Entertainment Linkin' Log Technology

The Next Nostalgic Cash-Grab: The TurboGrafx-16 Mini

Konami will be releasing a mini version of the TurboGrafx-16 later this year:

Konami has announced the latest in the slew of shrunk-down retro consoles, the TurboGrafx-16 Mini. Six games have been announced so far for the system, which will be released in Japan as the PC Engine Mini and in Europe as the PC Engine Core Grafx. It’ll have two USB ports for controllers and support a five-way multiplayer adapter.

I’d like to tell you that I won’t buy this, but if it ends up including any of the Bonk games, I’d just be lying.

News Technology

A Stolen NSA Tool Being Used by Cybercriminals. Whoopsie.

Well this is awkward:

For nearly three weeks, Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services.

But here is what frustrated city employees and residents do not know: A key component of the malware that cybercriminals used in the attack was developed at taxpayer expense a short drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the National Security Agency, according to security experts briefed on the case.

This is obviously an isolated incident and definitely shouldn’t be used as evidence that maybe giving the FBI a back-door through encryption could be a bad idea.

Linkin' Log News Politics

The New Yorker: Trump’s Boswell Speaks

The New Yorker has a piece on “The Art of The Deal” ghostwriter Tony Schwartz’s feelings on a Donald Trump presidency. It’s only slightly horrifying.

Starting in late 1985, Schwartz spent eighteen months with Trump—camping out in his office, joining him on his helicopter, tagging along at meetings, and spending weekends with him at his Manhattan apartment and his Florida estate. During that period, Schwartz felt, he had got to know him better than almost anyone else outside the Trump family. Until Schwartz posted the tweet, though, he had not spoken publicly about Trump for decades. It had never been his ambition to be a ghostwriter, and he had been glad to move on. But, as he watched a replay of the new candidate holding forth for forty-five minutes, he noticed something strange: over the decades, Trump appeared to have convinced himself that he had written the book. Schwartz recalls thinking, “If he could lie about that on Day One—when it was so easily refuted—he is likely to lie about anything.”

This is fine.

Politics Science Technology

Should All Locks Have Keys

Given the hullaballoo over the idiotically-dangerous “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016” that was released in draft form today, I thought it might be wise to remind people why strong encryption is a good and necessary thing. Fortunately, this video does all the legwork for me, which is really rather considerate of it.

Linkin' Log Politics Technology

Apple’s FAQ on the FBI

Apple published a FAQ on their fight with the FBI today.

And in case you run into any dummies who give you the “Of course Apple should unlock this thing because national security, and what do you have to be afraid of if law enforcement can unlock every iPhone in the universe” argument:

FBI vs. iPhone
From Tulsa World’s Editorial Cartoonist Bruce Plante
Linkin' Log Technology

The Case for Buying A Shitty TV

Buzzfeed’s recent article, “The Case for Buying a Shitty TV”, has left a number of people in the Apple Blogosphere talking. Take, for instance, Shawn King of The Loop:

Purists will scoff but he’s not wrong. And with “good enough” TVs coming down in price, it makes it less and less likely Apple will be interested in trying to sell their own high margin sets.

This is exactly the mentality that made people scoff at the idea of Apple entering the mobile phone market in 2006, and that seemed to work out pretty okay for them.

This is not to say I think Apple will jump into the television-making business — I very much doubt they will — but this rationale is short-sighted. I think Marco Arment is the one who nailed it:

While I’ve followed this advice on a lot of “dumb” electronics so far, I don’t think I’d go quite as far as getting a “shitty” TV for one big reason: I hardly ever buy a new TV. In my entire life so far, including every TV my family owned during my childhood, I’ve only had five.

A few paragraphs down, he continues:

Their size makes replacing TVs cumbersome and wasteful, so I don’t want to do it very often, and I think this is a fairly common stance. (This is one reason why I don’t think it would be wise for Apple to enter the TV-set business.) Since good TVs aren’t that expensive and last a very long time by consumer-electronics standards, and replacing TVs is so cumbersome, I don’t think there’s much reason to get shitty ones.

Televisions don’t pass what I refer to as the Civic Test: if a device cannot fit easily into a Honda Civic, the likelihood that you will give that item to a child, spouse, parent, wild-eyed hobo, or whomever else you please when you want to upgrade in a few years is diminished considerably. That means making room for a new one that you might not need is more difficult, and therefore you will hang onto that device for a longer period of time. Phones, tablets, and computers — areas where Apple is already active — pass the Civic Test easily, allowing for higher sales numbers and repeat customers.

Additionally, Apple’s devices are very personal in nature, especially the ones where they draw the most profit… You upgrade your phone or tablet to build a better experience for yourself, which makes the impulse to upgrade much stronger. A television is a communal device, and multiple people will have a say in when that device needs to be upgraded, which also screws the pooch on the whole “24-month upgrade cycle” mentality.