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Tom Briant

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for January 18, 2018

A man's life was saved by his iPhone after he used the Siri feature to tell his fiancée that he was having a stroke.

When Rob Belt began seeing double and felt 'like he had downed 10 pints', he managed to muster the strength to ask his smartphone to call for help.
 
 
 
 
 
Apple iOS 11.2.2 Release: Should You Upgrade?
 
Apple iOS 11.2.2 Verdict:
Install If You Run iOS 11, Hold If You’re Running iOS 10
 
 
 
 
Apple iOS 11.2.2 Release Has A Nasty Surprise
 
iOS 11.2.2 is throttling performance by as much as 50% ...  users were not just subjectively reporting their iPhones and iPads felt slower, but were able to demonstrate it with before and after benchmark scores.
 
 
 
 
Is Apple slowing down your old iPad or MacBook too? Tech giant reveals whether ALL of its old gadgets are at risk.
 
Apple says: "This power management feature is specific to iPhone and does not apply to any other Apple products.”
 
That means your old iPad, MacBook or Apple Watch won't be impacted by any of the processor-throttling software updates currently targeting old iPhone models.
 
 
 
 
Apple made a section of the App Store to highlight apps that offer free trials 
Be sure to double check if a subscription is annual, monthly, or weekly
 
For those who want to test out an app before making a purchase, Apple is now promoting a new section in the App Store, “Try it for Free,” that highlights apps that offer a free trial period before you have to pay for a subscription.
 
As of this writing, there are only four apps being offered in the section.
 
There is also the usual peril of free trials — accidentally forgetting to cancel the trial before it starts charging you, if you don’t end up wanting the service.
 
 
 
 
24 hidden iPhone settings you should know about
 
 
 
 
Apple iMac Pro review – this superbly designed workstation is most powerful Mac ever
 
 
 
 
iMac Pro Review – Is It Worth the Money?
 
This review was written by a power user who really needs a powerful computer for the kind of work he does.
 
His new iMac Pro — WAY — outperforms his MacBook Pro.  He spends much less time waiting for it to complete tasks.
 
He wrote:
 
“Rather unscientifically, I started editing a project I had logged on my MacBook Pro to see if I would immediately feel the difference. I did. Oh, boy, did I feel it! The iMac Pro is designed for exactly my types of workflow.”
 
“As you may have heard, the iMac Pro can’t be opened up by the end user. This seems to have got some people rather cross, which I must say I find amusing. The last thing I am interested in is ripping apart my computer and swapping out components. Upgrading is of no concern to me, nor to most small businesses. Besides, it’s not 1977 and I don’t spend my evenings at a home brew computer club!”
 
 
 
 
iMac Pro vs 27-inch iMac
Should you buy a 27in iMac, or the iMac Pro? We compare the two machines on design, features, specs and value for money
 
This article gets into the technical details when comparing the two computers.
 
Verdict:
The iMac Pro is a far more powerful machine. But do you really require that much power? If you're editing 8K RED video, H.264 4K footage, or 50Mp RAW stills, perhaps you do. If you're just looking for a superfast Mac, even if you're a gamer, the iMac Pro is probably overkill.
 
The Pro machine is seriously expensive, and you need to think long and hard about how much processing power you really need.

 
 
 
Apple ID login now required to check AppleCare warranty coverage for your devices
 
 
 
 
What happens when an iPhone X is dropped
 
It holds up surprisingly well when dropped from 3 feet high (pocket high) or 5 feet high (selfie high)
 
 
 
 
Android makers want to copy the iPhone X’s Face ID, but it’s not that easy
 
 
 
 
Android Smartphones Try — and Fail — to Mimic Face ID
 
 
 
 
Apple’s star presence no longer overshadows Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
 
The Apple ecosystem is no longer the star of CES — instead, things like Amazon’s Alexa voice platform, and now Google’s assistant voice platform, are the clear ecosystem winners of CES.
 
It is easy, and correct, to say that CES was not, or never was, a measure of the health of Apple’s products. It is, however, incorrect and dangerous to miss that CES had been, for some time, a barometer for the health of Apple’s ecosystem.
 
We can’t ignore the fact that Apple’s ecosystem, which used to be on display at CES, is no longer, and that competitors’ ecosystems are now the ones that dominate the show. How this plays in the market, we aren’t sure, but we need to keep a close eye on these new dynamics.

 
 
 
Apple today has shared a revised version of its iOS Security Guide, dated January 2018. The new document, which comes in at 78 pages long includes new details on Apple Pay Cash, Face ID, and more…
 
The document explains in detail how Apple features work and how they're protected.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Apple releases new iPhone and Mac updates to help protect against Spectre
 
• Apple has released security updates for iOS, MacOS, and Safari that help protect against Spectre.
 
• Spectre is one of two security flaws that were discovered in chips last week, which affect numerous devices running Intel and ARM components. 
 
• Amid releasing updates for both the Spectre and Meltdown flaws, Apple urges users not to download applications from sources outside of the App Store.
 
 
 
 
New MaMi macOS malware is hijacking DNS settings
 
• A new macOS malware called MaMi can hijack DNS settings, install root certificates, and otherwise compromise macOS machines. Its attack vector is currently unknown.
• Not all antivirus engines can detect MaMi yet, so keep your definitions up to date and run regular scans to ensure none of your machines are infected.
 
