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Tom Briant

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Twas the Night before OS X Upgrade and all through the house....

All the humans were stirring, moving their mouse.


Now to the good stuff. Reviews of OS X El Capitan are out at Macworld and Ars Technica. They like it and think it’s a worthwhile use of your time.


BUT! Before you download the installer, here’s your dose of warning:

Melissia Holt at MacObserver

Roman Loyola at Macworld


Do BackUp. Back up to both your Time Machine external hard drive and to a clone of the hard drive or partition you intend to upgrade. 

Do It! You’ve only got 30 years of data, such as  your tax returns, your wedding videos, and all those college papers you typed into an Apple ][e long ago. So back those up. 

As far as I know, no killer app now or on the horizon demands that  you upgrade NOW! You may want to wait until 10.11.2 or 10.11.3, so the bugs can be worked out. And there will be bugs. It’s inevitable.

BUT! and I apologize for shouting in all caps, plenty of old apps, particularly if you still use 10.6.8, will cease to work due to their dependence on old PowerPC code that 10.6.8 supported through the Rosetta technology that Apple scrapped in 10.7 and above. So read Melissa Holt and Roman Loyola again. 


Finally, when you do download El Capitan and want to make a USB flash drive installer, how do you do it? Well, this article at Ars Technica is the first one I’ve seen.

Oh, and if you don’t want to write a long line of code, copy it from the browser window and paste it into the Terminal. 

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog




Sunday, September 27, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for September 26, 2015

3D Touch Is Apple’s New Secret Weapon

Apple’s first interface breakthrough happened when it unleashed real multitouch on the world.

This next interface trick is far more subtle. By sensing pressure applied on the surface of the Apple Watch, the new MacBook trackpad, and the new iPhones, Apple has added a new layer to the touchscreen experience.

3D Touch isn’t an incremental update. It is a real tool and you can be sure that, by CES time, manufacturers from Samsung to Xaomi will be offering stuff called Push Touch, Deep Finger, and Insert UI for their phones. It is inevitable. And Apple had it first.

I’m not saying Force Touch has changed the world. What it has done is tweak the world in a very meaningful way.

Why you should upgrade your iPhone every 3 years

It's less expensive than upgrading every 2 years.

personal finance site estimates that consumers can save up to 30% on average off of their monthly bill if they keep their phone for a third year and switch from a subsidized plan to a contract-free plan.

"Sprint and T-Mobile are both trying to undercut each other and trying to persuade you to keep your phone for more than two years," says Louis Ramirez, senior editor at

This trick lets you extend the warranty on your iPhone or MacBook from 1 to 2 years, and it doesn't cost you anything

The key is paying for your new gadget with the right credit card. The major credit cards — Visa, American Express, Mastercard, and Discover — all offer free warranty extensions in one form or another. But they aren’t all equal.

Apple widens gap between iOS, Android use in U.S.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley said his checks indicate there continues to be a greater mix of Android users switching to the iPhone 6 than in previous cycles, a reflection of demand for larger-screen premium phones and the industry shift away from two-year carrier contracts.

iOS 9 review: making the basics work even better

it's clear that what Apple built is far more nuanced than it might have let on.

iOS 9 is less about new, whizbang features and more about getting the stuff we do every day done just a little quicker, a little more efficiently. And you know what? That's more valuable than you might think.

Apple's latest major software release isn't a revolution, but a thoughtful refinement that makes iOS faster and easier to use. Make no mistake, most of the big new features here work great, but it's the little design changes that help mold iOS' core elements into something smarter. iOS 9 isn't perfect, but it's nonetheless a must-have download.

Apple swapped in its San Francisco typeface (first used on the Watch) and it very subtly changes the feel of iOS.

The stylus used to be ridiculed, but is now looking like the next big thing in smartphones and tablets

After years of neglect as a last-generation kind of idea, the stylus is ready to take its rightful place as the new best way to get things done on the go.

Using a stylus can be much more precise than using your finger.

Basically, Petschnigg says, we're on the third wave of smartphone input. The first, circa the late nineties, was T9 predictive text input, which made texting a lot easier - and sparked a revolution. The second was the multitouch screen, popularized by the very first Apple iPhone in 2007.

Now, eight years later, we're due for another big change. And it's looking like that could be the stylus.

Apple just released the first bug fixes for iOS 9

Just a week after releasing iOS 9, Apple is today issuing the OS's first bug fix update.

The new iPad mini is a major step above its predecessors

Apple unveiled a new iPad minilast week. It’s much better than the last two iPad minis in several significant ways.

