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Tom Briant

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Editor: Tom Briant


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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Week Web Wrap-up for August 30, 2015

Every iOS Setting You Should Check When You Get a New Phone

Once upon a time, iOS "just worked" out of the box. But over the years, Apple's introduced all kinds of features to iOS that most of us don't want to use. I've been an iOS user since the start, and for the first time recently decided to do a clean install instead of loading my settings from a backup. I forgot how many default settings I had to change just to make iOS useable.

The 13 best iPhone widgets you should be using

I spent a week switching between the iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 5 — here's how they compare

If you're looking for a phone with a large screen, the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 5 are by far the best choices on the market right now. Both phones have gorgeous metal and glass designs, offer fast performance and long battery life, and capture excellent photos. 

The iPhone is still much more simple to use than Samsung's phone.

Samsung's phone does a lot more. You can open more than one app at a time in a split screen view. You can also open an app in a realizable window on the home screen the same way you would drag a window around your computer's desktop. In my experience, these features came in handy occasionally.

Samsung's version of Android is still too busy for me.

You should definitely check out the conclusion of this article.

4 reasons the Apple Watch can't win over customers

1. Apple Watch is a companion device - it is dependent on your iPhone
2. Digital timepieces aren't as valuable as mechanical watches - Customers looking for luxury would rather buy a Rolex.
3. Steep learning curve
4. Too narrow a niche - being able to see and react to your notifications at a glance is one of its most important highlights.

This iPhone app could make college campuses and entire neighborhoods safer

Companion is a free iPhone and Android app that's primarily geared toward college students who feel uneasy walking home alone.
But Companion doesn't want to be just for students. If it catches on, the app has the ability to make entire neighborhoods safer.

3 ways Steve Jobs made meetings insanely productive — and often terrifying

4 Years in, Apple's Tim Cook Is Doing a Stellar Job

Google this week published an interesting blog post which instructed app developers how to disable a major security setting in Apple's upcoming new iOS 9 operating system so Google could send ads.

this isn't the first time Google has resorted to hack to make sure its ads run on Apple devices. In 2012 it was fined $22 million for hacking Safari to disable default privacy settings so Google could serve ads.

Why Ad-Blocking in iOS 9 Benefits Only Apple

Making ad-blocking ubiquitous on iOS will force publishers toward iOS 9’s News app, where users can’t block ads and Apple gets a cut of the advertising placed via its iAd network. Publishers who don’t choose to be a part of the News app will have to build their own native apps and, again, use iAd to monetize their content.

not only will content blocking hurt publishers, but it will also break the marketing tools that websites use to measure and communicate with their visitors. Think Google Analytics, Chartbeat, and Optimizely, which could all be blocked from working.

And no one likes the current model of advertising, or the subscription model that some publishers have chosen as an alternative. But if the tools used to measure and improve the Internet, and even our favorite websites themselves, could become casualties in the process — and if only Apple is benefitting from its implementation of content blocking — that should give us all pause.

Apple’s Ad-Blocking Is Potential Nightmare for Publishers

Online publishers and mobile advertising companies are bracing for Apple Inc.’s enabling of ad-blocking on its mobile devices, which they say could pose a risk to their businesses.

Ad-blocking won’t be enabled by default on Apple devices – users will have to actively install software to make it work.

For Apple, blocking ads could be popular with many consumers, because it will enable mobile web pages to load faster and remove annoying clutter.

This author advises business managers "Don’t Be Apple”

So why do I think Apple represents so much of what’s wrong with the tech world?

It’s because they have, I think, an almost Shakespearean tragic flaw: their obsession with centralized corporate control of the devices they sell. Apple sells fantastic hardware, and excellent software … and tries to maintain an iron-fisted grip on both.

You are only permitted to download and install software that has been officially approved by Apple onto your iOS device. This isn’t true of OS X, yet, but that’s clearly only because user control is grandfathered in … and arguably being slowly boiled like the proverbial frog.

I want to believe in a world where individuals, rather than companies, own their own data, maintain control over their own online existence, and choose who (if anyone) is allowed to advertise to them. I realize that sounds hopelessly idealistic. It is, today. But I believe such a decentralized world is (slowly) becoming increasingly plausible–and I cannot help but note that its tenets are, fundamentally, the polar opposites of Apple’s entire software philosophy.

I find it hard to recommend the iOS ecosystem in good conscience, despite its power and beauty, because Apple refuses to return any of the trust it demands from its users.

Hackers release full data dump from Ashley Madison, extramarital dating site

The Ashley Madison hack is indeed ripping apart marriages

7 things we've learned from the Ashley Madison leak

So you want to find and download Ashley Madison user data? Think twice

We didn't download it, partly because it was so huge and partly because it might have been illegal.

"It certainly could be a crime to receive or possess stolen property," said Joseph Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago. "Once you download or distribute hacked information without specific permission or a fair use license, you've exposed yourself to potential criminal liability under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. An individual who retweets or forwards a link to a website containing hacked information could potentially be viewed as an accessory to the hack after the fact."

