Welcome to our new 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.
Let's get to it!
The biggest story of yesterday and why you should care today: Breaking News ran a piece yesterday reading, in total, "US magistrate judge in California directs Apple to help FBI break into cell phone of San Bernardino gunman, AP reports."
According to the Associated Press report, "The ruling by Sheri Pym on Tuesday requires Apple to supply highly specialized software the FBI can load onto the phone to cripple a security encryption feature that erases data after too many unsuccessful unlocking attempts."
The Silicon Valley giant has steadfastly maintained it is unable to unlock its newer iPhones for law enforcement, even when officers obtain a warrant, because they are engineered in such a way that Apple does not hold the decryption key. Only the phone’s user would be able to unlock the phone — or someone who knew the password.
So the judge's ruling is notable for a few reasons:
1. Despite Syed Farook's phone being work-issued, nobody in the IT department knew his phone passcode.
2. The government has basically called Apple on its inability to unlock its newer phones and turned the FBI's "We can't unlock this phone" problem into Apple's "If we don't unlock this phone, we're in violation of a court order" problem.
Stay tuned for an explainer from someone about the legal protections an employee might have if the government decides to see what they have on their phones or tucked into a cloud account. This recent development will also throw some fuel onto the fiery debate raging over what responsibility tech companies bear for encryption technologies that people can use to break the law.
Apple is already on the record as being staunchly pro-consumer. As Buzzfeed reported:
Cook elaborated on the statement last December on 60 Minutes. "There have been people that suggest we should have a backdoor. But the reality is, if you put a backdoor in, that backdoor is for everybody, for good guys and bad guys," he said. "I don't believe that the tradeoff here is privacy versus national security. I think that's an overly simplistic view. We're America. We should have both."
The most useful news we read in the past 24 hours: Battery life is a topic near and dear to our hearts, and How-To Geek has a nice piece on "How to See Which Applications Are Draining Your Battery on Windows 10." Also near and dear to our hearts: What to do when our Windows 10 systems go on the fritz, and Tech Republic's got that covered with "How to revive your Windows 10 installation with System Image Recovery."
And MakeUseOf has two must-reads with "10 Windows Task Manager Tricks You Didn’t Know" and "35 Everyday Microsoft Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows & Mac."
For years I built people custom Lego computers, and with each new system I slowly moved closer to deciding to design and build a standardized Lego Computer system that combined the typical requested system requirements into one computer. This system became the Mini Lego Computer, a small form-factor system that packed the power of a full desktop computer – including Intel i7 processor, multiple SSD drives, and 16GB of memory – into a customizable Lego case.
And for all of you who have seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, here's a Tumblr-based set of gifs hypothesizing what [beloved character] is like as [role] for [new character]. I hope that was un-spoilery enough for those of you who have not yet made it to the movie.
And here's what we posted yesterday ...
The NexDock Converts Your Lumia 950 & 950 XL into a Laptop -- "The NexDock will allow me to put the Continuum feature on my Lumia 950 to use while I am on the road much more effectively than carrying a mobile keyboard, mouse and either a wireless display adapter or HDMI cable."
Check out these Five Free OneNote Add-Ons and Tools -- "We wanted to let you know about five different add-ons and tools for Microsoft’s OneNote that can help expand the capabilities of that software and allow you to take its functionality even further."
How to Find Which Installed Apps Are Integrated with Cortana and How to Use Them -- "There’s an easy way to get the list of Cortana integrated apps you have installed on your PC or device."
Which Fitness Device is Most Accurate? -- "T3, the gadget website, enlisted the help of Guru Performance, a UK-based nutrition and wellness company, to test the Microsoft Band 2, the Apple watch, the Fitbit Charge HR and the Garmin Vivosmart HR in its Human Performance Lab."