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Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Cheap Mac Owner: rumination at year's end

I would advise you to check out Low End Mac as we grow older. It has advice on keeping older Macs up and running smoothly.

I am taking this one step further. I am not just an old, low end Mac user: I am downright cheap. I still have a mid-2011 Mac Mini that Apple just declared obsolete. I will think seriously about whether to upgrade it to 10.13 or just leave it at 10.12.6.

Everything works in 10.12 and I don’t want to push it beyond its bounds. I would like USB 3.0 ports on the back instead of the USB 2.0 ports. I bought a Belkin Thunderbolt 1 dock on clearance some time back, which gives me pseudo-USB 3.0 ports if I need them. I just can’t boot from them due to some reason in the Thunderbolt firmware. Such is life.

Jason Snell, former Editor of Macworld who now runs and contributes to; wrote about what he’d like to see in 2018 with the Mac.

He’d like to see a better Mac Pro. The trash can design looked great aesthetically; but it didn’t give pro users the update options they wanted. They want to add in the latest video cards, user configurable RAM and SSD storage. That’s why you saw a demand for the old cheese grater style Mac Pros with all those user options. Also, worth noting is the upsurge in articles about building your own Hackintosh from PC Parts and some ingenious software from the hacker community.

I also believe that’s why Apple finally broke down and started offering an external eGPU cage, AMD RX 580 video card, and power supply to developers. I’ve seen articles about using an external GPU with a Thunderbolt 3 equipped Mac at

Apple, I believe, finally decided to hop on the bandwagon for specialized consumer desktops. The gaming machines dominate this market. Look at and you’ll see lots of coverage of games and gaming hardware. Apple doesn’t want to leave money on the table. If you want to play games on a tricked-out iMac Pro, well, they’re not stopping you. And would you like that with 10 cores or 18 cores? Wearing a Darth Vader helmet for VR, too?

As for the true pro market, I’ve seen articles debating whether the iMac Pro or Microsoft’s Surface Pro is the better machine. From my limited perspective; if you want to draw on a computer, get the Surface Pro. It’s built for drawing and sketching.

If you need a computer to do heavy-duty computing, such as rendering your animated feature or audio processing or writing software; you’d want the iMac Pro. If you still want to draw, Wacom will accommodate you with plenty of high-end drawing tablets.

Now the low-end market. Jason hopes Apple will reinvigorate the Mac Mini line. The last Mac Mini update came out in 2014. Come on, it’s time to upgrade the processors and move to Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, for Heaven’s Sakes.

I wonder why they shouldn’t go one step further and offer a Apple version of the Intel Compute Stick. This is a computer with an HDMI port at one end, several USB ports in the middle, that plugs into an HDMI port on the back of your big screen TV or monitor.

I’m sure Apple Marketing would come back with “But how about an Apple TV and an iPad instead?”

If you want a cheap computer to surf the Web, do e-mail, and write a bit; you’ll find plenty after Christmas and New Years. If you really want cheap, go to for a used computer.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Round-up for 12/26/2017


My Must-Have iOS Apps, 2017 Edition
This author presents the 75 apps that he considers his must-haves – – no web services, just apps for iPhone and iPad. 
Apple App Store changes could save gamers money
Changes to Apple’s iOS App Store could force some game developers to stop taking advantage of their customers through addictive, and sometimes necessary purchases to complete games.
Apple changed the requirements for games that offer “loot boxes” as in-app purchases. The changes mean developers are required to show the odds of receiving certain items in the loot box prior to purchase.
Loot boxes have been one of the most prominent methods game developers have used to monetize their games, and stories of players shelling out thousands of dollars on free-to-play games aren’t uncommon.
Defined as randomized virtual items for purchase, loot boxes vary from game to game, but traditionally they offer aesthetic items for the user, as well as “power-ups” or stronger items to help with tougher levels.
Apple now requires App Store games with loot boxes to list odds
Update to iOS rules also touches on VPN services, cryptocurrency apps.

9to5Mac was among the first sites to dig into the rules update and pick out the big changes, and it found that Apple has opted to use the term "loot boxes," which it defines as "mechanisms that provide randomized virtual items for purchase.”
Apple has beaten Google to the punch in announcing this kind of loot-box odds rule, as Android's Google Play contains no such rules or requirements.
Top 10 Tablets For You To Buy In 2018
Six of the tablet computers are Apple products.
iPhone X users can’t use Face ID to approve family purchases
However, given that Apple's facial recognition system can be fooled by children, maybe that is a good thing, especially if your child is trying to buy stuff.
The iPhone X’s Face ID can’t approve family purchases, and no one knows why
Users are frustrated because equivalent functionality was available on Touch ID devices, and that functionality has been lost in the transition to the iPhone X. Face ID can be used as an authentication method for other purchases, just like Touch ID before it—but Touch ID also worked for "Ask to Buy," and Face ID doesn’t.
Apple has said that Face ID is most likely to be fooled by a close family member who bears a strong physical resemblance to the face data stored on the device.
Changing your Apple ID sounds scary, but don't let it intimidate you

