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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Anticipating WWDC 2016: What's in store for Apple's Macs and OS X

Anticipating WWDC 2016: What's in store for Apple's Macs and OS X: ""



Will Apple bring Siri to the Mac at last? What about an updated file system to replace the 30+ year old HFS?


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday, May 29, 2016

7 incredibly tiny details you never noticed in your iPhone

27 things you didn't know your iPhone could do

How to replace Apple’s apps with better apps from other companies.

The author of this article recommends replacing several of Apple’s apps, except keep iMessage.

Tim Cook believes that in the future, customers will look back and wonder how they ever survived without the Apple Watch, revealing that future models will add health-focused features that will monitor most everything your body is doing.

IPhone 6s vs. Galaxy S7 Drop Test

Good video.

A Traveler’s Guide to Taking a Smartphone Abroad

There are two ways to take your cellphone abroad and get data — the frugal way and the pay-full-price way. The inexpensive method involves some tinkering and planning ahead, while the full-price way is easy but requires paying even more money to your carrier.

This is about to be the best reason to switch from iPhone to Android

Probably the hottest point of contention in the Tech Insider newsroom is whether Android or iOS is the better ecosystem.

I tend to come down on team Droid. The affordability and openness of Google's ecosystem offers huge advantages over Apple's closed iOS. But I understand the case for iPhones: They're reliable, always up to date, and (mostly) just work.

But Google is on the verge of striking a major blow in the ease-of-use wars: Project Abacus, Google's plan to do away with smartphone passwords almost entirely.

Meet the Designers Hoping to Treat ADHD and Alzheimer's with Computer Games

Could a doctor treating ADHD or Alzheimer’s one day prescribe a video game? Eddie Martucci and Matthew Omernick think so.

Martucci said “We’re entering our phase-three clinical trial for our primary product, pediatric ADHD. It’s the first-of-its-kind drug-style study in which patients are taking home a video game instead of a pill."

5 signs your kid could be a tech entrepreneur

How non-Facebook users can stop Facebook from tracking them around the web

Here's a scary story of what happened when one women contacted Twitter to report that she was being harassed. 

A DMCA complaint form requires you to submit your name, address, email, the link to the photo/video and to certify that you are the owner and did not grant permission. 

What Twitter didn't tell her was that the DMCA complaint process involves sending the full copy of the complaint to the person being complained about.

This gives the person a warning and a chance to counter the claims.

Q. How can I see who is connected to my home Wi-Fi network?

A. Depending on your interest in technical fiddling, you can see what other devices are connected to your network in several ways.

This body hacker is turning people into cyborgs

A growing community of amateur "body hackers" are using chips the size of a rice grain, injected into their hands and wrists, to unlock their computers, buzz in at work and open the doors to their homes. The one thing they have in common — aside from a desire to be among the first generation of cyborgs — is a small Seattle start-up called Dangerous Things.

Dangerous Things designs, sells and, in rare cases, installs its own line of implantable radio-frequency ID (RFID) chips.

It sounds strange, and perhaps even a little dangerous, but RFID technology already surrounds us.

the convenience and functionality of RFID chips that body hackers espouse could also be exploited for dangerous purposes. Already, implantable medical devices are at risk.

Adherents to the body-hacking way of life, however, don't seem too worried about a bad actor using an RFID reader to swipe information off their implanted chips.

US nuclear forces are controlled by this shockingly obsolete tech

The GAO found that the Strategic Automated Command and Control System (SACCS) — a computer system that "coordinates the operational functions of the United States' nuclear forces, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers, and tanker support aircrafts" — still runs on 8-inch floppy disks.

If you're worried about 53-year-old technology standing partly between commanders and the end of the world or, depending on whom you ask, the defense of the country, you'll be happy to know that the military is, too. It plans to update these computers by 2017 and replace them with modern systems by 2020.

A hacker explains why US nukes controlled by ancient computers is actually a good thing

A new government report on Wednesday revealed that America's nukes are still being controlled by antique computerswith 8 inch floppy disks, but a former white-hat hacker says that's not necessarily a bad thing.

"The biggest security issue here isn't that the computer is 40 years old, but rather the quality of the lock on the door where the computer is housed," Cris Thomas said.

There is a caveat: While an outdated machine would make it hard for hackers, it also makes it hard to fix things if something goes wrong, since the coding languages it uses are aging as well. Fewer programmers are around who even know COBOL or FORTRAN, he explained.

Senate proposal to require encryption workarounds may be dead

Opposition may doom effort to require tech vendors to assist law enforcement with unlocking devices.