When initially discovered, there wasn't a single anti-malware app that recognized MaMi as malicious. As our sister site ZDNet points out, that number has changed: As of this writing 27 of the 59 antivirus platforms on VirusTotal recognize MaMi.
 
 
 
 
DNS-hijacking malware sneaks past anti-virus and creeps into Apple macOS
 
At the time of writing, it doesn't look like anti-virus tools will defend Macs against the malware. However, now that it's been brought to light we would expect updates to be pushed put for macOS security tools to defend against the malware.
 
Macs are generally less vulnerable to malware than Windows machines but as they grow in popularity we can expect malware to keep trying to pry open Cupertino's slick software.
 
 
 
 
Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws: How to protect your Mac and iOS devices
 
Spectre affects all iOS, macOS, and tvOS. WatchOS is unaffected by the Meltdown and Spectre flaws.
 
What’s Apple doing to fix it?

Well, there isn’t really a real fix. These exploits rely on flaws baked right into the very design of the CPUs themselves. The best Apple or anyone can do is mitigate the risk, and Apple is already taking steps to do so. In December, Apple released macOS 10.13.2, iOS 11.2, and tvOS 11.2 with mitigations to lessen the risk, and iOS 11.2.2 also "includes security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of Spectre." Additionally, Safari 11.0.2 includes mitigations against Spectre on macOS. Apple says more mitigations are on the way.
 
How can I protect my device from attack?

Update your OS

This is the obvious answer, but it’s also the best one. As we said, there is no real fix for Meltdown or Spectre, just ways to make exploits harder to pull off. Apple has already begun taking steps to protect users, but they will only be effective if they’re installed.
 
 
 
 
If you receive this link, DON’T click on it — DON’T even point at it: Terrifying ‘text bomb’ is causing Apple devices to crash
 
 
 
 
A malicious link being sent around will freeze your iPhone — even if you don't click on it
 
• A software developer discovered a bug that lets anyone send you a malicious link on iMessage that can crash your phone.
• Because the bug lies in the link preview, it can freeze the iMessage app without you even clicking on it.
• Called "chaiOS," the bug affects phones running iOS 10 or later.
 
The bug is capable of crashing iMessage altogether, and in some cases, forcing you to restore your phone to factory settings.
 
 
 
 
Another macOS password prompt can be bypassed with any password
 
In System Preferences, you can unlock the App Store preference pane by typing any password. Apple has reportedly already fixed the bug in beta versions of the next macOS High Sierra update.

While this bug is nowhere as serious as the infamous root login bug, as John Gruber wrote, this one is quite embarrassing. What’s wrong with password prompts and macOS?
 
 
 
 
 
How a researcher hacked his own computer and found 'worst' chip flaw
 
This article is not nearly technical enough to explain “how”.  But it’s still some interesting history.
 
 
 
 
 
Intel recalled a major chip in 1995 and turned them into keychains inscribed by the CEO — and the message speaks to Intel's current crisis
 
Intel recalled the Pentium P5 chip in 1995 that produced errors for certain calculations.
 
The recalled chips were turned into keychains for Intel employees.
 
The keychains had an inscription from former Intel CEO Andy Grove that became the company's mantra, and also applies to Intel's current chip crisis.
 
The mantra is:
"Bad companies are destroyed by crises; good companies survive them; great companies are improved by them."
 
 
 
 
Here's When Apple Will Hand Over Chinese iCloud Data to Comply With Local Laws
 
In an e-mail to affected customers on Wednesday, Apple said that it will hand over Chinese iCloud data center operations to Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (GCBD) on February 28. The move will ensure iCloud data owned by Chinese users will remain inside the country’s borders. But Apple was quick to note in the e-mail, which was obtained by 9to5Mac, that it will maintain the same security and encryption protocols and will not build a “backdoor” that would allow a third-party to access user data.
 
 
 
 
Apple transfers iCloud operation in China to a local government-backed firm
 
US technology giant Apple confirmed last week that iCloud services in mainland China will soon be operated by a Chinese company in a move to comply with the cybersecurity law enacted in June last year.
 
Apple's move was made to comply with the newly enacted cybersecurity law in China, which came into force in June last year and demands that data belonging to Chinese citizens and organisations shall be stored within the country and operated by local Chinese companies.

Apple will be one of the first US companies to comply with the Chinese law. Other US companies with business exposure in China, including Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM, have also entered similar agreements
 
 
 
 
Facebook will now show you more posts from friends and family than news
 
Facebook said it plans to alter its algorithm to favor content from friends and families over publishers and brands. In a post published yesterday (Jan. 11), CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote the company’s objective was no longer primarily to surface “relevant content” for Facebook’s 2 billion users, but to prioritize meaningful social interactions that benefit them.
 
 
 
 
Video:
Twitter Engineer Admits to Banning Accounts that Express Interest in God, Guns, and America
 
Twitter direct messaging engineer Pranay Singh admitted to mass-banning accounts that express interest in God, guns, and America, during a Project Veritas investigation.
 
 
 
 
How the legal battle around loot boxes will change video games forever
 
Just a few weeks ago, Belgium’s Gambling Committee took up the most controversial gaming question of the season: are loot boxes gambling? Yes, they said. 

Loot boxes are, in short, virtual boxes with random contents that you purchase through video games with real money.
 
