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Tom Briant

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday June 26, 2016


Secrets of iOS 10: Apple's iPhone Future Revealed
'Vintage' Apple iPods reportedly rake in $20,000 on eBay
D***.  I should have bought the first iPod that Apple made — even though it was overpriced.
Apple can’t make enough of its newest iPhone
"Demand has been very strong and exceeds supply at this point, but we're working hard to get the iPhone SE into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible,” Tim Cook said.
7 simple tips for charging your iPhone as quickly as possible
Use These Secret Codes to Unlock Hidden Features on Your iPhone
Updated version of this article.
7 things to delete first when your iPhone storage is full
5 free iPhone-only apps that will make your Android friends jealous
You can hack your iPhone to make the logo glow like the one on a MacBook
But it will void your warranty.
7 ways you're completely killing your iPhone battery
Secret iPhone codes you should know about
I use my iPhone to hide that I’m homeless
... a growing community of homeless New Yorkers using the internet as a means of survival.
NASA adds popular app to Apple TV
With NASA's new Apple TV app, anyone's living room can be a space-observation deck.

Until now, users wanting to display NASA's app on their TV had to cast it through Apple's remote streaming software, AirPlay, or a similar service. But now, Apple TV owners can call up the app without having to send it through an iPad or iPhone.
Apple confirms iOS kernel code left unencrypted intentionally
Although encryption is often thought to be synonymous with security, the lack of encryption in this case doesn’t mean that devices running iOS 10 are less secure. It just means that that researchers and developers can poke around in the kernel’s code for the first time, and any security flaws will come to light more quickly. If flaws are revealed, they can be quickly patched.

Leaving the kernel unencrypted is a rare move of transparency for Apple.
Apple has begun to shift towards greater transparency, particularly on security issues, in the wake of its battle with the FBI
Chinese company in Apple patent suit nearly out of business
When a Beijing regulator recently ruled against Apple Inc. in a patent dispute, it handed a victory to a Chinese company that barely exists.
By the time regulators reached their decision this year, Digione had collapsed, brought down by buggy products, mismanagement and fierce competition, according to former employees and investors.
Baili and its parent, Digione, are part of a rapid boom and bust in China’s new wave of smartphone makers.
Shocker! Company that sued Apple over iPhone 6 is a patent troll
As it turns out, sales of Apple’s iPhone 6 models were never halted, but the allegations against Apple were very much real, albeit frivolous. The short of it is that Apple will be able to continue selling the iPhone 6 as the case makes its way through the Chinese court system.
Notably, a number of former Schenzhen Baili employees told the Journal that the lawsuit was nothing more than a publicity stunt, presumably to draw attention to the company’s smartphone lineup.
China builds world’s fastest supercomputer without U.S. chips

China revealed its latest supercomputer, a monolithic system with 10.65 million compute cores built entirely with Chinese microprocessors. This follows a U.S. government decision last year to deny China access to Intel's fastest microprocessors.

There is no U.S.-made system that comes close to the performance of China's new system, the Sunway TaihuLight. Its theoretical peak performance is 124.5 petaflops, according to the latest biannual release today of the world's Top500 supercomputers.

The fastest U.S. supercomputer, number 3 on the Top500 list, is the Titan, a Cray supercomputer at U.S. Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory with a theoretical peak of about 27 petaflops.

China now has more supercomputers in the Top500 list than the U.S., said Dongarra. "China has 167 systems on the June 2016 Top500 list compared to 165 systems in the U.S," he said, in an email. Ten years ago, China had 10 systems on the list.

World's First 1,000-Core CPU Runs on AA Battery

If you thought Intel's 72-core Xeon Phi supercomputing chip had a lot of cores, think again. Researchers at the University of California-Davis designed a processor with 1,000 cores.

The team partnered with IBM to fabricate its design, called KiloCore. Each of the processor cores is individually clocked, so it can run—and shut down—independently of the others. That independence is crucial to managing the processor's power demands, enabling high throughput with relatively lower energy use.

In an impressive display of one-upmanship, UC Davis has created a monster of a chip, called “KiloCore,” which houses 1,000 independent processors. After a bit of math, that comes out to a maximum computation rate of 1.78 trillion instructions per second. Holy shit.

But arguably the more impressive feat is how UC Davis was able to make such a monster chip actually energy efficient. According to UC Davis, the chip can perform 115 billion instructions per second and only give off .7 Watts

Antikythera Mechanism: Mysteries Of 2,100-Year-Old ‘Computer’ Revealed After Decade-Long Research

Scientists and archaeologists have long known that the Antikythera Mechanism — a device that was discovered in an ancient shipwreck near Crete in 1901 — was astonishingly ahead of its time when it was built nearly 2,100 years ago. However, there was one thing no one had been able to figure out — what exactly was this contraption, made of several large gears and cogs, used for?

Until now.