Here's the page about how to change your Apple ID:

Here's the page on how to sign into devices and services after the change:
Apple's Newest Mac Pro Turns Four Years Old
This is why I use an iPhone instead of Android, but a Windows PC instead of a Mac
Apple's iOS is still the best, most useful, and most usable smartphone operating system in the world.
But Apple's savvy investments in iOS seem to be leaving the Mac business as an afterthought - alienating Mac loyalists.
On the other hand, Microsoft famously missed the boat on smartphones.  This has turned into somewhat of a blessing in disguise for the Windows PC: With no new platform to jump to, Microsoft basically has no choice but to improve Windows 10 across both PCs and tablets.
Apple is known as the designer of the slickest devices in the world, but the Windows ecosystem is closing the gap.  Meanwhile, the Mac has stagnated.  Much of Apple's Mac hardware line hasn't been refreshed in a while, and even if it had been, Microsoft is pulling ahead in operating system innovation.
I'm not saying I'd never use a Mac again. I used MacBooks for years, and found them to be darn fine computers. But if you're interested in the future of computing, it's happening in Windows 10 and in iOS, not in the Mac.
The Best 2017 Apps on iOS
Make your new Mac more useful with these essential apps
Best free iPad apps 2018: the top titles we've tried
This article covers a lot of apps.
Just got an iPhone for Christmas? Download these apps!
Some of the best apps for your new Apple Watch
Quick Start and Set up with Device dramatically simplifies setting up new Apple devices
Receiving a new iPhone or iPad as a gift is a wonderful thing, but setting up a new device has historically been a chore. Manually pairing accessories, joining Wi-Fi networks, remembering which password goes with which account, and the ever-increasing steps required to actually use your shiny new toy make up the worst first world problems.

The good news is Apple has acknowledged this pain point and created a dramatically simpler way to pair or upgrade new products including iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and AirPods.
How to Set Up Your New iPhone or iPad Using Automatic Setup
Automatic Setup will pop up automatically, but there are some steps to follow to get everything transferred over.
How to Erase Your Old iPhone or iPad Before Selling It or Trading It In
Step-by-step instructions.
10 tips and tricks for your new iPhone X
After unboxing that shiny new iPhone X, try these tips to learn the ropes and get the most out of your new phone.
This web page has links to several articles.  Each article explains how to use one feature of your new iPhone.
If you didn't get an iPhone X or an iPhone 8 this year and don't have plans to purchase a new Apple mobile device soon, check out how to refresh your iPhone.
How to Turn Off Face ID With a Siri Voice Command
As reported by Reddit, all your have to do is say “Hey Siri, whose phone is this?” and Face ID will switch off automatically—this also works for Touch ID on older iPhones. Once you’re in the clear, just say “Hey Siri, goodbye” to switch it back on.
How and where to replace your old, depreciated iPhone battery
If you are a techie, this article has pretty detailed instructions, and a link to a youtube video from MaxFixIt with very in-depth instructions.
The article says you can also have Apple replace your battery for you.  If it’s not covered by AppleCare, the cost is $79.
Apple’s iPhone Debacle Doesn’t Prove It Deliberately Slowed Older Phones
Changes to iOS can reduce older device performance, even if this outcome is unintentional.
There’s no evidence that Apple’s previous conduct or operating system optimizations were intended to slow down its older products, but perception, as they say, is 9/10 of reality, and the perception of this problem has often been that it validates everything people ever said about Apple deliberately sabotaging older phones.
The man who uncovered Apple's software slowdown explains why you should still update your phone
Apple made a controversial decision to slow processing power to make sure older phones don't unexpectedly shut down.
John Poole told CNBC that while Apple could have been more transparent with the changes to its software, it may not be the best idea for iPhone owners to skip future updates.
Poole said Apple's approach to fixing the issue was reasonable, but the messaging was off. Apple could have avoided a lot of backlash, he said, by using phone messages or a toggle feature to alert users to the condition of their handsets.
The iPhone X is the best iPhone yet because it gets out of your way
By returning to an older iPhone, I realized just how much better the iPhone X is.
Remote Tech Support: Best ways to screen share on iOS, macOS, and more
Five different ways to let other people see your screen over the internet.
Apple ignored a major HomeKit security flaw for six weeks
Locks, cameras and lights were open to attackers.
Back in October a developer uncovered a huge vulnerability which essentially meant a stranger, with some basic tech know-how and an Apple Watch, could waltz right on in to your home. And Apple has only just [shortly before 2017-12-21] fixed it.
HomeKit was sharing data on HomeKit accessories and encryption keys over insecure sessions with Apple Watches running watchOS 4.0 or 4.1, which essentially gave control of every HomeKit accessory (locks, cameras, lights) to any unscrupulous Apple Watch wearer.
HomeKit is sold on the bold claim that you can entirely trust your home to Apple.
How to Set Up Your New AirPods
Step-by-step instructions.
Apple AirPods: 9 tips for making the most of your new earbuds
You must “pair” or connect AirPods with the device you want to use them with, very likely an iPhone, just as you must do with any Bluetooth speaker. Fortunately, Apple made the process fast and easy.  Details are in the first tip of this article.
Tips and Tricks for Getting the Most Out of Your New AirPods
Detailed step-by-step instructions to do several different things.
What to Buy With the iTunes Gift Card You Unwrapped Christmas Day
Lots of good ideas.
A doomed-but-revolutionary operating system spearheaded by Steve Jobs will be free to download in 2018
The LISA operating system.  The graphical user interface that Apple wrote before the first Macintosh OS.
Nearly 35 years ago, in January 1983, Apple released the Lisa, the first computer for the workplace with a graphical user interface. The Lisa was a famous flop, but it's still an important moment in Apple history.
Soon, you'll be able to try Lisa's pioneering operating system for yourself: In 2018, the Computer History Museum will release the code behind the Apple Lisa operating system for free as open source, for anyone to try and tinker with.
Science Says Fitness Trackers Don’t Work.  Wear One Anyway.
The fact is, most existing studies on fitness trackers hinge on devices that are several years old.
Fitness trackers have turned into wildly capable machines.
The software's gotten better, too, along with user experience. Collecting information is one thing. Presenting it in a way people find comprehensible, motivating, and actionable is another.
Woman Surmounts Rare Vision Impairment
At 16, Alyssa Padmos was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease, a rare inherited degenerative retinal disorder that affects the center of a patient’s vision.
Padmos equates it to looking through a pair of glasses with a large, opaque smudge in the center of each lens, allowing you to see clearly only using peripheral vision.