Ashley Madison proves women aren't interested in casual sex

Five Tourist Destinations With Malicious Wi-Fi

Simply having your cellphone in your pocket in some tourist destinations can put your personal information at risk.

The problem: If a hacker gets access to your phone, he may be able to get access to your Social Security number, bank accounts and other private information. Furthermore, hackers don't even have to physically be in the location to grab your data using their malicious Wi-Fi network.

Here are the five riskiest tourist destinations for cellphone users.

In Memoriam-Cristael Bengtson, our beloved past President of MacValley and friend

In Loving Memory
Cristael Bengtson
December 10, 1938 — August 19, 2015
Past president of the MacValley Users Group
Loving mother and grandmother.
Author.  Teacher.  Singer.

Recital 1 enhanced
Picture taken at her recital in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1984
IMG 1514
All of us in Blue!-Cristael, Tom Briant, and Elena-Beth Kaye
IMG 2061
Cristael with Dev Shad
IMG 2153
The meeting in progress
IMG 4995
Cristael with Doris McNary
IMG 0037
Cristael presenting her book at an IANDS (International Association of Near-Death Studies) meeting.
Thank you,  Arnold. 
Tom Briant
Editor, MacValley Blog

Installing the Asunder CD Ripper in Linux Mint with support for MP3 and AAC

When I decided to ditch Windows for Linux, I knew I would have make compromises.

For instance, you cannot run iTunes in Linux. Apple doesn’t make a Linux version of iTunes and trying to run the Windows version using the WINE translation layer yields mediocre results at best.

So I decided to forget about iTunes when it came to ripping music CDs.

Ripping audio CDs

Linux offers a plethora of options for ripping audio CDs. I wanted one, though, that used the same CD database that iTunes did, cddb, and could rip CDs to Apple’s .m4a format as well as the ubiquitous .mp3 format. I found those options in Asunder. 

You have two options for installing Asunder, the fully graphic installer and the quick command-line installer. I’ll start with the graphic method.

I’m using LinuxMint 17.2, the latest version of it, in these examples. Any Linux distribution derived from Ubuntu that draws its installation files from Ubuntu’s deep reservoirs of  programs can be used, though.

In Linux terms, these deep reservoirs of installable programs are called repositories. You can access them in several different ways. For Mac and Windows 8.1/10 users, the LinuxMint Software Manager resembles the App Stores in both of those systems.  You can also access them through the Terminal with command-line software.

The following screenshots show how to install Asunder with basic functionality from the Software Manager.

You find the Software Manager in the Administration section of the menu.

Annotated picture showing Administration and Software Manager

You have to enter your administrative password to use the Software Manager.


Recut Administrative password shot


You see the various categories of apps within the Software Manager.

The Software Manager interface

If you know the name of the app you want, just enter it in the search box and press the Enter key.

Now I came up with two instances of Asunder. One is for 64-bit systems and the other, the i386, is for 32-bit system. I chose Asunder for 64-bit systems.

I Found Asunder in two versions



Install Asunder from Software Manager



Just click on Install and Asunder and the other apps it depends on are installed.


Ausnder is installed

So far this seems as easy as installing from the App Store. Now comes the problem with Linux. Since a lot of the media encoders/decoders, called codecs, have legal entanglements, you may have to separately install apps to gain additional features. As I said, this is more of a legal problem, but it makes life more complicated for you.

Asunder  only installs the codec for the open-source Ogg Vorbis lossy format. You have to install the codecs for the other formats yourself.

So how do you install the codec for .mp3? You can go through the Software Manager, or you can go straight to the heart of the matter through the command-line.

Install LAME from the command line revised

So what does “sudo apt-get install lame” mean?

“Sudo” gives you temporary root access. It’s like 15 minutes of superpowers. 

“Apt-get” is the command line program that installs, removes, and upgrades apps. Software Manager is just a convenient way to install software with as little typing as possible. It uses “apt-get” to do the heavy lifting.

“install” is the command-line switch that tells apt-get what specifically to do. 

“lame” is the name of the software package you want to install.

“[sudo] password for thomas:” is where you enter your administrative password. “thomas” is just my user name, your user name would appear in its place. 

Now you won’t see the password when you type it, not even a line of placeholders. So type carefully!

Press the Enter key and the app’s installation begins. You’ll see text scroll down the Terminal. You may be asked whether you want to continue with a “y/n” question. Just press “y” and the Enter key to continue.

You would install the FLAC lossless compressed codec by entering this command line:

sudo apt-get install flac

Enter your password and press the Enter key. In a moment, you’ve installed FLAC.

Now for installing the Nero AAC codec for .m4a files.  (This will require some typing, but it’s worth it.)

As you see from Figure X, Asunder wants you to use the Nero AAC encoder. How do you get it? Does it cost any money?

Nero AG, the German developer of various CD/DVD burning programs, makes this AAC codec available for download for free! It makes a Windows and a Linux version.

Here’s the instructions, which I cribbed from this article. It gives instructions for both Ubuntu and Fedora, but I’m only using the Ubuntu instructions. 

