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Friday, October 28, 2016

Why Apple's take on the touch interface is better than Microsoft and Dell's

Yes, I believe that the touch interface is the way to go with working with your computer. Like the steam engine, automatic transmission, and color television, all of us will go through many iterations to get the darn thing right.


As I drove down Ventura Boulevard in the Valley the other day, every bus kiosk showed an ad for Dell’s XPS 13 notebook computer. It proudly proclaimed that it came with a touch screen, whereas the MacBook Air did not. Dell and Microsoft push this hard, that your modern notebook computer must come with a full-screen touch interface. Or you’re just not one of the cool kids. 

Hmm. I’m not longer a kid and have never been cool (although I do own Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue album). But I have been around several spins of this planet and several orbits around our sun, so I’ve seen a trend or two come and go. 

Apple likes the touch interface, too. They have a whole bunch of computing devices designed for a touch interface. I am sure they have observed how people use a real full-screen touch interface. 

To wit, they must have asked, “When do people touch the screen?” and “Where do people touch the screen?” Do they run their fingers all over the screen, or do they concentrate on certain areas?

I am presuming that they found that users only touched the screen a few times and they touched the same areas over and over again when they did. 

They also found that people like to touch buttons on a horizontal surface when they sit down. When they stand up, they prefer a vertical surface. My example of this is the light switch on the wall. Do you prefer to use it when you sit down or when you stand up?

So, people only touch a small part of the touch screen and they touch the same part over and over again. They also prefer to touch it when it lies on a horizontal surface.

And so the Apple Touch Bar was born. It lies in a convenient space on the keyboard, it can become whatever set of icons  you need to touch for a given purpose. It serves the same purpose as the use of iPads as second screens for your notebook. It’s just more convenient. 

I am sure that you will see similar touch bars on Windows PCs soon. Of course, they’ll have to pay a small fee to use Apple’s patent. 

Now who’s the cool kid?

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Tuesday 10-25-2016

Apple squashes bugs with Mac OS Sierra, Apple Watch and Apple TV updates

For the most part, it's just bugfixes, but the iPhone 7 Plus gets the nifty new Portrait Mode for its camera.

WatchOS 3.1 should let you replay the cool effects in the Messages app on your Apple Watch, in addition to squashing some bugs.

tvOS 10.0.1 includes general performance and stability improvements.

iOS 10.1 fixes issue that lets Apple iPhones get hacked by just receiving a picture

Similar issues affects Macs and Apple TV, and all of Apple’s products have received the new update

Apple issues macOS Sierra 10.12.1 update

Apple on Monday released an update to macOS Sierra. Version 10.12.1 is now available for Mac users for download through the App Store app. (It’s a good idea to back up you Mac before installing the update.) The update is 1.25GB.

WatchOS 3.1 update is now available for Apple Watch users

The WatchOS 3.1 update brings small changes to the device, mostly focusing on fixing bugs.

IBM announces 100,000 Macs at Jamf 2016

Very interesting video that compares using Macs in the corporate world vs. using Windows PCs.

Deep dive: The Apple Watch Series 2 delivers on last year’s promise

This year's Apple Watch Series 2 -- unveiled last month when the iPhone 7 was previewed -- builds on last year's model and addresses most, but not all, of the issues early adopters faced. With the inclusion of GPS, a faster system architecture, better water resistance and support for more activity profiles -- including swimming and wheelchair support -- the Series 2 turns the Apple Watch into a more complete fitness band. And the system's overall responsiveness, in concert with watchOS 3, largely delivers on last year's first-generation promise.

How Google embarrassed Apple

This week didn't look good for Apple.

Google's new Pixel phone launched to positive reviews, largely because of the phone's new digital helper called Google Assistant.

Assistant is noticeably smarter and more capable than Siri, a stark embarrassment for Apple, which had a five-year head start on Google.

I expect Apple to improve Siri soon, but for now, Google Assistant is clearly in the lead.

The iPod turns 15: a visual history of Apple's mobile music icon
A look back at 15 years of iPod history

To iPod on its 15th birthday: Thanks for revolutionizing digital music

The World-Shaking iPod Just Turned 15 Years Old

Apple's first music player seems like a relict of the past, but it's impact should not be overlooked.

The iPod turned 15 years old yesterday [2016-10-23]. To recognize this monumental day, we took a stroll through the Entrepreneur archives, only to come across a 2006 article, Age of the iPod, which looks at the undeniable success of the portable music player from its birth in 2001 to 2006.

Why I Bought an Apple iPod Nano in 2016

The author also wrote about his experience with it.

The difference between iPhone users and Android users

after explaining briefly that I was the editor of a tech news site, I would ask iPhone users “why do you use an iPhone?” and Android phone users “why do you use an Android phone?”

I made sure to never mention a rival platform at all. It’s subtle, but the question “why do you use an iPhone and not an Android phone?” is a bit leading compared to simply asking, “why do you use an iPhone?”

In about three months I ended up asking 219 different people this question, including 112 iPhone users and 107 Android users.

So, how many Android users mentioned their disapproval of Apple or of the iPhone among in their response? 51.