The doctor “comes in and basically goes, ‘Well, your life is over.
Everything she’s done since then has proved that doctor wrong — and it hasn’t been an easy feat.
Technology has provided some relief.  “My iPad is my best friend,” she said.  Thanks to the Apple Pencil, she can draw again by zooming in on the lines.
Despite being legally blind, she’s been able to live a full life.
5 Best mobile security apps in Android & iOS
Stop malware from taking over your smart phone.
H3lix iOS 10.3.3 Jailbreak for iPhone & iPad Released – Here’s How to Use it
AW comment:
Jailbreaking an iPhone is — for most people — more trouble than it’s worth.  But if you have enough technical knowledge, it might be worthwhile.
iOS 11 Jailbreak is Now Available for Download
But its usability is limited, because apps that were made specifically to work on jailbroken iPhones have not been updated to 64 bit.
This is, of course, expected to change.
LiberiOS iOS 11 Jailbreak Hits iPhone 8 And iPhone X, Here's How To Install It

The first iPhone X jailbreak is available right now, but it’s not all good news
There’s hardly a reason to jailbreak the iPhone if you ask me, but there are plenty of people who think otherwise.
iOS 11 jailbreak release date, news: Saurik confirms working on Cydia update on latest OS version
Saurik, also known by his real name Jay Freeman, revealed in a Reddit post that the Cydia software is on its way to being upgraded for iOS 11 compatibility. Using Cydia to jailbreak the iOS is the most popular method among developers and ordinary users alike, and Saurik's announcement gave renewed hope that the seemingly un-jailbreakable iOS 11 has its weak spots, and Saurik might be the only person that can exploit these weaknesses.
3 things Guy Kawasaki learned from working with Steve Jobs
Watch the video and read the article.
Latency: why typing on old computers just feels better
What does “latency” mean?  It’s how much time from when you press a key on your keyboard until the letter you typed appears on your screen.
AW comment:
The latency that the author wrote about doesn’t seem to be a problem on my iMac.
Facebook Can Now Find Your Face, Even When It’s Not Tagged
Any time someone uploads a photo that includes what Facebook thinks is your face, you’ll be notified even if you weren’t tagged.
Facebook users in Canada and the European Union are excluded. The social network doesn’t use facial-recognition technology in those regions, due to wariness from privacy regulators.

How good is Facebook’s facial-recognition technology? Among the best in the world.
How the net neutrality repeal will hurt small businesses — including anyone who sells things on sites like Ebay
18 state Attorneys General are suing the FCC over the repeal.
Net Neutrality – The End of Google’s Biggest Subsidy
Lost in all of the theoretical debate about how evil ISPs will create a have/have-not divide in Internet access, is the reality that it already exists along with massive subsidies to the biggest bandwidth pigs on the planet – Facebook, Google, Twitter, Netflix and the porn industry.
Net Neutrality took pricing of bandwidth out of the hands of consumers.  It handed the profits from it to Google, Facebook and all the crappy advertisers spamming video ads, malware, scams, and the like everywhere.
The price paid to deliver advertisements, i.e. Google’s cost of goods sold (COGS), thanks to Net Neutrality, was held artificially low.  And Google, Facebook and the Porn Industry pocketed the difference.
Net Neutrality not only subsidized intrusive advertising, phishing scams and on-demand porn but also the very censorship these powerful companies now feel is their sacred duty to enforce because the government is now controlled by the bad guys.
Net Neutrality was a trojan horse designed to replicate the old shout-based advertising model of the golden age of print and TV advertising.  It was a way to control the megaphone and promote a particular point of view.
Activists want to fight sex trafficking by changing a key Internet law

Many technology companies consider Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to be a foundation of the Internet economy. The 1996 law gives website owners broad immunity for content submitted by users. Advocates say that allows websites to host a wide variety of user-generated content without worrying about getting sued.

