The MacValley blog


Welcome to the MacValley blog, your first stop for all the latest MacValley news and views.


Tom Briant

The MacValley blog

Editor: Tom Briant


Click here to email Tom

Click here for Tom's profile



To search the blog posts please use the box below

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday, 9/25/2016


New Apple Products Have the Right Gaming Stuff
Apple is making a bid to attract gaming fans to the more powerful graphics and processing power embedded in its new iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 products.
The phone's improved graphics performance makes it suitable for more intensive gaming.
It costs Apple about a third as much to make an iPhone 7 as it charges you
The cheapest iPhone 7 retails for $649, but new research suggests it costs Apple roughly $225 to build one.
The iPhone 7 is just fine, even if it doesn’t wow
Consumer Reports: Latest iPhones survive in water, take better photos
How to Use Apple's New iPhone 7
20 tips.
How to take a screenshot on an iPhone

Apple Watch Series 2 review: A faster, brighter fitness machine
I’ve long argued that the device’s true purpose lies in its health and fitness features. Apple is closer to realizing that potential with Apple Watch Series 2.
The Series 2’s marquee feature is built-in GPS, which means you can leave your phone at home and the watch will record workouts like runs, hikes, and bike rides accurately.
The Series 2 is, as promised, water-resistant up to 50 meters. This opens up the Apple Watch to a brand-new demographic: Swimmers.
With Series 2, Apple is committing to what I consider its highest purpose: your health.
With the new Apple Watch Series 2, the company is explicitly positioning the device as a sports watch. In particular, the second generation brings a built-in GPS radio for more accurate distance tracking on runs, walks, hikes, bike rides and swims. Yes, swims: It's also waterproof this time, safe for submersion in up to 50 meters of water.
Interesting list of pros and cons.
The Series 2 is a good smartwatch, but not the best sports watch.
The Series 2 isn't robust enough for those people to give up their dedicated sports watches just yet.
As a lifelong swimmer, I found the addition of 50-meter water resistance and swim workout tracking in the Apple Watch Series 2 to be a welcome improvement that made the new watch a must-have upgrade for me.
With Apple Watch Series 2, Apple has not only upgraded the water resistance with new gaskets and seals to make it suitable for swimming, but added new Pool Swim and Open Water Swim workouts to help track your progress.
So how well does the swim workout tracking work? The answer is very well if your goal is to simply swim back and forth to rack up yardage.
Where the Apple Watch's swim tracking starts to fall short is for people looking to do more varied swim workouts based around swim sets and focused exercises like stroke drills and kicking.
A GPS sensor and better water resistance make the new Apple Watch a serious fitness tracker
The Apple Watch Series 2 comes in three models: the least expensive aluminum model that starts at $369; the stainless steel model that starts at $549; and a ceramic model that starts at $1,249.
GPS is what really makes this a sport watch.
Apple Watch 2 review: There's finally a reason to buy a smartwatch
With both the Apple Watch Series 2 and watchOS 3, Apple is bringing a needed layer of polish and focus to both the hardware and software ... settling into a groove as a fitness gadget for casual-to-moderate exercisers that also happens to do some other smartwatch-y things.
Apple Watch Series 2: Specs, straps and all you need to know
Transforming the user-interface in watchOS 3 was Apple’s real act of courage
Unlocking a Mac with an Apple Watch requires two-factor, not two-step, iCloud protection—what?
What’s the difference between two-step verification and two-factor authentication? A lot of frustration for people...
Even people who have enabled either two-step or two-factor are hard pressed to understand which is which and what’s going on.
This article has instructions on what you need to do to do switch from two-step to two-factor logins and activate the unlock-by-Watch feature.
How to Auto Unlock Your Computer With Your Apple Watch
macOS Sierra: How to Unlock Your Mac With Your Apple Watch
Apple on Tuesday released macOS 10.12 Sierra, bringing Siri to the desktop, many cross-platform integrations between iOS and macOS, Apple Pay for the web, and hundreds of other enhancements and bug fixes.
MacOS Sierra requires a 2009 iMac, 2009 MacBook, 2010 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, or Mac Pro.
Slide Show:
10 Most Valuable Features in Apple's macOS Sierra
Please don't drill a hole in your iPhone 7
Internet pranksters are making viral memes suggesting that users take an electric drill to their new devices. And unfortunately, some people say they're falling for it.
Hackers Can More Easily Steal Your Passwords With Apple's iOS 10