A proposal in the U.S. Senate to require smartphone OS developers and other tech vendors to break their own encryption at the request of law enforcement may be dead on arrival.

We toured the NSA museum, a building dedicated to America’s secrets and spies — take a look

An update on Apple’s computer language, which it named “Swift”

Apple launched the new programming language a mere two years ago. And its name was a premonition — it caught on like wildfire.

As of this week, some 59% of people building iOS apps are using Swift, compared to 39% who are still building apps with the former programming language, ObjectiveC.

What's crazy is that these folks are flocking to Swift even though it still suffers from a major flaw. It's not stable.

Still, Swift is so popular that Google is flummoxed.

Floppy Disk Access when your Mac runs on OS X 10.11 El Capitan-Scenario #5

We have now come to Scenario #5, where you only have a brand-new Mac running 10.11 El Capitan and you don’t have any other computers. 

Now fellow Mac users, I have tried one idea, which is to boot your Mac from Linux and temporarily turn your Mac into a Linux computer. The current version of Linux, at least Ubuntu Linux 16.04, will read Windows floppies. 

When this works, it’s great. The operative word, though, is “when it works”. I’ve had a hell of a time getting my Mac to boot from a Linux DVD or boot flash drive. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I imagine at this point, your nerves are shot and your vocabulary is pretty foul.

Rather than spell out the procedure for creating Linux boot media on your Mac, I will advise you to have a heart to heart talk with that other person asking  you to copy their old floppy disks to modern media to do the following:

1. Buy or rent an older computer to do the job. 

2. If it’s used Apple computers you want, PowerMax in Oregon and Smalldog Electronics in Vermont have excellent reputations. As for eBay, I’ve had mixed success with buying Macs from eBay for a client. 

3. If you still want to try Linux, for God’s Sake use a Windows computer to temporarily boot into Linux using Live Boot media. I own a Windows 10 computer that will boot into Ubuntu Linux from a Ubuntu Live DVD every time. Go to for the procedures. They’re an excellent Web site.

4. Finally, if the other party has boxes and boxes of old media in varying degrees of condition, it’s time to tell them to consider a professional file transfer service. offers transfer services and they charge for every attempted recovery. Because people send them media that’s been stored in hot garages and such. Another service to consider is 

 5. I know you may have thought I was Captain Nerdtastic with the arcane solution to all puzzling problems. Well, I’m just a civll servant in his shorts on a Sunday morning. I’m telling you that to some problems the best solution is to break out the plastic and spend the money. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog






Floppy Disk Access when your Mac runs on OS X 10.11 El Capitan-Scenario #4

Scenario #4: Your Mac came from the factory with a version of OS X prior to El Capitan. But you’ve kept on upgrading to OS X 10.11 without making clones of these earlier versions of OS X for safekeeping.


And no, Time Machine backups won’t boot. What do you do?


Don’t Panic. At least not yet. You will use Internet Recovery.


You will need the following:


A. An external USB hard drive. You will erase it in the course of this recovery, so it doesn’t matter if it came Windows formatted.


B. The external floppy drive.


C. A lot of patience, as you will have to download several gigabytes worth of files from Apple. Aren’t you glad you got that high-speed connection?



D. A Wired USB keyboard. Wireless keyboards won’t work where you’re going. You need a hard-wired connection.


The heart of this procedure lies in Apple including the Internet Recovery option. This differs from the standard recovery option which you access by restarting your Mac and holding down Command + R.


No, in this instance you hold down the Command + Alt + R keys to get to Internet Recovery. You’ll install the version of OS X that your Mac came with from the factory. In my case, it is OS X 10.7 Lion. This installation runs slower than the regular recovery option because you need to access Apple’s servers.


So, here are the steps:


1. You need a USB hard drive. If you bought it recently, it probably came formatted in Windows NTFS format. That’s fine. You will reformat it in a moment.


You can get a 500 GB USB hard drive for $50-60 at many computer retailers, such as Frys, Costco, Staples, Office Depot/Office Max, Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart and Best-Buy. On-line you can get them from,, and


I’m guessing that 500 GB will handle your file copying needs.


2. Fire up your Mac running 10.11. Plug in the USB hard drive. See that its activity light comes on and that you see it in the Finder’s sidebar. You don’t want to find out you bought a dud drive!


3. Plug in the Wired USB keyboard. You can use a cheap Windows USB keyboard that you bought at the drug store or computer retailer for $5-$10! It doesn’t have to be a Mac-specific keyboard, which cost a bit. Just know that the Windows key is the same as the Mac’s Command key.


4. Now read these next instructions before proceeding. Don’t rush headlong in, even though you feel impatient and sweaty from anxiety.


