The MacValley blog


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Tom Briant

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday August 28 2016


Apple Watch drops below $200 in the US ahead of Apple Watch 2 unveiling
The price is $100 off of Apple’s retail price which was reduced by $50 earlier this year from its original $349 base launch price.
Converting Spreadsheets in Apple’s Numbers to Excel
Apple’s spreadsheet program can edit Microsoft Excel files, but you need to take an extra step to use those files in Excel again.
Apple completely changed how Siri works and almost nobody noticed
Apple adapted Siri's voice recognition to use a cutting-edge artificial-intelligence technique called neural networks and switched it over on July 30, 2014.
Neural networks is a type of AI inspired by the human brain that has become especially useful thanks to today's powerful computers. Before that, Siri recognized human voices using more rudimentary AI techniques that have been around for decades.
Siri made half as many errors using the new neural network than it had before.
iFixit report claims 'Touch Disease' plagues iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units with touchscreen bug
According to iFixit, a manufacturing defect is affecting a growing number of iPhone 6 Plus devices, and some iPhone 6 units. The defect creates an unresponsive touchscreen and shows a flickering grey bar at the top of the display. Eventually, the touchscreen stops working entirely.
There’s no easy way to fix this yet.
Q. Can you process RAW images in Apple’s OS X Photos program?
A. Photos, Apple’s free image-editing program now included with the OS X operating system, can handle picture files in many digital camera RAWformats, as did Apple’s previous iPhoto software. For those unfamiliar with it, some digital cameras have a setting that allows them to capture images in an uncompressed format called RAW.
This article contains some instructions on how to use Apple’s Photos app to edit photographs in RAW format.
Tim Cook's crucial role at Apple extends well beyond his 5 years as CEO
These charts show how Tim Cook is doing after 5 years of running Apple
This is the MacBook Pro accessory I couldn’t live without
I purchased a Thunderbolt dock from OWC (Other World Computing), and I haven't looked back. 
At first, I wasn't sure if I needed this many additional ports, but quickly realized that yes, yes I did.
$244, available at Amazon.
Apple files Touch ID fingerprint patent to catch thieves

Apple has just filed a patent called "biometric capture for unauthorized user identification," which uses its Touch ID to store an image of fingerprints other than the user's on file.
If Touch ID detects a fingerprint that isn’t yours, it’ll store an image of the scan as a means of catching whoever may have stolen your phone.
However, it is unlikely that Apple will introduce the technology in a consumer product anytime soon.
Apple fixes serious security flaw after UAE dissident's iPhone targeted
Apple Inc issued a patch on Thursday to fix a dangerous security hole in iPhones and iPads after researchers discovered that a prominent United Arab Emirates dissident's phone had been targeted with a previously unknown method of hacking.

The attack on the dissident, Ahmed Mansoor, used a text message that invited him to click on a web link. Instead of clicking, he forwarded the message to researchers at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab.

Experts there worked with security company Lookout and determined that the link would have installed a program taking advantage of a flaw that Apple and others were not aware of.
Inside 'Pegasus,' the impossible-to-detect software that hacks your iPhone
Updating iOS to the current 9.3.5 version is crucial for all users, since Pegasus is designed to infect a person's phone and it is virtually impossible to detect.
Built by a shadowy company called NSO Group, the software called "Pegasus" — discovered after being used against a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates — forced Apple to issue a critical software update on Thursday to protect its users worldwide.
The hacking software that completely takes over an Apple iPhone and turns it into a mobile surveillance device is pretty terrifying.
Pegasus was designed to do two things: completely take over all aspects of the iPhone, and operate like a "ghost" that a user would never be able to see.
Here’s what we know about the secretive company building terrifying tools to hack your iPhone
Lookout Security and Citizen Lab's Bill Marczak and John Scott-Railton believe Pegasus has possibly been in use to hack iPhones going all the way back to iOS 7. Apple's latest software update, iOS 9.3.5 (which was released Thursday), prevents this attack from working.
An Israeli company named NSO Group is reportedly behind the hacking tool for iPhones that forced Apple to issue a critical software update on Thursday.
NSO Group sells sophisticated hacking tools to governments, militaries, and intelligence agencies — and it tries to keep such a low profile it even changes its name on a regular basis.
NSO Group was founded in late 2009 by serial entrepreneurs with ties to the Israeli government.
NSO's 'Pegasus' spy tool transforms a variety of phones into mobile listening stations.
This App Can Tell if an iPhone Was Hacked With Latest Pegasus Spy Malware
mobile security company Lookout has now added Pegasus to the known threats its iOS security software is scanning for. Individuals or companies can use Lookout’s software to check their own devices for the presence of Pegasus, and the company has published detailed instructions on how to do so online.
Fact-checking the fact-checkers: gets an ‘A'
Site remains go-to destination when something seems too good or bad to be true
WhatsApp relaxes privacy stance, to share phone numbers with Facebook