According to Elcomsoft, hackers who use its password-cracking software, Phone Breaker, can send six million passwords per second at the iOS 10 backup to try to unlock the data. In Apple’s iOS 9, which launched last year, encryption capped those attempts at 150,000 passwords a second.

The difference makes it 2,500 times easier for hackers to obtain a password with iOS 10, according to Elcomsoft.

The flaw relates only to manual iPhone and iPad backups that users start via iTunes and not through Apple’s cloud-based repository iCloud.

iOS 10 backups are easier to crack, but Apple promises to fix security flaw

Forensic researcher claims iOS 10 local backups are easier to crack since the security protection is 2,500 times weaker than in iOS 9, but Apple promised to roll out a patch for the security flaw.

“We discovered an alternative password verification mechanism added to iOS 10 backups,” Elcomsoft’s Oleg Afonin wrote in a blog post on Friday. “We looked into it and found out that the new mechanism skips certain security checks, allowing us to try passwords approximately 2500 times faster compared to the old mechanism used in iOS 9 and older.”

This is the Israeli company that can hack any iPhone and Android smartphone

If Cellebrite sounds familiar, that’s because the name of this Israeli company came up during Apple’s standoff with the FBI over breaking iPhone encryption. The agency managed to crack the San Bernardino iPhone with the help of an undisclosed company.

The iPhone may be hackable to some extent, but that doesn’t mean that Cellebrite cracked the iPhone 5c that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. Or at least, the company would not comment on any of its customers.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday, September 18, 2016

Apple Watch Series 2 Teardown — Includes Video and Slide Show
If you’re not a nerd, just watch the video.
If you are a nerd, look as the slides also.
Here's what the new Apple Watch's swim-proof speaker looks like
How to unlock your Mac with the Apple Watch
To use this new feature, you need:
*A new-ish Mac — 2013 or later
*Mac OS Sierra or newer
*Watch OS–3.
Once the feature is activated, your Apple Watch will automatically unlock your Mac when it is within 3 feet of it – saving you the trouble of typing in your password.
AW comment: I make it a habit to always unlock my Mac by typing a password – so I never forget it.
Apple iPhone 7 teardown: There is Intel Inside
With the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Intel has made a strong comeback to the smartphone space.
Apple’s iPhone 7 does not bring any significant improvement in terms of design but it packs the best possible hardware specifications. It is needless to say that both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are the most powerful smartphones in their categories.
IPhone 7 Review: Though Not Perfect, New iPhones Keep Apple’s Promises
After testing the new iPhone 7 and its larger sibling, the 7 Plus, for five days, I have hopped on the 7 train. While it is irritating not to have an audio jack — Apple nixed the 3.5 millimeter port to make room for faster chips, better batteries and to make the iPhone water-resistant — and the older physical home button feels better to press than the new virtual one, the new iPhones deliver on Apple’s promises.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are tremendously fast — more than double the speed of the two-year-old iPhone 6 — and their cameras produce superb, vivid photos. The battery life is improved, and the iPhones survived water torture tests.

And after a while, I didn’t miss the headphone jack as much as I thought. 
Readers Ask About Apple’s New iPhone and Watch
Lots of good Q & A here.
The top 9 ways your iPhone will change after you download iOS 10
1)  Slide to Unlock is no more.
2) You can remove Apple's built-in junk apps!
9) Oh, and the keyboard sound has been changed in iOS 10.
How to fix the most annoying change in iOS 10
iOS 10 changes the way that Touch ID works.
This article explains how to change an iOS setting to make Touch ID work like it did under iOS 9.
The iPhone 7 has a piece of plastic where the headphone jack used to be
Apple says that the plastic is a "barometric vent" — the new iPhone is water-resistant, which messed with the device's built-in barometer.
The iPhone 7 home button doesn't work if you're wearing gloves
The solid state design helps to make the phone waterproof, as well as being more durable, although the loss of the satisfying mechanical click of the old home button has been met with a mixed reaction. 