Of the 112 iPhone users I polled, a total of six people said something negative about Android or about a specific Android phone manufacturer. Not a single person make a negative blanket statement about Android users in general.

Here's the one thing keeping me from dumping my iPhone for Google's Pixel
Apple is strategically using iMessage lock-in to keep customers from moving to Android, which is bad news for would-be iPhone switchers.

The Google Pixel is the first Android phone that I'd happily swap for my iPhone. In fact, that's exactly what I would have done this week, without missing a beat.

Well, except for one, and it's a doozy. Everything about the Pixel experience "just works," except for its lack of support for Apple's iMessage.

iPhone 7 Plus vs. Pixel XL camera showdown: Low-light video comparison

The 10 best paid iPhone apps on sale for free – as of 2016-10-25

11 paid iPhone apps on sale for free – as of 2016-10-24

The internet is still actually controlled by 14 people who hold 7 secret keys

Every three months since 2010, some — but typically not all — of these people gather to conduct a highly secure ritual known as a key ceremony, where the keys to the internet's metaphorical master lock are verified and updated.

The people conducting the ceremony are part of an organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN is responsible for assigning numerical internet addresses to websites and computers.

If someone were to gain control of ICANN's database, that person would pretty much control the internet. For instance, the person could send people to fake bank websites instead of real bank websites.

To protect DNS, ICANN came up with a way of securing it without entrusting too much control to any one person. It selected seven people as key holders and gave each one an actual key to the internet. It selected seven more people as backup key holders — 14 people in all. The ceremony requires at least three of them, and their keys, attend, because three keys are needed to unlock the equipment that protects DNS.

Slide Show:
5 Creative and Out There Uses of Social Media

So where can you turn to to plan your next vacation? Instagram.

Recruit top talent?  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify and YouTube.

Report city updates and local crimes?  Twitter.

Teach?  Facebook

How a Bunch of Hacked DVR Machines Took Down Twitter and Reddit
And Spotify, and Github, and The New York Times.

The websites were not targeted individually. Instead, an unknown attacker deployed a massive botnet to wage a distributed denial-of-service attack on Dyn (pronounced like dine), the domain name service (DNS) provider that they all share.

“The internet wasn’t down,” Andy Ellis added. “Packets were still getting through.” Only one DNS provider was ever blocked, he said. The rest of the infrastructure still worked—even if Twitter, Reddit, Spotify, and the Times were all, for a time, essentially inaccessible.

Chinese firm admits its hacked products were behind Friday's massive DDOS attack
Botnets created from the Mirai malware were involved in Friday's cyber attack

A Chinese electronics component manufacturer says its products inadvertently played a role in a massive cyberattack that disrupted major internet sites in the U.S.

According to security researchers, malware known as Mirai has been taking advantage of these vulnerabilities by infecting the devices and using them to launch huge distributed denial-of service attacks.

Mirai works by enslaving IoT devices to form a massive connected network. The devices are then used to deluge websites with requests, overloading the sites and effectively taking them offline.

This Is The Chinese Firm Whose Cameras Took Down The Internet On Friday (2016-10-21)

while the origin of the attack is still unknown, we're getting a better idea of how the attack was executed.

The attackers hijacked CCTV cameras made by Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology Co. using malware known as Mirai.

The attack, which took down sites including Twitter, Spotify and CNN for long stretches, underscored how hackers can marshal an increasing number of online gadgets, collectively known as the Internet of Things, to disrupt the internet on an unprecedented scale.

“Mirai is a huge disaster for the Internet of Things. XM have to admit that our products also suffered from hacker’s break-in and illegal use," Xiongmai said in its e-mail.

Seems the "internet of things" has it's downsides.

Vulnerability Is the Internet’s Original Sin

On the day (perhaps not long from now) when the entire internet crashes, no one will be able to say that we didn’t see it coming. The denial-of-service attack on the morning of Oct. 21—which shut down Twitter, Spotify, Netflix, and a dozen other websites—offers a preview, in miniature and against relatively trivial targets, of how the day of doom might unfold.

The weapons amassed for this attack were, literally, toys—baby monitors, music servers, web cameras, and other home devices.

The malware was simple: a program called Mirai.

How one rent-a-botnet army of cameras, DVRs caused Internet chaos

Welcome to the Internet of Evil Things. The attack that disrupted much of the Internet on October 21 is still being teased apart by investigators, but evidence thus far points to multiple "botnets" of Internet-connected gadgets being responsible for blocking access to the Domain Name Service (DNS) infrastructure at DNS provider Dyn. Most of these botnets—coordinated armies of compromised devices that sent malicious network traffic to their targets—were controlled by Mirai, a self-spreading malware for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The attack on Dyn further demonstrates the potential disruptive power of the millions of poorly protected IoT devices. These items can be easily turned into a platform for attacking anything from individual websites to core parts of the Internet's infrastructure.

the worst thing about Mirai is that it leverages the horrible security decisions made by a handful of manufacturers of Internet-connected devices. And despite growing public alarm, these IoT devices and their shortcomings will likely persist on the Internet for years.