A. Go up to the Mac’s Apple Menu, the outline of an apple with a bite out of it in the upper left-hand corner.


B. Click on Restart and follow the directions you see on screen.

Restart under the Apple Menuy




C. The screen will become black.


D. When you hear the Mac “bong!” noise, hold down together the Command, the Alt, and the letter R.


E. The screen turns white and then you see a spining glode with the text, “Entering Internet Recovery Mode. This may take a while.” You’ve been warned to stay patient.


Spinning Globe in INternet recovery

F. You’ll end up at a windows with the Title “Mac OS X Utilities” You will see 4 items.


Reinstall Mac OS X from Internet recovery

I. Restore from Time Machine Backup. You don’t want this.


II. Reinstall Mac OS X. You’ll want this in a moment. Just not yet. Notice the tiny picture to the left of the text. It shows what version of OS X you will install on the external hard drive. In my case, it’s OS X 10.7 Lion. Yours should specify a version from 10.7 Lion to 10.10 Yosemite.


III. Get Help Online. Always good to know.


IV. Disk Utility. That’s where we’ll start.


5. You read the instructions? Good, read them again just to make sure. Print them out if need be.


6. Now to the Disk Utility. Click on it once to highlight it. Now press the Continue button in the lower right-hand corner of the window.


Disk Utility in Lion

7. I suggest you make two partitions, one for OS X itself and the other for the files you will copy from the floppies. I suggest this because you could run into permission problems if you use names and passwords on this external drive that differ from what you used with OS X 10.11. If you use two partitions, the strictly data partition won’t have permission problems.


8. To make multiple partitions with Disk Utility, you click on the double-headed arrow at the right-hand side of the box that says “Current.” It drops down to show possible partitioning schemes from 1 to 16.


Partion scheme shown as Current



9. Click on the “2” for just two partitions.

Partions Two Scheme



10. Now you will see two boxes of equal size. One is “Untitled 1” and the other is “Untitled 2”. Click on “Untitled 1” to highlight it with a blue border. You can do the same for “Untitled 2” later.


Partitions split into two equal parts

11. Change the names of the partitions to something you can remember. Change the size of the first partition to 100 GB to 200 GB. That’s plenty.


Partition resize

12. Change the format to Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) in both partitions from Windows FAT.


Partion disk format

13. Most important! Go down to the “Options” box below the partitions, click on it to bring up a window and select “GUID” You don’t want Windows’s Master Boot Record.

Partition scheme options you want GUID


14. All right! It’s time to install OS X on your OS X partition. Click on the  “Partition” button and then on the “Apply” button and the process begins.


Partition start the process

15. When you finish, you’ve got an external hard drive partitioned and ready to go.


Partition is done

16. Click on the Red exit button in the upper left-hand corner to leave Disk Utility.


17. You’re back at the main window. Carefully click on “Reinstall Mac OS X” to highlight it.


Reinstall OS X Lion

18. Click on the Continue button in the lower right-hand corner of the window.


19. Click on the Continue right-facing arrow.

Begin INstallation of OS X LIon




20. You’ll get a message about verifying your computer’s eligibility with Apple. Click on Continue.


Verify eligibility



21. You get an installation software license agreement. Read it quickly and click on the right-facing Agree button

Software License Agreement


22. One more message. You have read and agreed to the Software License Agreement. If you didn’t make a backup before, make sure you have one on hand. You can’t sue Apple in case you lose your data!

Software LIcense Agreement read and understood


23. Now you’re at the hard drive selection screen. You’ll notice that you can’t overwrite your pre-existing OS X 10.11 installation. You can only install 10.7 Lion on the new blank partitions you just created.


Where to install OS X Lion

24. Now click on OS X Lion and click on the right-facing Install arrow.

INstrall OS X LIon




25. Now you wait for the installation. Now is a good time to take a shower, do some laundry, or eat some food. You can’t do anything on your computer right now anyway.


It will take some time. First, you have to download the OS X installer and then you have to install OS X.

Waiting an hour for the installer to download


I wait for OS X to install




26. Now you go through the steps of setting up OS X. This is still the same, so I’ll let  you consult the documentation that came with your Mac.


Setting your Mac UP

27. You’re at the desktop at last. A few more adjustments to make.


OS X Lion Desktop at Last

28. Go under the Finder’s Preferences (Not the System Preferences) and set the desktop to display all attached peripherals.