Interesting list.

The iPhone 6S is as powerful as Apple's new MacBook

Daring Fireball's John Gruber compared test results from the iPhone 6S and new MacBook to find that the results from Apple's latest iPhone were actually higher in some cases.

11 ways to speed up your Mac

The 20 most fascinating iOS apps from TechCrunch Disrupt

16 reasons Android phones are better than iPhones
Or so the author claims.

Apple's iOS App Store just suffered its first major attack

several cyber security firms reported finding a malicious program dubbed XcodeGhost that was embedded in hundreds of legitimate apps.

It is the first reported case of large numbers of malicious software programs making their way past Apple's stringent app review process. Prior to this attack, a total of just five malicious apps had ever been found in the App Store.

The hackers embedded the malicious code in these apps by convincing developers of legitimate software to use a tainted, counterfeit version of Apple's software for creating iOS and Mac apps, which is known as Xcode, Apple said.

The day Steve Jobs dissed me in a keynote speech

Interesting story about one company’s experience in the days when iTunes was just getting started.

Modified versions of Xcode used to sneak malware into App Store, Apple confirms

About 40 infected apps made it onto the App Store, according to security researchers.

The modified versions of Xcode were hosted on cloud storage run by China's Baidu. Baidu has already deleted the offending software, and Apple told the Times that it's working with developers to make sure they're using an authentic Xcode release.

XcodeGhost used unprecedented infection strategy against Apple

Xcode is available free of charge from the Cupertino, Calif. company's Mac App Store.

But the XcodeGhost gang did not infect that version of the development suite.

Instead, it modified a legitimate copy, seeded the counterfeit on a popular Chinese file-sharing service and promoted its fake-Xcode as not only the real deal, but available much faster from within China because of the service's speed advantage over trans-Pacific links to the official Apple site.

Chinese iOS developers took the bait -- hook, line and sinker. But by using the infected Xcode they unknowingly infected the apps they created with the bootleg.

iOS 9 Hack: How to Access Private Photos and Contacts Without a Passcode

Step-by-step instructions.

There is now speculation (but not conclusive proof) that the CIA may have been behind the big Apple Store hack

The selfie is now deadlier than Jaws

Selfies killed more people than sharks

How not to die while taking a selfie

The number of people watching TV is falling off a cliff

Didn’t ask for Windows 10? Your PC may have downloaded it anyway

Microsoft confirmed that it automatically downloads Windows 10 installation files on eligible PCs, provided automatic updates are enabled through Windows Update. The download occurs even if users haven’t opted in through the Windows 10 reservation dialog.

Windows 7 and 8 Spy on You, Just Like Windows 10 – Here’s How to Stop Them

Microsoft has been caught installing latest updates onto Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers that effectively introduce the same data collecting and user behavior tracking features used in Windows 10.

Google must take 'Right to Be Forgotten' worldwide, France says

Google maintains that regulator can't 'assert global authority'

Internet Marketers thought the Web would allow perfectly targeted ads.
Hasn't worked out that way.

Only 20 percent of the campaign's "ad impressions"-ads that appear on a computer or smartphone screen-were even seen by actual people.

Increasingly, digital ad viewers aren't human.

Eleven percent of display ads and almost a quarter of video ads were "viewed" by software, not people.  fake traffic will cost advertisers $6.3 billion this year.

Fake traffic has become a commodity. There's malware for generating it and brokers who sell it.

Are people with drones violating your privacy?

Hackers Took Fingerprints of 5.6 Million U.S. Workers, Government Says

The working assumption of investigators is that China was building a huge database of information about American officials or contractors who may end up entering China or doing business with it. Fingerprints could become a significant part of that effort: While a Social Security number or a password can be changed, fingerprints cannot.

In testimony to a House committee recently, the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, said it had seen no evidence that the data lifted from the O.P.M. over more than a year had been used for any financial purpose, like gaining access to bank accounts or credit cards.

"It was so big," one senior intelligence official said, "that we have to ask the question of whether the scope of it changed the nature of the theft."

Originally OPM said that about 1.1 million fingerprint records had been snatched up, but the agency later admitted that the number is actually 5.6 million.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Apple's Tim Cook, Lisa Jackson placed at head table for White House state dinner

Apple's Tim Cook, Lisa Jackson placed at head table for White House state dinner: ""


I’m glad Tim Cook and Lisa Jackson went to the State Dinner. I don’t imagine they discussed too much business while they dined. I’m sure someone commented on the new iPhones. 

