(CNN)The biggest clinical experiment has gone offline as a result of a foreign intruder.
This week, the tech giant reported its first fall in sales for 13 years. Have we finally fallen out of love with its shiny new iPhones? Not quite but there are some small issues …
Is this the beginning of the end for Apple? The tech giants inexorable growth has been a given for most of the 21st century but, on Wednesday, Apple reported its first decline in quarterly sales for 13 years: a 13% fall, down to $50bn (34bn). Thats still enough to reduce the UKs budget deficit by half, but, in Apples reckoning, its a catastrophe. Apples share price fell by 8% yesterday, wiping more than $40bn off its value in a few hours. Is the world falling out of love with the Croesus of Cupertino? Even Siri was sounding like an exhausted spin doctor when we asked it for answers.
Siri, is this the beginning of the end for Apple?
Siri, whats wrong with Apple?
I cant say.
Do you actually like Apple?
Well, perhaps Im biased, but I prefer all things Apple.
I dont know. Frankly, Ive wondered that myself.
What are the most common complaints about Apple?
Let me check on that …
Actually, save your circuits, Siri. We can tell you exactly why the world is falling out of love with Apple. Weve been storing up these complaints for years. So, why dont you just shut your British/American/Australian, male/female speech unit and listen?
1 The passwords
Signing into the iTunes store: Apple ID? Password? User password? Password for this Mac? System admin password? Password for password manager? Forgot? Given up? Gone to get a sledgehammer?
2 The product launches
Ramping up every product launch into a TED talk by Cirque du Soleil based on the Sermon on the Mount, even if its just plugging a marginally different phone.
The new iPhone: Its bigger!
The new iPhone: Its smaller!
The new iPhone: Its just the right size!
The new iPhone: Its the size of an ironing board, but so what? Buy it! Its new!
3 The endless hardware upgrades
Thanks to those product launches, we now have cupboards full of obsolete iPhones, iPods, iPads, MacBooks, chargers and cables, plus 30 pairs of white headphones because we always feel like were missing out on something HUGE.
4 The Green Eggs and Ham approach to software updates
Install now? Turn on automatic software updates? Remind me later? Try in an hour? Try tonight? Would you update them in a box? Would you update them with a fox? You do not like software updates, so you say? Try them, try them and you may!
Flagship smartphone finally cuts it at the top end with great camera, good screen, 1.5-day battery life and snappy performance
HTC, once a smartphone champion, has been struggling in recent years at the top end with handsets that have just missed the mark. But celebrating its 10 anniversary of smartphones manufacturing, has Taiwanese company finally cracked it with the HTC 10?
Metal on the back, glass on the front
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that traces its roots back to the Indian state of Punjab. The faith has been part of America’s religious landscape for over 125 years. Despite this long history, Sikhs have often experienced discrimination in America.
The rising tide of Islamophobia has added another layer of complexity to this issue. In the years since September 11, Sikh Americans have been subjected to hate crimes, harassment, and racial profiling. Some people mistakenly assume that Sikhs are Muslims because of the turbans that some Sikh men and women wear.
In a sketch for “The Daily Show,” comedian Hasan Minhaj assembled a panel of experts to try to figure out how to combat this prejudice. Minhaj, a Muslim, jokingly suggested that Sikhs should try harder to distance themselves from Muslims.
“Come on, I mean even Barack Obama was like, ‘Hey, I’m not a Muslim,'” Minhaj said in the clip. “If I were you, I would throw me under the bus so fast.”
Designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia, who claimed he was kicked off a flight in February because of his turban, told Minhaj that this wasn’t an option.
“That’s not the way I was raised,” Ahluwalia said in the clip. “That’s why I wear this turban, as a reminder to myself to treat humanity with care and kindness. I’m not here to point fingers…Hasan, you need to lead with love.”
The turban, or dastaar, is actually a symbol of equality for many Sikhs. There was a time in ancient Punjab, where the faith was founded, when the turban was only worn by kings and royalty as a sign of class status. But the founders of the Sikh religion believed deeply in the equality and royalty of all people, regardless of their socioeconomic background.