Screen Shot 2016 05 28 at 1 36 46 PM

29. Plug in the USB floppy drive and insert a floppy disk to test it.


30. If everything went correctly, you’ll see the floppy disk icon on the screen. Click on it to open it in a Finder window and commence copying!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Floppy Drive Access When your Mac runs on OS X 10.11 El Capitan-Scenario #3

Scenario #3: You made a bootable clone using Super-Duper or Carbon Copy Cloner of a pre-OS X 10.11 version of OS X. You’re in luck. Boot up from the clone.


1. Plug the USB external hard drive into a USB port. If you used a Firewire 400/800 drive to make the clone, use the Firewire port if your Mac has one.


2. See that the drive starts up, that the activity light flashes, and that the drive appears in the Finder’s sidebar.


3. Go to System Preferences. You want the Startup Disk system preference.


4. Select your external boot drive and click on Restart.


5. You’ve booted up with the older version of OS X that your Mac recognizes.


6. Plug in the external USB floppy drive and the external flash drive or USB hard drive.


7. Start copying the files!


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Floppy Disk Access when you've got an aging Windows computer as well as your brand new Mac running 10.11-Scenario #2

Scenario #2 : You have a box of old Windows/MS-DOS floppies. You own a 10 to 20 year old Windows machine as well as your new Mac. The old machine has a working internal floppy drive.


You’re in luck! Take out the old machine, clean off the accumulated dust, boot it up and start copying to the internal hard drive.


You may run into trouble trying to get the data you copied onto your old machine’s internal hard drive to an external USB storage device.


1. Depending on what version of Windows or DOS you use, you may have to install 3rd-party drivers for your USB device.


2. You could see if the Windows machine has a network connection. Even an old Ethernet card with an RJ-45 connection (they look like big versions of telephone jacks) will work fine. Set up a network connection between your old machine and your new Mac.


3. If worst come to worst, partially disassemble the computer to gain access to the hard drive itself. Use a hard drive to USB adaptor to copy the data from the hard drive to your Mac.You can get them at Amazon and at Fry’s Electronics. MacSales has a USB 3.0 version for $28.


IDE to USB adaptor



 Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Floppy Disk Access when you've got an older Mac as well as the new one running El Capitan-Scenario #1

Scenario #1: You own an older Macintosh in working order as well as your current Mac running 10.11.


As I said, you only need to take the older Macintosh, such as my 2006 MacBook running 10.6.8, plug in an external floppy drive and a flash drive or external hard drive. You’re up and running.

MacBook 2006 with external hard drive and floppy disk


Screen shot 2016 05 28 at 3 15 19 PM



You can purchase external floppy drives from many computer retailers. I would warn you, though, that not all external floppy drives can read Windows/MS-DOS double-sided dual density disks and Mac-formatted high-density disks. Most can only read the high-density (1.44 Mb) disks.


I would advise you to turn to in Orange County. They sell two kinds of USB floppy drives. The cheap one reads only Windows/MS-DOS high-density disks. The more expensive one will read all three kinds of floppy disks. This is the one I use. 

Professional grade floppy drive from Floppy Disk



If you encounter Mac floppy disks of 400K/800K capacity, you’re out of luck. You’ll need an older Mac with a built-in floppy drive to read them. Ebay?


Thomas Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Accessing floppy drives when your Mac runs on OS X El Capitan

Here’s the situation. You own a Mac running OS X El Capitan. It runs great.  

Now someone important to you; your boss, your significant other, your business partner, needs you to access old physical media to copy the files over to a hard drive or flash drive. You told them you’d have no difficulty doing so before you saw the media.

And now you can’t turn back.

Don’t Panic. At least not yet. I’m here to give you tips and techniques for accessing old forms of physical media last used in the 1990s on a Mac.  


For the purposes of this article, I will assume you received a box with:


1. Old Windows high-density (1.44 Mb/ disk) and double-density (720 K/ disk) media.

2. Old Macintosh high-density (1.4 Mb/disk)

3. Old CD-ROMs with data you want to retrieve.

4. Old ZIP disks in the 100 Mb and 250 Mb size.


Here’s what you can do with them.

1. OS X stopped recognizing floppy drives when OS X 10.11 El Capitan came out. Fortunately, older versions of OS X, starting with OS X 10.10 Yosemite and going back to the beginning, do recognize floppy drives and disks.

2. All version of OS X recognize CDs and DVDs. You only need a USB CD/DVD drive that you can purchase through various computer retailers for $25 to $40. Just plug it into a USB port. 


3. Curiously enough, OS X El Capitan does recognize old ZIP disks. I have read ZIP 100 and ZIP 250 disks using a ZIP 250 USB drive that I purchased on eBay. If you right-click or control-click on the desktop icon, you get a menu with several options, such as ejecting the media from the drive. 