There is one big problem though: most pairs of gloves, or any material in between the thumb and button, make the new home button useless.
However, there is a work-around.
Apple iPhone 7 Has Two Nasty Surprises
iPhone 7 Problems Exposed, Is Apple Flying Or Dying?
Everyone will have an opinion on the removal of the headphone jack, and while I wouldn’t want to go as far as saying that the decision was powered by “courage” it does illustrate that Apple is capable divining a future and has the willingness to proactively push towards it. The move to lightning audio and wireless bluetooth is a ‘typically Apple’ attitude. There’s no point waiting for the combined might of the music industry  and various consumer electronics companies to throw away its comfort blanket, even if bluetooth headphones are starting to be in the majority of sales in some markets. Apple has forced the issue.
Why are some iPhone 7s making hissing noises?

Could this rise to the level of a [insert word here]-gate? Or is it nothing major all? Nobody knows yet. But in a quiet room, with the phone under heavy load, what Stephen Hackett recorded doesn’t sound normal at all.
People at other authoritative web sites have not been able to reproduce the noises.  The problem may be with just an unlucky few.
Why Apple Was Right To Remove The iPhone 7 Headphone Jack
Apple iOS 10 Has 25 Great Secret Features
Apple plans to release a free coding education app on Tuesday (2016-09-20) that it developed with middle-school students in mind
Apple plans to release a free coding education app that it developed with students aged 11 to 13 in mind, in the latest salvo among technology companies to gain share in the education market and to nurture early product loyalty among children.
"When you learn to code with Swift Playgrounds, you are learning the same language used by professional developers," Mr Brian Croll, Apple's vice-president for product marketing, said.
The Apple coding app is free but it requires an iPad, the company's tablet computer.gk
Rush to Take Advantage of a Dull iPhone Started Samsung's Battery Crisis
Few things motivate Samsung employees like the opportunity to take advantage of weakness at Apple Inc.
Earlier this year, managers at the South Korean company began hearing the next iPhone wouldn’t have any eye-popping innovations. The device would look just like the previous two models too. It sounded like a potential opening for Samsung to leap ahead.

So the top brass at Samsung decided to accelerate the launch of a new phone they were confident would dazzle consumers and capitalize on the opportunity.
Then it all backfired. Just days after Samsung introduced the Note 7 in August, reports surfaced online that the phone’s batteries were bursting into flame.
FBI overpaid $999,900 to crack San Bernardino iPhone 5c password
University of Cambridge senior research associate Sergei Skorobogatov has laid waste to United States Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) assertions about iPhone security by demonstrating password bypassing using a $100 NAND mirroring rig.
Skorobogatov built a working prototype demonstrating how NAND mirroring could work using off-the-shelf components for an updated iPhone 5c, revealing a password in about 24 hours.

Monday, September 12, 2016

If I was elected your dictator for life, this is what I'd ban in 2016 | Coffee House

If I was elected your dictator for life, this is what I'd ban in 2016 | Coffee House: ""



While we’re on the topic of Bond villains…haven’t you aspired to some of their capabilities at least once in your life?


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


How better to spend £80 billion: HS2 or a proper British space programme? | Coffee House

How better to spend £80 billion: HS2 or a proper British space programme? | Coffee House: ""



Okay, first they need to find someone like Sir Hugo Drax to mastermind this…


Or, just give the bread to Richard Branson and get out of the way.


Tom Briant’

Editor, MacValley Blog

Jeff Bezos is not screwing around with his plans to colonize space | Ars Technica

Jeff Bezos is not screwing around with his plans to colonize space | Ars Technica: ""



Okay, so he’s a Bond-level evil mastermind. Where’s his white Persian cat?