Popular messaging service WhatsApp said it would start sharing users' phone numbers with parent Facebook Inc (FB.O), marking a notable shift in its stance on privacy.

When Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, founder Jan Koum vowed to protect data of its users, saying the deal would not affect its privacy policy.

WhatsApp Betrays Privacy Stance, Will Share Data With Facebook

Facebook wants to collect as much data as possible about you, so that it can use it to sell more expensive ads and make more money. That’s the company’s stated business model. It’s not like the folks at WhatsApp didn’t see this coming, either.

WhatsApp is still a great app to use for secure messaging, but it is not longer the best option for privacy. Try using Signal instead.

10 best-selling online classes you can enroll in for just $10 today

This top-rated class for anyone who wants to learn to code is now cheaper than ever

But where to start? You can give Udemy’s The Complete Web Developer Course a shot. It has 235 mostly video lectures spread out across 29 hours, all of which are designed to teach anyone how to go about building apps and websites.

This particular class has proven immensely popular on Udemy, with nearly 230,000 students enrolled, alongside a 4.5/5 user rating after more than 25,600 reviews.

The class normally goes for $200, but from today until September 1 you can grab it for just $10.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Why Does Restarting Seem to Fix Most Computer Problems?

Why Does Restarting Seem to Fix Most Computer Problems?: ""



People, it’s a simple fix, passed down from one group of computer support techs to the next. Restart the damn thing!


Tom Briant, who learned from Dave and Terry and Ron at Eylar a long time ago.



Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Round-up for August 21 2016


Woz on Tim Cook's first 5 years as Apple CEO
It's been five years since Cook took over from the late Steve Jobs, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak couldn't be happier about the new CEO's performance.
6 ways to clear up storage space on your iPhone
Why you should buy AppleCare+ for your Apple Watch
Extended warranties on electronics are often a waste of money, but in the case of the Apple Watch, the extended service plan is well worth the extra cash.
The two problems with my Watch were clearly manufacturer defects, Apple didn't charge me for the replacement device because I'd bought AppleCare+.
Apple is losing its lead in smartphones
When Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone in January 2007, he made a bold claim that the new product was five years ahead of its time.

He was wrong.

It's been over nine years and no one has made a better phone than the iPhone. But after all these years, the iPhone's lead has never been smaller. In fact, it's razor thin.
So why is Apple still slightly ahead?