Mirai simply uses a hard-coded library of default usernames and passwords to log in to the devices it discovers. This is the equivalent of walking through a parking lot, checking for unlocked car doors, and finding the keys sitting on the driver’s seat.

Incessant Consumer Surveillance Is Leaking Into Physical Stores
Retail is on its way to a future of personalized everything—even prices.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Hello Everyone:

I got this message in my Inbox tonight:


Screen Shot 2016 10 19 at 5 46 42 PM


I checked with Apple Support. THIS IS A SCAM! DO NOT CLICK ON “MY APPLE LOGIN”


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Tuesday, October 18th


Apple to announce new Macs on Oct 27th
The last time Apple significantly updated its top-of-the-line MacBook Pro was back in 2012. Since then, the laptop has been updated to include a Retina display and a Force Touch trackpad, but a major revamp has been long overdue.
11 keyboard shortcuts only Mac power users know about
Excellent hints.
The Apple Pencil is changing Rapha’s design workflow
Apple has jumped on this opportunity to produce a good-looking short film about Valdman and Rapha in general. And it’s interesting to see how a peripheral device like the Apple Pencil can affect the workflows of non-tech companies.
These high-tech tattoos enable you to control electronic devices
... temporary tattoos made of conductive materials that can be used to control electronic devices, such as phones and computers.
They enable the user to interact with their gadgets in several ways
One thing your router needs now to keep hackers out
Hackers are continually looking for targets, and all they need to get to the personal files and devices on your network are your router’s IP address and your administrative password. A simple Google search is all it takes to find both for just about any router make and model.

Once hackers have this information from a router that hasn’t been updated, they can steal your files, peek through your webcam or worse. They can start sniffing data that’s passing to and from your router. They can record all your online activity, including usernames and passwords. They can even reroute your traffic to fake websites.

Routers can also be taken over to perform illegal activities, such as denial of service attacks or piracy. The scary part is you might not even know your router is compromised and being used for nefarious deeds.

If you’re not regularly updating your router with new firmware, you’re ripe for attack.
While updating a router is easy for a computer nerd, it can be difficult if you’re not.
Also, router manufacturers don’t notify you about their updates (unlike Apple’s automatic notifications).
Here's How Quantum Computing Will Change The World
Like the first digital computers, quantum computing offers the possibility of technology millions of times more powerful than current systems, but the key to its success will be translating real world problems into quantum language.
Quantum computing has to potential to solve — easily — many complex problems that require excessively long times to solve on digital computers.
This guy says Twitter is censoring his tweets.
He wrote:
"Twitter is blocking you from seeing them [some of my tweets] without any notice to you, or to me, that they're doing it."
Pundits have been crediting the recent Apple stock price gains to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 disaster, but they have made the mistake of drawing an obvious conclusion that's actually only part of the story.
To catch you up: Samsung was forced to suspend sales of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 on Aug. 31, less than two weeks after the smartphone went on sale, following reports of exploding devices. Attempts to fix the problem failed, forcing Samsung to pull the Galaxy Note 7 entirely on Oct. 11.
Instead of harping on slowing iPhones sales as they had for most of the year, more analysts started to notice Apple's growing revenue from services.
The services segment – things like the App Store, Apple Pay, and Apple Music – is now Apple's second-largest source of revenue behind the iPhone.
Growth in services shows Apple is getting better at monetizing its base of customers in a more consistent way, rather than depending almost entirely on hardware upgrades every few years.
Credit Suisse has forecast that income from Apple services will double in less than four years.
Apple issues iOS update to fix iPhone 7 cellular connectivity issues
Verizon customers were complaining of spotty service
Apple released an iOS update today to address the complaints of thousands of Verizon customers who were experiencing signal drops and unexplainable issues with GPS when using the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The update is numbered 10.0.3, and it’s solely focused on fixing the cellular connectivity issues for those two phones. If you have an older iPhone, you won’t see the update pop up.
A month with the iPhone 7
In the month I’ve spent with Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, two things have become increasingly apparent to me. The first is that these are Apple’s best ever iPhones in far more ways than I thought they would be. The second is that the iPhone 7 Plus is now the iPhone.
Up until recently, handling an iPhone at an Apple Store involved dealing with its unwieldy security tether, a sometimes cumbersome experience that prevented potential buyers from getting a true idea of how it feels to hold and handle Apple’s handset.

At some stores, however, the tech giant has been removing the tethers for a better customer experience as well as cleaner bench displays more in keeping with the minimalist design of Apple’s brick-and-mortar locations.

Yes, it does mean someone could, in theory, enter the store, pick up a phone, pop it in their pocket, and walk out, but the fact that the trial appears to be expanding to multiple locations suggests Apple is pleased with the way it’s going. In other words, it hasn’t lost too many phones yet.