Studies have shown that some Americans are still ignorant about the significance of the turban within Sikhism. In a survey commissioned by the National Sikh Campaign (NSC) in 2014, only 11 percent of respondents associated an image of a turbaned man with Sikhism. On the other hand, about 20 percent said that the man was Muslim and 28 percent said that he was of Middle Eastern descent — even though the majority of Sikhs are of Indian descent.
The statistics suggest that attacks against Sikhs are often thinly-veiled racism against all brown folk. In fact, the federal government has investigated over 800 incidents since September 11, 2001 involving violence, threats, vandalism and arson against “Arab-Americans, Muslims, Sikhs, South-Asian Americans and other individuals perceived to be of Middle Eastern origin.”
In the end, the Sikhs on Minhaj’s panel believed that instead of trying to distance themselves from their Muslim neighbors, it was better to stand in solidarity with them.
Simran Jeet Singh, an Assistant Professor at Trinity University who was featured in the clip, called the segment a “historic” piece for the Sikh community and hopes it will create awareness about his faith.
“In addition to learning about what it’s like to be a Sikh in modern America, people will also learn about our ethics and our values, including why we are committed to standing against anti-Muslim sentiment, even if it makes our own lives more difficult,” Singh told The Huffington Post.
Watch the segment on Sikhism above.
BeautifulPeople.com boasts online dating for beautiful people only, and at first theres a joy to watching the mighty fall. But it could happen to any of us
Theres a schadenfreude to the news today that the dating site BeautifulPeople.com was hacked.
Its a site that only lets in the genetically blessed based on some mysterious beauty metric and today the personal data of 1.1 million BeautifulPeople.com members is for sale on the black market. Its only a slice of data from 2015, and the company says the leaks been patched up, but data once stolen can never be controlled: and so 1.1 million names of self-declared Beautiful People will now begin circulating.
Like the Ashley Madison hack which left 39 million people on a dating site for married people exposed and their names suddenly searchable theres a joy in shaming people who would sign up for such a thing. Online dating for beautiful people only, the website announces.
BeautifulPeople.com is the largest internet dating community exclusively for the beautiful, it reads. Members rate new applicants over a 48 hour period based on whether or not they find the applicant beautiful.
The gall they have! The hubris!
But at the risk of sounding like a school marm: watch yourself.
First, BeautifulPeople.com is a genius idea because its just honest. Its what nightclubs already do quite effectively, and its what we all try our best to do on Tinder. Where online dating service The League explicitly bases entry on wealth and education BeautifulPeople is just hot folks looking for hot love. If clear skin and a tight waist is a religion (which, at least in America, it is), this is their JDate, and I am not here to judge.
But more importantly, hacking to shame is a scary pattern. Most active, casual, relatively sloppy young internet users (like myself) are having their data bought and sold all day long, bartered legally or illegally.
And, most active, casual, relatively sloppy humans (like myself) have a sex life thats lived, at least in part, online.
As the author W Somerset Maugham wrote: My own belief is that there is hardly anyone whose sexual life, if it were broadcast, would not fill the world at large with surprise and horror.
Symmetrical faces couldnt save the beautiful people. And its funny to see the mighty fall. But the spotlight can fall on any of us. And it will.
We live in a world of constant entertainment but is too much stimulation boring?
It amazes me when people proclaim that they are bored. Actually, it amazes me that I am ever bored, or that any of us are. With so much to occupy us these days, boredom should be a relic of a bygone age an age devoid of the internet, social media, multi-channel TV, 24-hour shopping, multiplex cinemas, game consoles, texting and whatever other myriad possibilities are available these days to entertain us.
Yet despite the plethora of high-intensity entertainment constantly at our disposal, we are still bored. Up to half of us are often bored at home or at school, while more than two- thirds of us are chronically bored at work. We are bored by paperwork, by the commute and by dull meetings. TV is boring, as is Facebook and other social media. We spend our weekends at dull parties, watching tedious films or listening to our spouses drone on about their day. Our kids are bored of school, of homework and even of school holidays.
There are a number of explanations for our ennui. This, in fact, is part of the problem we are overstimulated. The more entertained we are the more entertainment we need in order to feel satisfied . The more we fill our world with fast-moving, high-intensity, ever-changing stimulation, the more we get used to that and the less tolerant we become of lower levels.