It's because of the one thing Samsung or anyone else can't replicate: iOS.  iOS makes it possible for Apple to provide prompt updates and better security.
Apple Drops 'Store' From Apple Store Branding
Apple appears to be making a slight branding change to its retail business, dropping the "Store" moniker when referring to its Apple Store locations. Apple has already made the change online, and all of its store pages now refer to stores by names like "Apple Union Square" or "Apple Valley Fair" or "Apple The Grove," instead of "Apple Store, Valley Fair" or "Apple Store, The Grove."
Who will get your iTunes when you die?
Your 20,000-song iTunes library is valuable both monetarily and as an artifact of your life, so you’d like to leave it to your children. Legally, you probably can’t.
You’re not the owner.
One problem is that generally you don’t actually own the digital music and books you buy on your computer and mobile devices — you’ve only bought licenses to listen and view those products.
What I Learned Working With Jony Ive's Team On The Apple Watch
Bob Messerschmidt sold his company to Steve Jobs and went to work building the Apple Watch in 2010. He saw a lot during his three years at Apple
At Apple I learned that design and user experience is everything when it comes to consumer products. It’s not so much the technology. It’s the design of the product that creates that sense of happiness in the user.
The Chinese answer to Apple is falling apart
Sales in China of smartphones from Xiaomi, a once red-hot Chinese hardware startup touted as the country's answer to Apple, fell by a whopping 38% in the second quarter of 2016 year-on-year.
Massive Windows 10 Update Causing Serious New Problems
The Anniversary Update is doing more harm than good to the reputation of Windows 10 and it is hard to see how it will convince Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, who declined to upgrade to Windows 10 when it was free, to upgrade now they have to pay.
New Snowden documents prove the hacked NSA files are real
Newly released documents from former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden confirm what many experts had already believed: The 234-megabyte archive of NSA hacker tools, exploits, and implants that leaked online earlier this week is real.
Your average hacker will build tools that break in, but a sophisticated hacker — such as those employed by the US or some other nation — will build tools that break in, hide all their tracks, and turn everything off once they get what they need.
NEXT YEAR — August 21, 2017 — a total solar eclipse will traverse the U.S. from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
The path of totality will be within one day’s drive of most people living in the 48 states region
If you can possibly get some vacation time on that date, definitely go see it.
Every person who sees a total eclipse of the sun tells stories about it for the rest of his / her life.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

5 ways to launch Mac apps from the keyboard | Macworld

5 ways to launch Mac apps from the keyboard | Macworld: ""



Folks, when your main mousing arm is out of action, you’ll need one of these options. I use Launcher, but for the most part, Alfred or Quicksilver will let you do app launching from the keyboard.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Sunday, August 14, 2016

8 PC Maintenance Mistakes That Kill Your Hardware Lifespan

8 PC Maintenance Mistakes That Kill Your Hardware Lifespan: ""


Sisters and brothers, take care of your hardware!

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth"s Weekly Web Wrap-up for August 14 2016

Slide Show:
Apple's most controversial decisions that made the iPhone better

How to make your old MacBook Pro run like new again

Don't go for the cheapest option when you're buying a computer – here's why

For your long-term satisfaction, it's worth spending the extra bucks if your budget allows for it. You'll thank yourself if you do.

You'll notice my powerful laptop is a MacBook Pro, but I'm not saying that Apple computers are better than Windows laptops here. A Windows laptop with an i7 would also scream past any task you throw its way.

I shopped at Amazon's first real-life bookstore ever and it was freaking awesome

Amazon Books is the best of both worlds. I get that experience of browsing the shelves, which, as a card-carrying nerd, I love a lot. But I also know I'm getting what is almost definitely the best price possible, thanks to Amazon.

The Dangers of the Deep Web

The new documentary Down the Deep, Dark Web explores the promise and perils of the deep web—the part of the internet that isn’t indexed through search engines.

An interviewee said:
“For years, anyone who wanted to do things in secret, to buy drugs or stolen goods, found it very difficult to do in the real world.  Because in the real world, you needed to meet the seller, and then you need to pay him somehow.  When we’re speaking of the Darknet, we’re talking about a new commercial arena.  A new marketplace where the identities of the buyer, the seller and even the money itself is hidden from law enforcement.”

“I want it to be very clear what the Darknet is.  You install software that essentially hides your activity.  Such as TOR."