Screenshot of instructions for installing Nero AAC

So set up a Terminal session. You will have to type in this installation, but just once.

mkdir AAC  Here you make a new folder in your Linux Home directory called AAC.

cd AAC/ Here you use the cd (change directory) command to move from the Home folder, indicated by the tilde (~) symbol, into your new AAC folder. Don’t forget the forward slash immediately following AAC.


 Now you get into the nitty-gritty. This command downloads the Nero AAC codec ZIP package into your AAC directory.

unzip -j

This is the command that unZIPs all the files to dump them into the AAC folder. The “-j” switch tells unzip not to follow the internal folder organization of the ZIP file. Just dump them into the folder in a pile.

sudo install -m 0755 neroAacEnc /usr/bin/ This command installs the Linux AAC Encoder in the proper folder. 

sudo apt-get install gpac This installs additional multi-media frameworks. 


Now if you use the 64-bit version of LinuxMint or another Ubuntu distribution, you need to follow this last step. I cribbed it from this article.

sudo apt-get install lib32stdc++6

You need this because the Nero AAC software only comes in the 32-bit version. You need that extra bit of software to make it work with a 64-bit system.

Now a shortcut in case your typing isn’t the best. Open this article in FireFox on your Linux machine. Now copy the code for each entry and paste it into the Terminal. Use the mouse’s right-click menu to paste in the code. Now press the Enter key and you’re good to go. 


Problems with Asunder

Asunder didn’t generate a valid .m3u playlist for .m4a. If you depend on playlists when playing or streaming music, then use another app to generate the playlist for AAC/.m4a files or stick to .mp3 when using Asunder.

The music quality for AAC using the Nero encoder was great! 

The Tangerine music streamer, which I wrote about here, works great with these .m3u playlists generated by Asunder when ripping CDs to .mp3 and streaming them to iTunes.


ITunes playing George Gershwin from Tangerine



The first playlist came from my ripping of this album in AAC format. The .m3u playlist file showed nothing and was only 8 bytes in size.

The second playlist came from my ripping of this album in mp3 format. The .m3u playlist file showed all 24 tracks and was 2.2 kilobytes in size.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Friday, August 28, 2015

Former Apple CEO Sculley Reveals Cheap 'Obi' Smartphones | News & Opinion |

Former Apple CEO Sculley Reveals Cheap 'Obi' Smartphones | News & Opinion | ""



So this is what John Sculley has been up to…


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Why I Ditched My Mac for a Chromebook |

Why I Ditched My Mac for a Chromebook | ""



This is an interesting article, where a working computer journalist buys a new Samsung Chromebook to replace a failing MacBook Air. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

MacClean-a free handy clean-up utilty



iMobie, the Chinese developers of MacClean, sent me an e-mail about this app. They asked me to try it out. So here is my review.

I found MacClean a useful utility program,although it is not full-featured as paid utility packages. I believe iMobie made it available to Mac users in order to entice them to try out their paid apps for iOS devices.


When you install the app, it wants you to choose the language with this screen:


Screen Shot 2015 08 26 at 9 03 36 PM


I am curious why it offered Japanese but not Chinese. But no matter, it sets up the program. 

You start with this screen, offering two options, Smart Clean and Utilities:


Screen Shot 2015 08 26 at 8 36 45 PM


Screen Shot 2015 08 26 at 8 37 08 PM

For Smart Clean, you have six options for items to clean. For Utilities, you have a grid of nine utilities to clean up your Mac.


I won’t go into every utility. For Old and Large Files, your default is to search all the files for those over 10 megabytes in size and older than today’s date. 


Screen Shot 2015 08 26 at 9 17 18 PM



You can choose between subcategories of files:


Screen Shot 2015 08 26 at 8 47 31 PM


 And use the sliders to increase the file size and change the date.  I would have preferred the option of entering the number of the file size searched for and to use a calendar widget to set the date. 

The results column to the right of the search parameters shows the found files in descending order as the default. You can click on the downward carat next to “By Name” to select name, date or size and whether you want them in ascending or descending order. 



The App Uninstaller shows some rough edges. It displayed multiple instances of programs, which I couldn’t tell apart at first glance. By hovering the mouse over the app’s icon, though, a border appeared with an “i”  in the upper right-hand corner. Click on that to see details about the app, such as its location and file size. 


Screen Shot 2015 08 26 at 9 42 52 PM


iMobie keeps the MacCleanmanual on-line in a blog, soliciting comments. I found the language crisp and easy to understand. You can find out the details of MacClean here. 


Screen Shot 2015 08 26 at 9 47 21 PM

Now you reach this manual by clicking on a link on the opening page at the bottom left-hand corner. Annoyingly, if you try to reach Help from the Menu Bar, you get a message that help isn’t available! This needs fixing. 


Screen Shot 2015 08 26 at 9 49 06 PM




MacClean is a good, light cleaning utility for your Mac. It has its quirks, such as exiting if you click on the red button in a window (!); but it works well within its limits.