The debate over loot boxes has been one of the most divisive and furious that gaming has seen in years, and certainly one of the most important stories for the industry in 2017. Billions of dollars are on the line here — especially as legislators and regulators in more countries have started to speak up.
 
For years, microtransactions have become more and more prominent in gaming as a way of supplementing income for developers, or replacing the revenue gained by selling units — hence “free to play” games that are free to download and play, but make money by selling you small-ticket items or downloadable content in the game itself.
 
The unparalleled outcry from players, fans, press, and politicians about loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront II signaled that we were at a breaking point. A flagship title of perhaps the world’s most profitable and famous IP was monetizing through microtransactions and loot boxes so pervasively that it felt openly exploitative.
 
What caused the game industry to charge so recklessly toward this precipice? Why risk doing something that would invite legal battles and government scrutiny above and beyond anything that the industry endured during the darkest days of the last generation’s culture wars? Inescapably, the answer is money.
 
 
 
 
US government pushed tech firms to hand over source code
Obtaining a company's source code makes it radically easier to find security flaws and vulnerabilities for surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations.
 
It's not uncommon for tech companies to refer to their source code as the "crown jewel" of their business.
 
Given to a rival or an unauthorized source, the damage can be incalculable.
 
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), created in 1979 to oversee the government's surveillance warrants, has authorized more than 99 percent of all surveillance requests.
 
FISA orders are so highly classified that simply acknowledging an order's existence is illegal, even a company's chief executive or members of the board may not be told. Only those who are necessary to execute the order would know, and would be subject to the same secrecy provisions.
 
Last year, antivirus maker and security firm Kaspersky later found evidence that the NSA had obtained source code from a number of prominent hard drive makers -- a claim the NSA denied -- to quietly install software used to eavesdrop on the majority of the world's computers.
 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Friday, 1-5-2018

Phone Users Suing Apple Over The Battery Issue Have A Tough Case To Prove
 
Dynamic power management is nothing new. It’s a technology that attempts to control the charge and discharge of Lithium-ion batteries according to the power required of them by the device. Apple actually implemented the technology on iPhone 6/Plus and 6s/Plus last year via an iOS update.
 
But Apple changed the performance of people’s devices without telling them directly that they were doing so.
 
Apple probably should have known better than to secretly mess with the performance of the central computing hub in most people’s lives. Many users are very sensitive to the speed at which their phone launches apps and renders video. And Apple knows that; note that in its statement the company did not apologize for throttling down phone performance, but did apologize for not telling consumers.

So score that one for the plaintiffs.
 
 
 
 
Curious how well the battery inside your iPhone is doing? Here's how to check it.
 
By far the easiest way to check on your battery's health. Install the official Apple Support app and sign into your Apple ID if required.

Start a chat session with Apple Support, selecting the phone you want to have tested as the device in question. Once you're connected with a technician, inform him or her you want to know the status of your battery's health.

You will then be walked through the process, which requires going into Settings > Privacy > Analytics. A few seconds later, a report is sent to the representative.

My iPhone X battery passed with flying colors, as expected.
 
Keep in mind, Apple isn't actually requiring your battery to fail its test to make you eligible for the $29 replacement. Checking your battery is more for peace of mind than anything else.

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/iphone-battery-health-how-to-check-it-on-your-own/
 
 
 
How to Tell if You Need a New iPhone Battery
 
The easiest thing to do is download an app like Battery Life (there are multiple apps with that name, but this version, by RBT Digital, seems to be the most robust).
 
If you've got anything older than an iPhone 7, get the $29 battery change next time you're anywhere near an Apple Store.
 
If you've got an iPhone 7 or newer, check the Battery Life app infrequently and see where things are headed. If your iPhone battery is headed to just 80 percent then look into the replacement options stat, hopefully before Apple's battery deal runs out at the end of the year.

Apple says its batteries are good for 400 to 500 charge cycles. That usually takes a year or two—or around the time you'd upgrade iOS and see it all slow down when the new iOS detects an aging battery and reduces processor output to "help" you. It doesn't hurt that Apple would also prefer you purchase a new phone around that time, too.
 
 
 
 

Run, don’t walk, to replace your iPhone battery for $29

 
Apple shaved $50 off its standard battery fee in an extraordinary — but limited-time — effort to get back in our good graces.
 
Rarely is tech advice this cut and dried: If you bought an iPhone in 2016 or earlier, make an appointment at a Genius Bar as soon as possible. Apple just started a program that can make old iPhones feel new again — for just $29.
 
An Apple store or repair shop will pop the hood of your iPhone 6, 6s, SE or 7 and swap out the battery. Like a jalopy after a Jiffy Lube, a three-year-old iPhone with a fresh battery will not only run longer, chances are it will also run faster.
 

 
 
It takes 17 hours for an image to burn in on the iPhone X, test shows
Samsung phones didn't perform as well, but their owners shouldn't worry either.

None of these three phones performed poorly enough in this test that owners should be worried.
 
 
 
 
Five simple steps to keep your Mac safe from hackers
 
 
 
 
Apple is updating its software to combat chip security holes
 
Apple said it will be releasing more software updates to protect against recently disclosed security vulnerabilities.

This marked the first time that the company had made a formal statement about the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, which were reported to affect phones, servers andPCs.
 
Apple says the patches will have "no measurable effect" on performance.
 
