Will you trust Apple?

iOnU As the saying goes, “If you are not paying, you are product“. Apple’s Yosemite OS tracks and collects your Spotlight searches, sending the results to themselves and others, including Microsoft. Apple says their intrusion is harmless and anonymous, but we only have Apple’s word for that. The fact is, it’s not an opt-in process. Most users won’t even know about it, even though Apple does disclose the new practice. I think they should have asked permission. I chose to disable the Spotlight data collection. Here’s how …
This is a Washington Post clip about Spotlight. It is a bit of self-serving fear-mongering popular with struggling news organizations these days, but Apple left itself open for it. Below the clip: Apple’s response.


We are absolutely committed to protecting our users’ privacy and have built privacy right into our products. For Spotlight Suggestions we minimize the amount of information sent to Apple. Apple doesn’t retain IP addresses from users’ devices. Spotlight blurs the location on the device so it never sends an exact location to Apple. Spotlight doesn’t use a persistent identifier, so a user’s search history can’t be created by Apple or anyone else. Apple devices only use a temporary anonymous session ID for a 15-minute period before the ID is discarded.


E.B. Cox at school

The local Duke of Connaught school has three E.B. Cox (1914-2003) sculptures circa 1960 embedded in it’s facade. They are stone carvings representing, rather predictably, the three Rs. Top is Reading (see the books?) Then wRiting (ABC) and ‘Rithmetic (E=MC²).
Cox was a Toronto sculptor with an international reputation who was sort
of adopted by the Group of Seven as “their” sculptor. He had a studio on Broadview Avenue.
I like these carvings, even though they are stuck onto the brick wall like so many postage stamps and contribute nothing to the architectural form, which is itself, merely functional. I assume that the commission was a make-work project to support and recognize the sculptor. Nothing wrong with that. Given a fairly humdrum assignment, Cox has done a nice job, carving sensitive faces and hands in particular. His style attempts to jump back in time, leaping over centuries of European art history, back to simpler, archaic forms.
The first half of the 20th century saw Canada struggling to find it’s place in the world of art. It was still a time when nationalism seemed important and there was a yearning for a distinctly “Canadian” style, independent of European standards that defined the colonial Dominion. Cox looks to have been part of that searching, on the one hand seeking “sincere”, primitive forms and on the other, rendering them in stone with pneumatic chisels. Something old, something new, something borrowed…
I saved the bottom-most sculpture for a last close-up, after the break …
Continue reading

Apple irks with "AirFlop"

I was complaining the other day about Apple’s AirDrop not working with older Macs and then suddenly the AirDrop icon appeared on my old iMac. Hey, great, I thought, and I tried to transfer the photo of Danica from my iPad to my Mac.
AirDrop simply does not work, even though the icon appears in the Finder. It wasn’t there a few days ago. What made it appear is anybody’s guess. Various Mac users online offer different stories, some claiming Macs must be 2012 or newer. This Mac user has a simpler explanation. Apple has bungled this one. The software is flaky, unreliable and unpredictable. It should not have been released as part of Yosemite, because it simply is not ready for public use.
Good excuse to post the Danica picture, though. I emailed it to my Mac in the old-fashioned way.

Toronto Star Political Sentimeter

IMG_0696Hmmm, this could explain why I am almost invariably disappointed with election results. My score on the Toronto Star’s Political Sentimeter put me in agreement with 2% of those who’ve done the survey.
I like to think we are the TOP 2%, of course, but the poll didn’t specify that. 🙂 My attitudes are shared, on average, with 36 year olds and more than two thirds of them are women. I’m good with that.

A little disappointment, free from Apple

Apple’s Mac OS X offers a feature called AirDrop which facilitates file transfers directly between two Apple devices that are on the same network. For some users (me), it will not work because my iMac was made before 2009.
Yosemite is free, so what the heck … and AirDrop, frankly, is a trivial frill … but if you were expecting to try it and your Mac is older than Apple likes, you’re out of luck.

CSS3 animation experiment

The idea here is to hover over the image to see what’s on the back. Or click the button. If it works, it could be a way to display what’s written on the backs of many Helen Andersen artworks. Please leave a comment if it works for you … or if it doesn’t.

This particular airbrushed painting is an important one, reflecting Helen’s acute awareness of the terrible century (!) of Canadian history when aboriginal children were forcibly taken away from their parents and housed in residential schools. A mother wipes tears from her little girl’s face.
The image was chosen by Pat Ekland when we offered to frame one of the “lost” paintings for her. They would never have been recovered without her kindness and determination. That story is here.
The flipping animation effect derives from a renewed interest. A lot has happened since I stopped my online courses 3 or 4 years ago. Back to Lynda.com, I guess.

Spring returns for a day

To quote my cycling buddy Peter, “the lake never disappoints”. It offers different views every day, all year ’round. Light and colour are ever-changing, sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically. Today’s brief return to mild temperatures made for a perfect boardwalk opportunity. Rich, full sounds of waves against the beach accompanied the view. Perfect.