As for any questions about Tim’s sexuality, let’s face it, folks. Plenty of heterosexual couples who otherwise loathed each other have gone to these affairs just so they could have a picture of themselves snapped with the President and First Lady. I assume Tim and Lisa like each other at least as business associates. 

They are an attractive couple, the public face of Apple at least for that night.

And I’m sure the White House has invited Jonny Ivey when the Queen or British Prime Minister was in Washington. 

It’s quite a change from 50 years ago. Back then, it would have been the head of US Steel or some big oil company who got to sit at the President’s table. Now the biggest deal in American business is a company that started making personal computers, has morphed into a powerhouse smart phone company, and may end up making cars!

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Friday, September 25, 2015

A first look at the Chinese operating system the government wants to replace Windows - Quartz

A first look at the Chinese operating system the government wants to replace Windows - Quartz: ""



The question in my mind is whether the Chinese government wants to replace OS X with this Neoukylin?


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for September 20th 2015

Bottom line: Yes, you should upgrade to iOS 9
It's faster and more secure, it'll use less power, and it doesn't need as much space as iOS 8 did. Just get it!
How to upgrade to iOS 9 (and, if you need to, reinstall iOS 8)
You might want to wait a while before updating to iOS 9.
If you’re very concerned about your apps not working or your device not performing up to par, don’t upgrade to iOS 9 immediately. You’d be better off waiting for Apple to release the first major update to iOS 9,
3D Touch is a hard problem that Apple got just right
Before the iPhone 6s launched, no one was sure how Force Touch on it would work. Now we know—it works just great.
Neat Video:
iOS 9: Five small features that will change your life
El Capitan FAQ: Everything you need to know about OS X 10.11
El Capitan will be available on September 30.
Stephen Colbert interviews Tim Cook
Good video
Apple iOS 9 Has 25 Great Secret Features
Apple releases iTunes 12.3 update
Hackers Sneak Malware Into Apple App Store 'To Steal iCloud Passwords’
malware has found a way around Apple’s strict App Store protections. It’s been proven before and it’ll be proven again: even the most locked-down environments can be breached.
IBM Introduces First Computer Hard Disk, September 13, 1956
Weighing in at more than a ton and storing 5MB of data, the IBM 305 RAMAC was the first super computer with a hard disk drive (HDD).
IBM leased the RAMAC 305 computer with the Model 350 hard disk for $3,200 per month – a pretty penny in the 1950s.
AW comments:
The hard disk in my iMac stores One Tera-Byte (1TB) of data.
That’s roughly equal to 200,000 of those 5MB hard disks (Model 305) that IBM was building in the year 1956.
Accounting for inflation, the $3,200 monthly lease would cost $28,000 today, according to the BLS inflation calculator.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Complete guide: How to to download and install Mac OS X El Capitan - How to - Macworld UK

Complete guide: How to to download and install Mac OS X El Capitan - How to - Macworld UK: ""



The UK edition of Macworld has this article summarizing what you need to know and to do in preparation for September 30th: El Capitan Day!


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Top 10 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Getting Rid of Clutter Once and For All

Top 10 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Getting Rid of Clutter Once and For All: ""



I know this isn’t directly Mac related, but a lot of us have “stuff” that builds and builds. 

I have followed some of these tips in the past and I helped me cut down on the clutter in my tiny condo.

And you should check out frequently, too!


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Tried and True fixes do the trick. Problem with OS X El Capitan Finder resolved with restart

Hi All, I installed the GM Candidate of OS X El Capitan to a wiped hard drive tonight. 

I hit a snag. The Finder wouldn’t work. It only showed me the new beachball of death. 

I got around the problem initially by installing Pathfinder 7.

I reported it to Apple, thinking I had found a show-stopper bug.

Then I thought better and just restarted the whole thing.

Problem solved. The Finder works without any problems. 

The moral of the story is: If your computer doesn’t work, try restarting it. Turn it off if necessary and turn it back on again. 99 out of a 100 times, this will fix the problem. The Indians manning tech support lines tell this to their customers. We who did tech support in the early ‘90s taught this to the Indians, who would call our lines. 

Another problem, not computer related, but indicative of how old tried and true fixes still work. 

I bought a Magic Bullet blender to make green juice. Essentially drink my salads.

I spilled some of that green juice into the machine and it caused one of the three actuators to stick. 

The cure for this is to spray the stuck actuator with WD-40 and wait 15 minutes to let it soak in. Then take a flat blade screwdriver to press on the stuck actuator to free it up.  This is not original. I researched it on Google and YouTube. 

