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Monday, March 27, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday 3-26-2017

Apple released a new iPad that's way less expensive than before
The new 9.7 inch iPad starts at $329 (£339 in the UK) for 32 GB with Wi-Fi. The price increases to $459 (£469) if you want a cellular connection.
I've had the iPhone 6S Plus for over a year, and I'm so happy I didn't upgrade to the iPhone 7
Yes, the iPhone 7 is better, but not by enough to justify spending the money for it.
Here's everything Apple announced on 2017-03-21
New iPads
Special Edition iPhone 7 — Red
Improved iPhone SE
A new app called Clips — for sharing pictures and videos on social media.
New Apple Watch Bands
New iPhone Cases

Apple’s Latest Announcements:
Every new product Apple just announced: iPad, red iPhone 7, Apple Watch bands, and more

Google beat Apple in education, one of its oldest strongholds — but now it's time for round two
Over the past few years, Apple, which was synonymous with educational technology, has seen its foothold in the classroom slip.
Apple's new low-cost iPad, starting at $329, could change that trend.
The Apple Pencil is one of my favorite iPad accessories, even though I can’t draw
I'm bad at drawing. Very bad.
For me, someone who has embarked on a journey to scan, archive, and sort thousands of family photos, the Pencil is the ideal tool for retouching.
iCloud may have doxxed a journalist’s Twitter attacker
An anonymous SIM card in a non-anonymous iPhone
In theory, it was the perfect setup: an anonymous Twitter account on a prepaid SIM card, bought with cash. With no credit card or other identifiable info tied to the account, there should have been no way to trace tweets back to a human.

But after taking all those precautions, a man named John Rivello was arrested for sending seizure-inducing tweets to Newsweek journalist Kurt Eichenwald.
The case is a powerful reminder of how difficult it is to maintain anonymity in modern devices. A prepaid SIM is enough to keep the phone network from knowing who you are, but your device itself also creates a powerful identity trail, particularly for iCloud users.
While Apple has resisted law enforcement requests to break phone encryption, it routinely cooperates with lawful search warrants for iCloud accounts.
iCloud led authorities to journalist's Twitter attacker
The accused sent a journalist a strobing image which allegedly triggered an epileptic seizure.
The man who triggered Newsweek journalist Kurt Eichenwald's epileptic seizure through Twitter used a prepaid phone with no identifying info. But a little digging revealed that the Tracfone prepaid SIM card he used was once connected to an iCloud account, which ultimately led to his arrest.
iCloud: Turning Off Desktop and Documents Syncing
Step-by-step instructions.
How to take best advantage of iCloud Desktop and Documents across Macs
Confused about iCloud Desktop and Documents? Here’s a bit of clarification on how it works.
Guide to iCloud storage plans: How to upgrade & manage your storage
Apple includes 5 GB of free cloud storage with each iCloud account, yet with iPhone and iPad cameras improving each year and an expanding amount of ways to utilize iCloud, that free storage fills up fast.
If you’ve run out of the 5 GB of free iCloud space and are getting messages saying your device hasn’t been backed up in x amount of days or weeks it is usually well worth $0.99/month for the 50 GB plan. Other iCloud storage pricing includes 200 GB for $2.99/month, 1 TB $9.99/month, and 2 TB for $19.99/month. Most users will be fine with 50 GB for a good amount of time if you’ve run over the free 5 GB.
WikiLeaks CLAIMS that CIA Hacked Apple Devices in Ways Users Can't Fix
Security experts say the exploits are plausible, but suggest they pose little threat to typical users.
"The most notable part of this latest WikiLeaks release is that it shows the CIA doing exactly what we pay them to -- exploit specific targets with limited attacks to support our national interests," said Rich Mogull, CEO of the security research firm Securosis.
Johannes Ullrich said the Mac exploits all appear old.
Apple says Macs and iPhones are safe from newly revealed CIA exploits
The Mac and iPhone exploits described in new documents attributed to the CIA were patched years ago, according to Apple.
Apple totally dissed WikiLeaks
Obviously companies like Apple and Microsoft want to patch any possible vulnerabilities as soon as possible, but the way Assange is releasing the CIA files puts them in a terrible position: there's not enough to go on, it's possibly illegal to obtain more details, and WikiLeaks is withholding information.
Apple said that WikiLeaks was just like anyone else, despite its stolen CIA files: It could submit bugs through a standard process, and that while they may have been briefly in touch, Apple hasn't seen anything that hasn't been tweeted or posted to the WikiLeaks website.
Essentially, tech companies can't treat WikiLeaks differently than any other bug finder.
Making it more difficult is that WikiLeaks seems to be misrepresenting the content of the dumps in its widely-viewed announcements, spurring knee-jerk and potentially misleading news coverage, security experts who evaluated the contents of the dump previously told Business Insider.
the security community has been laughing at how old and outdated many of the documents published by WikiLeaks have been.
Survey: Nearly half of iPhone users don’t trust iCloud
Almost half of iPhone users — 47 percent — in a recent survey said they have little to no confidence in storing personal information on iCloud.
And 15 percent of iPhone users don’t know which features they are automatically backing up onto iCloud servers.
Despite that skepticism, Apple’s iCloud storage service for iOS devices has at least 782 million users and is one of the most popular cloud storage services in the U.S.
If users choose strong passwords, use two-factor authentication, stay skeptical of phishing attempts and take other proactive security measures, the odds that their iCloud data will stay secure are strongly in their favor.
Concern over security breaches and a lack of knowledge regarding how iCloud works contribute to skepticism about the safety of storing personal information, according to a new survey.
Nearly half of iPhone users have little or no confidence in storing their personal information on iCloud, according to a survey of 1,001 iPhone users conducted by Clutch, a leading B2B ratings and reviews firm.
iCloud, with about 782 million users in 2016, is the most popular cloud-based storage service in the US.  Yet, less than half the users (44%) are comfortable storing their personal information on the iCloud, as per a recent survey on iCloud security among users. 
Despite iCloud having had a few publicized security breaches, it is still considered to be better than its competitors as it provides security features like 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption which is usually employed by financial institutions to encrypt their data.