 
 
 
Apple confirms all Mac and iOS devices are affected by Meltdown and Spectre bugs
 
“All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers at this time,” the company writes in a blog post. “Since exploiting many of these issues requires a malicious app to be loaded on your Mac or iOS device, we recommend downloading software only from trusted sources such as the App Store.”
 
Apple Watch devices are not affected by Meltdown in any way, Apple confirms.
 
 
 
 
9 reasons you should buy an iPhone 8 instead of an iPhone X
 
 
 
 
The T2 chip makes the iMac Pro the start of a Mac revolution
 
Sure, it's the fastest Mac ever made, but the T2 chip is what really makes it different.
 
AW comment:
Presumably, that chip will be coming to regular iMacs in the future.
 
 
 
 
iMac Pro Teardown
 
For those of you who are technically inclined, here is a detailed, step-by-step disassembly of the iMac Pro, with pictures.
 
 
 
 
Must-read iOS 11 Control Center tips and tricks
 
Here are our top tips for making the most out of Control Center in iOS 11. These tips apply to iOS 11 specifically, so if you haven't upgraded yet  be sure to do so in order to gain these great new features on your iOS devices.
 
 
 
 
Why on Earth did I wait so long to disable Siri on my iPhone X?
 
I’ve been dealing with accidental Siri activations ever since I first got the Apple Watch in 2015. Workouts aside, I would activate Siri at least a few times every week simply by pushing a door open or doing something similar. So I finally decided to completely disable Siri on my iPhone, since that’s the only way to disable Siri on the Apple Watch.

Why didn’t I do this sooner!?

Not having false alerts every 2 seconds while I exercise is wonderful, but there’s another benefit I wasn’t expecting. The battery life on my iPhone X has gotten a huge boost since disabling Siri.
 
 
 
 
Angela Ahrendts says it took years to figure out the key to success — here's how she has stuck to her values while becoming Apple's highest-paid employee
 
 
 
 
 
 
There’s a reason using a period in a text message makes you sound angry
 
Now that text messaging and social media have given their users an outlet for casual written language, differences between writing styles can be seen.
 
When using a period in a text message, it’s perceived as overly formal. So when you end your text with a period, it can come across as insincere or awkward, just like using formal spoken language in a casual setting like a bar.
 
Some educators are even beginning to incorporate lessons about formal and informal writing into their classrooms, which can help students identify those situations that require the use of different styles.
 
We change how we talk depending on where we are, who we’re talking to or how we’re communicating.

A common example is the way we talk in a job interview versus at a bar with friends. Typically, a speaker will use much more formal language in an interview than when hanging out with peers. If you talked to your friends the same way you talked during a job interview, it would probably give a stilted, distant feeling to the conversation.
 
 
 
 
 
Facebook Dumps 'Fake News' Patrol After Spectacular Backfire
 
Facebook has abandoned it’s fake news ‘fact checkers‘ program to label articles reviewed by Snopes and Politifact as ‘disputed,’ after the program backfired a little over a year after inception.

The company pointed to a slowdown in news flow, the fact that stories were required to be deemed “false” before earning a “disputed” label, and
because many people were instead drawn to clicking on the articles in question.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Two Calendars from NASA for 2018
 
Note:
The APOD calendar begins with December 2017.  Turn the page and January 2018 will appear.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Everything You Need to Know About Blockchain But Were Too Embarrassed to Ask
 
Blockchain is the technology that underlies BitCoin.  But it’s being used for many other purposes as well.
 
Blockchain technology breaks the database into a million tiny pieces, which are then spread across thousands of computers. “Instead of breaking into a house,” Smith says, “you now have to break into an entire town.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
Intel speaks out on fixes for ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ CPU exploits, their impact
 
A so-called bug initially ascribed solely to Intel CPUs is actually a pair of exploits that, taken together, impact many of the CPUs being used in PCs, mobile devices, and data centers. The bugs now have names — Meltdown, which affects Intel processors, and Spectre, which is more widespread and affects CPUs from Intel, AMD, and ARM.
 
The issue is related to how programs access memory, specifically information that should only be accessible to the operating system kernel that maintains the highest level of privileges. The exploits are ones where malicious programs can access the protected kernel memory space and “see” information that should be locked away.
 
The full details, which are not yet available, are quite technical and relate to how a CPU moves in and out of protected kernel mode.
 
The fix for Meltdown has to be implemented by the operating system in a process labeled Kernel Page Table Isolation (KPTI), which puts the kernel in an area of protected memory space that cannot be accessed by other programs. That creates extra processing steps — dumping and then reloading kernel data — that can slow things down, although, according to Intel, the impact is limited to specific workflows and typical users will not notice much impact.
 
Spectre will take longer to resolve but is also much more difficult to exploit.
 
All operating systems will need to implement some form of KPTI in order to bypass the bug and improve security.
 
This story isn’t about one manufacturer’s problems but apparently more about the industry’s rapid response to a widespread issue.
 
 
 
 
 
Intel now says it has a fix for the Spectre bug that Google found to be unfixable
 
Intel says that it's already sending out fixes for the massive "Meltdown" and "Spectre" security bugs, with 90% of recent processors getting the patch by the end of next week.
 
"By the end of next week, Intel expects to have issued updates for more than 90 percent of processor products introduced within the past five years," Intel said in a press release.
 