ZIP 250 drive


ZIP 250 icon on desktop



ZIP 250 right click menu




For floppy disks. I will go through the best scenario to the worst scenarios. 


1. Your new Mac came with OS X El Capitan preinstalled from the retailer. Fortunately, your old Mac that you put on the shelf in the closet runs an older version of OS X. Just take it down, clean off the dust, plug in a USB floppy drive and a flash drive or external USB hard drive, and you’re in business.

2. The box of disks you received are strictly MS-DOS/Windows format. You still have an old Windows XP/Windows 98/Windows 7 machine that contains a working floppy drive. Again, take it down from the shelf, clean it up, and you’re in business. You just need a flash drive of sufficient capacity or an external USB hard drive.

3. You acquired your Mac before OS X El Capitan came out and showed the good sense to make a bootable clone of the internal hard drive on a external USB hard drive. Just in case. You probably used either Super-Duper or Carbon Copy Cloner to do. Great! Just take the bootable clone and plug it into a free USB port. Go to System Preferences and choose Startup Disk. Select the bootable clone and reboot. You’re back in business.

4. Your Mac came from the factory with a version of OS X before OS X 10.11 came out and you’ve upgraded to OS X 10.11. You don’t have any bootable clones. Take a deep breath. You do have options, but you need to spend some cash and exercise some patience.

5. You don’t have bootable clones and this Mac came with OS X 10.11 already installed at the factory. You’ve never owned a Mac before. It’s your only working computer.

 Take a deep breath. I’ll outline several options for you. You’ll have to spend some cash to solve the problem.  I’ll lay out some options, but you may just want to go on-line to to order an older Mac for $200.


I’m breaking this tutorial into sections so it doesn’t clog your Web browser.  On to Scenario #1


Tom Briant

Editor, Macvalley Blog



Sunday, May 22, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday, May 22, 2016

Apple pulled iOS 9.3.2 for the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, following reports that users were seeing their iPads bricked after updating to the latest iOS release on Monday. The bug does not affect the larger, 12.9 inch iPad Pro.
Apple has fixed a security flaw that could let a hacker access personal data on a user's iPhone.

The fix is part of software update, iOS 9.3.2, which is rolling out to iPhone and iPad users across the globe.

In total, Apple patched 22 separate bulletins fixing dozens of vulnerabilities.

This beautiful app will show you all the forgotten files that are slowing down your Mac
40 years of Apple history with Walt Mossberg
Apple’s 40th anniversary was almost two months ago, but this video is so good I put it in anyway.
I only discovered it Saturday.
Apple just revealed the future of its retail stores
Apple stores may not generate anywhere near the revenue of the company's online counterpart. Yet for the last 15 years, they have acted as Apple's real-world footprint, a way to set apart how it communicates with customers and leaves its mark on cities around the world.
This $1.5 billion PC gaming company's first US store stole some of the spotlight from the new Apple Store in San Francisco
11 paid iPhone and iPad apps on sale for free as of May 20, 2016
I'm ready to ditch the iPhone for Android N (and I want Apple to show me why I shouldn’t)
Forget the Haters: The Apple Watch Is a Flawed, But Very Useful Device
In fact, the few days I forgot to put the watch on were difficult to get through after using it so much.
Siri on the Apple Watch is like Siri on steroids. Or at least it’s like the version of Siri Apple users have always wanted.
It’s risky to predict this, but the Apple Watch will become a classic technology device within two years and all the haters will be proven wrong.
How Apple Watch became the iPod of the future
While ridiculed by many as a flop and often misunderstood as a product, Apple Watch has very successfully worked to turn around the fortunes of Apple's Other Products segment, essentially becoming the modern iPod for the next decade.
As a product, iPod took nearly four years to develop into an outstanding smash success.
My first year with the Apple Watch as a health-monitoring tool
I won’t go as far as to say it is a life-saver. On the other hand, it has become a key part of how I manage my type 2 diabetes.
I use the Apple Watch, in combination with the Dexcom 5 Continuous Glucose Monitoring system.
These Apple Watch wearers were ashamed of how often they pulled out their phones, how often they placed them on tables and how they continually glanced at or tapped them.

They feel they're now being more subtle with the Apple Watch.
Apple’s banned an iPhone app that let you know if you were being spied on

Stefan Esser was essentially told that detecting weaknesses or problems in a user’s phone wasn’t allowed.