Here’s the link to download it. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The editor's views on various topics

Some policy remarks


This blog will start to cover the use of Linux as a complement to OS X. I am not engaging in ridiculous comparisons of OS X 10.10 to some Linux distro touted as a “Apple killer.”

 No distro of Linux will kill off OS X. Linux lacks the financial wherewithal to challenge OS X on its home turf. Yet OS X can’t challenge Linux on its own turf.

 I will show you how to use Linux applications to complement OS X. As I have previously written, Linux has two good iTunes music streaming applications in Tangerine and forked-daapd. If you own a nice MacBook Air or one of the latest MacBooks, you probably lack the space on the SSD for all your music. An iTunes streaming program provides one answer to your problems. Stuff a 1 TB drive into a old mini-tower and your music storage needs are satiated.

 Now to the other news and views of the day. Tim Cook got stock valued at 58 million dollars. Great news for him and for us. Executives who keep their business delivering great products deserve to be compensated. 

 On the bad news side for Tim, his e-mail to Jim Cramer of CNBC will earn him some scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission for a violation of regulation FD. You’re not supposed to disclose information about a company you head without immediately releasing to the public. The fact that Cramer probably can’t stop talking about anything is no defense. So Tim and Apple may have to pay a fine. A small fine. Violating  an SEC regulation versus staunching the bleeding on the stock exchange? Worth it. 

 In Newz you can Uze, “Crazy” John Moltz, skewed observer of the Apple scene, wrote an article for Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and stop migrating your versions of OS X. Sometimes you have to back it up-three times!-format the hard drive or SSD, and start all over again. This may be the only way to get rid of years of digital dust bunnies.

 Jason Snell of wrote a column at his former home, Macworld, about the iPad. The iPad does not sell these days as it once did. Oh, it sells. But once I got mine...I didn’t need another one. The darn thing runs and runs without any problems. 

 So I await the legendary iPad Pro. Will it have a USB-C port replacing the Lightning port or in addition to it? Will it come with a special stylus? Will it be 4K in resolution, like some of the big Android tablets? I don’t know. I’ll wait till the day of the announcement. Maybe this September.

 This is a Mac blog. I try to squeeze mentions of the iOS devices, but my focus is what my eyes focus on. An ASUS monitor hooked up to a mid-2011 Mac Mini running Yosemite and Windows 10 caged up in a virtual Parallels installation. 

 Yes, I got Windows 10 to work by upgrading from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. I was patient and waited my turn for the word from Microsoft to upgrade. It still works.  More to follow.

 But back to OS X and LInux. Linux offers those with an itch to do over their computer’s stock look with all kinds of options. A plethora of desktops, ways to make it look like everything from Windows XP to an Amiga. You can’t do that in OS X. El Capitan will apparently nail down Apple’s idea of a user interface. 

 Most old Windows computers come with a DVD drive, so I shall show you how to rip CDs in a variety of audio formats. That’s my next article.

 LInux and OS X share some under-the-hood software, such as the CUPS printing system. Article on exploiting that coming up, too.

 As for the Apple Watch, it has much promise. Right now, I believe it’s a bauble for the rich and famous to flaunt on Instagram.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

LibreOffice 5.0 Review & Rating |

LibreOffice 5.0 Review & Rating | ""



If you need a free office suite as powerful as Microsoft Office, then this is the answer.

If you need to read old formats such as Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets or Appleworks files, then LibreOffice can solve the problem.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Web Wrap-up for August 16, 2015

Apple issues updates for lots of critical holes - patch now!

It’s time for PC companies to copy one of Apple’s best features

Apple’s capability to install Mac OS on your computer over the internet.

… even with a blank hard disk, the system firmware can connect to Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet, go online, and download the operating system directly from Apple. You can do a bare metal restore with nothing more than an Internet connection.

… it means there's no longer any need to worry about mislaid DVDs or USB sticks that you forgot to create.

On the face of it, however, this kind of thing feels very, well, un-PC.

This Looks Like Apple's Plan To Prevent Another Bendgate

Apple used a stronger lighter aluminum alloy and made the case almost twice as thick around the buttons.

Wealthy iPhone customers unlikely to be afraid of full, unsubsidized cost

Verizon Communication's decision to nix subsidies for smartphones may benefit Apple Inc. more than rival Android smartphone manufacturers.

Apple's Boot Camp 6 supports dual-booting with Windows 10

20 years after Netscape's IPO, we still live in the world it created

Twenty years ago this month, Netscape floated - after having a huge success with the first mainstream web browser. It made a fortune - and started the whole dot-com boom.

No one much under 30 may have ever of heard of it, but the floatation of the first commercially successful web browser was the moment that kick-started the dot-com boon. And it was a moment that changed the world. 

We don't use the Netscape browser anymore ...... But we are essentially living in the Netscape world

Tinder has a meltdown after Vanity Fair's 'dating apocalypse' story

The flap between Tinder and Vanity Fair misses a larger point

More than half of online daters (54%) said dates have "seriously misrepresented" themselves in their profiles.