(Just kidding, Mr Bezos. Can I have my books now?)


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


An OS 9 odyssey: Why these Mac users won’t abandon 16-year-old software | Ars Technica

An OS 9 odyssey: Why these Mac users won’t abandon 16-year-old software | Ars Technica: ""



Interesting article on Classic OS and those who stick with it. 

I have written in this blog about Classic OS emulators that let you run Classic OS in a window on your OS X system.

I’ll write more once my cast comes off and I can type with two hands.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog




Saturday, September 10, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for 9/4/0216

(sorry I’m late with this. I’ve had medical issues)



This incredibly simple trick fixes your iPhone if it's acting slow — and it takes less than 30 seconds
How To Solve Your Apple Watch Battery Problems
With a new accessory for recharging the Apple Watch battery.
Apple is going to remove abandoned apps from the App Store
It’s cleaning time in the App Store. Apple sent an email to its developer community indicating that ... if an app no longer works or is outdated, it’s going to get removed from the App Store. And it’s about time.
Hundreds of millions of apps were probably built on an older version of iOS and never updated. So it’s time to improve App Store discovery. It’s going to be interesting to see whether the number of apps in the App Store is going to drastically go down.
For the first time ever, Apple’s approved blockchains and cryptocurrencies have been revealed.
Apple's Six: Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, the DAO & Ripple
Jaxx is not the first Bitcoin application shunned from the iOS store
Anthony Di Iorio is perplexed Apple has designated a list of official cryptocurrencies.
The post-Jobs Apple has soared financially, but lacks a breakthrough product
Five years ago last week, the legendary Steve Jobs stepped down as Apple’s CEO after an amazing 14-year run that took the technology company from the edge of disaster to the heights of glory. He personally selected his COO, Tim Cook, as the new CEO, and passed away six weeks later.

So, how has Apple changed in the first five years of the Tim Cook era? How is it different than at the peak of the Jobs era?

The short answer is that the company has surged financially to heights Jobs likely never dreamed of.

But Cook’s Apple has yet to produce the kind of new, game-changing product Jobs was famous for launching. Or, if it has, we don’t know it yet.
Drone captures views of incredible new Apple Campus
Two Videos:
Apple’s spaceship HQ is starting to look like a real building
Samsung is recalling the Galaxy Note 7 — nearly 2.5 million of them — over a battery problem.
Smart phones going up in flames — burning while they were charging.
Bitcoin has a lot of positives and negatives
People say some forms of money, such as Bitcoin or U.S. dollars, are not backed by anything.

But that’s not true. They are backed by one thing: confidence. If you and I have confidence that something is money and we agree that it’s money, then it’s money.
So-called crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin have two main features in common. The first is that they are not issued or regulated by any central bank or single regulatory authority. They are created in accordance with certain computer algorithms and are issued and transferred through a distributed processing network using open source code.
The second feature in common is encryption, which gives rise to the “crypto” part of the name.
If the power grid goes down, your Bitcoins are worthless. I’m not anti-Bitcoin, but physical gold does not have the disabilities of Bitcoin and digital currencies like the U.S. dollar.
Smallest hard disk (to date) writes information atom by atom
A team of scientists managed to bring data storage to the ultimate limit: they built a memory of 1 kilobyte (8,000 bits), where each bit is represented by the position of one single chlorine atom.
"In theory, this storage density would allow all books ever created by humans to be written on a single post stamp," says lead-scientist Sander Otte. They reached a storage density of 500 Terabits per square inch (Tbpsi), 500 times better than the best commercial hard disk currently available.
A bunch of famous YouTubers are furious at YouTube right now — here's why

Starting Thursday morning (Sept. 1, 2016), many YouTubers were finding that they'd received emails notifying them that one or more of their videos violate its "advertiser-friendly content guidelines." According to YouTube's terms of service, videos are considered ineligible for monetization if they are not "advertiser-friendly”.