Esser, for his part, is confused by the removal from the App Store, as he says that the app only performed the same function as many others that have been allowed to remain available.
Who Made Tim Cook King?
When Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, vows to continue to increase the strength of the encryption on his company’s products, he is proposing to make commonplace something that has hitherto been rare: zones of privacy that are potentially impenetrable.
Should technology companies create black boxes, whose encryption is so strong that they cannot be unlocked without their users’ consent, a lucky guess, or treachery, even if law enforcement has a legitimate interest in seeing the boxes’ contents?
A more limited privacy than technologists promise is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, which (as the president reminded us) has always allowed that police can enter one’s house and rifle through one’s personal effects, so long as they have a warrant issued by a judge.
No right is absolute, because all rights butt up against other rights, with their own strong claims. In open, democratic societies, we are committed to continually negotiating rival claims, as values change and technologies evolve.
I downloaded my data from Facebook and found all of the people I unfriended in the last 10 years
Here’s how you can too.
How to see all the companies tracking you on Facebook — and block them

There’s a new thing called ‘fog computing’ and no, we’re not joking

To understand fog computing, you first have to understand cloud computing. In cloud computing, everyone shares the same massive data centers. You run an app on your phone in your home town, but the back-end computers may be in Virginia, or California, or Ireland, etc.

But with fog computing, computers and storage are scattered all over. The network is smart enough to know where the data is stored.

With the network as the star, you can see why Cisco is championing this idea. It means selling a lot more high-end, very profitable network equipment.

Cisco has been largely left out of the cloud computing revolution.

This college student 3D printed his own plastic braces for $60 — and they actually fixed his teeth

When Will the Internet Be Safe for Women?
The fight to make law enforcement take online threats seriously
A woman who was receiving death via Twitter called the police.
The police officer who showed up asked “What is Titter?”
A Boston judge said to one of the victims, "You just have to go offline."
“When I report a serious death threat to the police, this is what happens,” Brianna Wu, the video-game designer, said. “Invariably, a local cop comes to my house and instructs me to stay off social media. I cannot have a career without that online presence.”
Defendants demand to see FBI's secret hacking tool
Courts are facing a decision: Expose the FBI's techniques or don't allow defendants to see the evidence against them.
Both sides should have access to evidence in a criminal case, but FBI disclosure of the NIT's source code could kill the tool's effectiveness going forward, said Paul Fletcher, security evangelist for security vendor Alert Logic.

Digital technology offers, in principle, unprecedented privacy.

Without encryption, someone skilled in software manipulation can with relative ease impersonate someone else over the network.

Meanwhile, the law-enforcement community, seeing computer networks as the latest venue for criminals to conspire, may soon attempt to restrict domestic encryption directly.

"Wiretapping is a necessary evil, but to treat it as an entitlement would be a great mistake," says Marc Rotenberg, director of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility’s Washington office.

Why Apple (AAPL) won't be releasing a virtual reality (VR) system anytime soon — Quartz

Why Apple (AAPL) won't be releasing a virtual reality (VR) system anytime soon — Quartz: ""



Setting up virtual reality is a hassle right now. The authors of this piece are fairly sophisticated and see how much trouble they went through.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Saturday, May 21, 2016

A warning to everyone planning to tweak their Macs…BACKUP FIRST OF ALL

I write to you from a resurrected system. I did something dumb yesterday and paid the penalty of waiting several hours for Time Machine to reinstall my Mac from a backup. 


Twice. Ouch.


I feel very lucky. The last time my Mac blew a rod and needed to be reset through Time Machine, I found out I hadn’t backed up for several weeks. I spent several hours typing in my bank transactions from printouts into Quicken. 


Excuse me while I tap on the screen. Hello, you there, writing about the delicious fish tacos you ate last night on Facebook? Or playing a first-person shooter? 


Take A Moment out of your busy day to check your system. Did you plug in your backup drive? Does it work? Check It Out. 


Restart your system. At the “bong!”, hold down the Command and R keys. This will cause your system to boot from the hidden partition Apple provides for fixing messes.


Click on Restore from Time Machine. 


See if the Time Machine drive appears. If necessary, unplug it and plug it again. There, now it appears.


Now click on the drive’s icon to see if your backups appear. How recent are those backups?


You might even to want to see if  you can restore your backup. Buy a sufficiently large external hard drive and try to restore to it while you sleep or go to work.


Now try to boot up from that external drive. Ah, the moment of truth…


For all of  you saying, “Well, backups are inconvenient,” value your time at least $20 an hour and ask how long it would take to recreate all those files you’ve accumulated. All of them. 


That’s a lot of money, now isn’t it? So plug in that external hard drive and back up!


Oh, and regarding my categories of people who will come up with the next big things in personal computer hardware and software? If I didn’t include you, I’m sorry. 


Now get to work. 


I’m don’t know. Prove Me Wrong.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

The Next Form Factor for Apple to tackle, or…Ladies and Gentlemen, the Mac micro!