Around one-third of American marriages now begin online, are less likely to end, and are associated with slightly higher marital satisfaction rates than those of couples who met offline, according to one study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Government requests for Twitter account information rose 52% in 2015

4 things you didn't know could be hacked

Hackers to Military: Replace Us With Robots? Ha!

But will war in a machine environment necessarily favor the machines? Not according to many of the hackers at this year's DEF CON. Everyone who talked to Defense One about next year's competition were confident that it would be years before a robot team would beat human hackers at their own game.

"If machines can't win at go, can't win at poker, do they have a chance at all? That's exactly what we're talking about," Walker said.

So do the hackers think a robot is going to beat them?

"Absolutely not," said one, who declined to be named but is a self-described hacker who was providing technical support to the DEF CON CTF this year. "There are classes of challenges that will always be outside of the capabilities of machines," he said.

Hacking Tesla, Breaking Banks And Killing People Online: The Best Of Def Con 2015

It's been a rough week for corporate cybersecurity teams. Car manufacturers, garage door companies and surveillance video suppliers are headed home after security researchers spent three days exploiting cyber vulnerabilities in the most popular products in those and other industries at the Def Con hacker conference in Las Vegas.

How do hackers actually get paid for their services?

Several different ways.

VW Didn't Want You to Find Out About This Vulnerability in Its Keyless Cars

Recently published research shows that certain car models with keyless entry and ignition systems from Volkswagen, Audi, Fiat, Honda, Volvo, Porsche, Bentley, and other makers can be hacked. But though the information may be new to us, Volkswagen has known about it since 2013 and fought in United Kingdom court to keep the information quiet.

VW filed a lawsuit to keep the researchers from publishing the findings. Two years later, the paper is finally being published.

Kaspersky Accused Of Using Fake Malware To Sabotage Competing Antivirus Software

It's not a great day for Russia-based Kaspersky Lab, as some of its former employees have come forward (anonymously) with information that indicates that some dastardly deeds were conducted by the company. Ultimately, it's said that Kaspersky wanted to harm its competition because they wouldn't stop stealing its work.

Reader Comment:
I swear half the virus's out there are created to keep these companies running!

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for August 9th

Apple launches redesigned website, kills old Apple Store

Apple also baked in buy buttons and purchase options into every product page, so shoppers no longer have to peruse items on but essentially navigate over to the Store side. The result: not only does the user experience just make more sense as a result, the entire shopping experience is a noticeably smoother and faster one.

How to hide photos on your iPhone

Apple Watch heart rate monitoring helps man diagnose disease

Usually a patient would need to wear a heart rate monitor for a week to confirm what was going on but Robson presented the two weeks’ of data on his iPhone. The hospital checked the Watch’s accuracy by measuring Robson’s heart rate on a medical-grade monitor and comparing it to the Watch. They decided he needed a pacemaker and operated to fit one almost immediately.

Why I'm no longer wearing my Apple Watch

I simply didn't have a compelling reason to wear it. And it turns out I didn't miss it.

the Apple Watch seems much like other novelties that shine bright for a moment only to gather dust in the drawer.

Your MacBook Is Not As Secure As You Thought

Researchers successfully hack into Macs that are not connected to the Internet.

Researchers have created the first firmware worm that targets Mac computers, in a move that gives corporate security teams a sharp new headache and pokes holes in one of Apple's top selling points. A proof-of-concept worm from Xeno Kovah of LegbaCore and Trammell Hudson of Two Sigma Investments jumps from MacBook to MacBook, even if the computers are not connected to the Internet or on a network with each other.

According to Wired's Kim Zetter, who broke the story, "If a victim, thinking his or her computer is infected, wipes the computer's operating system and reinstalls it to eliminate malicious code, the malicious firmware code will remain intact."

Why you shouldn't freak out about this week's scary-sounding Mac exploits
Researchers document two OS X security flaws that shouldn't cause you to lose sleep, as severe as they sound.

Apple PR recently hired a few reporters and journalists

This month, the Malwarebytes company released its namesake Anti-Malware for Mac product to help people who toil behind that glowing Apple logo keep their data safe. The software sniffs out and removes malware, adware, and potentially unwanted programs that often skirt the line between legitimate software and intrusive code.

The free consumer version is available now.

A massive security bug lets criminals install bogus apps on your iPhone — and they look like the real thing

The attacks work by duping smartphone users into installing the malicious apps without their knowledge. If a user clicks on an infected link while browsing the web, then Masque can download an app onto an iPhone without the users knowing. That app will look and behave like the real thing — except that hackers will be controlling and monitoring it, and watching what you do on it.

The attacks are currently have a "small" undisclosed number of victims. Mullis said he expects to see the attacks expand their target-base in the near future.

The bad news on Apple's stock is only beginning

Things are going to get worse for Apple before they get better.

Stop panicking about Apple's stock decline

Here's how a video artist made this actress look 30 years younger

Researchers have found the perfect way to help addicts from relapsing

An innovative new app.

