku a reimplementation, and not a continuation. In any event, I originally wasn't planning on doing anything with this, but I figured I might as well publish it here since it's an interesting overview.

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posted 18 days ago on OSNews
Farhad Manjoo, in The New York Times:
 A year ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation made an extraordinary demand of Apple. To get inside a dead terrorist's iPhone, law enforcement officials wanted the company to create a hackable version of the software that runs all iPhones. To many legal experts, it wasn't obvious that Apple had a winning case against the request. But facing great legal and political opposition, Apple took a stand anyway. Timothy D. Cook, Apple's chief executive, argued that the company had a financial and moral duty to protect its users' privacy and security. He made clear that Apple would obey American law - but only after trying to shape the law. The fight paid off. On the eve of a courtroom showdown, the F.B.I. rescinded its request. It is worth underlining this point: When Apple took a public stand for its users' liberty and privacy, the American government blinked. Yet in China over the weekend, when faced with a broad demand by the Chinese internet authority, it was Apple that blinked. Apple openly and publicly buts heads with the US government but not with the Chinese government because of one very simple reason: Apple is more dependent on, and beholden to, China than on and to the US. Virtually everything Apple sells is made in China, and Apple has nowhere else to go. For a company that always tries to strive for control, it really low-waged itself into a corner.

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