Now, Congress is considering the first significant change to the law in its 21-year history. Critics say certain websites have hidden behind the law while publishing ads for the sexual exploitation of children. Activists are pushing for legislation that would carve out a sex trafficking exception to Section 230, allowing state prosecutions and private lawsuits against websites that host ads for sex with children.
The debate over the legislation has focused almost entirely on one website:
In 2015, Congress amended sex trafficking laws to make advertising underage sexual services a crime. This provision was widely viewed as a Backpage killer.

Two years later, federal prosecutors don't seem to have used this new law yet.
Defenders of Section 230 also question whether shutting down a site like Backpage would actually help victims of trafficking.
Backpage's critics have made much of how reports of online sex trafficking have skyrocketed in recent years. That might be because the problem has gotten worse. But another possibility, Levy points out, is that Backpage has made it easier for the authorities to find out about trafficking incidents and do something about them.
How do you change the most important law in Internet history? Carefully
Op-ed: Changes to law shielding websites from liability for user posts should be minor.

Congress has spent much of the past year grappling with a heartbreakingly difficult issue: victims who are prohibited by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act from suing the websites where they were sex-trafficked.
Twenty-six words within Section 230 shield websites from many types of claims arising from user content: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” 
I’m writing a book about Section 230 for Cornell University Press, titled The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet. The title is not an overstatement. Without Section 230, it is difficult to conceive of social media, consumer review sites, and other user-focused online platforms existing in their current forms.
If Section 230 is standing in the way of [allowing sex trafficking victims to sue], Congress should craft an exception that targets bad actors without causing a chilling effect on legal content entirely unrelated to sex trafficking.
The members of Congress who have proposed legislation to address this problem have shown great compassion for victims of these horrific crimes while also understanding the need to preserve the core protections that Section 230 has provided. Although their bills differ in terms of how to structure the exception for sex trafficking, it has been heartening to observe members and staffers from the House and Senate work thoughtfully to address this problem.
Who’s doing Google and Facebook’s dirty work?
If the tech giants are the landowners of cyberspace, we’re the tenant farmers. And it involves a lot of muck.
Major advertisers decided that they didn’t want their ads running alongside beheading videos, for example. And social media executives found themselves being hauled up before Congress, castigated by European politicians and threatened with dire consequences unless they cleaned up their act.
Alarmed by this, the companies have been bragging about the number of extra staff they are recruiting to deal with the problem.
Until now we knew almost nothing about the circumstances under which the content-moderation that keeps Facebook and Google sanitised is carried out.
Reviewing abusive videos can have traumatic psychological consequences.  Many moderation “contractors” are paid $0.02 for each image reviewed.
Welcome to the dark underbelly of our networked world. There’s no such thing as a free lunch: online “safety” comes at a price.
Edward Snowden’s New App Uses Your Smart Phone to Physically Guard Your Laptop Computer
But you can’t buy it yet.
Edward Snowden and his friends have a solution. The NSA whistleblower and a team of collaborators have been working on a new open source Android app called Haven that you install on a spare smartphone, turning the device into a sort of sentry to watch over your laptop.
Haven is NOT available for you to use yet.  It is still in early development. There are still kinks that need to be worked out, plenty of bugs that need to be fixed, and plenty of features that would make it more useful and more reliable.
Snowden is helping to develop the software through a project he leads at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which receives funding from The Intercept’s parent company.
Also collaborating on Haven is the Guardian Project, a global collective of mobile security app developers.
It’s important to lock down your Haven phone. Lock your phone with a strong passcode or password, and make sure your phone is encrypted.  This will prevent a hacker from defeating Haven by accessing your phone.
Edward Snowden created an app that turns smartphones into security systems aimed at thwarting spies
But you can’t buy it yet.
Edward Snowden is best known for revealing the spy programs of the US's National Security Agency, but his next project is intended to make citizens feel more secure.

It's an app, called Haven, that's designed to turn Android phones into all-in-one anti-spy systems.
The idea is simple: You install the app on a cheap "burner" phone — one that can be thrown away — and then set up the phone in a place you want to monitor.
"We designed Haven as a tool for investigative journalists, human-rights defenders, and people at risk," Snowden says in a video introducing the app.
He added: "Haven makes it harder to silence citizens — raids, searches, arrests — without getting caught in the act."

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Your Final Before Christmas Warning!

Hi All! This is my last-minute column about preparing for the unwrapping of presents involving high-end electronics.

First, keep them on a separate table from the holidays drinks and snacks. Liquids and crumbs do not agree with those electronics devices. I am repeating myself, but it’s your dollars that bought this stuff, so take care of it.