Here's what happens when 20,000 hackers invade Las Vegas for a week of hacking, booze, and debauchery

The Internet of Things will always be vulnerable

Lots of devices are being connected to the internet:  Cars, household appliances, medical devices, etc.  And all of them can be hacked — with potentially deadly consequences.

As worrying as these scenarios may be, they all boil down to one cause really: whatever their form, all of these devices and technologies are, put simply, computers that connect to a network. And therein lies their almost absolute nature to remain vulnerable to attacks, as well as a target of such. The moment computers stopped being hulking cabinets that required physical presence and access in order to use, the moment it was possible for computers to communicate with one another even if far apart, they have become vulnerable.

Microsoft has inadvertently demonstrated the intrinsic security problem of including a universal backdoor in its software after it accidentally leaked its so-called "golden key"—which allows users to unlock any device that's supposedly protected by Secure Boot, such as phones and tablets.

And while this means that enterprising users will be able to install any operating system—Linux, for instance—on their Windows tablet, it also allows bad actors with physical access to a machine to install bootkits and rootkits at deep levels. Worse, according to the security researchers who found the keys, this is a decision Microsoft may be unable to reverse.

Comment: Microsoft just demonstrated why Apple was right to stand up to the FBI

My main argument was that something as powerful as a master key to unlock an iPhone would eventually fall into the wrong hands.

And Microsoft has just proven my point, even with code that was never intended to leave the company’s possession …

ArsTechnica reported that Microsoft accidentally leaked a universal backdoor to Windows.

Code that would inevitably be handed over to law enforcement agencies would be a million times more vulnerable. And that is why Apple was absolutely right to resist pressure to create a master key to unlock the iPhone.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Time… ing: Where are the new Macs? | Macworld

Time… ing: Where are the new Macs? | Macworld: ""


Just have Apple buy ATT and be done with it

“This is Miss Tomlin with AppleT&T. We don’t do computers any more.”

Gotta hope my old Mac Mini keeps plugging along…



Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog



Sunday, August 7, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday 8-7-2016


Apple iOS 9.3.4 Is Now Available: What Is Included In The Update?
A highly recommended upgrade because it contains an “important” security patch.
The description in the Apple support page says: “A memory corruption issue was addressed through improved memory handling.” MacRumors pointed out that iOS 9.3.4 also fixes the Pangu iOS 9.3.3 jailbreak exploit. And Apple credited Team TISI +% Pangu for discovering the memory corruption vulnerability.
iPad Pro 9.7 revisited: making it work for work
We take another look at the iPad Pro, the same 9.7-inch model, to answer an equally burning question: how can it replace a PC, especially for some serious work.
The iPad Pro, especially the larger kind, is clearly marketed for those who do creative work. Artists swear by (some at) their experience with the Apple Pencil. The large screen makes it convenient to view, organize, and retouch photos. And the extra beefy hardware, especially the 4 GB of RAM, rare for any iPad, gives it enough muscle for video editing right then and there.
Why would one even bother trying to use an iPad Pro for work. Or is it even possible? To both questions, I give a resounding yes, but with a few caveats. It is entirely usable for professional work, be it writing, making art, or editing multimedia. You will, however, have to change your workflow and and your mindset. It does have attached benefits which could make the paradigm shift worthwhile.
Video shows latest progress of constructions of Apple’s new headquarters
Woman drops iPhone from airplane, finds it undamaged in Vancouver, B.C., park
The woman wrote:
"Found my phone in the middle of the forest in Stanley Park at 10:04pm after dropping it 2500ft from a plane. Haha! Yay!!!!!”
The 20 best smartphones in the world
The iPhone 6S, the iPhone 6S plus and the iPhone SE hold first, second and third place, respectively.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus hold 14th and 15th place, respectively.
Judge wipes out patent troll’s $625M verdict against Apple
A patent-holding company that won a huge court victory against Apple had its victory wiped out, and its stock plunged by more than 40 percent.
Here it is, the ultimate evidence that Samsung has “invented” the Apple Watch.
Yes, I am kidding about Samsung inventing the Apple Watch, but Samsung is dead serious about copying Apple.  A Samsung patent document has copies of Apple Watch drawings in it.
Samsung has a long history of copying the iPhone, with US courts having already ruled for Apple in the past
The Apple Watch is the most anxiety-inducing device this author ever owned
His anxiety made his heart race. His Apple Watch showed him that his heart was beating too fast, which made him more anxious and caused his heart to beat still faster. And he started having dizzy spells.
We went to see some cardiologists and, in the end, they pronounced him healthy.
One doctor suggested he take a vacation:  He advised no contact with work and no contact with the internet.
After he returned from his work free and internet free vacation, he was feeling fine.
Until he put his Apple Watch back on.  He wrote:
"The Apple Watch is the most anxiety-inducing piece of technology I’ve ever owned. It’s a reminder that a worry is like a notification, which left unchecked, can consume you."
The 18 apps you should use every day to be more productive
11 apps that have actually changed people's lives
Police 3D-printed a dead man's finger to unlock his iPhone
Now might be the time to disable any biometric sensors on your smartphone, unless you want the police to 3D print a replica of your fingers and unlock it with ease.
Sure, there are efforts to develop fingerprint sensors that won’t be tricked by fake fingers, but they aren’t going to be available for a while and this case shows that police already want to thwart the scanners used today.
The best solution to all of these problems is to avoid setting up biometric securityin the first place.
AW comment:  Hackers could make fake fingerprints too.
Apple announces long-awaited bug bounty program
Apple’s invitation-only bug bounty program will be open only to researchers who have previously made valuable vulnerability disclosures to the company. Apple consulted with other companies on their bug bounty programs and decided that opening the bounty system to the public would bring a deluge of reports that might overshadow high-risk vulnerabilities. 