That still leaves a long way to go: The Meltdown and Spectre attacks are believed to present a threat to almost any Intel processor made since 1995. But safeguarding the last five years' worth of chips is a good start.
 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Cheap Mac Owner: rumination at year's end

I would advise you to check out Low End Mac as we grow older. It has advice on keeping older Macs up and running smoothly.

I am taking this one step further. I am not just an old, low end Mac user: I am downright cheap. I still have a mid-2011 Mac Mini that Apple just declared obsolete. I will think seriously about whether to upgrade it to 10.13 or just leave it at 10.12.6.

Everything works in 10.12 and I don’t want to push it beyond its bounds. I would like USB 3.0 ports on the back instead of the USB 2.0 ports. I bought a Belkin Thunderbolt 1 dock on clearance some time back, which gives me pseudo-USB 3.0 ports if I need them. I just can’t boot from them due to some reason in the Thunderbolt firmware. Such is life.

Jason Snell, former Editor of Macworld who now runs Sixcolors.com and contributes to Macworld.com; wrote about what he’d like to see in 2018 with the Mac.

He’d like to see a better Mac Pro. The trash can design looked great aesthetically; but it didn’t give pro users the update options they wanted. They want to add in the latest video cards, user configurable RAM and SSD storage. That’s why you saw a demand for the old cheese grater style Mac Pros with all those user options. Also, worth noting is the upsurge in articles about building your own Hackintosh from PC Parts and some ingenious software from the hacker community.

I also believe that’s why Apple finally broke down and started offering an external eGPU cage, AMD RX 580 video card, and power supply to developers. I’ve seen articles about using an external GPU with a Thunderbolt 3 equipped Mac at 9to5Mac.com.

Apple, I believe, finally decided to hop on the bandwagon for specialized consumer desktops. The gaming machines dominate this market. Look at PCWorld.com and you’ll see lots of coverage of games and gaming hardware. Apple doesn’t want to leave money on the table. If you want to play games on a tricked-out iMac Pro, well, they’re not stopping you. And would you like that with 10 cores or 18 cores? Wearing a Darth Vader helmet for VR, too?

As for the true pro market, I’ve seen articles debating whether the iMac Pro or Microsoft’s Surface Pro is the better machine. From my limited perspective; if you want to draw on a computer, get the Surface Pro. It’s built for drawing and sketching.

If you need a computer to do heavy-duty computing, such as rendering your animated feature or audio processing or writing software; you’d want the iMac Pro. If you still want to draw, Wacom will accommodate you with plenty of high-end drawing tablets.

Now the low-end market. Jason hopes Apple will reinvigorate the Mac Mini line. The last Mac Mini update came out in 2014. Come on, it’s time to upgrade the processors and move to Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, for Heaven’s Sakes.

I wonder why they shouldn’t go one step further and offer a Apple version of the Intel Compute Stick. This is a computer with an HDMI port at one end, several USB ports in the middle, that plugs into an HDMI port on the back of your big screen TV or monitor.

I’m sure Apple Marketing would come back with “But how about an Apple TV and an iPad instead?”

If you want a cheap computer to surf the Web, do e-mail, and write a bit; you’ll find plenty after Christmas and New Years. If you really want cheap, go to PCLiquidators.com for a used computer.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Round-up for 12/26/2017

 

My Must-Have iOS Apps, 2017 Edition
 
This author presents the 75 apps that he considers his must-haves – – no web services, just apps for iPhone and iPad. 
 
 
 
 
Apple App Store changes could save gamers money
 
Changes to Apple’s iOS App Store could force some game developers to stop taking advantage of their customers through addictive, and sometimes necessary purchases to complete games.
 
Apple changed the requirements for games that offer “loot boxes” as in-app purchases. The changes mean developers are required to show the odds of receiving certain items in the loot box prior to purchase.
 
Loot boxes have been one of the most prominent methods game developers have used to monetize their games, and stories of players shelling out thousands of dollars on free-to-play games aren’t uncommon.
 
Defined as randomized virtual items for purchase, loot boxes vary from game to game, but traditionally they offer aesthetic items for the user, as well as “power-ups” or stronger items to help with tougher levels.
 
 
 
 
Apple now requires App Store games with loot boxes to list odds
 
Update to iOS rules also touches on VPN services, cryptocurrency apps.

9to5Mac was among the first sites to dig into the rules update and pick out the big changes, and it found that Apple has opted to use the term "loot boxes," which it defines as "mechanisms that provide randomized virtual items for purchase.”
 
Apple has beaten Google to the punch in announcing this kind of loot-box odds rule, as Android's Google Play contains no such rules or requirements.
 
 
 
 
Top 10 Tablets For You To Buy In 2018
 
Six of the tablet computers are Apple products.
 
 
 
 
iPhone X users can’t use Face ID to approve family purchases
 
However, given that Apple's facial recognition system can be fooled by children, maybe that is a good thing, especially if your child is trying to buy stuff.
 
 
 
 
The iPhone X’s Face ID can’t approve family purchases, and no one knows why
 
Users are frustrated because equivalent functionality was available on Touch ID devices, and that functionality has been lost in the transition to the iPhone X. Face ID can be used as an authentication method for other purchases, just like Touch ID before it—but Touch ID also worked for "Ask to Buy," and Face ID doesn’t.
 
Apple has said that Face ID is most likely to be fooled by a close family member who bears a strong physical resemblance to the face data stored on the device.
 