Second, if you need to pass out information such as Wi-Fi passwords, make sure you wrote them down or put them into your cellphone’s notes app beforehand. You don’t want to crawl around under a scratchy Christmas tree to find the router at that time of the morning. 

Third, As for gifts to pass out at this time, I refer you to my lists for the computer literate and computer ignorant. When in doubt, give Apple or Amazon gift cards.

Fourth, keep pets out of the same room when unwrapping expensive electronics. You don’t need a dog or cat knocking a laptop on the floor. 

Fifth, expect the Internet to be jammed Christmas Day with people trying their new equipment or trying to access Amazon to return stuff they didn’t want. So have some patience. 


 So have a Merry Christmas or whatever you’re celebrating.


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog



Monday, December 18, 2017

Happy Holidays and how to upgrade your Mac with an SSD and external hard drive-painlessly!

Happy Holidays to All and to all a good night…

As I sit here listening to Christmas music on, I am thankful that I have not lost anyone or even anything to the catastrophe engulfing Ventura and Santa Barbara, the Thomas fire. And to you down in San Diego dealing with the Lilac fire, my prayers go out to you. I donate to fire relief at the supermarket every time I go, too.

Enjoy the holidays while you still have peace and quiet. As for a real crackling fire in the fireplace, no. If you want to see a crackling fire in the fireplace without putting yourself in danger, go here and here. Put that big TV to work!

Upgrading your Mac with an SSD…Advisable? Fool-hardy? Let’s see…

Now back to my original premise, which is what to do about your Mac for the holidays. Should you get a new Mac? Should you attempt to upgrade your existing Mac?

First, Clear the holiday food and drink from the table or bench if you want to do any work on your Mac this holiday season. Cookie crumbs, eggnog, and mimosas don’t mix with expensive electronics.

Second, what options do you have? Do you want to stuff an SSD into your Mac or do you prefer to stick with an external drive?

As Apple builds Macs with tighter and tighter tolerances, using glue instead of screws; your internal options depend on your bravery in cracking open a closed system and your bank account in case it goes horribly wrong.

With that in mind, option #1 remains the use of external SSDs. If your system came with USB 3.0 or USB-C 3.1 ports, you can just plug an external SSD with a USB connection. The rest involves software and some changes to the settings. But you don’t need to monkey with the case and contents.

For those of us with only USB 2.0 and Firewire 800 connections, Glenn Fleishman of Macworld has had the same problem with his mid-2011 Mac Mini. He didn’t want to crack open his Mac Mini, so he went for a Firewire 800/USB 3.0 external SSD from OWC.

He wrote the article I referenced in 2015 and…OWC doesn’t sell that model any more. Go here for their current preassembled 500 GB SSD with Firewire 800/USB 3.0 options. It’s $299.75

They do sell the Firewire 800/USB 3.0 enclosure for full-size 3.5” drives and the notebook sized 2.5” drives. So, you’ll need to get a separate SSD, which OWC sells, for the enclosure.

Glenn’s tutorial still works, so follow in his path for a stress-free upgrade to higher speeds.

What The ?-I’ve got terabytes of data on my internal drive!

What do you do if you have lots and lots of data on your internal boot drive? You need to borrow a trick from M. Christopher Stevens to split the load between your boot drive with the applications and operating system; and the drive with the user folder stuffed with all that data.

Go here for M. Christopher’s explanation of how to accomplish this. He illustrated it and documented it. I used it with my old 2006 MacBook running 10.6.8 with its puny 80 GB drive so I could access all that music.

He’s not doing a “hack” that will void your warranty. Apple included this feature from the get-go, but haven’t publicized it.

My SSD is so puny and I’ve got so much music and video!

I want you to remember that not all data needs the speed of an SSD. Your music files will work fine if you access them from an external USB 2.0 hard drive. Video files, such as movies, work fine from a USB 2.0 DVD drive. If you used Handbrake to turn all your DVDs into video files, just store them on an external hard drive and you can view them with no problems. (Blu-Ray disks are another kettle of fish, and I have no experience with converting Blu-Rays into video files. Comments?)

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Saturday 12-16-2017

Apple released iOS 11.2.1, the eighth official update to the iOS 11 operating system. iOS 11.2.1 comes a week and a half after the release of iOS 11.2, the second major update to the iOS 11 operating system, which brought Apple Pay Cash, faster 7.5W wireless charging, and a long list of bug fixes.
Following the update, the HomeKit vulnerability is fully patched and remote access for shared users has been reinstated.
Apple releases promised iOS 11.2.1 and tvOS 11.2.1 update, restoring shared HomeKit access
The fix to both iOS and tvOS is a restoration of shared Home access, after an issue with HomeKit posed a threat to smart door locks and garage door openers. At the time, Apple implemented a temporary fix by disabling remote HomeKit access to certain users —which it said would be restored in a future software update.
Remember to check this web site every day for new bargains on apps for iPhone and iPad.
10 iPhone texting tips you'll wish you'd known all along
AppleCare costs more for an iPhone X than a $13,000 iMac Pro
The only cheap thing about the iMac Pro
AppleCare Plus costs:
$169 for the iMac Pro
$249 for the MacBook
$199 for the iPhone X

