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LanceList - Issue #36

Xiaomi in the U.S., A Real Jedi Battle, the Next Mars Mission, Apple Data


May 4 · Issue #36 · View online
Tech stories that matter, Gadget Quests, nerd pursuits, and other things you ought to know.

Xiaomi in the U.S., A Real Jedi Battle, the Next Mars Mission, Apple Data

This is how you do it. On Thursday, Twitter discovered that user passwords had been stored in an encrypted log file on their own systems. There was no hack or breach, just an internal error. A security mistake like that is never good news, but I was impressed with how quickly Twitter informed users (me included) and how it counseled us to change our passwords, just to be safe. Of course, telling 300M people to access and update settings all at once has unintended consequences, like Twitter’s entire system temporarily seizing up. It all quickly calmed down and I walked away feeling like Twitter has my back. The lesson here is, if you discover a breach, hack or even an internal error that impacts security and privacy, don’t hide it: Evaluate. Act. Communicate. 
No free pass. Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is expert at making handsets that look like a lot like the sexy beasts Apple produces, but at a fraction of the price. The company is set for a big IPO and would like to make a big splash in the U.S. But even with loads of cash and quality devices, Xioami’s chances for success in the U.S. are limited by things like a trade war with China and concerns about Chinese intelligence agencies using Chinese commercial products to, well, spy on us. This article lays out all the reasons you may never see a Xioami Mi Mix 2 beside an iPhone X at your local Verizon store.
Xiaomi will have a hard time selling phones in the US
Use the Force. If you love Star Wars like I do, then you probably also dream about engaging in realistic lightsaber battles – without cutting someone’s arm off IRL, of course. Star Wars: Jedi Challenge Lightsaber, the $149 augmented reality headset and replica-quality lightsaber set, was phase one. It let you battle a Darth Maul who appeared to be standing right in front of you. In honor of May the 4th, Lenovo is shipping a software update that will let you battle other headset owners. It is so cool. Read my hands on for more details. 
My first lightsaber battle did not go as planned – Lance Ulanoff – Medium
Inside Mars. If you thought the surface of Mars was interesting, wait until you see what lies at the heart of the red planet. NASA’s InSight Mars Lander, which is set to launch on May 5, promises to drill deeper than previous robot explorers. She’ll tell you all about it in this video.
The Adventure Begins – InSight Mars Lander - YouTube
What does Apple know. Virtually every tech company you interact with has some data on you. Facebook has a ton, Twitter has some, and, yes, even Apple has a little bit. One USA Today Tech Reporter requested Apple send him a record of all the data they have on him. You may want to do the same.
Apple: My request for all the data it had on me was eye-opening
ICYMI. Tesla was up until Elon Musk dragged them down. And Cambridge Analytica is out for the count.
P.S. I agree with this method of robot disposal.
Coming Up
Build. Microsoft’s big developer’s conference kicks off next week. It will define the future of Windows, Azure, Office, Windows Dev tools and more. Watch my Twitter feed for updates starting on May 7. BTW: Google I/O comes up right after that.
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