Scientists have come to the conclusion that the device was used for both astronomical and astrological purposes.

the Antikythera Mechanism, often called the world’s first analog computer, was, in addition to pinpoint the positions of sun, stars and the moon, used to predict solar and lunar eclipses — events ancient Greeks believed could impact human affairs.

“The Antikythera mechanism simulated a Hellenistic cosmology in which astronomy, meteorology and astral divination were intertwined,” the researchers said.

Whenever you use a texting app — Stop. Using. Periods. Period.

poor mom or dad doesn’t understand one of the cardinal rules of texting, which is that you don’t use periods, period. Not unless you want to come off as cold, angry or passive-aggressive.

The period is no longer how adolescents finish their sentences. In texts and online chats, it has been replaced by the simple line break.

You just hit send

Your words end up on a new line

a visual indication

that you have started

a new sentence,

Free TV's Decline Has Begun

The rise of cordcutting is hastening the end of free, over-the-air broadcast TV. Why? In part because those consumers who have abandoned traditional pay-TV service for online alternatives are threatening to cut into the massive licensing fees broadcasters now rely on to support their business.

With too little money to be made from free TV, the era of on-the-air (OTA) television is beginning to wind down. No wonder so many broadcasters are selling their spectrum back to the government.

Why San Francisco stopped teaching algebra in middle school

San Francisco in the twenty-first century is the town that STEM built.

the district's new mathematical course sequence, students would not be introduced to the joys of polynomials until high school.

many parents see the district's new standards as a dumbing down of the curriculum.

In fact, the evidence on early algebra is decidedly mixed.

New Android malware can secretly root your phone and install programs

Android users beware: a new type of malware has been found in legitimate-looking apps that can “root” your phone and secretly install unwanted programs.

The malware, dubbed Godless, has been found lurking on app stores including Google Play, and it targets devices running Android 5.1 (Lollipop) and earlier, which accounts for more than 90 percent of Android devices.

Some apps are clean but have a corresponding malicious version that shares the same developer certificate. The danger there is that users install the clean app but are then upgraded to the malicious version without them knowing.

The story of a DDoS extortion attack – how one company decided to take a stand

a member of the IT team at German payments processor Computop retrieved an email sent to one of the company's public addresses threatening to hit the firm's customer websites with a massive DDoS attack if a ransom of 15 Bitcoins (about £7,900) was not paid to the attackers by June 15.

The attackers had launched a smaller demo DDoS to prove their intent.

Instead of simply ordering his company to defend itself in conventional fashion he was going to write to all 5,000 of Computop's customers and partners telling them that on 15 June his firm's website was likely to be hit with a DDoS attack big enough to cause everyone serious problems.

Gladis probably didn't consider it at the time but he was making history. Companies hit by or threatened with DDoS attacks rarely talk about their experiences and absolutely never put such information into the public domain prior to an attack. It just isn't done. Business wisdom says that it's just too much of a reputational risk and might even seriously annoy the attackers. It's almost as if the industry sees the attack as being the victim's fault.

Gladys let their merchants know, in advance, of the forthcoming DDoS attack. A lot of large retailers came back saying that they liked being given a heads up. Nobody complained.

Did the plan work?

The date and time for the promised attack came and went and nothing happend. Gladis was told by the company's pen-testers that the attackers would have been able to detect that the vulnerable servers were now within a mitigation cloud and probably simply backed off.

Computop's story stands as a remarkable refutation to the idea that security is best served by secrecy.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Using Windows Keyboard with OS X



If you’ve acquired a Macintosh, congratulations and welcome to the club. You’ll want to put your own personal stamp on it and this is an article to show how to use an external Windows keyboard with that Mac.

Apple does sell keyboards and many people like to buy them so that everything matches esthetically. Electrically, though, not much distinguishes an Apple keyboard you buy at the Apple Store from a generic Windows keyboard you buy at Frys or Best Buy or even at the 24-hour CVS or Rite-Aid’s office supply aisle. The keyboard use the same USB connectors to plug into the computer and they use the same key codes to tell the operating system that you’ve pressed a particular letter, number or symbol. 

One nice feature that I’ve found is that the media control keys lying above the function keys for play/pause, go back a track, go forward a track, increase  volume, decrease volume. work just fine with iTunes 12.  A nice added feature. 

Now to the main questions:

1. Where did the Command key go? The answer is that the Command key on a Mac keyboard and the Windows key on a PC keyboard serve the same function and use the same key code. If you own a Mac Mini as I do, Apple’s documentation tells you so. 


So you can mentally remember to substitute the Windows key for the Command key.

Windows key


If you prefer to use Apple’s keyboard layout, simply go to the Keyboard Preference Pane in System Preferences


Keyboard PReference pane


click on it, and select Modifier Keys in the lower right-hand corner.

Keyboard preferences with modifier keys highlighted


This panel drops down to show you the four modifier keys. Click on the double-headed arrow at the right-hand end of each box to make a selection from four choices. The choices are the same for each of the modifier keys.