However, Apple won’t turn away new researchers if they provide useful disclosures, and plans to slowly expand the program.
The program launches in September with five categories of risk and reward:

• Vulnerabilities in secure boot firmware components: Up to $200,000
• Vulnerabilities that allow extraction of confidential material from Secure Enclave: Up to $100,000
• Executions of arbitrary or malicious code with kernel privileges: Up to $50,000
• Access to iCloud account data on Apple servers: Up to $50,000
• Access from a sandboxed process to user data outside the sandbox: Up to $25,000
The new program will begin as invite-only, including only a few dozen researchers. Still, Apple says the program will become more open as it grows, and if a non-member approaches Apple with a significant bug, they’ll be invited into the program to work it through. The invite system is unusual for a bounty program, but Apple explained it as necessary to weed out spurious submissions and make sure trusted researchers had adequate support from the company.
The Bug Bounty List
A comprehensive, up to date list of bug bounty and disclosure programs from across the web curated by the Bugcrowd researcher community.
Everything you need to know is on the internet.  Or is it?
Shocker! Facebook Changes Its Algorithm to Avoid ‘Clickbait’
Facebook says it plans to marginalize what it considers to be “clickbait” news stories from publishers in its news feed, in another step to keep its 1.71 billion members regularly coming back to its social network.

In a change to its news feed algorithm on Thursday, Facebook said certain types of headlines would be classified as clickbait, those that “withhold or distort information.” Those stories will then appear less frequently in users’ feeds, the company said.
Here's How to Overcome Newly Discovered iPhone Ransomware
4 Foolish Cybersecurity Mistakes Robert Herjavec Is Shocked People Still Make
Identity Theft Recovery from the FTC

Social Security Web Site Now Requires Cellphone to Access Your SSA Account On-Line

For your protection, we now require multifactor authentication for all users of the "my Social Security" web site. To register and sign in, you must now enter a security code that we will send to your cell phone. Your cell phone provider’s text message and data rates may apply.

Because of technical and resource constraints, we are not currently able to offer alternative methods of satisfying this security requirement. However, we may consider adding more options in the future. We appreciate your patience as we work continuously to secure your online information.



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