These guidelines have existed for a long time, but many YouTubers seem to be finding that more and more of their videos are being flagged for not meeting its guidelines. Or, rather, they're just talking about it more. As of Thursday afternoon, the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverPartywas trending in response to this controversy.

YouTube insists it isn't flagging more videos than usual.

Why is YouTube being accused of censoring bloggers?
Nothing has changed, but everything is terrible

A change in YouTube’s content moderation system has left many video creators uncertain of their place on the platform. Over the past day, users have been posting notices from Google, saying that certain videos were being barred from making money via YouTube’s ad service. More troublingly, the videos were often flagged for reasons that seemed unfair, unclear, or outright censorious. But statements from YouTube suggest that the real problem isn’t a new policy — it’s a long-running conflict between the platform’s stated rules and their opaque, clumsy execution.

How to hide on the internet

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Use the TOR browser.

Use a browser extension called "https everywhere".

Use PGP for E-mail.

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for 9/11/2016

Here's everything Apple announced at its big iPhone event
Apple made a 107-second video recapping everything from the big iPhone event
Apple’s iPhone 7 and Watch Updates: What You Really Need to Know
You need not rush to upgrade your iPhone or Apple Watch if you recently bought one. The people who may want to jump to buy one of the new devices are those who have owned their current iPhone for more than two years.
Slide Show:
BEHOLD: Big, beautiful photos of the iPhone 7
Slide Show:
First Look: Apple’s new iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus
The rumors were true – Apple got rid of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7 series and replaced it with a single proprietary Lightning connector that you’ll have to use for both charging and audio.
Dual cameras.
The iPhone 7 starts at 32GB of storage for $650 off-contract, and the 7 Plus will set you back $770 for the same amount of storage.
Slide Show:
iOS 10: Everything you need to know about the iPhone and iPad update
The iPhone 7 may have been the star of Apple’s media event on 9-8-2016, but the impending release of iOS 10 is worthy of attention in its own right.
Phil Schiller announced that iOS 10 will officially become available for download on September 13
Apple’s built-in iOS apps can be deleted.
These secret codes let you access hidden iPhone features
11 things everyone is going to love about Apple's iOS 10
Here's what happens if your Apple AirPods get lost or stolen
There's no anti-theft measures in place to protect your shiny wireless earbuds.
That said, if one of your two AirPods is lost or stolen, Apple says you'll be able to buy just one.
Everything you need to know about Apple's new AirPods
How headphones work on the iPhone 7, explained
People are already complaining about Apple's new AirPods earbuds
People on Twitter have noticed a few potential flaws with the AirPods. They use Apple's classic earpiece design that can cause the earbuds to falls out of people's ears, especially during exercise.
Finally, people don't seem too happy about the price: $159.
Apple ditching the headphone jack actually makes a lot of sense
7 incredibly tiny iPhone details only superfans know about
It's a shame Apple is playing 'me-too' with iWork when everyone else is pushing the envelope
With real time collaboration, you can invite people into a document and everyone can work on it together, at once, one document. It's kind of freaky to use, because you can watch other people typing in the document.

But this is just a me-too, catch up feature. Google Apps pioneered real-time collaboration and has had it for years. So has Microsoft.
Evolving App Store Business Models
The App Store ecosystem today is wildly different from what it was eight years ago.
Back then we didn’t have advertising networks, in-app purchases or subscriptions. You were free or paid, and if you wanted to make a living you pretty much had to be paid. 

Today things are quite different. Paid apps now make up a vanishingly small proportion of my income, and nearly all of my recent successes have come on the back of free apps.
The market has been pulling me along towards advertising based apps, and I’ve found that the less I fight back with anachronistic ideas about how software “should” be sold, the more sustainable a business I have.
I am living proof that it is still quite possible to make a solid and reliable income from the App Store. The way in which I have been able to do that, however, has been to change with the times and constantly adapt to the changes in the market.