Default Modifer Keys




Your modifier key choices



So to make your Windows keyboard use the same layout for modifier keys as a Mac keyboard, change the Option key to the Command key and the Command key to the Option key. 

Leave the Control key and Caps Lock keys alone. 


Mac keyboard for modifier keys


Why doesn’t my Windows keypad work with my Mac? 


I encountered that problem, too. It drove me crazy. I even substituted an old Mac keyboard with keypad and it still wouldn’t work! What is wrong?

The answer was simple and free. You can’t use Mouse Keys with your keypad and enter numbers from it, too. 

Fine.  So where do I turn off Mouse Keys?!

You go to the Accessibility Preference Pane

Accessibility preference pane icon


click on it, and select Mouse and Trackpad from the window on the left-hand side. You may have to move the window to see Mouse and Trackpad.


Mouse Keys On



Now you see in the illustration above that Mouse Keys is turned on. TURN IT OFF TO USE THE KEYPAD TO ENTER NUMBERS!


Mouse Keys Off


You’ll hear several clicks when you turn Mouse Keys on or off. That verifies your choice. 


I want to give thanks to OS X Daily for this tip here. 


What if I want to further customize my Windows keyboard?


You can customize your Windows keyboard with changes to the Shortcuts.


Keyboard shortcuts and where to change them


 Here you see my shortcuts for the Screenshots. You can see that I changed Copy Picture of Screen to the Clipboard from the standard Control+Shift-Command+3 to just F13. 


F13 is called the Print Screen (PrtScr) key on a Windows keyboard. I wrote up instructions on how to change it her 


That’s all for tonight. Look up the Karabiner app here for further ways to customize your keyboard.


Tom Briant

Editor, Macvalley Blog




Sunday, June 19, 2016

Hot Weather Advice for Computer Owners

Hot weather doesn’t agree with computers. My Mac didn’t want to work for me, so I did the following.


1. I pressed the On/Off switch to turn it off;. 

2. I set a kitchen timer for an hour.

3. I looked at what peripherals I kept plugged into it. 

4. I unplugged the unneeded peripherals from the USB ports.

5. I made sure to plug in a wired keyboard and mouse/trackball.

6. I turned on the Mac again after the timer went off. This time it worked. It just needed a nap. 


So if it’s over 100 degrees where you live and your computer stopped working, just do what I did above. 

Make sure your computer and peripherals stay in a relatively cool place. Not in direct sunshine. 

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog



Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday, June 19, 2016

Meet Apple's 12 best app winners

Full list of iOS 10-compatible devices

First, ignore the videos in this article.  They have nothing to do with iOS 10.

Some iPhones, iPods and iPads can be upgraded to iOS 10 and some can’t.
Scroll past the first video to start seeing the list of iOS 10 compatible devices.

And scroll down further to see the list of iOS 9 compatible devices.

Finally for historians, scroll still further down for a list of iOS 8 compatible devices.

“Apple pushed back on the narrative that Apple is handicapped in A.I.," said Dawson. "But not directly. They dropped in the right terms here and there, but really, what they did is show, not tell."

Dawson was referring to the talk circulating among pundits that Apple is behind rivals -- including Facebook, Google and Microsoft -- in the battle to bring more intelligence to technology.

As expected, Apple recast OS X as macOS.
MacOS Sierra will ship this fall.

Apple Gives Young Coders a Playground on the iPad

As Apple CEO Tim Cook put it, "we believe coding should be a required language in all schools. We hope that this gift to kids and schools around the world will help make coding part of a school day.”

Also at WWDC, Apple showed off watchOS 3, iOS 10, and MacOS Sierra.

Apple's new iPhone software will automatically show you where you parked your car

Everything you can do with Apple's new Messages app in iOS 10

Watch Apple's Two-Hour 2016 WWDC Keynote in 7 Minutes

This is the biggest issue with the Apple Watch's new 911 feature

The feature only works if you're in WiFi range, or near your phone.

It makes little sense to spend $350+ for an Apple Watch that relies heavily on your $600+ iPhone.
If I'm going to spend so much money on a watch, I want it to work independently from my phone, especially for these kinds of vital services like dialing 911.

This iPhone feature lets emergency crews see your medical details

It’s called Medical ID and its part of the Health app included by default on newer iPhones.
This article has instructions on how to activate this feature on your iPhone.

The iPhone SE taught me that the best phone is the one you’re used to

My favorite phone today is the iPhone SE and the reason is that I gave it that full month to make its strengths apparent — and for me to grow habituated to them.

The author wrote about other people he knows who like different smart phones because they became habituated to them.

The Apple Watch finally looks useful

I’ve been a skeptic on the Apple Watch, but I’m thinking about changing my tune.

The new operating system it previewed for the Apple Watch might actually make it feel like an entirely new device.

Apple executives unveiled watchOS 3, the third version of the operating system to launch on the first-generation Apple Watch.

Improved speed and new features may make the Apple Watch useful at last.

My time’s up with Apple watch

Apps were working incorrectly.