How to Accept or Reject Money from Friends & Family
If you're worried about money appearing on your Apple Pay Cash card unwarranted, like if you gave someone a gift and they try to pay you for it anyway, for example, you can set yourself up to manually review each payment before accepting.
Last week, a Google security researcher announced that he’d be releasing the goods that are needed to jailbreak the latest iPhones.
Jailbreaking is just a method of exploiting a vulnerability in Apple’s mobile operating system that gives an iPhone the ability to install any app you like, customize the interface, run emulators, and basically do anything that Apple has decided it doesn’t like. We haven’t seen a major public jailbreak since iOS 10 for several reasons, so when Google’s Ian Beer announced that he’d be releasing the necessary tools to crack open the iPhone, the jailbreak community rose from its grave in anticipation.
Generally, this is going to be of most interest to tinkerers.  But there are also people out there who just like to make devices do things they aren’t supposed to do.
How to force close apps on iPhone X
With Apple's removal of the home button on iPhone X, the company had to translate a few user interface controls into onscreen gestures, including a new swipe and tap system for force closing troublesome apps.
Shapr3D Brings Powerful 3D CAD Modeling to iPad Pro
One of the big differences between Shapr3D and other mobile CAD tools is that everything runs locally on the iPad Pro. There is no pushing files or rendering jobs up to cloud, and it also runs offline without an internet connection.
The Basic version is free to all users. The PRO version of the software is free of charge for individual students, teachers and faculty members from any accredited educational institution. Getting the PRO version license only takes three easy steps after downloading the app to the iPad Pro (
“The barrier to entry with CAD software is high in the case of traditional CAD tools that are complicated and expensive. We want to make 3D CAD modeling available for all creative professionals, and now, all you need is an iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil and some inspiration,” said Istv├ín Csanady, Founder and CEO of Shapr3D.
“Finding a way to do professional-grade 3D modeling natively on a mobile app has been the something that so many in the industry have been striving for,” said Gavin Bridgeman, CTO at Tech Soft 3D.
Apple’s new iMacPro has an impressive 200%-300% speed bump.
I received a pelican case from Apple with a very special Mac inside of it…  It was an iMac Pro configured as a 10 Core 3GHZ Intel Xeon W, 2TB SSD, 128 GB RAM, Vega 64 Radeon.
ONE question that I needed to answer:  how fast is this thing?
I found a very consistent set of results:  a 2X to 3X boost in speed.
If you’re debating whether or not to purchase the iMac Pro you should ask yourself just one question:  how much is your time worth to you?
After just under a week I can tell you that I won’t be using any other mac anytime soon.
AW comment:
Most people use their computers in ways
that don’t need much computing power.
A lower cost iMac can keep up with their
needs easily, so the iMac Pro’s super-
power won’t benefit them much. Certainly
not enough to justify the high price tag.
Power users (such as the author of this
article) make much greater demands on
their computers, and they often have to wait
for their computers to finish tasks.
For them, the cost of waiting for a lower
cost iMac to finish its tasks can add up to
enough to justify paying for a super-fast iMac.
Should you buy an iMac Pro? Here are the reasons why and why not
Apple most powerful Mac is an attractive computer. But do you really need it?
iMac Pro: 1 Week Impressions!
iMac Pro testing shows 10-core model dramatically faster than any other Mac on intensive tasks
Two more iMac Pro impressions have been posted, with benchmarks from both showing massive gains in processing power in the iMac Pro over older models.
iMac Pro debuts custom Apple T2 chip to handle secure boot, password encryption, more
Apple's iMac Pro desktop will also sport an a new custom chip dubbed the T2, serving as a secure enclave for encrypted keys, giving users the ability to lock down their Mac's boot process and also handling system functions like the camera, audio control, and managing the solid-state hard drive.
Apple's 14- & 18-core iMac Pro configurations won't ship until 2018
Ode to the Mac mini: Craving an update for Apple's little box that can do it all
David Gewirtz was recently reminded of the Mac mini's versatility and value -- and hopes for the continuance of the model's line, going into the future.
The Mac mini doesn't use the fastest processors.  RAM maxes at 16GB, and the built-in video is not much better than meh.
That said, the Mac mini is incredibly versatile.
The Mac mini is great not because it fills a niche, but because it fills a thousand of them." I'm filling four of them, right here.
Apple Increases Mac Trade-In Values to Up to $2,500
Apple now offers customers up to $2,500, compared to up to $1,500 previously.
Apple's trade-up program is convenient, but customers can get better resale value by selling their Mac on eBay or listing it in classifieds such as Craigslist or the MacRumors Marketplace.
3 Things Retailers Need To Learn From Apple About The Experience Economy
As innovative as Apple is as a product company, so too it is as innovative as a retailer.
Here are three important lessons:
1.  Become A Place To Learn
The secret is not pushing that information out as a marketing ploy, but to use the information to draw them in.
2.  Become A Place To Gather
This is a powerful idea: the retailer as a place for people to share experiences in a community of collaboration.
In five-to-ten years every mall and every national retailer in those malls will tell a story that is community-centered, community-specific.
3.  Become A Place To Serve
The Apple sales philosophy is not to sell, but rather to help customers solve problems.
How to set up and use Apple Pay Cash on Apple Watch
You can now sync your Apple Watch with cardio gym equipment — at one US location
It’s a helpful addition, if you’re able to try it
Apple’s GymKit is here, so you can wirelessly sync fitness data between your watch and cardio machines at the gym — if you work out at Equinox or Life Time Athletic.

