Why You Can’t Find Parental Control Apps in the iOS App Store

Illustration for article titled Why You Can't Find Parental Control Apps in the iOS App Store

iOS: If you’re having trouble finding a good parental control app in the iOS App Store, there’s a reason for that: MDM, or Mobile Device management. According to Apple, apps using MDM “incorrectly” pose serious security risk, and so the company is cracking down—but what does this actually mean?

What is Mobile Device Management?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a general term for any technology that allows one device to be controlled and/or monitored by another remotely. Parental control apps on iOS often rely on MDM as a means for controlling screen time, applying content filters, and collecting usage reports, because it’s the only way to obtain device permissions for these kinds of activities. Otherwise, your everyday app on the App Store can’t control your device to this great a degree.

This isn’t some newly implemented technology. MDM has been present on iPhone for years now, with Apple overseeing MDM certification for its devices and even controlling all MDM-based actions on iOS apps.

So why is Apple now so worried about apps using this feature in a way it wasn’t intended? The company now claims that apps with MDM can leave your personal data vulnerable and open to exploitation by hackers, hence the purging of parental control apps from the App Store.

On paper, the move makes sense. If an unwilling person is tricked into installing a certificate from a less-than-stellar app, they’ve just given over the keys to their digital kingdom—a privacy breach Apple would very much like to prevent.

“MDM does have legitimate uses. Businesses will sometimes install MDM on enterprise devices to keep better control over proprietary data and hardware. But it is incredibly risky—and a clear violation of App Store policies—for a private, consumer-focused app business to install MDM control over a customer’s device. Beyond the control that the app itself can exert over the user’s device, research has shown that MDM profiles could be used by hackers to gain access for malicious purposes,” reads a statement Apple published last last month.

Developers (try to) fight back

Several developers with parental control apps now affected by the new MDM policy have responded to Apple’s claims, and their arguments highlight some inconsistencies with Apple’s reasoning.

One app, OurPact, uses MDM to allow parents to set screen time limits on their child’s devices. OurPact’s developers released a statement using Apple’s own MDM documentation to refute the alleged security risks. You can read the full statement here, but the gist of the argument is that since Apple controls the entire MDM review process for iOS apps, properly vetted apps should not pose any of the risks Apple is warning against. As well, OurPact has been open about what it does and how it does it:

“OurPact’s core functionality would not be possible without the use of MDM; it is the only API available for the Apple platform that enables the remote management of applications and functions on children’s devices. We have also been transparent about our use of this technology since the outset, and have documented its use in our submissions to the App Store,” the company’s statement reads.

Photo: OurPact

Some have suggested Apple’s actual reason for removing these MDM-enabled parental control apps is to curb potential competition with iOS 12’s screen time feature. However, other reports point out that many of the apps were purged for various other violations unrelated to MDM, like the prohibition on creating “an App that appears confusing similar to an existing Apple Product, interface, app, or advertising theme.”

If you ask us, the whole this is a net loss for Apple’s customers, even though it is the security-minded approach to take.

What Apple’s purge means for you

Policy disputes between Apple and app developers are one thing, but the biggest concern for iOS users—especially for parents—is that parental controls/screen time apps are being removed from App Store.

This would be less of an issue if Apple provided developers with its own API for controlling screen time, but it does not. More importantly, many of the removed apps like OurPact, Kidslox, and Qustodio included features that iOS parental controls do not—such as filtering web content on non-Safari browsers and cross-compatibility with Android. Their absence leaves parents with fewer options for monitoring their child’s screen time (though there’s debate over just how effective screen time limits can be).

Hopefully, the outcry from developers and the feedback from users will force Apple to at least open up a discussion about the future of parental control on the App Store. For now, however, you might as well settle for using the parental control features built into iOS 12. They’re not as robust when compared to the rival apps, but it’s probably your safest bet for locking down your kids’ activities right now. It might soon be your only one.

[“source=lifehacker”]

Why Gold Is Still The Best Basis For Money

Image result for Why Gold Is Still The Best Basis For MoneyAs we continue to enjoy the “Yellen gold standard,” now in its Powell phase — who knows how long it will last — let’s look at why the gold standard system worked so well for so many centuries, including nearly two centuries of U.S. history before the rupture in 1971, during which time the United States became the wealthiest country in the history of world.

In 1971, the economist Arthur Laffer — he was the chief economist of the Office of Management and Budget at the time — was asked what he thought the consequences would be of Nixon’s “closing of the gold window,” which effectively ended the Bretton Woods period when the dollar’s value was fixed at $35/ounce of gold.