Microsoft's Windows 10 is a privacy nightmare. Here's how to protect yourself.

Windows 10 is currently a privacy morass in dire need of reform.

Microsoft won't treat your local data with any more privacy than it treats your data on its servers and may upload your local data to its servers arbitrarily-unless you stop Microsoft from doing so. For now, it's not easy to restrict what Windows collects, but here's how.

Security, and marketing it, is the key to a Blackberry resurgence

we currently believe they are ahead of the curve with security.

I know if I walked into a store and learned that "this phone was much more secure than others," it would make a material difference in my decision making. The general public doesn't know this. All they know is that BlackBerry was popular, and now Apple rules.

If a consumer was properly educated, that person would learn that by being part of BlackBerry, he is not only securing his phone, but he is part of a much larger security infrastructure that spans the IoT space.

In our opinion, it is all about marketing now.

Online learning site Udemy, which offers classes on a wide range of subjects including programming, photography, Photoshop, writing, and more, is today debuting a new iOS 9 Developer Course that aims to teach students how to use Xcode 7 and Swift 2 to make iOS apps.

Udemy's Complete iOS 9 Developer Course is priced at $199, but Udemy has agreed to give interested MacRumors readers a significant discount.

San Francisco police officer gets paid to patrol Instagram

Instagram photos often end up being used as evidence in court.

Read this before posting photos of your kids on Facebook

another unprecedented phenomenon is taking place, in the realm of sex. Hookup culture, which has been percolating for about a hundred years, has collided with dating apps, which have acted like a wayward meteor on the now dinosaur-like rituals of courtship.

People used to meet their partners through proximity, through family and friends, but now Internet meeting is surpassing every other form.

Mobile dating went mainstream about five years ago; by 2012 it was overtaking online dating. In February, one study reported there were nearly 100 million people-perhaps 50 million on Tinder alone-using their phones as a sort of all-day, every-day, handheld singles club, where they might find a sex partner as easily as they'd find a cheap flight to Florida.

Since the emergence of flappers and "moderns" in the 1920s, the debate about what is lost and gained for women in casual sex has been raging, and is raging still-particularly among women.

When there is a surplus of women, or a perceived surplus of women, the whole mating system tends to shift towards short-term dating. Marriages become unstable. Divorces increase. Men don't have to commit, so they pursue a short-term mating strategy. Men are making that shift, and women are forced to go along with it in order to mate at all

The biggest stars on YouTube make huge incomes ... yet they can't keep the vast majority of it

before you buy a videocamera and tell your boss to shove it, consider what it costs to become a YouTube star. Turns out you can be one of the most famous people on the web and still barely get by.

5 Ways to Deal with Facebook's New Algorithm Change

Sure, you're not going to be able to spam your audience's News Feeds anymore. But guess what? Spamming was never the most effective way of reaching your audience anyway. If you've been relying on that, your social media marketing strategy has been flawed from the start.

Ditch the Hard Sell
Interact With Your Audience
Provide Value, Not Email List Bait
Provide News, Not Self Praise

Update Firefox now! Fix rushed out for an exploit that steals files off your hard drive

The specific exploit found in the wild was only targeting Windows and Linux PCs; however, Veditz warns that Mac users would be vulnerable if the malware had been crafted differently.

Mozilla released a security patch for the Firefox browser after finding a  serious vulnerability being exploited in the wild. The vulnerability allows malicious attackers to use some JavaScript magic to "search for and upload potentially sensitive" from your hard drive to their servers. 

Mozilla is asking all Firefox users to upgrade immediately to version 39.0.3.

Your Fingerprint Could Be Stolen Remotely If Your Android Phone Has A Scanner

researchers presented findings that reveal hackers can remotely obtain fingerprints from Android devices that use biometric sensors.

Apple still has a significant hold on the market. Its Touch ID sensor has proven to be more secure because it encrypts data gleaned from the scanner.

Code-Cracking Gadget Lets Hackers Break Into Your Car and Garage Without a Trace

lets an intruder break into cars without a trace, turn off their alarms, and effortlessly access garages.

RollJam, as Kamkar describes it, is meant to be hidden on or near a target vehicle or garage, where it lies in wait for an unsuspecting victim to use his or her key fob within radio range. The victim will notice only that his or her key fob doesn't work on the first try. But after a second, successful button press locks or unlocks a car or garage door, the RollJam attacker can return at any time to retrieve the device, press a small button on it, and replay an intercepted code from the victim's fob to open that car or garage again at will. "Every garage that has a wireless remote, and virtually every car that has a wireless key can be broken into," says Kamkar.

The Hip Trend of 2015 Is Designer Government Malware

All of the big countries are using hacking as a tool for espionage, and the smaller countries wish that they were.

Even after it's exposed, state-sponsored malware is powerful because it is generally created by hackers who have an unusual amount of funding and resources at their disposal.