How to pick the perfect iPhone for you
Apple Offers a Temporary Workaround if the Home Button Fails on an iPhone 7

MacRumors forum member 'iwayne' shared the above picture of his iPhone 7 display after the device unexpectedly turned itself off while charging and the haptic feedback began malfunctioning after a restart. A dialog prompt warns that the home button is in need of repair, but presents an alternative onscreen home button for temporary use until the phone has been turned in to Apple for servicing.
iPhone 7 has created a wave of users who now use their smartphones in the shower
Thanks to Apple’s decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack, the iPhone 7 is without question the most water-resistant iPhone ever released.
Pushing the envelope even further, Gizmodo reports on a seemingly ridiculous yet not altogether surprising new trend among iPhone 7 owners: using the device in the shower and boasting about it on social media.
Sure, it’s easy to laugh at this tomfoolery, but Apple itself has made a point to position the iPhone 7’s robust water resistance as a key selling point.
Using Your iPhone 7 in the Shower Is the Latest Status Symbol
The iPhone 7’s missing headphone jack has turned out just fine
APPLE is reportedly preparing to add your trusty old iPhone 4 to its “obsolete list” – making it potentially worthless.
Apple says on its website: “Owners of iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Mac products may obtain service and parts from Apple or Apple service providers for 5 years after the product is no longer manufactured—or longer where required by law.
5 Things the iPhone Can Do That the Google Pixel Can’t
Water resistance
Better camera
More colorful display
Works Faster
Ultimate hurt for Apple’s strongest competitor
It is now a federal crime to bring a Galaxy Note 7 onto an airplane
Offenders are subject to civil penalties of up to $179,933 for each violation
Is the Apple Watch now the most accurate wearable?
The Apple Watch has been touted as the most accurate wrist-based wearable in a new study from the Cleveland Clinic, published in JAMA Cardiology.

The study was performed on 50 healthy adults, who wore an electrocardiogram (EKG), Fitbit Charge HR, Apple Watch, Mio Alpha, Basis Peak, and a chest strap for several hours.
Wearables have become far more accurate in the past few years, but Cleveland Clinic’s study clearly shows there’s more work to be done.
Is the Apple Watch now the most accurate wearable?
Mossberg: Why does Siri seem so dumb?

It seems to me that Apple has wasted its lead with Siri. And now Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and others are on the march.
When’s the presidential debate? Siri had no clue.
The obscure legal mechanism Apple uses to keep its trademark filings secret for six months
8 out of 10 software engineering jobs are still going to men ... and that's a big improvement for women

These 11 brilliant visualizations show the insides of complex things

Facebook is leaking valuable younger users
Snapchat and Instagram climb with teens as Facebook stumbles

Facebook has been struggling to bring in younger users for several years now and it looks like the problem is getting worse.

According to Piper Jaffray Companies, a recent survey of 10,000 U.S. teenagers showed that 52% used Facebook at least once a month this fall, compared to 60% who used it monthly in the spring.

This is how you're compromising your identity on Facebook

The main reason is over-sharing — publishing information about yourself or your family that would be useful to criminals.

How to Foil a Tech-Support Scam
Fraudsters are getting cleverer and more aggressive—but the government is cracking down.

Locker-type scams mostly being launched from overseas, where attackers can more easily avoid getting in trouble for infecting American computers. Hacking charges in the U.S. are no joke.

Instead, domestic scammers prefer operating in a legal gray area that can keep them from getting in too much trouble if they wind up in court. If they provide genuine tech-support services and can confuse less-than-savvy judges with technical minutiae, they can escape punishment, the Malwarebytes researcher said.

Even Bugs Will Be Bugged

1) Cameras Will Be Invisible
2) Your Past Will Be Omnipresent
3) We’ll Let Spies In
     how easy it is to spy on people through the gadgets in their homes
4) Machines Will Decide Our Fates
     We’re creating a world size robot.
     Such automation may increase efficiency, but it won’t eliminate injustice.
5) Society Will Be Safer but Creepier

Half of American adults appear in facial recognition databases — and police are using them with almost no oversight

On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union, along with 51 other advocacy groups, wrote a letter decrying the technology — which is being used by a growing number of law enforcement agencies across the country — for its lack of oversight and potential to disproportionately affect communities of color.

So far, no state has passed a comprehensive law regulating police departments' use of the technology, according to the report by the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University's law school.

Monday, October 10, 2016

For You New Mac Owners in the San Fernando Valley (and beyond) here's some advice from our editor

Congratulations on buying a new Mac! If you’ve come over from Windows, I have some advice for you. Please read all the way to the end.

So, in no particular order, are my tips for newcomers to the Mac.


Q: I’d like to have the time announced on the half hour. Can the Mac do that on its own, or do I need to get another program?

A: The Mac can announce the time on the hour, the half hour, and the quarter hour. Just go to the Date & Time preference pane in the System Preferences app. The System Preferences looks like a gearbox in your Dock. 


System Preferences app


Click on it to open it. You will see several rows of icons for various preferences. You want the Date & Time preference



Date  Time preference pane


Click on this clock face icon and you will see the preferences for Date and Time. You want the Clock option on the far right hand tab:


Clock options under Date  Time


Now I’ve set my talking clock to the quarter hour option, but if you click on the double arrows to the immediate right of the time announcement, you can pick from hour, half hour, and quarter hour. 


You’ll need to click on the lock icon in the lower left-hand corner to save this choice. 