The FAA 'strongly advises' against turning on a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in flight because it might explode
Samsung's nightmare just keeps getting worse.
The most beautiful library in every major US city
American Bookworms Still Love Paper
The death of the printed book appears to have been greatly exaggerated.
Raspberry Pi Foundation launches $130 starter kit after passing 10 million microcomputers sold
For the uninitiated, the Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized contraption designed as an easy point of entry for budding programmers and tinkerers, and it has come a long way since its inception way back in 2012.
“When we started Raspberry Pi, we had a simple goal — to increase the number of people applying to study Computer Science at Cambridge,” explained Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton.
“At the time, we thought our lifetime volumes might amount to ten thousand units – if we were lucky. There was no expectation that adults would use Raspberry Pi, no expectation of commercial success, and certainly no expectation that four years later we would be manufacturing tens of thousands of units a day in the U.K., and exporting Raspberry Pi all over the world.”
How Facebook's Most Hated Feature Became the Future of the Company
A decade is a long time—even in the real world. On the Internet, it is more like a century, especially in the life of a startup. But that’s how long it has been since Facebook launched the real-time news feed that has become the core of the service for more than 1.5 billion people.
many people hated the news feed [when it was first introduced] because it changed the way the site worked in a fairly radical way.
10 years ago FaceBook had 'the most inglorious launch moment in history' but it changed everything
When Facebook first launched its News Feed 10 years ago, users went bananas. They absolutely hated the change.
Back in 2005, before the News Feed launched, Facebook was essentially just a collection of disconnected profiles.
How Facebook News Feed Works
This is the ultimate guide to how Facebook chooses what to show in your News Feed, and how you can get your content seen by more people.

Understanding how the News Feed works is tough because the algorithm is always changing. So TechCrunch launched this research project for today’s 10th anniversary of News Feed.
Facebook has a feature that stalks you all over the internet — here’s how to turn it off
It’s a bit laborious. And it works only temporarily. You’ll have to do it again from time to time.
How strangers can hack the phone in your pocket
While most people worry about their computers getting hacked, John Hering explains that phones are vulnerable, too. To prove his point, Hering assembled a group of ace hackers at a Las Vegas hotel where the 60 Minutes team was staying. In the video above, 60 Minutes Overtime explores what happened.
Hackers Expose 800,000 User Accounts In Latest Attack On Brazzers Porn Forum
Brazzers is big enough to have attracted a staggering 800,000 people to its Web forum.
We find this out because of yet another breach, with all 800,000 accounts having been leaked. The information included involves email addresses, usernames, and most baffling, plaintext passwords.
Paying for porn is risky.
How to Make Apple and Microsoft Stop Ransomware
Here's the problem, as I see it: How is it that a “program” [or “app”], in this day and age, can be run from the Internet (or a received email) that wants to insert itself into the disk I/O system and operate in the background, both of which have to happen for this sort of attack to work, and not cause the operating system to throw up all over it without multiple, dire-warning style notifications that you are very likely about to be screwed?
If I have a pool, do not erect a fence around it and a 2 year old wanders into my yard despite the fact that said 2 year old had no right to be there and is trespassing I'm going to get sued to beyond the orbit of Mars if said toddler falls in my pool and drowns!

Microsoft and Apple should both be held civilly and criminally liable for the failure to provide such protections and warnings under the very simple perspective that they are knowingly and intentionally leaving the fence out of their pool construction, despite many people having drowned in same.
Browser fingerprints, and why they are so hard to erase
Browser fingerprinting is an increasingly common yet rarely discussed technique of identifying an individual user by the unique patterns of information visible whenever a computer visits a website. The information collected is quite comprehensive and often includes the browser type and version, operating system and version, screen resolution, supported fonts, plugins, time zone, language and font preferences, and even hardware configurations. These identifiers may seem generic and not at all personally identifying, yet typically only one in several million people have exactly the same specifications as you.
Here's a website that allows you to see how uniquely identifiable your browser fingerprint is.

Big Brother wishes you a nice day!



Blog Archive