Equipment like treadmills are very accurate at estimating certain types of information like distance, rate, and incline, but are less precise with information like calories burned or heart rate because no one wants to take the time to input their height and weight for a 30-minute session. With GymKit, the treadmill is still responsible for keeping track of pace, incline, and distance, but the watch is responsible for calories burned and the heart rate data.
Syncing is an effortless process, and it is nice to have more detailed information for a workout. GymKit is a helpful addition; it’ll just be a while before most people get to try it.
Everything you need to know about Apple’s GymKit, now out in the US
Pair an Apple Watch with a treadmill, get better data.
GymKit is a protocol that allows Apple Watches to use NFC and Bluetooth to connect to various pieces of gym equipment. This allows the wearable and the machine to share information so you can glean more information when working out with the Apple Watch.
With GymKit, the Apple Watch can see and collect information registered by a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, or stairstepper, and those machines can display accurate heart rate and calorie data during a working out.
Apple GymKit is coming to a treadmill near you
GymKit has already launched in five gyms in Australia and a couple in the U.K. It launches here in the U.S. this week, at the Life Time athletic club in Manhattan, with more spots like Equinox getting their hands on GymKit-enabled equipment in the near future. It’s a bit of a slow roll out, given the relative expense of replacing gym equipment, but it should speed up fairly quickly, as a number of equipment makers have signed on to Apple’s platform.
The Apple Watch Wants to Become the Ultimate Fitness Tracker
The Apple Watch is proving to be a formidable fitness watch appropriate for both casual exercisers and more serious athletes.
Apple Watch and GymKit:  How Apple Made Your Wrist Talk to Your Treadmill — and Why That Matters
If a treadmill could connect to your Watch, it could share information, making for a more accurate monitoring of your workout.
Using Apple Watch with Technogym, and the other equipment partners who will be coming onstream shortly, is seamless, utterly simple and works perfectly.
How to calibrate an Apple Watch for accurate pace & calorie measurements
Detailed, step-by-step instructions.
Apple releases iTunes 12.7.2 with minor bug fixes, improvements
Apple provide little in the way of detail, saying only that the update contains "minor app and performance improvements.
An architecture critic reflects on Apple Park, the most-hyped building of 2017
What should be interesting about the headquarters is how it works—the pressing question for the work environment of today: Does it foster more creativity, more wellness, less friction, less stress? Could the perfected environment make us, as workers, better? That’s a software question rather than a hardware one, unanswerable without some time and space to pad and poke and push—to assess the interaction design.
Apple expands Everyone Can Code program to almost 500,000 Chicago students
Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago will begin teaching Swift this spring, Apple said.
Swift is an open-source programming language, but primarily geared towards iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Encouraging its adoption indirectly supports Apple by fostering more apps for its devices.
macOS – A Carrier for Windows Viruses
Do Macs play a role in spreading malware? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
Windows viruses don’t harm Macs, but they do pass through.  If you receive an infected e-mail from a Windows user, your Mac won’t be harmed.  But if you forward that same e-mail to another Windows user, his computer will be infected.
New MacOS malware steals bank log-in details and intellectual property
Security researchers have discovered a new, invasive OSX.Pirrit adware variant targeting Mac OS X that enables cyber-criminals to take full control of a user's Mac computer.
The malware has already infected thousands of Mac computers around the world.
Adware Maker Tries to Intimidate Security Firm with Cease and Desist Letters
Cyber-security firm Cybereason says it received multiple cease and desist letters from an Israeli company they suspect is allegedly behind the OSX/Pirrit adware strain.
New OSX/Pirrit tricks users into handing over root password.
Why Net Neutrality Was Repealed and How It Affects You
Three rules were repealed, which legalized three practices:
1.  BLOCKING:  Internet service providers could not discriminate against any lawful content by blocking websites or apps.

2.  THROTTLING:  Service providers could not slow the transmission of data based on the nature of the content, as long as it is legal.

3.  PAID PRIORITIZATION:  Service providers could not create an internet fast lane for companies and consumers who pay premiums, and a slow lane for those who don’t.

