Apple Support Joins Twitter

Today, in a desperate attempt to save their doomed tech conglomerate, Apple Inc. finally joined Twitter, the social media network that has been slowly circling the drain for years.

It's not immediately apparent why the struggling Cupertino-based computer company (forever living in the shadow of its deceased founder) chose to establish a presence on the micro-blogging platform that only has 320M monthly active users–an already pitiful number that is threatened by a series of (ill-conceived) recent changes to the platform–but keen eyes will note that this is yet another troubling milestone from a company whose panicked leadership seems intent to throw anything at the wall (barring their own gadgets, of course, because unlike all of their competitors, Apple has yet to circumvent the laws of physics and make their devices indestructible) in an attempt to right a swiftly sinking ship. Between a smart watch that was effectively dead on arrival, to a streaming music service enveloped in constant controversy, to the omnipresent reports of their software effectively crumbling from within, it's not surprising that they would divert their attention from more important matters to futz around on a failing website chock full of GIFs and variations of the same joke regurgitated by different people hundreds of times during every event that has a modicum of notoriety.

Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, welcomed Apple in a series of tweets this morning:

The claims of an exhausted leader doing his damnedest to obfuscate the dire reality that his company is tearing itself apart at the seams.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, tweeted a vague-yet-optimistic announcement himself earlier this afternoon, staying true to Apple's insincere claims that they care about their customers:

A blatant jab at the FBI. This is about what we could expect from the man who took over a burgeoning company and ran it into the ground.

Classless.

Needless to say, it's disheartening to see two formerly great companies in bed with one another in the final throes of their turbulent existence, but it is fitting at the very least. It's only a matter of time before the sheer weight of Apple's bloat causes Twitter to collapse in on itself, igniting a violent implosion that swallows both organizations whole. From within the gaping maw of the resulting singularity, a weary Steve Jobs–having journeyed endlessly for years throughout the multiverse–will emerge to usher in an extra four weeks of winter. Carrying Tim Cook's withered, broken body in his arms, Jobs will close the rift behind him. Our timeline will be immediately thrust into a reality where Apple and Twitter never existed. Everyone has an Android phone. Google+ rose to single-handedly destroy Facebook.

And somewhere, a moist Eric Schmidt will quietly shudder in the midst of a spontaneous and violent orgasm.

'A Message to Our Customers'

Tim Cook:

The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.

This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.

This is, of course, in response to the story that broke yesterday that a federal judge has ordered Apple to assist the FBI in hacking the work iPhone of one of the San Bernadino shooters. Please go read the letter in its entirety. Few things are more important right now.

I've written multiple times now about Tim Cook's stance on customer privacy and staying true to Apple's principles in that regard. He has held strong today and produced a response infused with honesty and care that other business leaders should aim to emulate.

Cook rightly calls out the serious implications of this order, and emphasizes a need to educate the public, rather than fall back on hyperbole to evoke fear (like the government has time and time again).

This is just the beginning. I'm sure Apple will get dragged through the mud by officers and politicians alike in the coming weeks, months, years. What will be remembered though is that this thrusts the privacy debate into the spotlight, and history will remember Apple as a leader in maintaining freedom when others would seek to erode it.

I've never been more proud to be an Apple customer.

'Making a Murderer' Valentine's Day Cards

Have you, like many millions of Netflix viewers, been enraptured by the documentary detailing a great travesty perpetuated by the American justice system? Do you now consider yourself an aficionado of the underground movement known as StrangCore? Do you also appreciate good humor, supporting independent artists and important charitable organizations?

If you answered yes to one (or all) of these questions, I would kindly direct your attention to one of my favorite things right now: Making A Murderer Valentine's Day Cards. My friend, Nick Lacke, created these, and the finished product does not disappoint in the slightest. They're fantastic.

From the listing:

For $5, you'll get a set of five Valentines that can either be shared easily online or can be printed, cut, and given to friends, family, loved ones, lawyers, etc.

ALSO, 50% of the proceeds of these sales will go to the Midwest Innocence Project, which deals with cases like Steven Avery's and tries to prevent innocent people from being locked away in jail.

$5? A steal (for which you won't be indicted). It'd be a crime not to take advantage.

'Why Me. You Picked a Loser.'

Howard Berkes, NPR:

Thirty years ago, as the nation mourned the loss of seven astronauts on the space shuttle Challenger, Bob Ebeling was steeped in his own deep grief.

The night before the launch, Ebeling and four other engineers at NASA contractor Morton Thiokol had tried to stop the launch. Their managers and NASA overruled them.

That night, he told his wife, Darlene, "It's going to blow up."

Surprised I had never heard this account of the Challenger disaster before now. Honestly, there's a part of me that wishes I never did. The event itself is tragic enough as it stands, but to imagine the grief that haunts Ebeling on a daily basis is heartbreaking.

It's not a long read (or listen, should you choose to consume the companion audio), but sorrow hangs upon each word. By the end, its as though something has sucked away all of the air in your chest. Take it in, and then forgive yourself for something.

(Via Nate Boateng.)

'Encryption is Foundational to the Future'

NSA director Michael S. Rogers, speaking at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council (link to video starts around his answer):

So we've got to come up with a solution that... that is built around the idea that this Internet of things, and the broad ideas that it represents, are something foundational to our future. It's a little bit like encryption to me–hey, encryption is foundational to the future.

Surprising, considering the source. It's encouraging to hear the director of the NSA take a rational, informed stance on this subject, and not be afraid to voice it despite the anti-encryption (and ultimately anti-privacy) agenda that other notable government players have wasted a significant amount of time espousing.

Rogers couldn't be more right. It's not realistic to expect people to give up a way of life to which they've become accustomed. And trying to stymie progress because the digital reality has rendered old policing tactics obsolete is short-sighted and potentially far more damaging than what they're trying to stop in the first place. We should absolutely be pursuing new technologies, continuing to provide privacy for our citizens, and focusing on adapting to a changing landscape. Actively stifling rights under the guise of ensuring a modicum of safety is disingenuous and dangerous. It's not in the best interest of society.