Apple has successfully convinced me that I want a smartwatch — just not the one it sells.

10 awesome and weird iPhone accessories you probably need

Apple Wants to Move Past Hardware But Isn’t Ready to Commit

Apple increasingly realizes that it can’t limit itself to selling gadgets. Even the all-conquering iPhone is expected to see decreasing sales. Yet the company has fallen behind Amazon, Google, and Facebook in creating digital services people want.

Apple is opening Siri, its maligned voice-activated assistant, to apps written by other companies.

Apple had to do this. Voice, text, and maps are the most basic interactions on mobile devices. Barring developers from them placed Apple at risk of falling behind Android.

Opening the door to Siri just a bit lets Apple compete with voice-driven digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa.

iOS 10 can hide Apple’s built-in apps, but won’t delete them

Is this a big deal? Not really. Apple says that all of its built-in apps take up less than 150MB combined. That may be important when your phone is at capacity, but it shouldn't make a huge difference most of the time.

Apple wants to kill a bill that could make it easier for you to fix your iPhone

Jessa Jones is part of a group of independent device repair technicians who are dedicated to fixing and extracting data from damaged phones, tablets and computers. These fixers can rescue phone photos and prolong the life of the device. Yet their practice exists in a legal gray zone.

A New York bill called the Fair Repair Act would require that hardware manufacturers make repair instructions and parts available to the public. If passed by state lawmakers, the bill could open up independent access to repairs across the nation; its legality in one state would free upinformation and distribution flow to the rest of the country.

If the bill becomes law, it could be a big positive for the  environment, cutting down on manufacturing costs and e-waste generated from disposed phones. That's a major reason that New York state Sen. Phil Boyle decided to sponsor the bill.

"Apple in particular has been really vocal about how environmentally friendly they are, but behind the scenes, they're subverting every possible technique that people could have to make their products last longer” said Kyle Wiens, a repair advocate and founder of

What if Apple had followed Steve Jobs’ model?

I tend to look unfavorably at stock buybacks, and this Apple ride for the last five years has underscored why.

Apple’s current cash balance shows $230 billion in net cash vs $70 billion in debt.

If Apple had never spent a dime on dividends or stock buybacks, hoarding, as I believe Jobs would have, the company would currently have $350 billion in net cash on the balance sheet. By the end of 2017, in theory, Apple could have had more than half a trillion dollars in net cash on the balance sheet with no debt. Apple’s entire market cap right now is $530 billion.

Because the company spent all that money on dividends, buybacks and whatnot, the company instead has $170 billion in cash.

To be clear, though, I don’t want Apple to just blindly plow those hundreds of billions of dollars in to research and development at the firm either.

Maybe Jobs was right when he pointed out in a 1998 Fortune interview that:
“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”

My best guess is that Apple sees $130-$140 price in the next couple years based mostly on that cash-flow scenario, regardless of stock buybacks or dividend increases. Any new innovation would probably make that price target go even higher.

I’ve owned Apple for a baker’s dozen years now. I’ll give the stock another year or two year here.

After losing “iPhone” and “iPad,” Apple’s losing its grip on the iPhone 6 design in China

A Chinese court has ordered Apple to stop selling the iPhone 6 and 6 plus in Beijing, in yet another patent dispute between a Chinese company and high-profile US brand.  Shenzhen-based company Baili claims Apple copied the look of its “100C” smartphone.

If Apple loses this lawsuit, Beijing’s intellectual property regulator can either pull iPhones off the city’s shelves, or mediate between the companies to reach a compensation settlement.

Apple having problems with Chinese regulators

A Chinese regulator has ordered Apple Inc. to stop selling two versions of its iPhone 6 in Beijing after finding they look too much like a competitor.

The order by the Beijing tribunal said the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus looked too much like the 100C model made by Shenzhen Beili, a small Chinese brand.

Apple said a Beijing court stayed the administrative order on appeal and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus still were on sale.

This is the key difference between Google Maps and Apple Maps

Google Maps heavily labeled transit, while Apple Maps prioritized landmarks, ultimately presenting two different worldview.

Google's design emphasizes utility, while Apple emphasizes a tourist-friendly experience.

"Both maps have strengths and weaknesses, and it's hard to say which is better," O'Beirne said.

Apple’s ‘Differential Privacy’ Is About Collecting your Data—But Not YOUR Data

Differential privacy, translated from Apple-speak, is the statistical science of trying to learn as much as possible about a group while learning as little as possible about any individual in it. With differential privacy, Apple can collect and store its users’ data in a format that lets it glean useful notions about what people do, say, like and want. But it can’t extract anything about a single, specific one of those people that might represent a privacy violation. And neither, in theory, could hackers or intelligence agencies.

What Apple’s differential privacy means for your data and the future of machine learning

Apple is stepping up its artificial intelligence efforts in a bid to keep pace with rivals who have been driving full-throttle down a machine learning-powered AI superhighway, thanks to their liberal attitude to mining user data.