 
 
 
Changing your Apple ID sounds scary, but don't let it intimidate you
 

Here's the page about how to change your Apple ID:


Here's the page on how to sign into devices and services after the change:
 
 
 
 
Apple's Newest Mac Pro Turns Four Years Old
 
 
 
 
This is why I use an iPhone instead of Android, but a Windows PC instead of a Mac
 
Apple's iOS is still the best, most useful, and most usable smartphone operating system in the world.
 
But Apple's savvy investments in iOS seem to be leaving the Mac business as an afterthought - alienating Mac loyalists.
 
On the other hand, Microsoft famously missed the boat on smartphones.  This has turned into somewhat of a blessing in disguise for the Windows PC: With no new platform to jump to, Microsoft basically has no choice but to improve Windows 10 across both PCs and tablets.
 
Apple is known as the designer of the slickest devices in the world, but the Windows ecosystem is closing the gap.  Meanwhile, the Mac has stagnated.  Much of Apple's Mac hardware line hasn't been refreshed in a while, and even if it had been, Microsoft is pulling ahead in operating system innovation.
 
I'm not saying I'd never use a Mac again. I used MacBooks for years, and found them to be darn fine computers. But if you're interested in the future of computing, it's happening in Windows 10 and in iOS, not in the Mac.
 
 
 
 
The Best 2017 Apps on iOS
 
 
 
 
Make your new Mac more useful with these essential apps
 
 
 
 
 
 
Best free iPad apps 2018: the top titles we've tried
 
This article covers a lot of apps.
 
 
 
 
Just got an iPhone for Christmas? Download these apps!
 
 
 
 
Some of the best apps for your new Apple Watch
 
 
 
 
Quick Start and Set up with Device dramatically simplifies setting up new Apple devices
 
Receiving a new iPhone or iPad as a gift is a wonderful thing, but setting up a new device has historically been a chore. Manually pairing accessories, joining Wi-Fi networks, remembering which password goes with which account, and the ever-increasing steps required to actually use your shiny new toy make up the worst first world problems.

The good news is Apple has acknowledged this pain point and created a dramatically simpler way to pair or upgrade new products including iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and AirPods.
 
 
 
 
How to Set Up Your New iPhone or iPad Using Automatic Setup
 
Automatic Setup will pop up automatically, but there are some steps to follow to get everything transferred over.
 
 
 
 
How to Erase Your Old iPhone or iPad Before Selling It or Trading It In
 
Step-by-step instructions.
 
 
 
 
 
10 tips and tricks for your new iPhone X
After unboxing that shiny new iPhone X, try these tips to learn the ropes and get the most out of your new phone.
 
This web page has links to several articles.  Each article explains how to use one feature of your new iPhone.
 
 
 
 
If you didn't get an iPhone X or an iPhone 8 this year and don't have plans to purchase a new Apple mobile device soon, check out how to refresh your iPhone.
 
 
 
 
How to Turn Off Face ID With a Siri Voice Command
 
As reported by Reddit, all your have to do is say “Hey Siri, whose phone is this?” and Face ID will switch off automatically—this also works for Touch ID on older iPhones. Once you’re in the clear, just say “Hey Siri, goodbye” to switch it back on.
 
 
 
 
How and where to replace your old, depreciated iPhone battery
 
If you are a techie, this article has pretty detailed instructions, and a link to a youtube video from MaxFixIt with very in-depth instructions.
 
The article says you can also have Apple replace your battery for you.  If it’s not covered by AppleCare, the cost is $79.
 
 
 
 
Apple’s iPhone Debacle Doesn’t Prove It Deliberately Slowed Older Phones
 
Changes to iOS can reduce older device performance, even if this outcome is unintentional.
 
There’s no evidence that Apple’s previous conduct or operating system optimizations were intended to slow down its older products, but perception, as they say, is 9/10 of reality, and the perception of this problem has often been that it validates everything people ever said about Apple deliberately sabotaging older phones.
 
 
 
 
The man who uncovered Apple's software slowdown explains why you should still update your phone
 
Apple made a controversial decision to slow processing power to make sure older phones don't unexpectedly shut down.
 
John Poole told CNBC that while Apple could have been more transparent with the changes to its software, it may not be the best idea for iPhone owners to skip future updates.
 
Poole said Apple's approach to fixing the issue was reasonable, but the messaging was off. Apple could have avoided a lot of backlash, he said, by using phone messages or a toggle feature to alert users to the condition of their handsets.
 
 
 
 
The iPhone X is the best iPhone yet because it gets out of your way
 
By returning to an older iPhone, I realized just how much better the iPhone X is.
 
 
 
 
Remote Tech Support: Best ways to screen share on iOS, macOS, and more
 
Five different ways to let other people see your screen over the internet.
 
 
 
 
Apple ignored a major HomeKit security flaw for six weeks
Locks, cameras and lights were open to attackers.
 
Back in October a developer uncovered a huge vulnerability which essentially meant a stranger, with some basic tech know-how and an Apple Watch, could waltz right on in to your home. And Apple has only just [shortly before 2017-12-21] fixed it.
 
HomeKit was sharing data on HomeKit accessories and encryption keys over insecure sessions with Apple Watches running watchOS 4.0 or 4.1, which essentially gave control of every HomeKit accessory (locks, cameras, lights) to any unscrupulous Apple Watch wearer.
 
