ICYMI: February 18, 2016 Getty Images

ICYMI: February 18, 2016

Welcome to our curation feature, ICYMI. As you may or may not know, "ICYMI" is an acronym for "In case you missed it," and the goal of this morning round-up is to feature the best stuff from the last 24 hours that you might not have seen because you were too busy doing productive work.


The biggest story of yesterday and why you should care today: The court ruling requiring Apple to assist the FBI in accessing a locked iPhone sucked up all the air in the news cycle, aided in part by Apple's release of a letter that positioned the issue as one of customer rights:

The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals. The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.

We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack. For years, cryptologists and national security experts have been warning against weakening encryption. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data. Criminals and bad actors will still encrypt, using tools that are readily available to them.

Or, as Gizmodo explains:

The security measures that the FBI wants to get around are crucial privacy features on iOS9, because they safeguard your phone against criminals and spies using the brute force attack. So it’s not surprising that Apple is opposing the court order. There is more than one person’s privacy at stake here!

Security analyst Rich Mogull provides an analysis of why the government's request of Apple is a big deal in legal circles, explaining: 

The crux of the issue is: Should companies be required to build security circumvention technologies to expose their own customers? Not “assist law enforcement with existing tools,” but “build new tools.”

The FBI Director has been clear that the government wants back doors into our devices, even though the former head of the NSA disagrees and supports strong consumer encryption. One reason Apple is likely fighting this case so publicly is that it is a small legal step from requiring new circumvention technology, to building such access into devices. The FBI wants the precedence far more than they need the evidence, and this particular case is incredibly high profile and emotional.


The most useful tech news: Speaking of bad things befalling people when their log-in security is compromised, here's 5 steps to take if your Google Apps account login leaks

Yesterday, we had a How-To Geek link on checking Windows 10 battery usage. Today, it's "How to See Which Applications Are Draining Your Mac’s Battery." 

Cloud storage provider Copy is shutting down. Users who took advantage of its free 15 GB storage offer have to figure out how to move their data. Here's a primer

You can "Save Tons of Disk Space on Windows 10 With This Quick Tip," i.e. disable the hibernation feature.

A New York City startup called Neverware focuses on helping older PC users transition their machines to machines running Chromium, the open-source version of Google’s Chrome operating system. The conversion is a way to repurpose old hardware and stretch tiny IT budgets.Ovid-Elsie, MI, school district IT director Dan Davenport deployed Neverware, and not only did the machines work well, they cost practically nothing:

[He] estimates that to get a new machine and the proper license, it would cost around $400 for each new Windows computer and $200 for each new Chromebook. "With Neverware it’s costing me 50 bucks." The school is now adapting several computer labs to run Neverware chromebooks. "Hey, that’s an interesting model," says Davenport with a chuckle. "Run on your oldest junk for next to no money."

Here's a guide on how to turn your own old PC into a faster Chromium-running machine.

And finally, Yahoo Mail and Hotmail users can "Gmailify" their mail experience. This entails flipping a "Gmailify" switch in the Gmail app on Android, and then Gmailify will link a user's existing Hotmail or Yahoo Mail account to Gmail.

Why would you do this? Maybe you're really attached to that Yahoo.com address you've had since 1996:

Gmailify links your existing account to Gmail so that you get all the bells and whistles—spam protection, inbox organization and even Google Now cards based on your mail—without having to leave your current address behind. 


The most amusing tech news: This is no ninja cat riding a fire-breathing unicorn but we think the T-Rex riding a horse that's kicking a soccer ball is all right. 


What we published:

How-To: Hide Action Center Notifications on Windows 10 Mobile Lock Screen — "The Action Center will show, by default, all of the notifications you receive on your device. While many of us are OK with this and like the quick access to our information with a simple swipe from the top of our screen, many would prefer to keep that information behind their PIN or password on their device."

How can I get Vista on my new computer? — "I have a new PC with Win10 on it and an old PC running Vista. I don’t like Win10 much. I know Vista intimately, and I’m happy with it. I’d like an article that addresses putting Vista on my new Dell computer."

Outlook.com: As of Today, "We’re taking the preview label off" — "The new, improved version of Microsoft's online email service is out of preview mode, the Outlook.com team said today in a blog post."

US Department of Defense Moving to Windows 10; Approves Surface Devices for Use — "The Secretary of Defense has directed all U.S. DoD agencies to begin the rapid deployment of the Microsoft Windows 10 throughout their respective organizations for information systems currently utilizing Microsoft Operating Systems."

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter V2 Announced; Available for Pre-Order — "The device is now more balanced on each end between the HDMI and USB sides. This should allow it to be plugged in more easily than when all the bulk was on the HDMI side in v1."

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