I love my Mac Mini. It fit into my tight budget when I bought it, and it physically fits onto my computer desk without dominating it as a PC tower would. 


So what do I think the next form factor Apple will use for the Mac Mini and other Macs? I believe Apple will look into the compute stick form factor pioneered by Intel.



Screenshot of computer stick in action


The largest element of a computer remains its screen. The other components, such as memory and mass storage, continue to shrink as chip fabrication techniques squeeze more and more computing elements onto ever-smaller squares of silicon. 


Right now, limits to wireless connections between the compute stick and various peripherals, such as a big honking 5 TB hard drive for storing all of Game of Thrones in 4K, limit the usefulness of the compute stick. When someone develops a compute stick whose internal  mass storage is the same cost as a cheap external 1 TB hard drive and can handle a 4k display with no sweat along with the wireless protocols eliminating the need for a rat’s nest of cables in the back; Then you can just plug in one or more of these compute sticks into a display. 


Will a cheap big-screen TV suffice instead of a dedicated computer monitor? Hell, I don’t  know. I don’t have a big-screen TV to test out these ideas. I’ll leave that up to the smart women of the 2020’s and 2030’s. 


Another thing. I don’t believe that the future of computing lies in touching the actual display. Most work at a computer occurs when you sit down some distance from the display. As David Pogue observed, reaching across the table to touch a screen from a sitting position causes chronic pain in your arm and shoulder. 


I will make a prediction, though. The keyboard with its physical keys will be replaced by a touch-surface capable of physical feedback and the ability to reconfigure itself based on immediate need. One moment you use a keyboard to type in text, the next moment you use a touch-board to illustrate a graphic element. The board recognizes your changing needs and  immediately reconfigures itself. 


So look for smart Indian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern refugee women to develop these technologies. Look for 60+ year-old nerds sitting in their Costco underwear in Canoga Park to write, “See? I was right.”



Thomas Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Apple has a great idea and All Great Ideas contain the seeds of their own destruction.

My past few articles concentrated on resurrecting old word-processing files from the glorious Classic OS past. You might think that I live in the past. Hey, I’m turning 61 in three weeks. 


Now let me turn my attention to what I think lies in the future for Apple. 


I think Apple, at least Apple’s operating system OS X, will be replaced or supplemented by another system. 


I have two big reasons to think this way. First, some crucial parts of Apple’s operating system have started to show their age. I’m looking at you, HFS+ file system, in particular. 


Can the HFS+ file system, which Apple retained when it switched from Classic OS to OS X, keep up with the demands of the 21st Century? I note that both of Apple’s main competitors, Windows and Linux,  use newer file systems. 


Talk has swirled for years about Apple changing the HFS+ file system to something better.  Sun Microsystems developed the ZFS file system which a lot of people thought Apple would use. Now the speculation focuses on btfs, a system used in some Linux distros. 


Which brings me to Apple’s next problem. It’s actually a feature, not a bug. Apple’s hardware is incredibly versatile. I have run Windows, Linux, and Classic OS on my current OS X hardware. Sometimes all at once. 


So who develops this new operating system and why do they do it? I believe it will come from virtual reality and gaming or pornography. 


You may feel sickened to think that the improvement in general computing comes from the morally dodgy fringes. We must remember that Apple itself sprung from the fringes. The mainstream employers in the late 1970’s of Jobs and Wozniak, Hewlett-Packard and Atari, do not stand at the forefront of personal computing any more.


Should we be surprised to wake up one day to find out some smart Indian or Chinese or Middle East refugee kids have developed the next generation OS? No, we shouldn’t. When will it happen? I’m predicting, out of my neither orifice, that it will happen in the 2020s or 2030s. 


In the meantime, I shall work at my 20th Century technology-based Mac. I’m not interested in virtual reality, as I’m having enough trouble with reality as it is.


You are welcome to comment on my prognostications. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for May 15, 2016

Why did Apple make the Apple Watch?

The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs developed pancreatic cancer in 2004. He then spent a great deal of time with doctors and the healthcare system until his death in 2011. During this time, Jobs discovered how disjointed the healthcare system can be. He took on the task of trying to bring some digital order to various aspects of the healthcare system, especially the connection between patients, their data, and their healthcare providers.

If you look at Apple’s current health initiatives, many are focused on helping people record data of all types and get it securely to their healthcare providers.

It seems clear that Apple’s management has now and will continue to have a major focus on bridging the gap between a person and their healthcare providers.