“It won’t be as much fun to be an American anymore,” Laffer reportedly replied. And he was right.

But why? Why is it that the collective intelligence (let’s be generous) of today’s central bankers, and indeed all the central bankers since 1971, cannot outperform a yellow rock? This probably strikes some as bizarre, but it has always been thus. Way back in 1928, in a book called The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, George Bernard Shaw declared:

“You have to choose … between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the Government. And, with due respect for these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the Capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.”

It’s the same today. These things never change. Ninety years ago, intelligent women understood these things.

To understand why gold works, as a standard of monetary value, you have to understand what makes good money. Today’s cryptocurrency enthusiasts are rediscovering what monetary thinkers have always known: that the best money is stable money, or, as I like to term it, Stable Money — money that is stable in value. After learning that Bitcoin and its ilk make splendid devices for gambling (the continued popularity of places like Las Vegas and Macau show that there remains a large interest in such things), but a rather poor currency — exactly as I said would happen some years ago — the cryptocurrency engineers are now focusing their energies on developing “stablecoins.”Image result for Why Gold Is Still The Best Basis For Money

Ideally, a currency would be perfectly stable in value. The market economy is organized via prices, profit margins, returns on capital and interest rates. Changes in the value of the currency derange this process, creating chaos and havoc. John Maynard Keynes described in 1923:

“[Markets] cannot work properly if the money, which they assume as a stable measuring-rod, is undependable. Unemployment, the precarious life of the worker, the disappointment of expectation, the sudden loss of savings, the excessive windfalls to individuals, the speculator, the profiteer–all proceed, in large measure, from the instability of the standard of value.”

In The Scandal of Money (2016), George Gilder updated this insight, using the tools of modern information theory:

“Casting a shroud of uncertainty over all valuation, monetary manipulations shorten the time horizons of the economy. In information theory, the dominant science of our age, when a medium sends a message of its own–static on the line–it’s called noise. Noise in the channel reduces the channel’s capacity to transmit accurate information.”

In practice, such idealized perfection is not quite possible, so we have to go with the next best thing. The next best thing is gold: the thing that most closely approximates this ideal of stability of value. President James Madison summed up succinctly:

The only adequate guarantee for the uniform and stable value of a paper currency is its convertibility into specie [gold]–the least fluctuating and the only universal currency.

James Madison understood this.

And the United States became one of the most successful countries in the history of the world because people like James Madison understood it, and adhered to this principle from 1789 to 1971.

In this single sentence, Madison touched on some important political truths. You might argue that, ideally, “smart people” could get together and create some better — that is, more Stable — foundation for money than gold. But, you might also notice that nobody actually does this. They don’t even try, and never have, in the past five decades of floating fiat money. One reason for this is that they are human: consequently, they crumble to political pressures, while gold does not. Even if you could invent some statistical concoction that is a better measure of Stable Value than gold — although no human ever has — arguably, no human institution could ever implement it for any length of time. Just look at how statistical concoctions like the Consumer Price Index have been continually altered, each time in response to political pressures, and to serve political ends. This is one reason why, as Madison asserted, gold remains “the only adequate guarantee for the uniform and stable value of a paper currency.”

Related to this is the fact that gold is the “only universal currency.” It is the only thing (along with its adjunct silver) that all people have agreed to use as the basis of money, which then allows fixed exchange rates between countries, vastly simplifying trade and investment. In the pre-1914 era, most major governments participated in the world gold standard, which was simply the extension of many centuries of gold and silver coinage used throughout the world. This system was reassembled during the 1920s, and again in 1944, at Bretton Woods. We have had no difficulty establishing world monetary systems based on gold.

Contrary to popular belief, most countries today do not have freely-floating currencies. According to the International Monetary Fund, about half of all countries actively “anchor” their currencies to something else, usually a major international currency like the dollar or euro. In other words, they have fixed exchange rates. Another 25% of all currencies are “stabilized” against a major international currency, which remains the reference although exchange rates are allowed to drift somewhat. Either “anchored” or “stabilized,” most currencies today are part of the dollar or euro currency blocs. The only significant difference between the euro currency bloc, and the prior world currency bloc based on gold, is the standard of value: gold, or the floating fiat euro.

Despite this enthusiasm for fixed exchange rates (a form of Stable Money), there is little interest today in establishing a unified world currency bloc. We could, for example, form a world currency bloc around the euro, and the IMF has long promoted such solutions. Then, the world would be free of the difficulties of floating currencies. The dollar/euro exchange rate would be fixed, along with the pound/euro, yen/euro and other exchange rates.