Q: I’ve become used to an external keyboard and mouse on my Windows work machine. Can my new Mac notebook use an external keyboard and mouse?

A: Yes, they can! In fact, you can plug an external USB keyboard and mouse into a Mac or Windows notebook to start working right away. 

If you own a favorite PS/2 keyboard, you can just buy a PS/2 to USB adaptor that you plug the keyboard and mouse into. The USB end goes right into the Mac’s USB ports. 

You have to make some adjustments, though. The Windows key now becomes the Command or Apple key. You can go into the Keyboard Preferences, though, to set up your keyboard to fit your style of computing. 


Keyboard preferences


Once you’ve opened up the Keyboard Preferences, you should go to the Modifier Keys. Change Command Key to use the Alt key. Change those essential 4 keys to fit your personal style.



Keyboard Preference showing Modifier keys


Once you click one the Modifier Keys button, the panel to modify the 4 keys slides down from the top:

Modifier Keys


Here I’ve changed it so that Command key (actually the Windows key on a Windows keyboard) and the Option key (The Alt key on a Windows keyboard) swapped places. Click on OK to confirm your choice. 

For even finer control, you can try the Karabiner app available here. Now it doesn’t work with 10.12 right now and they’re working on it. 

Q: My HDTV has extra HDMI ports on it. Can I use one of them to use the HDTV as a second monitor?

A: Yes, you can! You need the appropriate cable between your Mac and the HDTV. has the best prices on cable, but you can find a good selection at Frys’ stores here in the Valley. 

Now you’ll need to make adjustments between your Mac and your HDTV. Here’s a support article from Apple on this topic.


Q: I learned a lot of handy keyboard shortcuts working on my Windows machine. Do these shortcuts transfer to the Mac easily?

A: Yes, the Mac and Windows share a lot of keyboard shortcuts. I wrote an article on this topic here


Q: I’ve downloaded a lot of Grateful Dead concerts in the lossless .flac format. But iTunes doesn’t support the .flac format! What can I do to hear these concerts on my Mac?

A: Unfortunately, the Mac doesn’t support the .flac and .ogg formats. The best explanation of this is that Apple doesn’t want patent trolls to sue them claiming patent rights. Apple has nailed down legally the rights to the formats it does support on iTunes.

That said, plenty of 3rd party music players supporting .flac and .ogg. I can suggest Videolan’s VLC player, as well as the Cog, Vox, and Clementine players. They’re all free to try (although donations are appreciated). 

Q: I’d like to record the sound and video from my Mac. Does the Mac include that capability or do I need to look to 3rd party apps?

A: For basic sound and video, you can use the Mac’s built-in QuickTime Player to record sound and video.  



QuickTime Player settings for recording


 Use Movie if you record from an external camera, such as a USB web cam. Use Audio Recording to capture all the audio on your Mac. Use Screen Recording to capture your Mac’s screen. 

Here’s Apple’s article on how to do it on your Mac with QuickTime Player.


Q: I’m getting older and I often need the text and numbers on the screen magnified. My Windows machine could do that if I held down the Control key and pushed the mouse’s wheel forward. What about a Mac?

 A: Yes,  you can do the same on a Mac. Just set it up beforehand using the Accessibility Preference Pane on your Mac.

Accesibilty Preference Pane

You’ll find many options if you need help viewing your Mac. 


Zoom option in Accesibility pane


Q: I have old files from back in the ‘90s in Word for Mac, Wordperfect for Mac, and Appleworks format. What can you suggest to read these files and convert them into modern formats?


A: For old formats from the ‘90s and even ‘80s, I can recommend LibreOffice 5 from The Document Foundation. It can read a slew of these old formats. 

Now if you still have these on floppy disks, you have a problem. OS X 10.11 and onward don’t recognize floppy disks and floppy drives. Neither, for that matter, does Windows 10. Get either a Mac or a Windows machine running an earlier operating system version so that you can read these disks and copy them onto a USB flash drive. See, that old Windows XP machine in the corner has a purpose! 

The latest version of Ubuntu Linux, 16.04, will read floppy disks. You can run it from a DVD on a Windows machine. 

Now if you have old video formats, I recommend the VideoLAN VLC player, which I referenced above. It has versions for Macs going to the PowerPC days of 10.4. 

For old image formats, I can recommend the $40 Graphic Converter from Lemkesoft. 


Q: So,what advice would you give to a new owner of a Mac to begin with?

A: First off, backup, Backup, BACKUP! Always have a backup drive because inevitably your Mac’s hard drive or SSD will fail. The odds, though, are that two drives won’t fail at the same time.

Make use of the Time Machine backup built into the Mac’s operating system. Apple put it into the software for you to use, so don’t waste the opportunity. Go over to Costco, Fry’s, Staples, Best Buy, or Amazon to get yourself a large external USB backup drive.,


Second, if you want to try out the next version of macOS after the one that came with your Mac, learn how to boot from an external hard drive.  I can see I have another article to write on this topic. Which brings me to #3


Third, if you have questions about your Mac and macOS, don’t hesitate to use the Google, Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo search engines. As a matter of fact, you can just type your question into the Address Bar in Safari and press Enter. Chances are you’ll find several people who ran into the same problem you did, solved it, and posted their answers to the Internet. 

