Back to school stories this year will focus, naturally, on the Covid-19 pandemic’s toll on students and families and on remedying these difficulties.
But another story is being shortchanged: it’s about how parents sought new options for their children like homeschooling, small learning pods, and micro-schools, with civic entrepreneurs and their partners creating new organizations or expanding existing ones to meet this demand.
A judge ruled Friday that Apple engaged in anticompetitive conduct in its App Store, concluding a lawsuit filed by game developers alleging the tech giant was an illegal monopolist.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled Friday that Apple’s policy of preventing app developers from linking to third-party payment systems within their apps was anticompetitive, forcing the iPhone maker to change its app store guidelines. However, Rogers ruled in favor of Apple on several other allegations, finding the tech giant did not illegally maintain a monopoly.
“While the Court finds that Apple enjoys considerable market share of over 55% and extraordinarily high profit margins, these factors alone do not show antitrust conduct,” Rogers wrote. “Success is not illegal.”
Questions set the scientific method in motion. Without that initial curiosity, that “I wonder…”, that “What if…”, we would not have the technology, the medicine, nor the knowledge that we have today.
But not all questions have readily attainable answers. Despite our formidable advances in probing reality over the years, there are some things we are still incapable of concretely knowing. One day, that could change, but for these topics it’s currently hard to fathom how. Here are four questions that humans may never know the answers to:
Do You See Red Like I See Red?
Apple and Google might change their app store business practices because of a new South Korean law similar to recent legislative efforts by U.S. lawmakers.
The new law would prohibit app stores, including Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, from forcing developers to use the tech giants’ payment systems, The Wall Street Journal reported. The bill, passed by South Korea’s National Assembly, will become law once signed by President Moon Jae-in.
The Korean bill is similar to a bipartisan bill introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Amy Klobuchar, and Marsha Blackburn to the U.S. Senate earlier this month that seeks “to promote competition and reduce gatekeeper power in the app economy, increase choice, improve quality, and reduce costs for consumers.” Both bills prevent app stores from requiring the use of their billing systems and take aim at the tech giants’ commission structure.
Apple proposed a settlement with app developers Thursday, requiring the tech company to restructure its app store and change some of its more controversial practices.
The agreement, still pending court approval, would settle a class action antitrust lawsuit filed by app developers against Apple for alleged anticompetitive practices in its app store.
The company will now permit app developers to use information obtained in their apps to directly communicate with consumers about payment options outside the app store, Apple announced in court filings Thursday. This helps developers avoid paying Apple a commission on app purchases, and grants developers greater control over their apps.
Senators from both parties introduced a bill Wednesday targeting alleged anticompetitive conduct among Apple and Google app stores.
The Open App Markets Act, introduced Wednesday by Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn along with Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar, would prevent app stores such as Google Play and Apple’s App Store from requiring developers to use the tech giants’ in-app payment systems as a condition of distribution. The bill would also stop Apple and Google from taking “punitive action” against developers who offer different pricing terms in other app stores.
“This legislation will tear down coercive anticompetitive walls in the app economy, giving consumers more choices and smaller startup tech companies a fighting chance,” Blumenthal said in a joint statement.
Apple plans to scan all iPhone in the U.S. for potential child abuse imagery.
The move announced Thursday generated shock waves among security experts who say it could allow the company to surveil many millions of phones for reasons unrelated to images of child abuse.
“This sort of tool can be a boon for finding child pornography in people’s phones. But image what it could do in the hands of an authoritarian government,” tweeted Johns Hopkins professor and cryptographer Matthew Green.
State attorneys general of 36 states and the District of Columbia filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google on Wednesday alleging the company engaged in anticompetitive practices in its Play Store for Android.
The complaint argues Google holds and unlawfully maintains a monopoly in the market of “Android app distribution,” using anticompetitive tactics such as blocking competitors from accessing the Play Store, discouraging the creation of competing app stores, and acquiring smaller app developers. The complaint also alleges Google charges app developers up to a 30% commission when customers purchase their products through the Google Play Store.
“Google has taken steps to close the ecosystem from competition and insert itself as the middleman between app developers and consumers,” the plaintiffs argue.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a great deal about America and Americans. Most have acquiesced to anything and everything government bureaucrats asked for in the name of public safety. Masks have been donned, churches have been shuttered, and many of us stayed at home for months, working remotely.
This last item may end up being the largest and most permanent transformation of the United States. The mobility that comes with remote work may end up transforming middle America as left-coast technologists migrate inward. Freed from the work-based ties that bind them to Silicon Valley and New York City, they can now easily take their jobs and their left-wing politics to the heartland, ushering in a transformative moment in American politics.
Thomas Edsall, writing for The New York Times, discusses how many from densely populated urban areas on the coasts are finding that remote work enables them to have big city paychecks while living in suburban or rural areas with lower costs of living.
More rural Georgians are expected to gain access to high-speed internet under a private-sector partnership announced this week by Conexon Connect.
Conexon Connect is collaborating with Middle Georgia EMC to provide broadband access to nearly 5,000 homes and businesses in Dooly, Houston, Macon, Pulaski, Turner, Wilcox and Ben Hill counties.
“Our members have waited long enough for high-speed access to make telemedicine, remote learning, working from home and videoconferencing with loved ones a reality on a daily basis,” Middle Georgia EMC President and CEO Randy Crenshaw said. “Connect is making it possible for our cooperative to deliver this vital service at last. We are ready to show them all the opportunities that open up in a more connected community.”
Every day, we are bombarded with information. A police shooting under questionable circumstances. A tense encounter between people of different races. A flood of statistics on COVID-19 cases, mortality, and vaccine effectiveness.
We receive the data in the form of easily digested soundbites and a never-ending reel of videos. We are supposed to respond by taking a stand and making a judgment. If there is any doubt as to what that stand should be, the mood music on the news and the explicit narratives on social media make it plain what we are supposed to feel and think.
Objectively speaking, these videos present as many questions as they present answers. Maybe it’s grainy and fast moving. Maybe the lens is distorting perspective. With YouTube, we can slow it down, rewind, and enhance the color. Ah ha! See! The kid dropped the gun a tenth of a second before the officer’s shot went off, says the know-it-all.