The simple reason is that nobody would trust the European Central Bank. I wouldn’t — because the ECB is subject to political pressures, or other agendas, to which gold is immune. The ECB can also serve as a means of imposing political pressures.

Actually, the world did have a system like this. It was called the Bretton Woods arrangement. The British pound, German mark, Japanese yen, French franc and all other world currencies were nominally linked to the U.S. dollar. The reason why they agreed to this is that the U.S. dollar was also linked to gold, at $35/oz. When the dollar left gold in 1971, nobody was interested in remaining linked to the dollar, and currencies floated. They still float today.

Gold’s performance as a standard of Stable Value has been exemplary. It is, actually, a lot better than one might rationally expect. The things that the gold standard made possible — such as the extraordinary stability of bond yields during the nineteenth century — have never been replicated under fiat currencies. Just look at those results (achieved without market manipulation), and tell me which central bank wiseguy — give me a name of a real person — that you think could accomplish this; and then explain, if that is true, why they haven’t done so already.

Yields on long-term government bonds: U.S. (1970-2017) and Britain (1830-1880)NATHAN LEWIS

Economies work best when currencies are stable in value. Once we know what the goal is, we then look for a way to achieve it; and the best way has always been to base a currency on gold. Nobody has found a better way, even in the form of a proposal; and nobody has ever needed to find a better way, because gold has always worked very well.

[“source=forbes”]

Here’s Why ‘Destiny 2’ Can’t Bring Back Year 1 Armor (Yet), And How To Fix That

Destiny 2Bungie

One common refrain among Destiny players is that it makes little sense to keep making old gear irrelevant at this rapid of a pace. When armor received random rolls in year 2, for instance, the solution was not to just give all current sets random rolls and actual perks, but instead to just leave them with…literally nothing, allowing only year 2 armor and beyond to roll with actual perks.

What this means is that everything players worked to earn in year 1 is functionally useless, because having armor with no perks is a recipe to be at a huge disadvantage in every activity. But that means leaving tons and tons of sets behind. Ones from every destination, old Eververse sets, sets from Zavala and Shaxx, from the raid and Trials and Iron Banner. Those damn Solstice sets that we grinded for ages for. None of that is useful, and even if you can require it from collections, there’s no actual point in doing so without perks.

The problem is that you can’t just flip a switch and grant everything rolls all of a sudden because of the way the current economy and acquisition system is set up.

Right now for say, planetary vendors, you can simply buy individual pieces of armor directly from them. Even if you disallowed random rolls on those pieces, you can also turn in materials for engrams, materials that Spider now sells for legendary shards. What that would mean is that it would only cost you a handful of shards to keep rolling and rolling and rolling for god tier loot with the exact perks you wanted, but changing the Spider economy would mess things up for say, infusion.

Raids, Trials, Eververse and Iron Banner stuff are each their own issues, but Bungie isn’t even attempting to try and find a fix for any of it. So I will, because this is just way, way too much stuff to leave behind, and the more stuff there is try and acquire, the more engaged players will be. More so than getting their 98th Tangled Web set, that’s for sure.

Destiny 2Bungie

Planetary Vendors – No longer sell individual pieces of gear, and no longer accept materials for random engrams. Give each a “heroic” bounty that gives out one piece of planetary gear a day (not powerful, just themed). Give planetary set rewards at the end of adventures that take place there. Have an increased chance to drop planetary sets when on patrol or running strikes in those areas. You could even add planetary gear to the Prime Engram loot pool so give Rahool more of a selection.

Raids – Just let people run the old raids and raid lairs and have gear drop like normal. You don’t get raid gear fast enough to make this a farming problem, so if people really want to hunt for good rolls on old gear this way, let them. Who cares.

Year 1 Crucible, Iron Banner and Vanguard sets – Allow players to pick between turning in tokens for old sets or new ones. If you want to encourage people to give the new set a shot, make getting the old set like, twice as expensive or something in terms of how many tokens gets you a piece. But it would still be a way to acquire stuff. Also periodically drop old gear as rewards in those activities.

Destiny 2Bungie

Trials – I do not have a great answer for this one. Given that Trials no longer exists, these sets may have to stay dead. You could do something crazy like offer Xur 150 shards for one random piece of Trials gear you’ve already acquired, now with rolls, but this is a tough one given that the activity is just not in the game at all.