HomeKit is sold on the bold claim that you can entirely trust your home to Apple.
 
 
 
 
 
How to Set Up Your New AirPods
 
Step-by-step instructions.
 
 
 
 
Apple AirPods: 9 tips for making the most of your new earbuds
 
You must “pair” or connect AirPods with the device you want to use them with, very likely an iPhone, just as you must do with any Bluetooth speaker. Fortunately, Apple made the process fast and easy.  Details are in the first tip of this article.
 
 
 
 
Tips and Tricks for Getting the Most Out of Your New AirPods
 
Detailed step-by-step instructions to do several different things.
 
 
 
 
What to Buy With the iTunes Gift Card You Unwrapped Christmas Day
 
Lots of good ideas.
 
 
 
 
 
A doomed-but-revolutionary operating system spearheaded by Steve Jobs will be free to download in 2018
 
The LISA operating system.  The graphical user interface that Apple wrote before the first Macintosh OS.
 
Nearly 35 years ago, in January 1983, Apple released the Lisa, the first computer for the workplace with a graphical user interface. The Lisa was a famous flop, but it's still an important moment in Apple history.
 
Soon, you'll be able to try Lisa's pioneering operating system for yourself: In 2018, the Computer History Museum will release the code behind the Apple Lisa operating system for free as open source, for anyone to try and tinker with.
 
 
 
 
Science Says Fitness Trackers Don’t Work.  Wear One Anyway.
 
The fact is, most existing studies on fitness trackers hinge on devices that are several years old.
 
Fitness trackers have turned into wildly capable machines.
 
The software's gotten better, too, along with user experience. Collecting information is one thing. Presenting it in a way people find comprehensible, motivating, and actionable is another.
 
 
 
 
Woman Surmounts Rare Vision Impairment
 
At 16, Alyssa Padmos was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease, a rare inherited degenerative retinal disorder that affects the center of a patient’s vision.
 
Padmos equates it to looking through a pair of glasses with a large, opaque smudge in the center of each lens, allowing you to see clearly only using peripheral vision.

The doctor “comes in and basically goes, ‘Well, your life is over.
 
Everything she’s done since then has proved that doctor wrong — and it hasn’t been an easy feat.
 
Technology has provided some relief.  “My iPad is my best friend,” she said.  Thanks to the Apple Pencil, she can draw again by zooming in on the lines.
 
Despite being legally blind, she’s been able to live a full life.
 
 
 
 
5 Best mobile security apps in Android & iOS
 
Stop malware from taking over your smart phone.
 
 
 
 
H3lix iOS 10.3.3 Jailbreak for iPhone & iPad Released – Here’s How to Use it
 
AW comment:
Jailbreaking an iPhone is — for most people — more trouble than it’s worth.  But if you have enough technical knowledge, it might be worthwhile.
 
 
 
 
iOS 11 Jailbreak is Now Available for Download
 
But its usability is limited, because apps that were made specifically to work on jailbroken iPhones have not been updated to 64 bit.
 
This is, of course, expected to change.
 
 
 
 
LiberiOS iOS 11 Jailbreak Hits iPhone 8 And iPhone X, Here's How To Install It

 
 
 
The first iPhone X jailbreak is available right now, but it’s not all good news
 
There’s hardly a reason to jailbreak the iPhone if you ask me, but there are plenty of people who think otherwise.
 
 
 
 
iOS 11 jailbreak release date, news: Saurik confirms working on Cydia update on latest OS version
 
Saurik, also known by his real name Jay Freeman, revealed in a Reddit post that the Cydia software is on its way to being upgraded for iOS 11 compatibility. Using Cydia to jailbreak the iOS is the most popular method among developers and ordinary users alike, and Saurik's announcement gave renewed hope that the seemingly un-jailbreakable iOS 11 has its weak spots, and Saurik might be the only person that can exploit these weaknesses.
 
 
 
 
3 things Guy Kawasaki learned from working with Steve Jobs
 
Watch the video and read the article.
 
 
 
 
Latency: why typing on old computers just feels better
 
What does “latency” mean?  It’s how much time from when you press a key on your keyboard until the letter you typed appears on your screen.
 
AW comment:
The latency that the author wrote about doesn’t seem to be a problem on my iMac.
 
 
 
 
Facebook Can Now Find Your Face, Even When It’s Not Tagged
 
Any time someone uploads a photo that includes what Facebook thinks is your face, you’ll be notified even if you weren’t tagged.
 
Facebook users in Canada and the European Union are excluded. The social network doesn’t use facial-recognition technology in those regions, due to wariness from privacy regulators.

How good is Facebook’s facial-recognition technology? Among the best in the world.
 
 
 
 
Video:
How the net neutrality repeal will hurt small businesses — including anyone who sells things on sites like Ebay
 
18 state Attorneys General are suing the FCC over the repeal.
 
 
 
 
Net Neutrality – The End of Google’s Biggest Subsidy
 
Lost in all of the theoretical debate about how evil ISPs will create a have/have-not divide in Internet access, is the reality that it already exists along with massive subsidies to the biggest bandwidth pigs on the planet – Facebook, Google, Twitter, Netflix and the porn industry.
 
Net Neutrality took pricing of bandwidth out of the hands of consumers.  It handed the profits from it to Google, Facebook and all the crappy advertisers spamming video ads, malware, scams, and the like everywhere.
 