These Researchers Just Hacked an Air-Gapped Computer Using a Simple Cellphone

The most sensitive work environments, like nuclear power plants, demand the strictest security. Usually this is achieved by air-gapping computers from the Internet and preventing workers from inserting USB sticks into computers. When the work is classified or involves sensitive trade secrets, companies often also institute strict rules against bringing smartphones into the workspace, as these could easily be turned into unwitting listening devices.

But researchers in Israel have devised a new method for stealing data that bypasses all of these protections

The attack requires both the targeted computer and the mobile phone to have malware installed on them, but once this is done the attack exploits the natural capabilities of each device to exfiltrate data

These hackers know how to make you 'officially' dead

The process of having someone officially stamped dead by getting a death certificate issued typically involved a doctor filling out one form and a funeral home filling out another.

A fatal flaw in the system was that people can easily pose as real doctors and funeral directors.

The dream of a free and open Internet is slowly being killed by overregulation, censorship and bad laws that don't stop the right people, a top computer crime defense lawyer says.

No one is murdering the dream of an open Internet, she said, but it's withering away because no one is prioritizing its protection.

The Dream Of Internet Freedom Is Dying

So says Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.

Granick is a lawyer, and as such, reserves most of her ire for the US government. "We need to get rid of secret law. We have secret law in this country and it is an abomination in the face of democracy," she declaimed.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Here are the songs, artists, and genres being played most often on Beats 1

Here are the songs, artists, and genres being played most often on Beats 1: ""



I’m glad Apple enjoys success with its Beats 1 radio service. It doesn’t appeal to me. I listen to Classical KUSC on-line and in the car and send them a contribution every spring. 

Hip-hop doesn’t appeal to me. For Heaven’s sake, dear readers, your editor turned 60 this year. I’d look ridiculous at a hip-hop concert amidst all that youth. 

So let me have my classical music. If you feel I’m not giving Beats 1 a fair shake, then submit a 500 word article in Rich Text Format or Word or Pages format. You probably won’t change my calcified old mind, but I’m open to alternative opinions. 

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Friday, August 14, 2015

The increasingly long lives of old Macs | Macworld

The increasingly long lives of old Macs | Macworld: ""



Old Macs still run well. I know. I have a 2006 MacBook that still runs. I only upgraded the hard drive.

Less trash in the landfill.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Monday, August 10, 2015

Growly Write 1.23-An Excellent Light to Medium World Processor Written by a Guy who knows Word Processors

Growly Write 1.23 is what Chris Mason wrote for his own use. Why should you care about that? Chris, it turns out, used to write for Microsoft. He worked on Microsoft Word twice. He has now retired to Florida with his wife Nancy and his animals. Read about Chris here. 

With considerable experience in writing heavy-duty word processing software and no love for Windows, he wrote Growly Write for OS X for his personal use and now our personal use.  I used it to write this review and like it.


Growly Write is an excellent choice for writing on the Mac. When I say writing, I mean planting your butt in a comfortable chair and typing away. It doesn’t do all the chores that Word does.  On the other hand, it doesn’t use anything akin to the ?#! Ribbon that drives many users crazy.  As you see from Figure 1, it uses a static user interface with a configurable Tool Bar across the top and a palette on the right-hand side. You make this palette disappear by clicking on the blue Format icon on the Tool Bar. 

Growly Write interface




If you want to know all of the features, read the excellent Help file that comes with Growly Write. Chris, it turns out, knows how to write intelligent English. I would recommend downloading Growly Bird if you want to write your own software and need an example of a well-written Help file. 

 You would think that Chris had pulled up a chair beside you to answer your questions. Having suffered through some God-awful technical writing in the past-I’m looking at you, IBM COBOL manual-this is just wonderful. 

 The help file shows off the features of Growly Write, such as bookmarks allowing you to jump from topic to topic. It tells you what features Growly Write has and how to use them. 

 For some features that Chris didn’t include, such as templates; the Help file explains how to use built-in features like the Stationary Pad you access from the Get Info window from the Finder. 

 Growly Write doesn’t include note-taking features or drawing capabilities. You would turn to other apps in the Growly Bird family for those. I will review the free Growly Draw and the $5 Growly Notes later on.

 Growly Write does not simply rewrite TextEdit. You can create and save styles, as well as use a Format Brush, akin to MS Office’s Format Painter. On the other hand, it only handles a limited number of file formats. These formats start with its own .gbwrite, and include plain text, rich text format (.rtf), Apple’s own Rich Text with Documents (.rtfd) and HTML. 

 It does best importing Rich Text Format, while the accuracy of importing Word .doc and .docx files depends on the complexity of the document. It doesn’t work with the Open Document format  (.odt) that  NeoOffice and LibreOffice use. The Help file states that Growly Write comes with its own code for importing Rich Text Format, while it relies on OS X’s built-in code for importing Word documents. 

 You don’t use Growly Write to write the final version of your master’s or doctoral thesis. If you can’t afford Word, you have the option to use LibreOffice.  If you want to write without interruption, though, Growly Write is an excellent way to start. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up

The 17 best smartphones in the world

iPhone 6+ and iPhone 6 are in first and second place, respectively.