Not so Apple, which pitches itself as the lone defender of user privacy in a sea of data-hungry companies.

Differential privacy isn’t an Apple invention; academics have studied the concept for years. But with the rollout of iOS 10, Apple will begin using differential privacy to collect and analyze user data from its keyboard, Spotlight, and Notes.

Differential privacy works by algorithmically scrambling individual user data so that it cannot be traced back to the individual and then analyzing the data in bulk for large-scale trend patterns. The goal is to protect the user’s identity and the specifics of their data while still extracting some general information to propel machine learning.

Apple has begun to open up about exactly where differential privacy is being used, and how it’s changing the shape of data collection in iOS 10.

Apple has begun to open up about exactly where differential privacy is being used, and how it’s changing the shape of data collection in iOS 10. Apple’s never been as aggressive about data collection as Google, Facebook, or even Amazon, but the new generation of data-driven AI services makes at least some level of collection a necessity.

Unlike the clear black-and-white of encryption, differential privacy works in shades of grey, balancing the reliability of the aggregate information against its potential to identify specific users. That’s sometimes referred to as a privacy budget, a kind of set balance for engineers to work against. But if you don't work at Apple, it’s difficult to tell how strict that privacy budget really is. Apple insists it’s high enough to prevent any reidentification, but we’re mostly left to take their word for it.

Apple is trying to fight Google's artificial intelligence with one hand tied behind its back

Apple exec Craig Federighi quickly mentioned how Apple is going to try and catch up to Google's smart Photo app: "on-device intelligence.”

Apple has proclaimed itself as your privacy champion, meaning (unlike Google and Microsoft) it doesn't want to do facial recognition in the cloud on photos it is storing for you. That's why Apple is putting machine learning smarts onto the iPhones themselves.

But at least one analyst is skeptical that this tech will really allow Apple to keep up with its competitors, much less leapfrog them.

Forrester market research analyst Frank Gillett says there's a big problem with Apple's tactic. It simply won't be as good as what the cloud can offer, especially for app developers and corporate app developers.

10 things LinkedIn won’t tell you

This dad quit his job and paid off $50,000 of debt, thanks to a side job that earns up to $23,000 a month

He makes videos for people and business customers.

He turned to Fiverr, a site that lets people pay others for tasks outside their expertise, and created a page for his voice-over services.

Within one month, he made $400 doing voice-over gigs for $5 each.

"After my first month, I started to level up, and the way that you advertise your services on Fiverr is by putting a video on your page," the father of two explains. "I then had people who saw my video and said, 'I don't want a voice-over. I want you to make a video for me,' and I created a whole new gig just for videos.”

What started as a solution to climb out of debt evolved into a lucrative career.

What does he advise people who want to follow a similar career path?

"Do what you already know what to do," he says. "The reality is, you don't have to do something so unique that no one else is doing. There are always going to be a thousand other people doing exactly what you're doing - you just have to differentiate yourself by the way you serve people, by the quality of your service, and your level of communication."

What Happens If GPS Fails?
Despite massive reliance on the system’s clocks, there’s still no longterm backup.

While the means to create a backup has existed since the year 2000, a winding bureaucratic path has kept it from being implemented. And that leaves many of the everyday tools society depends on vulnerable until one is.

We got a look inside a vast Icelandic bitcoin mine

Bitcoin is surging right now. The digital currency is hitting highs not seen since February 2014, jumping by well over 30% in a month.

It's great news for bitcoin miners, the people responsible for creating new bitcoins.

You can mine at home, and many people do. But companies dedicated to mining have also sprung up, some worth tens of millions of dollars.

Assuming you're getting a good deal on electricity — and ignoring all other costs — Marco Streng says one bitcoin costs about $200 to mine. One bitcoin is currently worth $690.

Genesis doesn't just mine bitcoin. It has also started mining Ethereum — another type of digital currency.

The price of Ethereum is now $16.70, while Streng says electricity costs to mine it are $3.85.

A $79 million cryptocurrency heist just happened, and it’s threatening the future of blockchains

The Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) is a radical experiment in crowdsourced investing, and it raised over $150 million in ETHER, a cryptocurrency that’s starting to rival bitcoin.

But chunks of ETHER started getting transferred away from the DAO’s address.

As the hack was discovered, the price of ether plunged by 27%, from $21.50 each to $15.59 at its lowest.

Cryptocurrency heists happen fairly regularly.

But the DAO hack is significant for its size, and the fact that it has shaken the markets’ confidence in the security of the fundamental tools used to build on the ethereum protocol, which Wall Street sees as the blockchain’s “killer app” for its potential to automate routine contracts.

All the ether in circulation today is valued at $1.3 billion.

Note claiming to be from cryptocurrency hacker says stolen $53 million is legally his

One day after $53 million abruptly disappeared from an experimental cryptocurrency project, a note claiming to be from the attacker has surfaced on PasteBin, claiming that the money drained from the system is now legally his.

