The merger between Sprint and T-Mobile has been approved by the Department of Justice, giving mobile another major carrier to compete against AT&T and Verizon. The talk is, that T-Mobile is going to work with DISH Network to create a huge new 4th carrier by Dish. Dish will also get Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and several other MVNOs. As a long-time T-Mobile user, Leo doesn't really have a problem with it, especially as we move into 5G speeds. But it's not in the clear yet, as 13 state attorney generals are suing to stop it.
This Week in Tech News
The mobile app called FaceApp is causing concern with privacy advocates, and even members of Congress because people are concerned that their photos are being uploaded to servers in Russia. But the developer, who worked for Microsoft when he got the idea, assures that all photos are uploaded to Amazon cloud servers. The bigger concern is that the terms of service grant FaceApp the ownership of your likeness forever. Leo says, though, that it's just legal-speak that's written in the broadest possible terms.
Everyone is up in arms about the app FaceApp and it's privacy concerns. People are concerned because the app will upload your images to a third party server and use them whenever and however they want. Leo says that the server is not in Russia, but is actually Amazon Cloud Services. It also has a boiler plate terms of service that users should pay attention to, that transfers your likeness rights to them to do whatever they want. Period. While technically true, it's also probably true of Instagram, Facebook, and others.
After agreeing to a consent decree to protect user privacy in 2011, Facebook has been fined $5 billion for failing to obey the decree. It's the largest fine in the history of the Federal Trade Commission, but it didn't really hurt Facebook, as the stock market rewarded the social media company with a $6 billion stock bump. This leaves Leo to wonder if you can really fine Facebook enough to make it hurt and if the only way to punish the social media giant is to stop using it.
Amazon Prime Days start tomorrow, but Leo warns that not all Prime Deals are actually deals. So he recommends going to TheWireCutter. They have a Prime Deals comparison to tell you if Amazon is offering a deal or not, and where you can get a better deal. And Walmart is about to launch THE BIG SAVE week. Check there too. Target has Deal Days, and eBay is offering CrashDays. Even Nordstrom is getting into the game.
ISPs in the United Kingdom has labeled Firefox a "public villain" because it is advocating private browsing with a new version of the browser that makes your activity online invisible, making it impossible for ISPs to sell your browsing data. Leo says that alone is enough to start using Firefox again.
A year after moving its base of operations to Los Angeles, Mad Magazine has announced it will soon cease publishing and will only be highlighting previously published content on their website. It's the end of an era. Leo says that the Internet is largely the reason, since there are so many options for getting this kind of humour, and the advertising revenue simply isn't there anymore.
Speaking of the end of eras, Apple's iconic designer, Jony Ive, has announced he's leaving the company to begin his own startup. Ive designed the iconic gumdrop iMac, the iPhone, iPad, and even the Apple Watch. But Leo says that perhaps his shining design achievement is the Spaceship headquarters at Apple Park. But his worst design were the butterfly keyboards on the recent MacBook Pro. And within days of the announcement Ive was leaving, Apple announced it would dump the butterfly keyboard in favor of scissor switches in the upcoming MacBook Pro in 2020.
June 29, 2007, twelve years ago, Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone. Apple hadn't invented the app store yet, so the original iPhone didn't really have but a few very basic apps. In fact, Steve Jobs thought everything would be done through websites, not apps. It was listed at $499 and people lined up three days before it launched to get one. But a smartphone wasn't really new, what did change the world was having a full-time connection to the internet in your pocket.