Aha, now it works. I’m mixing up a batch of green juice right now for dinner. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog and Chagrined Nerd. 









Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for September 12th


Mac User Groups Fade in Number and Influence, but Devotees Press On
Here's everything Apple announced Wednesday September 9th, 2015
A long list.
Big, beautiful photos of Apple's new iPhones
The biggest mistake Apple made with the new iPhone

Only 16 GB for the lowest cost model — not enough for most people.
Buy the 64 GB model instead.
Friends don't let friends buy 16GB iPhones
Apple just announced a product that Steve Jobs famously hated

A Stylus called the Apple Pencil
Everyone's freaking out about the price of the Apple Pencil
Would you pay $100 for a stylus?  Apple is pretty sure you will.

Apple Pencil: Hands-On With Apple’s Stylus For The iPad Pro
Only Apple Can Make the Perfect Stylus It Once Spurned
I noticed the difference between the Pencil and just a stylus: It felt great. Perfect. Better than any stylus I’ve ever used by a wide margin. It’s the first time I’ve ever written on a screen and actually felt like I was writing on the screen. There was almost zero latency, meaning the ink appeared to flow out of the Pencil and not trail half an inch behind.
Apple is fundamentally changing how you use your iPhone
The 3D Touch will change how Apple users interact with the home screen of apps and within it.

Here's everything you need to know about Apple's best iPhone camera yet

21 tiny design features that show Apple's insane attention to detail
The most interesting part of Apple's presentation wasn't a gadget
It was Apple’s new iPhone Upgrade Program.
You can upgrade your iPhone every year by paying a monthly fee.
Here’s the Photoshopped smile everyone is talking about

Jobs vs. Cook – Apple CEOs by the numbers

Apple and the FBI are at war over iMessage privacy

Apple has left US law authorities frustrated after refusing to comply with a court order to hand over text messages sent between iPhones linked to a drug and firearm investigation.

The US Justice Department wanted to obtain communication sent between the suspects' mobile phones in real time but due to Apple's encryption system, which makes iMessages unreadable to intercept, Apple said they would not be able to assist despite the threat of legal action.

The end-to-end encryption, which arrived with Apple's iOS 8, was introduced to increase privacy for users but it has caused a heated battle with authorities who protest that such encryption makes capturing criminals a far harder task.
Apple’s Ad-Blocking Feature Is Sending Publishers Scrambling
Seth Weintraub has made a career of reporting on Apple. His website,, is one of the go-to places for news about the company. But in an ironic twist, a feature tucked inside Apple’s latest software for the iPhone and iPad threatens to undermine the way his site makes money.
The prospect has set off alarm bells at many media companies, but Apple extended an olive branch in the form of an app within the upcoming operating system called News, which will allow publishers to bypass blockers to serve their own ads or let Apple sell ads and share the revenue.
Adblock Plus beat Apple to the punch - by one day - with the release of its ad-blocking browser for Android and iOS.
The release came just a day before Apple was expected to introduce an ad-blocking feature to Safari in iOS 9.,2817,2490853,00.asp

Reader Comment:
ABP should make it easier for legit sites to be whitelisted. They are contributing a great deal to the destruction of the free web. Paywalls will soon be everywhere and free content will be no more. They are also actively helping to kill many small publishing companies. I used ABP for a while to test it and the experience is not that different really. To better protect yourself from malicious websites download the WOT (web of trust) toolbar and educate yourself about what ads look like. There is no need for ABP at all. Flash block extension + WOT and you're good to go - that way you are helping to keep the web free!
Consumers are hurting themselves by installing this, because publishing companies will start charging a lot of money for their content in the future if this trend continues. Nothing will be free anymore and you will need a subscription to access certain networks and even blogs in the future. Is that really what we want?

Apple is frequently bashed for not being first to the punch with an idea.
Pointing out that Apple is a copy-cat is easy, but it also misses the wider point. And that is: design, design, design. Apple’s informal motto is ‘it just works’. And, well, the opposite was true of competitors products.

Apple, in refusing backdoor access to data, may face fines
the Justice Dept. served Apple with a court order in a case "involving guns and drugs," demanding it provide real-time access to iMessage, Apple's proprietary service for sending messages between iPhones.

Apple refused -- not because it necessarily wanted to, but because it couldn't comply. The iPhone and iPad maker reportedly told the feds that the service is encrypted, making it impossible for the company let alone the feds to access the data they demanded, unlike phone companies which, under US wiretap laws, are required to comply.