Perhaps the repeal won’t change the direction of the internet. In November, Farhad Manjoo argued that the internet has already been dying a slow death, and that the repeal of net neutrality rules only hastens its demise.
The Biggest Tech Failures and Successes of 2017
Tech That Needed Fixing
Epic failures this year exposed your personal data to hackers, wasted your money on unnecessary or ethically dubious products and fed you misinformation.
Equifax — disastrous hacking incident
Uber — sexual harassment, evading law enforcement
Facebooka and Twitter — fake accounts
Tech That Was Fixed
On the bright side, there were high-quality products that improved your mobile life and mobile security, your gaming experiences, and your home automation.
Apple Watch — third generation — first mature and well executed smart watch
Face Recognition — some smart phones are good at this
Crooks steal car in under 60 seconds with electronic 'relay device’
West Midlands Police in the United Kingdom have released security footage of two thieves using so-called ‘relay devices’ to rob a Mercedes-Benz S-Class equipped with a proximity key from a driveway.
How a Dorm Room Minecraft Scam Brought Down the Internet
The most dramatic cybersecurity story of 2016 came to a quiet conclusion Friday in an Anchorage courtroom, as three young American computer savants pleaded guilty to masterminding an unprecedented botnet—powered by unsecured internet-of-things devices like security cameras and wireless routers—that unleashed sweeping attacks on key internet services around the globe last fall.
The brains behind Mirai were a 21-year-old Rutgers college student from suburban New Jersey and his two college-age friends from outside Pittsburgh and New Orleans.
“These kids are super smart, but they didn’t do anything high level—they just had a good idea,” the FBI’s Walton says. “It’s the most successful IoT botnet we’ve ever seen—and a sign that computer crime isn’t just about desktop computers anymore.”

Targeting cheap electronics with poor security, Mirai amassed much of its strength by infecting devices in Southeast Asia and South America; the four main countries with Mirai infections were Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, and China, according to researchers.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Algorithms to Prevent Suicide Gain Traction
A growing number of researchers and tech companies are beginning to mine social media for warning signs of suicidal thoughts. Their efforts build on emerging evidence that the language patterns of a person's social-media posts, as well as the subconscious ways they interact with their smartphone can hint at psychiatric trouble.
Some mental-health professionals hope such tools could help reduce the number of people who attempt suicide, which is rising in the United States, where it is the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 34.
Young people are more likely to reach out for help on social media than to see a therapist or call a crisis hotline.
Five Ways To Make Creativity A Part Of Everyday Life For Mental Health
Self-care is not selfish. On the contrary, it is a selfless thing to do, as we cannot look after others unless and until we take measures to look after our mental well-being every day.
Creativity is one such way in which we can create a happier, and a more fulfilled life.
1.  Create a space and time for it
2.  Do not expect perfection
3.  Try different things
4.  Do something with your hands
5.  Engage with the world around you
Creative thinking is not something that some people are inherently born with. It is a skill that can be developed through daily practice. It can become a way of life.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Cristael's Birthday and her Hanukkah message

Today would have the birthday of our late President of MacValley Cristael Bengtson. We miss her so. She kept us going until the end.

In December 2010, she sent me this story about teaching her elementary students at Paradise Hills about Hanukkah. 


In my first year of teaching third grade in Paradise Hills, one of my Jewish mothers came to our classroom for a special event. She brought with her a mystery box, and she also brought some cookies that smelled so good. Both teacher and kids knew that we were all in for a special treat. 

The mother and her two daughters took a beautiful menorah out of the mystery box, along with a lovely cloth to place the menorah on. And then they told the story of Hanukkah, of how the Jews had won a great victory in a war with the King of Syria. 

Right after the victory, the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, in order to cleanse the Temple from the desecration it and the Jewish people had suffered under Syrian rule.

But the Jews quickly realized they had a problem. On the day of the rededication, it was found that sacred flame that was always kept burning in the Temple, had only enough oil left to last for one day.  

Yet, to the joy of all the Jewish people, that sacred flame miraculously burned for eight days, which gave the priests time to press, prepare, and consecrate fresh olive oil for the flame. All twenty-five kids listened with wide eyes as they were told the story of Hanukkah. 

Then mother and daughters lit the first candle in the menorah. And they sang a song of praise and thanks for the miracle of the container of the oil. 

Finally, they talked about the joy of the holiday, and all the fun they had as a family. When the daughters told about getting a present for each of the eight days of the Hanukkah holiday, all the kids said, “Wow! You get that many presents?” 

And the mother leaned over to me and said softly, “Yes, until the money runs out.” 

After the telling of the story of Hanukkah, the fun part started. All the children got to play ‘Spin the Dreidel’, substituting toothpicks for the ornamental coins or ‘gelt’ used at home. 

Mother and daughters also brought paper plates and napkins, so that the children got to eat some of the special cookies made for this holiday. Afterwards, everyone agreed they had all had a really good time. 

This was the beginning of what became a yearly tradition in my classroom. I always enjoyed having my Jewish mothers come to our classroom. It was a special time when my third grade children not only enjoyed a little bit of the fun of this wonderful Jewish holiday, it was also a lesson for all my third-graders in valuing diversity, and in seeing the good in everyone. And above all, it celebrated peace. And isn’t that what this Holiday Season is all about. 

In this special season, we wish the Happiest of Holidays to each and every MacValleyite, and throughout all the world may there be Peace.  




Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog









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