Your complete guide to every Apple TV channel, A to Z

A slide show with 63 slides

Do you get cable TV?  Find out how its selection compare with Apple’s.

Video: See how PC compares to Mac with Windows 10

Macs Up, iPads Down, As Apple Bucks the Death of the PC

At Apple, at least, the PC isn’t dead. At the moment, the world’s most valuable company is also pretty much the only major PC maker still seeing year-over-year growth in a shrinking market.

Apple Music is a mess, and it's alienating the company's biggest fans

Apple Music, released in June, was supposed to be Apple's big splash into the world of subscription on-demand music and online radio. But it seems to have a lot of bugs.

Apple’s done far more damage to Samsung via competition than litigation

It took a while, but Apple’s finally making Samsung pay for its transgressions. No, not via litigation in Apple’s endless proxy war with Google, but through good ol’ fashioned competition.

Litigation has proven to be a fool's errand for Apple and only helped raise the profile of Samsung in the process. Where before Samsung had been just yet another maker of plastic Android rectangles, Apple told the world that Samsung was its equivalent. A copy. And there’s no such thing as bad publicity. With hindsight it’s clear that the best way to compete is by building the most competitive product.

Apple's HomeKit Is Proving To Be Too Demanding For Bluetooth Smart Home Devices

So far, only five companies have launched HomeKit-certified smart home devices. What’s the hold up? Apple has thrown a plethora of challenges at hardware makers, and some developers say one of the biggest is complying with Apple’s strict security requirements on Bluetooth low energy devices.

Apple is requiring device makers using both WiFi and Bluetooth LE to use complicated encryption with 3072-bit keys, as well as the super secure Curve25519, which is an elliptic curve used for digital signatures and exchanging encrypted keys.

The intimidation campaign got a boost Thursday when a blog that frequently promotes the interests of the national security establishment raised the prospect of Apple being found liable for providing material support to a terrorist.

strong encryption will always exist, whether produced by small companies or foreign outlets. Terrorists can take their business elsewhere, while normal Americans will be left without a user-friendly, easily accessible way of protecting of their communications.

Apple could be held liable for supporting terrorism with strong iOS encryption, experts theorize

Reader comment:
Lawyers and neocons unite in scaremongering American firms to make your electronic devices less secure. How lovely.

Is Apple’s bold stance on encryption setting the company up for civil suits?

Apple’s strong support of user privacy — specifically including end-to-end encryption uncrackable by the government — could be setting the company up for civil suits based on the Antiterrorism Act and other laws, a legal blog has noted in a series of controversial posts.

While they note that Apple would have numerous potential defenses if sued either for negligence or violation of the Antiterrorism Act, they also suggest that Apple’s bold encryption policies are creating new risks that society needs to consider, and Congress may need to regulate.

It’s not for sale yet, but this company has an interesting idea for an alternative to the Apple watch

People are starting to walk differently because of texting

Texting – or checking social media or watching a video – while walking causes people to walk in a special movement pattern that protects them from accidents ...... effectively modifying their gait to compensate for the distraction.

The anti-social network: Users are 'detoxing' from Facebook, Twitter

many users of social media are starting to see it as a time suck - a distraction

How to see if your emails are being tracked in Gmail before opening them

there are now email-tracking tools that make it easy for people to see when you open an email, what you click, and where you're located

In response, a handy new tool called Ugly Email shows you when your emails in Gmail are being tracked, and it starts working before you click anything.

Installing Ugly Email is easy.

First you'll need to make sure you're using Google Chrome as your web browser

France Wants EU's Right to Be Forgotten to Apply in Global Search Results

Google refuses French order to apply 'right to be forgotten' globally

How to make sure your Facebook is as secure as possible

5 apps for spying on your spouse

We Are All Big Brother Now

By exposing the wrongs of police and politicians, video-phone democracy is reinventing freedom. But is this just another form of mob rule?

were taught to fear an Orwellian Big Brother, the all-seeing eye of a totalitarian police state. In the last few years revelations about the National Security Agency's intrusions into our private world have made some people wonder if that nightmare might still be coming true in this century.

Yet something closer to the opposite seems to be happening: We are all becoming Big Brother, collectively. Big Brother is us.

Video cases have brought to light systemic infringements of freedom that have been going on under our noses with no recourse to justice-until now.

Online bullying, especially among teenagers-attacks so vicious they sometimes result in tragic suicides of the bullied-has become a national epidemic. Social media can quickly make or break reputations, often without recourse to any real justice.

For every Bill Cosby who is brought to social justice there is an innocent victim of shaming.

In an order released Thursday by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge Lucy Koh found that Fourth Amendment protections extend to location data generated by cellphones. Ruling against the federal government, Koh affirmed that law enforcement agencies must seek a warrant before acquiring historical location data produced by a cellphone.

Russian hackers have figured out a way to use Twitter to communicate with malware that's infected target computers, allowing them to cover their tracks while making their way into confidential government computer systems.

Most Android phones can be hacked with one text

A security firm says it only takes one malicious text message to spy on your phone and steal personal data.



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