 Just like I’m doing now.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog





Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday 10/9/2016

Apple iPhone 7 Review: Ready Or Not, This Is The Future

After using the new devices for a week, what’s most remarkable is that Apple managed to change things up without completely ruining the iPhone’s trademark polish. In fact, let’s get it out of the way right now: The new iPhones are good.

Aesthetics aside, the real changes begin with the home button. Apple has swapped its iconic physical home button for a solid-state sensor.
I don’t love the button, but I do think it prepares us for a future where the button is embedded in the screen.

The twin cameras are a big improvement.

Life after death for Apple’s Xserve
Some of our readers still get use out of hardware Apple left behind.

Apple put the final nail in the Xserve’s coffin in January 2011 when it officially stopped selling rack-mounted servers. Instead, the company started pushing server customers toward Mac Pros and Minis. On Sept. 20 of this year, Apple lowered that coffin into the ground when macOS Sierra dropped software support for the systems. And while Xserves running El Capitan will keep getting security updates for a couple of years and the current build of the macOS Server software still runs on El Capitan, the hardware will soon be completely buried.

Apple's X-serve computers had some advantages that don’t exist any other computers — even Apple’s latest computers.
To some corporate users, those advantages are so important that they will have to buy non-Apple computers
to replace any X-serve computers they are forced to retire over the next two years.

How to stop Apple from automatically downloading new software for your Mac

There are reasons why you might not want to upgrade your operating system — to keep compatibility with certain software, for example.
Or to delay upgrading a fews days.  There have been a few instances when Apple pulled an upgrade back a few days after release due to users experiencing the effects of a flawed upgrade.

Steve Wozniak: Apple was right to drop iPhone 7 headphone jack

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has changed his opinion of Apple dropping the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, revealing he now thinks Apple was right to make the move to using the Lightning port for audio.

This contradicts how Wozniak previously felt,

4 reasons why you should choose iPhone over Android

One reason is guaranteed software updates for years.
For example, the latest iOS 10 even works on the iPhone 5, which launched four years ago.

Android phones rarely get that kind of support.

iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 6s Speed Test Video Shows How The A10 Fusion Chip Compares To The A9 Processor In Performance And Speed [Video]

AW comment:  I had to watch the video twice to understand it.

The video shows an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 6s side by side, both performing the same series of tasks.

In the beginning, they are performing tasks simultaneously but, as the video progresses, the iPhone 7 completes each task faster.
Near the end of the video, the iPhone 6s is still working on tasks that the iPhone 7 completed some 30 seconds earlier.

Good Video:
Apple Watch Series 2 vs Series 1: Which One to Choose?

If you want GPS, get Series 2, as Series 1 doesn’t have that.

For running and swimming, the Series 2 is likely justified regardless of the venture. If you're simply utilizing it for getting notifications on your wrist and experimenting with consistent Apple Watch applications, you will be okay with a Series 1.

The Apple Watch 2 could change the way you swim

The Apple Watch Series 2 is water resistant to 50 meters [but not the Series 1].

This article discusses how the Watch, and how two new apps for it, can help you keep track of the details of all the swimming you do. already has tens of thousands of users tracking their swim workouts.

The Apple Watch Series 1 is just as fast as Series 2

Two Videos:
Apple’s spaceship glows to life at Campus 2 in latest drone flyovers

Apple unveils new store design in Indianapolis

Four years and one embarrassment later, Apple Maps is genuinely worthy of challenging Google Maps

Apple Maps is finally at a point where you can ignore Google and not totally feel like you’re missing out. It’s a robust, convenient, and delightful little app.

Crucially, it’s also accurate (unlike the first version).

The FBI wants to crack another iPhone after Minnesota stabbings

FBI special agent Rich Thorton confirmed that the agency is trying to crack an iPhone belonging to Dahir Adan, a 20-year-old Somali immigrant who stabbed 10 people in a Minnesota mall last month.

That iPhone is a newer model than the iPhone used by Farook (the San Bernardino shooter), and it will be difficult, if not impossible for the FBI to access the data in it.

It's unclear at this point how much progress the FBI has made -- only time will tell if it'll try to force Apple to help somehow, or how Apple will response if the government comes knocking.

FBI statement raises prospect of second legal battle with Apple over locked iPhone

We don’t yet know which iPhone model is involved, nor which version of iOS it is running, both factors that would play a significant part in determining how easy or difficult it is to crack. But given the history, we’re expecting this case to fade quietly away as the FBI finds a way to access the phone without Apple’s assistance …

As latest govt surveillance on Yahoo revealed, end-to-end encrypted Facebook Messenger chats now available to all

While some have questioned the need for strong encryption to protect simple chats between friends, the continuing revelations of mass surveillance by governments does make the issue a matter of principle for some. Just yesterday it was revealed that Yahoo likely allowed the government to scan all of its users’ emails. And, as I’ve argued before, we all have perfectly innocent things to hide.