Hackers Are Threatening To Wipe Hundreds Of Millions Of iPhones: How To Protect Yourself

A group of hackers calling themselves "Turkish Crime Family" is claiming they can access up to 559 million Apple email accounts on the and domains.
They're demanding Apply pay $75,000 in bitcoin or ether, another cryptocurrency, or $100,000 in iTunes gift cards by April 7 in exchange for deleting the data, Vice's Motherboard blog reported.

Apple states that its systems have not been breached and other sources assert the data may have come from pilfered LinkedIn accounts.

Whether or not the hackers are indeed in possession of these passwords, you can protect the contents of your phone in case. Just make sure to follow these three (3) steps before April 7.

Apple iCloud ransom demands: The facts you need to know

Hackers are demanding Apple pay a ransom in bitcoin or they'll blow the lid off millions of iCloud account credentials.

So far, we know that a London-based hacker group, calling itself the Turkish Crime Family, has claimed to have access to 250 million accounts (at the time of writing). The hackers are threatening to reset the passwords on those iCloud accounts and remotely wipe iPhones if Apple doesn't pay a ransom by April 7.

The hackers denied any direct breach of Apple systems. What muddies the water is that the hackers also appear in some cases to have passwords that have been only used for iCloud. Welcome to the wonderful world of security nuance.

Those using two-factor authentication or Apple's trusted device system should be protected.

How to set up two-factor authentication for your Apple ID and iCloud account
If you aren’t using two-factor authentication to protect your Apple ID and iCloud account, you really should do it today. Hackers who claim to have millions of stolen iCloud credentials are demanding Apple pay a ransom or they’ll release them—and ZDNet obtained a sample set of credentials and determined they’re real.

But guess what? Using two-factor authentication should protect you completely. It’s easy to set up, so take a minute and do it now.
When Fingerprints Are as Easy to Steal as Passwords
How do you prove who you are to a computer?
You could just use a password, a shared secret between you and the machine. But passwords are easily compromised.
Your thumb-print is less likely to wander off than a password, but that doesn’t mean it’s a foolproof marker of your identity.
Last year, a pair of researchers at Michigan State University used an inkjet printer and special paper to convert high-quality fingerprint scans into fake, 3-D fingerprints that fooled smartphone fingerprint readers—all with equipment that cost less than $500.
Face-shape data is susceptible to hacking, too.
A compromised password can be reset to a new password.
The fundamental trouble with biometrics is that they can’t be reset.
A compromised finger-print CAN’T be reset.  Nor can a retina or face.
“If Border Patrol and your bank and your phone all are collecting your fingerprint data, all it takes is one actor who figures out how to manipulate that and you’ve basically wiped out the usefulness of that information,” said Betsy Cooper

Why Apple Inc. Is So Profitable

What isn't often talked about -- even in the financial media -- is why Apple's iPhone franchise (and, indeed, Apple itself) is so incredibly profitable.

High revenue, solid gross profit margins, and relatively low operating expenses.

26 Insanely Useful iPhone Tips That You May Not Know About

Designer recounts horrible experience with Apple’s brand new MacBook Pro

Designer Brad Frost penned an interesting post detailing his own experience with Apple’s flagship notebook. Suffice it to say, Frost’s take on the MacBook Pro is anything but positive.

While Frost does find some things to like about the new MacBook Pro — Touch ID for example — he found the overall user experience to be less than ideal and far below Apple’s traditional standard of excellence.

While any new Mac release is bound to draw a rash of initial criticisms, Frost’s write-up is particularly worth checking out because he writes from the perspective of someone who was actually trying to give Apple the benefit of the doubt.

The final showdown: The 30 day MacBook Pro challenge week 4 - did a Windows user become a Mac convert?