He wrote:
"I have carefully examined the code of The DAO and decided to participate after finding the feature where splitting is rewarded with additional ether," the note reads. "I... have rightfully claimed 3,641,694 ether, and would like to thank the DAO for this reward."

The DAO is structured like a legal contract, and while the attack certainly wasn’t an intended use of that contract, it proceeded according to the contract’s pre-established rules. Cornell cryptographer Emin Gün Sirer wrote that draining the funds may not even qualify as a hack.

There Is No Such Thing as Private Data
If you need credit or a place to live, companies may try to persuade you to give up even the most intimate information in your social media accounts.

Credit Card RFID/NFC Theft Protection Tested

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Editor Watches the WWDC Keynote

So I sat and watched the Apple WWDC 2016 keynote tonight. Tim Cook started with a moment of silence for the Florida massacre victims. He then proceeded to describe the demographics of this year’s attendees at WWDC. A majority of them were new to this experience. Over 100 were under 18, with the youngest attendee a 9 year old girl. She got several closeups, and she seemed a little uncomfortable with all the attention. And it looked like her Mom came with her, too. 


As inspiring to see new faces attending, I would like to have some mention of some older adult who started with FORTRAN or COBOL on an IBM 1401 and now uses Swift on their iMac. Apple has a tendency to drop the old and go with the new. 


This blog has come to focus on solutions on how to use older bits of technology with your new Mac. I recently ran a series of posts on how to access 3.5.” floppy disks with a fairly recent Mac. The advice I would pass down to newcomers is not to dump the older technology at the recycling center just because something new and shiny came on the market to replace it. 


Let’s face  it, we baby boomers will stay around for some time to come. They still have a lot of old storage technology that they will want to access in the future.


The voice technology known as Siri got a lot of attention this year. Now the new macOS 10.12 Sierra will offer Siri on your Mac. The speakers did not mention an SDK for Siri on the Mac, while prominently mentioning it for Siri on iOS devices.


Speaking of new things, I looked at 9to5 Mac which stated that Apple has developed a new file system to eventually replace HFS+. Digging further on-line, I found this article at Ars Technica.


A host of questions appear to me. Can I install this on my current Mac Mini with hard drive storage or will I have to buy a new Mac with SSD storage? Do I have to start all over again with my Time Machine backups? If I pay through the nose for a new 512 GB SSD for my Mac Mini, can I use it with APFS, even though it’s not an Apple SSD?


As far as I can tell, Apple File System (APFS) is not intended for boot drives at present. So Don’t Panic. It’s a developer preview at present. Do look for it in future releases of OS X, er, macOS.


I will say, “About Time! HFS+ is very old for a file system, compared to what Windows and Linux use. A change was needed.” Of course, how to integrates with the drives we’ve all formatted in HFS+ remains to be seen. And will it read and write to Windows NTFS drives, something that Linux has done for years?


The last item Tim mentioned was the iPad app Swift Playgrounds. This app will help you learn how to program with Swift. I like it! Will it run on my iPad 3? 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday, June 12, 2016

The 20 best smartphones in the world

Apple wins again — as usual.

23 iPhone-only apps that will make your Android friends jealous

These secret codes let you access hidden iPhone features

RANKED: The best keyboard apps for your iPhone

Google Gboard is the best keyboard app.  Apple’s keyboard app is in 5th place.

Why I have finally taken off the Apple Watch for the last time

In the week since I stopped wearing it, I have missed precisely one thing: the Dark Sky weather app “complication” in the top left-hand corner of the watch face. It’s a small thing, but it was something I habitually checked every morning

Tellingly, after a week of wearing an old-school digital watch, it is the only thing I find myself trying to do. Every single other use case – checking notifications, setting timers, or recording physical activity – has seamlessly, painlessly, slipped back to the state it was before the Apple Watch arrived in my life.111

the watch is too slow to act as a speedy alternative to your phone; the user interface is too fiddly to use on the move; the notification model is too limited to do anything other than encourage you to pull out your phone repeatedly; and Siri sucks.

But the saving grace for Apple is that the broader problem isn’t the company’s fault. It’s that smartwatches are a solution in search of a problem. A technology created, not to serve consumer demand, but to serve the need of device manufacturers to fill the revenue hole created by declining smartphone growth. You don’t need one, and neither do I. It just took me nine months of wearing it to realise.

Your Apple Watch mileage may vary

No one can force you to continue to wear an Apple Watch if you find it useless. Your experience, however, does not magically cancel out everyone else’s.

The Macalope has already linked to pieces by Steven Aquino and Molly Wattexplaining why they still rely on the accessibility features of the Apple Watch. Rachel Viniar still wears her Watch for other reasons.

Could the Apple Watch replace the iPhone?

A very interesting chart of reasons that users stop using “wearable” devices.

consumers by and large are still waiting for the killer app for wearables, and mass adoption likely won't occur until that happens.

Apple And Android Finally Have A New Dividing Line

The Android versus Apple duel circling is back to its original battleground: a seamless experience versus customization.