Apple said even it "cannot decrypt that data."
The criminal case is under seal in an unidentified U.S. federal court.

Paralyzed patients can control computers just by moving their eyes, thanks to this free software
Adult Player Android Ransomware Looks To Embarrass Prn Hounds With A Selfie Money Shot

An interesting article on what it was like to work for Ashley Madison

Calls from wives who put their kids on the phone to say " You've ruined our family, my mommy's crying".

The men vastly outnumbered the women.

computer algorithms automatically generating the flirtatious responses to eager men.

Easy to run up a large bill -- with nothing to show for it.

Top 100 list shows Ashley Madison passwords are just as weak as all the rest

The unwashed masses are horrible at picking passwords.
That TSA-approved lock on your suitcase just got hacked

images of the TSA's master luggage keys have been published online, meaning that anyone with a 3D printer can make their own.

Reader comment:
Look I worked for TSA in Portland OR down in baggage and we had several sets of these so-called master keys and let me tell you you had to really work the key in the lock and it only worked 25% of the time. You want to know our best master key? BOLT cutters. That's right. Those master keys are so unreliable good old fashioned bolt cutters did the trick every time.

Friday, September 11, 2015

rasmusnielsen-Link to a neat Apple Watch screensaver for OS X

rasmusnielsen: ""



This is a link to a neat OS X screensaver that looks like the Apple Watch. Scroll down the page to find it.


Thanks, OS X Daily!


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


How to Make a Bootable OS X El Capitan GM / Beta USB Installer Drive

How to Make a Bootable OS X El Capitan GM / Beta USB Installer Drive: ""



If you don’t want to erase your copies of the OS X El Capitan GM Candidate every time you use, it, read this article.

It works. I just tried it. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Web Wrap-up for Saturday, September 4, 2015

The 11 greatest moments Apple's ever had on stage

iOS App Store -- Top Apps by All-Time Worldwide Downloads

Apple Watch Has Legs: A (Brief) Long-Term Review

The Apple Watch appears poised to become the leading wearable.  After constant use of the Watch for two months, I’ll take a stab at why.

Roughly 80 percent of the messaging I get can be dispatched with a quick glance (via notifications), which the Watch excels at.  In other words, the iPhone stays in my pocket most of the time.  That makes a huge difference.

the Watch has limited utility and a tiny screen.  And it simply replicates functions that you can already do on the iPhone.

I can never remember to wear my Apple Watch because it fails this very basic test

It doesn’t pass the “turn-around test”:  If you leave your apartment in the morning and realize only once you get to the subway station five blocks away that you forgot to wear your smartwatch, would you turn around and go home to get it?

Wearable technology simply doesn't pass this test yet.

One thing that keeps me from wearing the Apple Watch each day is the fact that it requires a nightly charge. If I could just wear my watch to bed, it’s more likely I would continue wearing it the next day.

New iPhone malware a problem, but only for jailbroken phones

The Steve Jobs Documentary Apple Doesn't Want You to See

Steve Jobs was a once-in-generation genius who pushed other people beyond their limits to achieve something great. The reason Apple doesn’t want you to see that film—the company didn’t make any its current employees or executives available for interview—is that Gibney takes every possible opportunity to cut down Jobs.

There’s Steve Jobs the man who made computers usable for normal people, and there’s Steve Jobs the sociopath who could be an asshole to even his family and closest friends. Both accounts matter.

900 million Wi-Fi networks are revealed in this dazzling map of electronic life around the world

Animated map reveals the 550,000 miles of cable hidden under the ocean that power the internet

Twitter has been criticised by a coalition of human rights groups for its decision to ban Politwoops, a social media watchdog that keeps a record of deleted tweets from politicians.

Twitter argues that the service, by republishing deleted tweets, broke its developer agreement and undermined politicians' expectations of privacy. But its defenders say that it fulfills a vital service as a watchdog.

20 Million Men Active On Ashley Madison: Why That Is A Great Wake-Up Call For Women

the sheer vastness of the Ashley Madison hack should be a powerful wake-up call for women who tell themselves that their marriage is fail-proof, and they don't have to take responsibility for their own financial wellbeing.

Never, ever abandon your career.
Never assume alimony will support you.
Be actively involved in the family finances - better for noticing affair spending.

while information for 37 million Ashley Madison member was leaked, nearly all of the 5.5 million women's accounts were inactive, and just 20 million of the men's accounts showed signs of checking emails. It's unclear whether the remaining 11 million male accounts were fake, duplicates or curious drive-bys who never interacted with the site after establishing an account.



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