Thus slower-paced activities, such as reading reports, sitting in meetings, attending lectures or studying for exams, bore us because we are accustomed to faster-paced amusements.
Our attention spans are now thought to be less than that of a goldfish (eight seconds). We are hard-wired to seek novelty, which produces a hit of dopamine, that feel-good chemical, in our brains. As soon as a new stimulus is noticed, however, it is no longer new, and after a while it bores us. To get that same pleasurable dopamine hit we seek fresh sources of distraction.
Our increasing reliance on screentime is also to blame. Although we seem to live in a varied and exciting world with a wealth of entertainment at our fingertips, this is actually the problem. Many of these amusements are obtained in remarkably similar ways via our fingers. We spend much of our work life now tapping away at our keyboard. We then look for stimulation (watching movies, reading books, catching the news, interacting with friends) via the internet or our phone, which means more tapping. On average we spend six to seven hours in front of our phone, tablet, computer and TV screens every day.
All this is simply becoming boring. Instead of performing varied activities that engage different neural systems (sport, knitting, painting, cooking, etc) to relieve our tedium, we fall back on the same screen-tapping schema for much of our day. The irony is that while our mobile devices should allow us to fill every moment, our means of obtaining that entertainment has become so repetitive and routine that its a source of boredom in itself.
Does any of this matter? Research suggests that chronic boredom is responsible for a profusion of negative outcomes such as overeating, gambling, truancy, antisocial behaviour, drug use, accidents, risk taking and much more. We need less, not more, stimulation and novelty.
It seems paradoxical, but feeling bored in the short term will make us less bored in the long term.
In the birthplace of agriculture, traditional crops are dying out. But one woman has a plan to preserve them
In the rocky hills of the Palestinian West Bank, farmers learned long ago how to adapt to extremes of climate that make spring the shortest season. In a part of the world where agriculture was first practised, they found crops that could survive even if watered only by the occasional rain storm.
But a form of farming that informed both Palestinian culture and identity seeping into the language, songs and sayings has increasingly come under threat from a combination of factors, including manmade climate change, the incursion onto Palestinian land by Israeli settlement, and agricultural companies marketing of hybrid varieties to farmers.
Now, however, an initiative is being launched to save Palestines agricultural plant heritage, with the first seed bank dedicated to preserving traditional varieties used by farmers for generations before they vanish for ever.
The Palestine Heirloom Seed Library to be formally launched in June is part of an effort both to educate Palestinians about traditional forms of agriculture in the Holy Land, which are in danger of being forgotten, and about the culture associated with them.
The seed library will preserve heirloom varieties particularly adapted to the West Bank. Supported by the Qattan Foundation, the project is the brainchild of Vivien Sansour, who studied and worked abroad before returning to the West Bank city of Beit Jala.
She was inspired to launch the library after her experiences in Mexico and after working with farmers in the West Bank city of Jenin. I was away from Palestine for a long time, said Sansour. While I was away, what I remembered were the smells and tastes. When I came back, I realised that what I remembered was under threat and disappearing.
That threat came from several things. From agri-companies pushing certain varieties and farming methods and from climate change. Places, too, where people would forage for edible plants like the akub thistle have come under threat because of issues like the spread of Israeli settlements.
I realised that what was also under threat was something deeper the connection to a sense of cultural identity. The songs women would sing in the fields. Phrases, even the words we use. So it is about preserving the local biodiversity, but it is also about the importance to Palestinian culture of traditional agricultural methods.
Typical for many Palestinian villagers were allotment-syle garden plots, known in Arabic as pieces of paradise, and the traditional multi-crop planting season known as baal.
They are vegetables and herbs you plant at the end of the spring rains and usually before St Georges Day. The varieties were ones that became adapted over the years to work well in the West Banks climate and soil, said Sansour.
The project, she hopes, will preserve strains including cucumber, marrow and watermelon, once famous throughout the region, that are in danger of dying out. There is a kind of huge watermelon, known as jadui, that was grown in the northern West Bank. Before 1948, it was exported around the region. It was famous in places like Syria. It has almost disappeared. One of the most exciting discoveries so far is that we found some seeds for it. They are seven years old, so we need to see if they are viable.