Side by side, I have to come to the conclusion that both Windows and Mac are good at what they need to do. Mac is let down by a rigid build that lacks customisation; Windows is let down by its ongoing  Windows 10 saga and security issues. 

Both have ethical murky waters (as has been highlighted in the media recently) and both are massive tech giants.

So have I converted to a Mac lover? Not really. I think I can now navigate between Mac and Windows after years of one-sided exposure; but in the end they’re just operating systems that both allow me to work - and play.

How to Identify High-Performance GPU Apps on the MacBook Pro

This article has instructions on how to identify which apps are using up lots of energy and reducing battery life.

When you launch a graphically demanding app, such as Adobe Photoshop, macOS switches to the Radeon processor, which consumes more power. When you quit the power-hungry app, the machine is supposed to turn off the discrete card and switch back to the integrated graphics processor, which offers less graphical power but doesn’t chew as much battery life.

Before 10.12.3, macOS wouldn’t accurately sense that the changeover had happened and would continue to drive the display using the discrete GPU. Since applying that update, my battery life has dramatically improved.

It looks like Apple has stopped manufacturing the MacBook Air

The author of this article wrote:
“The MacBook Air was great for photographers"

The only two things you need to keep your Apple Watch looking pristine

Instead of waiting for the inevitable, get out ahead of things and protect your Apple Watch from damage before it happens. All you need is two inexpensive items...

Here's how to wipe your old iPad/iPhone/iPod touch to make it ready for resale

This ex-Googler wants to fix social media and make you a viral Facebook and Twitter superstar
The problem, as Bindu Reddy sees it, is that in its current form, social media can be overwhelming for anybody who's not a millennial power user. Given the ultimate power to say anything, people often find themselves speechless.
That's why she launched her new venture, Post Intelligence: A free artificial intelligence-powered personal assistant for social media, designed to turn anybody from zero to hero on Facebook (with Facebook Pages support to start) and Twitter, with more social network support likely coming down the line.
As for the business model, Post Intelligence is totally free: It uses some of that MyLikes pedigree to connect you with producers of sponsored posts, so once you have your audience, you can become a brand influencer, Kim Kardashian-style. And Post Intelligence takes a cut.
3D Printed Houses Built in Less Than a Day Will Change Construction Forever
Many were caught up in 3D printing making changes to the parts manufacturing industry and didn’t even think about how it could influence construction and architecture.
Previous 3D printed houses were created in parts and then assembled together by hand. Apis Cor’s machine created the whole house in one piece (minus the roof which they chose to lay by hand).

This isn’t even the exciting part. 

In total, the house took 24 hours to build, costing just over $10,000 in materials and labor.
The best part about both of these futuristic construction companies is that they use locally-sourced materials. The printer adapts to the needed material, whether clay in rural areas or concrete in urban areas.
Bitcoin is on the verge of splitting in two
Two sides are pushing forward with different versions of the software
Bitcoin is in the midst of a civil war.
The future remains uncertain, but for now, the cryptocurrency has split in two, with the core development team going in one direction, and a group of influential miners, exchanges, and startups going in another.
As the number of users and transactions on the network has grown, backlogs have built up, leading to slow and unreliable payments.
The fight is over how to solve this problem.
Bitcoin is divided. Some are calling it the currency’s "constitutional crisis", a debate that has split its community right down the middle.

The crux of the issue comes down to a single technical detail: the size of bitcoin’s blocks.
Currently, each block is allowed to be 1 MegaByte maximum size.
As transactions increase, bitcoin's blocks are filling up – edging further towards this 1MB line.
bitcoin is estimated to reach its so-called ‘capacity cliff’ – where all blocks on the network are full – sometime next year.
This could cause payment processing delays.
Your neighbor's WiFi is ruining yours — here's how to fix it
How Did Tech Become So Male-Dominated?
Who Owns Your Face?
Advertising companies, tech giants, data collectors, and the federal government, it turns out.
Data brokers already buy and sell detailed profiles that describe who you are. They track your public records and your online behavior to figure out your age, your gender, your relationship status, your exact location, how much money you make, which supermarket you shop at, and on and on and on. It’s entirely reasonable to wonder how companies are collecting and using images of you, too.
Facebook already uses facial recognition software to tag individual people in photos. Apple’s new app, Clips, recognizes individuals in the videos you take. Snap’s famous selfie filters work by mapping detailed points on individual users’ faces.
Experts have been warning against facial-recognition systems for decades.
The accuracy of the agency’s system is also a matter of debate. According to Chaffetz, roughly one in seven searches of the FBI system returned a list of entirely innocent candidates, even though the actual target was in the database. And the agency doesn’t track its own rate of false positives, according to the Government Accountability Office.
“An inaccurate system will implicate people for crimes they didn’t commit,” said Jennifer Lynch, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
People might not want to think about or talk about it, but we’re going toward a state of constant surveillance.
Actually, we may already be there.
Microsoft says it's blocking Windows 7, 8 patches on latest AMD, Intel chips
Interesting discussion and links to articles.

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