The price paid to deliver advertisements, i.e. Google’s cost of goods sold (COGS), thanks to Net Neutrality, was held artificially low.  And Google, Facebook and the Porn Industry pocketed the difference.
 
Net Neutrality not only subsidized intrusive advertising, phishing scams and on-demand porn but also the very censorship these powerful companies now feel is their sacred duty to enforce because the government is now controlled by the bad guys.
 
Net Neutrality was a trojan horse designed to replicate the old shout-based advertising model of the golden age of print and TV advertising.  It was a way to control the megaphone and promote a particular point of view.
 
 
 
 
Activists want to fight sex trafficking by changing a key Internet law

Many technology companies consider Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to be a foundation of the Internet economy. The 1996 law gives website owners broad immunity for content submitted by users. Advocates say that allows websites to host a wide variety of user-generated content without worrying about getting sued.

Now, Congress is considering the first significant change to the law in its 21-year history. Critics say certain websites have hidden behind the law while publishing ads for the sexual exploitation of children. Activists are pushing for legislation that would carve out a sex trafficking exception to Section 230, allowing state prosecutions and private lawsuits against websites that host ads for sex with children.
 
The debate over the legislation has focused almost entirely on one website: Backpage.com.
 
In 2015, Congress amended sex trafficking laws to make advertising underage sexual services a crime. This provision was widely viewed as a Backpage killer.

Two years later, federal prosecutors don't seem to have used this new law yet.
 
Defenders of Section 230 also question whether shutting down a site like Backpage would actually help victims of trafficking.
 
Backpage's critics have made much of how reports of online sex trafficking have skyrocketed in recent years. That might be because the problem has gotten worse. But another possibility, Levy points out, is that Backpage has made it easier for the authorities to find out about trafficking incidents and do something about them.
 
 
 
 
How do you change the most important law in Internet history? Carefully
Op-ed: Changes to law shielding websites from liability for user posts should be minor.

Congress has spent much of the past year grappling with a heartbreakingly difficult issue: victims who are prohibited by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act from suing the websites where they were sex-trafficked.
 
Twenty-six words within Section 230 shield websites from many types of claims arising from user content: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” 
 
I’m writing a book about Section 230 for Cornell University Press, titled The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet. The title is not an overstatement. Without Section 230, it is difficult to conceive of social media, consumer review sites, and other user-focused online platforms existing in their current forms.
 
If Section 230 is standing in the way of [allowing sex trafficking victims to sue], Congress should craft an exception that targets bad actors without causing a chilling effect on legal content entirely unrelated to sex trafficking.
 
The members of Congress who have proposed legislation to address this problem have shown great compassion for victims of these horrific crimes while also understanding the need to preserve the core protections that Section 230 has provided. Although their bills differ in terms of how to structure the exception for sex trafficking, it has been heartening to observe members and staffers from the House and Senate work thoughtfully to address this problem.
 
 
 
 
Who’s doing Google and Facebook’s dirty work?
 
If the tech giants are the landowners of cyberspace, we’re the tenant farmers. And it involves a lot of muck.
 
Major advertisers decided that they didn’t want their ads running alongside beheading videos, for example. And social media executives found themselves being hauled up before Congress, castigated by European politicians and threatened with dire consequences unless they cleaned up their act.
 
Alarmed by this, the companies have been bragging about the number of extra staff they are recruiting to deal with the problem.
 
Until now we knew almost nothing about the circumstances under which the content-moderation that keeps Facebook and Google sanitised is carried out.
 
Reviewing abusive videos can have traumatic psychological consequences.  Many moderation “contractors” are paid $0.02 for each image reviewed.
 
Welcome to the dark underbelly of our networked world. There’s no such thing as a free lunch: online “safety” comes at a price.
 
 
 
 
Edward Snowden’s New App Uses Your Smart Phone to Physically Guard Your Laptop Computer
 
But you can’t buy it yet.
 
Edward Snowden and his friends have a solution. The NSA whistleblower and a team of collaborators have been working on a new open source Android app called Haven that you install on a spare smartphone, turning the device into a sort of sentry to watch over your laptop.
 
Haven is NOT available for you to use yet.  It is still in early development. There are still kinks that need to be worked out, plenty of bugs that need to be fixed, and plenty of features that would make it more useful and more reliable.
 
Snowden is helping to develop the software through a project he leads at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which receives funding from The Intercept’s parent company.
 
Also collaborating on Haven is the Guardian Project, a global collective of mobile security app developers.
 
It’s important to lock down your Haven phone. Lock your phone with a strong passcode or password, and make sure your phone is encrypted.  This will prevent a hacker from defeating Haven by accessing your phone.
 
 
 
 
Edward Snowden created an app that turns smartphones into security systems aimed at thwarting spies
 
But you can’t buy it yet.
 
Edward Snowden is best known for revealing the spy programs of the US's National Security Agency, but his next project is intended to make citizens feel more secure.

It's an app, called Haven, that's designed to turn Android phones into all-in-one anti-spy systems.
 
The idea is simple: You install the app on a cheap "burner" phone — one that can be thrown away — and then set up the phone in a place you want to monitor.
 
"We designed Haven as a tool for investigative journalists, human-rights defenders, and people at risk," Snowden says in a video introducing the app.
 
He added: "Haven makes it harder to silence citizens — raids, searches, arrests — without getting caught in the act."
 

 

 

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