Escalation Protocol – Literally nothing needs to change. Just let people keep grinding it for random EP gear, it’s probably the best damn armor in the game. I never completed it enough to get full sets back when it was relevant, but at 650 power I sure have now even with just a couple randoms, and it’s a bummer that gear is just pointless now (outside of the weapons).

Solstice Gear – Another tough one because this was a one-time-only event. At the very least, just give everyone random rolls on the pieces they still have. They might suck, but at least they’d have the potential to use them. I’m not sure how more rolls would work for these unless there was some sort of grand re-roll mechanic for everything, but that’s an issue for another day.

Destiny 2Bungie

Eververse/Holiday sets – You may have heard my philosophy that putting armor in Eververse at all is BS and all of this stuff should just be in the general loot pool. Put all old sets in there now with random rolls, and stop doing limited time only sets that are literally impossible to effectively farm for rolls.

The other, easier solution to all of the above is just to allow armor transmogrification, meaning you can pay some currency to make any rolled armor you want look like any piece of gear you’ve acquired. This may be the easiest fix if you don’t want to jump through all the above hoops, and I’ve already written about that extensively.

I don’t know if I’ve covered every old armor set in the game here, but that’s a good chunk of them. There is a way to make this work, and it really makes no sense that A) Bungie would take so time designing this stuff and B) players would take so much time earning it only to have be made irrelevant in a year’s time. That isn’t how loot-based games like this are supposed to work, and there are fixes here if Bungie wants to pursue them.

[“source-forbes”]

Why You Don’t Always Need the Latest Photography Gear

Why You Don't Always Need the Latest Photography Gear

If you’re anything like me, you spend half your time fighting for new business and the other half fighting your urge to spend the money you make from new business on gear. So, for a bit of fun, today I thought I’d share my own personal, self-directed pep talk whenever I feel the urge to splurge.

I see you sitting there. One window open to Fstoppers. Learning about the latest and greatest gear. A second window permanently parked on B&H. Maybe a third open to Amazon.

You must have spent half the morning so far pouring over options. You’ve looked at all the mirrorless cameras. You’ve read every review and memorized the specs. You’ve even spent more time than you’d care to admit reading the gearheads duke it out in the comment sections over everything from the importance of sensor size to whether or not having two card slots magically designates you a professional photographer.

You’ve imagined yourself walking onto set with all these new toys. Naturally, everything from the $2,500 lens to the round, metal dongle whose name you can’t recall but were told was an absolute necessity by your favorite vlogger is in your bag. And of course, you imagine you’ll use every single item in your new artillery, forgetting for a moment that you’ve been getting along just fine without any of it to this point.

As a matter of fact, if you were to take a moment to really think about it, you’d realize that anything deemed cutting edge technology can’t, by definition, be a necessity. Since photography has been around for well over a century, with amazing imagery being created long before you were born, it stands to reason that as much as you want that new LED panel, it would be hard to argue that you objectively need it.

Was Richard Avedon any less of a photographer because he didn’t shoot mirrorless? Did Alfred Hitchcock suck as a director simply because he didn’t have dual-pixel autofocus at his disposal? Of course not.

You don’t become a professional photographer by being able to buy the best equipment. You’re not being hired for your ability to use your credit card. You’re being hired for your ability to create art that no one else can create. You’re being hired for your unique voice. You’re being hired for your experience and because you’ve put in the hard work over the years to now make it all look so easy.

So, maybe all those hours you spent on Google this morning trying to get the definitive answer to whether full frame or APS-C is a superior format wasn’t the best use of your time. Maybe it would have been more useful to have spent the morning cold-calling clients for whom you can put your old equipment to use. Maybe instead of surfing the web, you should have been updating your own website. Maybe instead of having a Twitter duel over the merits of someone else’s work, you should be out creating work of your own.

Being a professional photographer is not about the tools you bring to set inside your designer case. It’s about the creativity and work ethic you have no matter what tool you hold in your hand.

So, next time you find yourself strolling down the digital shopping aisles in search of value, turn your attention instead to building the value of your own product. Instead of looking for a new camera, ask yourself if there’s a way to get more out of the one you already have. Instead of trying to convince yourself that you really need that upgraded lens, ask yourself if there’s a new way you can look at a familiar subject. And next time you subconsciously, maybe not so subconsciously, begin to think that you could really go to “the next level” if only you had better equipment, remind yourself that you can’t buy creativity. You can’t buy experience. You can only work for it.

[“source=TimeOFIndia”]