Facebook began testing Secret Conversations – Facebook Messenger chats protected by end-to-end encryption – back in July, promising a wider rollout later in the year. The company has now told Wiredthat the rollout is complete.

Reader Comment:
Thanks to this article, I finally understand why the messages on each Apple device are separate copies. It always annoyed me, ie if I delete a message on my phone, it's still on my Watch. But it makes perfect sense now.

Reader Comment:
No matter the encryption they say they have, I will never trust Facebook or Google with my privacy.

Reader Comment:
Unfortunately, Google is almost impossible to avoid. They can track your web usage simply through ads that appear on pages that you visit. They can harvest personal data on you even if you do not have a Google account via your friends that communicate with you through the Google services they use. This is why Google getting into the data transmission business is extremely scary; ISP in some areas, just announced WiFi routers, etc.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday 10/2/2016


The biggest difference between the iPhone 7and iPhone 7 Plus isn't the size -- it's the camera. The 7 Plus includes two 12-megapixel cameras that fire off when you capture a photo, giving you one super image.
iPhone 7 Plus uses digital zoom instead of optical more often than you'd expect
Using the 2x setting in iPhone 7 Plus's Camera app doesn't always mean the telephoto lens will take the photo.
When you use the built-in Camera app, the iPhone 7 Plus doesn’t act like it has two distinct cameras each with its own lens. Rather, it shows you a single virtual camera that combines input from two lenses. This is abundantly clear when you use the clever method (suggested by colleague Aurélien Chevaleyrias) of holding your finger over one lens or the other to see what’s really going on. It may surprise you!
All the best new features in iOS 10 Messages
The little chat bubble is now a lot more than a texting app, with its own app store and the ability to send a lot more than just texts.
Police can’t read your iMessages, but here’s what they can see
one thing Apple knows is which phone numbers a person is at least considering sending a message to.
Apple stores the information for 30 days.
So what does all this mean? Apple still has far less information about its messages than a cellular provider has on its customers’ standard text messages.
Apple promises that your iMessage conversations are safe and out of reach from anyone other than you and your friends. But according to a document obtained by The Intercept, your blue-bubbled texts do leave behind a log of which phone numbers you are poised to contact and shares this (and other potentially sensitive metadata) with law enforcement when compelled by court order.
The Intercept received the document about Apple’s Messages logs as part of a larger cache originating from within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Electronic Surveillance Support Team, a state police agency that facilitates police data collection using controversial tools like the Stingray, along with conventional techniques like pen registers. The document, titled “iMessage FAQ for Law Enforcement,” is designated for “Law Enforcement Sources” and “For Official Use Only”.
Bounty for iOS jailbreak exploit jumps to $1.5 million
Zerodium is the same company that offered $1 million for an iOS jailbreak exploit last year.
Zerodium's new $1.5 million bounty is asking for a remote jailbreak exploit targeting iOS 10.
In addition, Zerodium has also doubled the bounty for similar exploits for Google's Android OS to a maximum of $200,000.
These zero-day exploits are valuable because they take advantage of software flaws in iOS and Android that even the vendors don't know about. However, these flaws can also be difficult to find, given that both Apple and Google are constantly improving their software.
Make the Mac’s Share Menu More Useful
iPhone 7 VS All Other iPhones In A Speed Test
The Apple Watch Series 2 is what the company should have put out last year: It's faster than the original, with longer battery life, a more intuitive OS, brighter screen, built-in GPS and waterproof design. If this were Apple's only new smartwatch, we would have given it an even stronger recommendation than we actually did. The problem is, the company does indeed have another wearable on offer. The Series 1, as it's called, costs a hundred dollars less and is basically last year's model, upgraded with the same dual-core processor used in the Series 2.
23 Apple Watch tips & secret features | watchOS 3 tips & tricks
How To Improve Apple Watch Battery Life Running watchOS 3
This is the giant auditorium that Apple is about to cover with dirt
The latest video on the progress of building Apple’s future headquarters.
The best 10 iPhone widgets for iOS 10
One of the most underappreciated features on the iPhone are its lock-screen widgets.

Apps are what killed the BlackBerry

It was THE status symbol for anyone in the early 2000s, and its physical keyboard made it instantly recognizable, but now the BlackBerry is dead.

But it wasn't the slowdown in the smartphone market or intense competition from Chinese companies which killed the BlackBerry, it was apps.

BlackBerry's announcement on Wednesday that it would not longer be making its own hardware, shows that it too completely missed just how important software, apps and the ecosystem surrounding them would be.

A High-Stakes Bet: Turning Google Assistant Into a ‘Star Trek’ Computer

The company calls its version of this all-powerful machine the Google Assistant.

It is a high-stakes bet: If this new tech fails, it could signal the beginning of the end of Google’s reign over our lives. But if it succeeds, Google could achieve a centrality in human experience unrivaled by any tech product so far.

If the Assistant or something like it does not take off, Google’s status as the chief navigator of our digital lives could be superseded by a half-dozen other assistants.

There is the mismatch between Google’s ambitions and Assistant’s current reality. Danny Sullivan, the founding editor of Search Engine Land, told me that so far, he hadn’t noticed the Assistant helping him in any major way.