Apple, as it always does, will make an excellent overall experience. Android manufacturers meanwhile will focus on customisation with modularity.

Using Google Now for iOS

the iOS version does not have the On Tap feature. The full Google Now on Tap experience works on devices running at least Android 6.0.

However, you can still use the basic Google Now service on the iPhone, as long as it has been enabled.

Holding down the iPhone’s home button summons Apple’s Siri assistant or the iPhone’s older Voice Control feature instead of On Tap results.

Taking OS X Security Seriously

Q. The thought of ransomware aimed at the Mac makes me nervous. What other Mac threats are out there and who makes OS X antivirus software?

A. Keeping your Mac updated with the latest security patches from Apple and using strong passwords (that are frequently changed) can help protect your system.  And Apple has additional suggestions for safer computing.

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team has an extensive online guide to protecting oneself, as does the consumer-oriented site from the Federal Trade Commission.

Political candidates opposed to free trade say Apple should make phones in the United States. Let’s see what that would look like.

“No tech product from mine to assembly can ever be made in one country,” says David Abraham, author of The Elements of Power, a new book about rare earth metals. The iPhone is a symbol of American ingenuity, but it’s also a testament to the inescapable realities of the global economy.

Apple Campus 2: June 2016 Construction Update

New video of Apple’s mammoth new spaceship campus is impressive

The spaceship has landed: Apple's $5 billion campus is starting to look stunning

What is Apple actually doing besides building that ridiculously expensive new headquarters?

According to rumors gathered by the author, several things.

Apple is currently able to read the contents of data stored in its iCloud backup service, something at odds with Cook’s claims that he doesn’t want his company to be capable of accessing customer data such as mobile messages.
Apple has not denied reports it is working to change that.

But redesigning iCloud so that only a customer can unlock his data would increase the risk of people irrevocably losing access to precious photos and messages when they lose their passwords. Apple would not be able to reset a customer’s password for them.

“That’s a really tough call for a company that says its products ‘Just work,’” says Chris Soghoian.

“It puts control on the customer but also responsibility on the customer,” he says. “This will likely be an option, not the default.”

AW comment:  This article includes several interesting ideas for dealing with the conundrum.

Apple is making so much clean energy, it formed a new company to sell it

Apple has announced plans for 521 megawatts of solar projects globally. It's using that clean energy to power all of its data centers, as well as most of its Apple Stores and corporate offices. Apple says it generates enough electricity to cover 93 percent of its energy usage worldwide.

Apple has told the FERC that it meets the legal criteria for selling electricity at market rates because it is not a major player in the energy business and thus has no power to influence electricity prices.

Thieves stole $16,000 worth of iPhones from an Apple Store with one simple tool: a blue shirt

You don't need to be a genius to rob the Apple Store, but it helps if you dress like one.

Pelosi Claims Government Created the iPhone, Not Steve Jobs or Apple

AW comment:  Like Obama said:  “You didn’t build that”.

How your smartphone is making you miserable without you even noticing

For this study, participants were asked to maximize their smart phone interruptions for one week and then minimize the interruptions for one week.

"Participants reported higher levels of inattention and hyperactivity when alerts were on than when alerts were off. Higher levels of inattention in turn predicted lower productivity and psychological well-being.”

You'll be happier if you focus on what you're doing right here, right now - and that means putting your phone away whenever possible.

There’s still plenty of money to be made through the App Revolution

This App Revolution is indeed the one I kept telling people to “get in front of,“ as I promised it would create trillions of dollars of market valuation in the years and decades ahead.

two stocks I’ve said were the purest and safest ways to invest in the App Revolution — Google and Apple — and we’re talking about trillion dollars right there.

Interesting lists of companies that are already successful in the app revolution.

One of the most intriguing speculative arguments in physics and computer science isn't really about physics or computer science at all. It's about the brain - or more precisely, about consciousness - and it's been going on for decades. Its central question: Is the brain fundamentally like a computer?

The side that says no relies on some seriously outlandish thinking.

On the more conservative side, there are researchers like Scott Aaronson, a respected theoretical computer scientist at MIT. His view, which is more widely accepted, is that because the brain exists inside the universe, and because computers can simulate the entire universe given enough power, your entire brain can be simulated in a computer.

But there's a dissenting view, advanced most forcefully by the mathematical physicist Roger Penrose: That your consciousness emerges from mysterious, exotic physics acting inside your neurons.

In essence, Penrose argues that human consciousness has certain features and abilities that conventional computers can not replicate.  The most salient evidence he points to is the capacity of large groups of mathematicians to move toward true solutions for computationally unsolvable problems. (Aaronson disputes this evidence.)

If, as Penrose suggests, humans demonstrate the ability to circumvent some basic limits on computation, the brain must interact with systems that exist outside the logical, algorithmic universe. And the quantum world is the most likely candidate.

A neurologist reveals the biggest myth about the brain

The claim that humans use only 10% of their brains is FALSE.