I commend Apple for what it’s been able to achieve with the first generation Apple Watch

Apple acknowledges iTunes music deletion bug, promises fix

Apple isn't sure what the cause of the iTunes bug is, as it hasn't been able to reproduce the problem, but in a statement to iMore the company acknowledged the bug and promised a fix next week.

Here's what every symbol on top of your iPhone means

What Google’s ‘Gboard’ can do that your iPhone’s normal keyboard can’t

Google has released a new keyboard app, just for the iPhone, called Gboard.  The new app lets you search straight from the keyboard.

The app is free to download from the App Store.

Why did Google make such a good keyboard for the iPhone?

how weird is it that two behemoths — Microsoft and Google — both turn out to have been working on iOS keyboards in parallel?

Google’s new iPhone software keyboard offers four powerful features that you don’t get with Apple’s built-in keyboard.
The Gboard lets you swipe to type.

Google just launched its very first keyboard for iPhone and iPad — and it’s awesome.

Here's the secret way you can load the desktop versions of websites on your iPhone

BONUS: You can also get the mobile version of a website while browsing on your desktop.

4 iPhone tricks you might not know

One handy shortcut every Mac user should know

How to repair a cracked iPhone or iPad screen

Whether it’s cracked or completely shattered, we’ve got you covered with the 5 best repair options: here's what to do if you break your iPhone or iPad's display.

If a high-street retailer charges as little as £40 (about $58) to replace an iPhone 6s screen, say, you should start questioning how that's possible.

There's one more option - but it's not for the faint-hearted. iFixit provides tutorials on how to repair any part of any iPhone (and similar articles for the iPad).

Here's why I gave up my beloved Galaxy S7 for a boring old iPhone

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is the best smartphone I've ever used.

But recently, I've given mine up in favor of a boring, bulky, less cross-compatible iPhone 6s Plus. 

The reason is simple: The iPhone's got a crazy-long battery life.

How Apple Watch and pervasive computing can lure you into leveling up your fitness

I'm talking about the red, green and blue rings that adorn my Apple Watch, tracking how much I move, exercise and stand.

the fitness features of the Apple Watch tap into the aspect of human psychology that makes us feel good about completing a goal or reaching an achievement. It's one of the most prominent examples of gamification – a way of integrating these goals and achievements into traditionally nongame activities.

9 accessories that’ll help you get more out of your MacBook

Logitech Base Review: The iPad Pro stand Apple should’ve made

It looks and feels like the stand of an iMac

Larry Ellison talks about a long hike with Steve Jobs in USC commencement speech

Ellison's idea was to buy Apple and immediately make Jobs CEO. It made sense. Apple was worth only about $5 billion at the time, and, as Ellison said, "We both had really good credit, and I had already arranged to borrow all the money. All Steve had to do was say yes.”

Jobs then said to Ellison: "Larry, this is why it's so important that I'm your friend. You don't need any more money. ... I'm not doing this for the money, I don't want to get paid. If I do this I need to do this standing on the moral high ground.”

After Jobs was CEO of Apple again — interim CEO initially — Ellison joined Apple's board. And from that board seat he watched Jobs "build the most valuable company on Earth."

"The lesson here is very clear to me. Steve was right. After a certain point, it can't be about the money. After a certain point you can't spend it no matter how hard you try. I know, I've tried hard."

Steve Jobs said "You've got to have an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right that you're passionate about, otherwise you're not going to have the perseverance to stick it through.”

It's hard starting a business. If you don't have a deeper conviction that you're solving a problem that really needs to be solved, you'll never make it through the adversity.

You Won’t Be Bearish on Apple Inc. After Reading This

Everyone loves to hate Apple stock these days. It has all the necessary ingredients to be a short seller’s favorite in today’s market condition. But if you decide to become an Apple stock bear just because of what other people are saying, well, you’d be missing out on a huge opportunity.

I’m no Apple fan boy. Among my smartphone, tablet, and laptop, only one of them is made by Apple. What I like more is Apple stock. At today’s price, its value is just too hard to ignore.

If you’re betting against AAPL stock now, be warned; you’ll be kicking yourself later.

A sixth sense protects drivers except when texting

"The driver's mind can wander and his or her feelings may boil, but a sixth sense keeps a person safe at least in terms of veering off course," Ioannis Pavlidis said. "What makes texting so dangerous is that it wreaks havoc into this sixth sense. Self-driving cars may bypass this and other problems, but the moral of the story is that humans have their own auto systems that work wonders, until they break."

Broadband service tends to stop at the poverty line in the US

The big business of 'like farming' on Facebook

Hillary Clinton was criticised when her Facebook account suddenly received thousands of likes from Thailand and Myanmar overnight.



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