Social Media Got You Down? Be More Like Beyoncé

Most people treat social media like the stage for their own reality show, but Beyoncé treats her public persona more like a Barbie — she offers up images and little more, allowing people to project their own ideas, fantasies and narratives about her life onto it.

This strategy isn’t just for the rich and famous. It’s a useful way to think about how we could all behave online. Why fret about oversharing, or undersharing, or to what extent our online selves are true to our ac­tual self? We could instead use social media as a prism through which we can project only what we want others to see. We can save the rest for ourselves — our actual selves.

Obama Admin Wants To Surrender US Control Over Internet To Global Bureaucracy

The Obama administration is planning to relinquish American control over a central portion of Internet governance.

The implications of this move range from control by an international bureaucracy to totalitarian regimes locking up entire portions of the Internet, according to experts.

Lots of speculation in this article as to how bad this will be for both the internet and the U.S.

This is not a surprise nor something Obama cooked up in the dead of night.  If the US Congress wanted to intervene it has had years to do so and has intentionally not done so.

The author supports blocking this move, simply because he's not convinced that anyone has done the homework to prevent this from turning into yet another multinational boondoggle.

the current screamfest has exactly nothing to do with corruption and everything to do with imaginary bogeymen that do not exist.

Blockchain Will Transform And Reinvent Organizations, Ecosystems And Economies
Blockchain technology was originally used for crypto-currencies like BitCoin.  But blockchain tech can be used for so much more.
Having grown up in India, I have first-hand experience on how complex real estate transactions are executed.
The number of participants that are required to be involved from banks, insurance companies, brokers, land registries, government tax authorities, and other intermediaries is incredible, not to mention the ever-present danger that the seller of the property may not be the actual owner of the property being sold. (Title insurance does not exist in India).
Peruvian economist Hernando De Soto believes that up to five billion people worldwide suffer from lack of title to their property, which results in more than $20 trillion of capital that is outside of the traditional financial services ecosystem.
Blockchain can be used by individuals who want to complete transactions involving multiple parties.
Blockchains are built on shared ledgers where participants write transactions in near real-time to an unbreakable chain that becomes a permanent record of an asset or transaction. This is viewable by all parties in the transaction.
In the emerging blockchain economy, the role of third-party intermediaries to broker trust and/or to reconcile will increasingly be called into question as we reinvent new processes that eliminate the need for such reconciliation and intermediation.
The Global Cost of Electronic Waste
Computers, phones, and other digital devices increasingly are made to be thrown away—which is bad for both consumers and the environment.

The increase in consumption of electronics has two major adverse ecological effects. First, it significantly increases mining and procurement for the materials needed for production of gadgets. And second, discarded devices produce large quantities of electronic waste. That waste could be reduced through reuse, repair, or resale. Whether it ever will be is an open question.

There was a time when households would keep televisions for more than a decade. But thanks to changes in technology and consumer demand, there is hardly any device now that persists for more than a couple of years in the hands of the original owner.

Manufacturers have also used software updates to privilege newer models of smartphones and computers, invisibly pressuring consumers to buy new devices just to maintain parity of experience.

Electronic waste is a global ecological issue. It raises concern about air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, information security, and even human exploitation.

Google's Project Shield defends free speech from bonnet scourge

Cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs’ web site suffered a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.  Hackers conscripted hordes of connected gadgets like digital video recorders, routers and digital cameras into a botnet, which overwhelmed Krebs' website.

The security needed to ward off the attack would have cost Krebs up to $200,000 a year, but Google's Project Shield was able to fend off the DDoS attack for free.

Krebs' page was back up and running on Sunday.

The attack shed light on a little-known but important service offered by Google, one designed to protect journalists, news sites, election-monitoring sites and human-rights advocates from cyberattacks.

For now, the protection is available only to a select group.

Security blogger Brian Krebs says a massive distributed denial-of-service attack that took down his Web site last week was likely the consequences for his outing of two Israelis who ran a DDoS-for-hire business.

The pair, whom he identifies as Itay Huri and Yarden Bidani, both 18, were arrested in Israel at the request of the FBI six days after Krebs posted his blog and are now under house arrest.

If Krebs’s suspicions are true, it means that malicious actors with relatively modest means can summon up giant botnets comprised of IoT devices and deliver unheard of volumes of DDoS traffic.

Protect yourself from scammers by doing this one thing every time your bank calls

Excellent advice to avoid being scammed people who make fake calls about “your credit card problem”.

Down the rabbit hole, part 1: Making my life private and secure

Is it possible to make private all of your computers, smartphones, data and communications and still remain digitally connected? I’m going to find out.

The goal here is to find the right balance between privacy and security—and still enjoy the fruits of a hyper-connected, always-online, digital-to-the-hilt world—all while documenting the whole endeavor.


Down the rabbit hole, part 2: To ensure security and privacy, open source is required

If my goal is to secure all of my computing devices, I need access to the source code in order to do a complete and effective security appraisal of the software I am running.

Facebook has a feature that stalks you all over the internet — here’s how to turn it off
It’s more work to turn it off than you might expect.



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