Why the Maker Movement Matters: Part 1, the Tools Revolution
Just like the internet before it, the Maker Movement is revolutionizing manufacturing, with implications for startups and jobs.

my guess is that most people who aren’t directly involved think of it as fringe and hobby-minded, artsy-and-craftsy and hip rather than a serious economic, technological, and city-development force. I’ve come to disagree, and let me lay out some of the reasons why.

We see the “assembled in China” labels on Apple computers and phones and over-interpret what that means. The labels conceal the reality that the most valuable parts of a Mac or iPhone come not from China but from richer countries like Japan, Germany, South Korea, and very significantly from the United States.

The maker movement ... has made it surprisingly easier for new companies, in manufacturing, to start. Why? It has to do with tools. A tools revolution is changing manufacturing.  3-D printers.  Less expensive laser cutters. Simplified computer controls.  

Then there are organizational changes; maker-spaces and shared-work site where people can use advanced machinery for free or at very low cost; and the rise of collaborations among universities, community colleges, established companies, and local financiers in fostering hardware entrepreneurs.

“What has changed is that the maker movement has figured out a group of technologies and tools which enable us to manufacture in low volume,” Venkat said.

Nanobots are waiting in the wings to cure cancer and clean up ocean pollution

In 1956, Arthur C. Clarke wrote “The Next Tenants,” considered to be the first work of fiction broadly describing what is today known as nanotechnology.

Today, experimental nano-bots are being tested for curing cancer, cleaning up ocean pollution and performing eye surgery.

Hackers are using this nasty text-message trick to break into people's accounts

The article describes how hackers trick you into giving them your “two factor authentication” (2FA) code.
If they succeed in tricking you, they can break into your accounts.

NSA Couldn't Hack San Bernardino iPhone

So says Richard Ledgett, the NSA's deputy director.

If Ledgett is right, the NSA couldn't have helped even if it wanted to.

No One Will Save You From Cellphone Tracking

Nearly everywhere your cellphone goes in the world, it is tracked.

If you’re carrying your phone while it does all these things, then you are tracked, too.

A police department or law enforcement agency can back-request historical CSLI whenever they want—and they don’t need a warrant to do so. This ease of access makes CSLI one of the most common forms of government surveillance.

“When it gets to the Supreme Court, the justices probably won’t care that most of the circuits said it was a search,” said Kerr.

That’s exactly what the EFF hopes will happen.

How to Run a Russian Hacking Ring
It’s not that different from running any other business.

John McAfee’s investment firm hires hackers to protect it — from hackers

“Alexandre Fichet, designer of the first bank vault safe famously stated ‘No one unschooled in the art of picking locks can design and build a decent safe.’ It is with this principle in mind that we have enlisted world renowned hackers to advise in the development of our cybersecurity technology through our Hacker Advisory Board,” John McAfee said.

A hacker told us how someone could take down the power grid without using a cyberattack

"Is a cyber attack that shuts down power for weeks or months possible? Sure," Cris Thomas (aka Space Rogue) said. "Is it likely? Highly unlikely in my opinion."

Here's why:  Accomplishing it by hacking is enormously difficult.  Besides: There’s another way that doesn’t involve hacking.

S government study showed that there are about 55,000 electric substations - most of which have little security beyond fences - 30 of which are deemed "critical." If just nine transformers of those 30 were messed with, it would be lights out for quite a while.

This incredibly creepy technology 'knows' if you’re a bad person based on how you look and act

It was developed by a startup company called “Faceception”, which claims it has found a way to isolate human behaviors by capturing physical identifiers in a photo or video, and that it has managed to distinguish about 20 groups, ranging from from champion poker players to terrorists.

The company claims its software can scan hundreds of faces in seconds.

Subverting Our New Space Overlords
Governments and hedge funds are pulling economic data from daily satellite images of ports, farms, and even mall parking lots—here’s how they might be fooled.

Complex financial information is hidden in plain sight all over the planet, according to James Crawford, CEO of Orbital Insight. The number of ships docked at a Malaysian port, even the color of a wheat field in western Nebraska, are actually signs.

James Crawford’s company, Orbital Insight, is one of a new breed of market-research firms pioneering the use of high-resolution satellite imagery.

Visual evidence captured by satellites is now subject to narrative interpretation for the purpose of extracting potential financial insight—and this potential financial insight can then be sold to paying customers. This, in fact, is Orbital Insight’s operating business model.

A Walmart hoping to look better-attended than it really is, for example, could spoof the satellites with a parking lot full of fake cars, or a new residential building could be playfully designed so that its roofscape looks like a neighborhood park, throwing off the watchful eyes of Terrapattern.

Those eyes soaring high above the clouds might always be watching us, in other words, but they needn’t always understand what they see.

How to prevent your identity from being stolen when you move
Most people don’t realize the possibility of an identity-related crime during a move is high

When you move to a new residence, scammers have more opportunities to steal your personal info that they can use to steal your identity.
This article provides several hints on how to deal with the increased danger during and after a move.




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