Part of the project which Sansour hopes will eventually be housed in a new science centre, the Qattan Foundation, in Ramallah has seen teachers being trained in a pilot project to reintroduce students to old agricultural practices. One of these is Inam Owianah, who teaches 12to15-year-olds. I am a science teacher, she said. Part of the curriculum is the growing cycle. I was invited to a workshop of the seed library.
I wasnt even sure what an heirloom variety was. And then I understood! It wasnt just about the seeds, but about an intimate connection to our heritage. And the students started to understand that civilisation is not just about buildings but about a way of life. It was why my grandmother would save the best aubergines and courgettes for seeds for the next year, said Owianah.
I started asking my students to ask their grandparents and parents about the stories and sayings associated with the plants.
On Sansours patch on the outskirts of the village of Battir, next to the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv railway line where she will plant her own baal varieties in the coming days, fennel, mallow, chard and mint are growing wild. On the stone walls she points out edible herbs.
Other plots around have already been cleared for the growing season with a glyphosate-based weedkiller. You can see the difference, she says, disapprovingly picking a handful of wild fennel from her own untreated plot to eat. You can see how wild and lush it is, even before it is cleared for planting.
There is an old Palestinian phrase, she adds: He who does not eat from his own adze cannot think with his own mind.
Event organizers said discussion intended for male allies at online payment company to participate with women on gender issues in the workplace
PayPal will host a panel on gender equality next Wednesday to discuss gender equality and inclusion in the workplace. The panel will be all male.
Please join us for a discussion with our senior male leaders about how men and women can partner to achieve a better workplace, reads a flyer shared online and first highlighted by NBC News.
The event is being organized by Unity, Women@PayPal, and immediately ran into criticism on Twitter and Facebook. In response the groups president, Nolwenn Godard, issued a statement on her Facebook page pointing out that the event is focused on male allies.
For this panel our intent is to bring together our male allies to work with us on inclusion. The title of the panel is Gender Equality and Inclusion in the Workplace: a Conversation with our Male Allies, she wrote. Unfortunately the full title and the intention of the panel did not make it on to the initial posters that have been subject of commentary.
Godard has since been asked to moderate the all-men panel, according to LaFawn Bailey, global head of culture and inclusion at PayPal. She also pointed out that women in the community are to be full participants in the discussion.
Gender equality is not just a womens issue. It will take all of us to create an inclusive workplace environment where involvement, respect, collaboration and connections are cultivated, Bailey wrote in a blogpost addressing the criticism.
As a leader in culture and inclusion, I recognize that for men to be a catalyst for change, we have to create an environment for honest dialog to occur. Our hope is that this event, which is open to all PayPal employees, will provide a different perspective and spur advocacy around gender balance.
Plaintiffs suing site for failing to adequately secure data, marketing full delete removal service that didnt work, and using fake accounts to lure customers
Plaintiffs leading a lawsuit against online dating website Ashley Madison over a security breach that exposed the personal data of customers must publicly identify themselves to proceed with the case, a US judge has ruled.
Forty-two plaintiffs, seeking to represent users of the website who had their information compromised, had proceeded anonymously against Ashley Madisons Toronto-based parent company Avid Life Media, the ruling released on 6 April showed.
The plaintiffs are suing Ashley Madison, a website that facilitates extramarital affairs, for failing to adequately secure their information, marketing a full delete removal service that did not work, and using fake female accounts to lure male customers, according to the ruling.
Their action comes after hackers who claimed to be unhappy with Avid Lifes business practices publicly released Ashley Madison customer data last August.
Reuters has not independently verified the authenticity of the data, emails or documents.
Judge John A Ross, of a district court in Missouri, wrote in his ruling that being publicly named as an Ashley Madison user amounts to more than common embarrassment but noted the 42 plaintiffs have special roles in the case that require identification.
The plaintiffs are class representatives and may need to testify or offer evidence, unlike class members, those in the lawsuit who do not need to participate as actively, Ross wrote.
He ruled that the plaintiffs must either identify themselves or proceed as class members, who can remain anonymous.
The class for the collective lawsuit has not yet been certified, the ruling noted. There are at least 10 plaintiffs who are publicly named.
Avid Media did not immediately respond to a request for comment.