The MacValley blog


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


Tom Briant

The MacValley blog

Editor: Tom Briant


Click here to email Tom

Click here for Tom's profile



To search the blog posts please use the box below

Monday, August 28, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday 8-27-2017

Steve Jobs interviewed 20 people to be CEO of Apple and disliked them all — here's the unconventional way John Sculley wowed him and snagged the offer
Dear iPhone: Here’s Why We’re Still Together After 10 Years
Here’s a look back at the last 10 years of why the iPhone still has us in its grip — so much that people keep coming back for more.
1.  Support at Apple Stores
2.  Stronger Security
And three other reasons.
Finding Your iPad Backup Files
Where does your iPad backup file live on the computer when I back it up with iTunes?
This article answers the question.
15 apps for your iPhone that are better than the ones Apple made
Apple preloads every iPhone with a slew of its own first-party apps — but thankfully, the App Store is overflowing with alternative apps, many of which are better than Apple's.
Apple breaks new ground in squeezing locals for huge tax breaks while offering almost no jobs
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and the mayor of the tiny suburban town of Waukee (pop. 19,284) basked in the glory of sharing a podium with Apple CEO Tim Cook. They came together to announce that Apple would build a $1.3-billion data center in the little town.

They should have hung their heads in shame instead. Apple took them to the cleaners, and their taxpayers will be paying the bill. The politicians talked as though the data center would put Waukee on the map as a first-class high-tech center. The truth is that it will mark Waukee as a first-class patsy.
To bring the project home, Waukee and the state are giving Apple about $208 million in tax abatements. For that, they’re getting a plant that will employ a permanent workforce of 50 people.
Fifty. That works out to $4.16 million per job.
Leading US community colleges adding App Development with Swift curriculum
Created by engineers and educators at Apple, the full-year App Development with Swift course teaches students how to build apps using Swift, an open source programming language that emphasizes safety, performance and modern software design patterns. The course takes students with no programming experience and enables them to build fully-functional apps of their own design.
You Can Now Learn To Build Apps Through Apple App Development Curriculum
The app is available for free download in Apple’s iBooks Store. Apple engineers and educators have designed the full-year curriculum so that the students can learn about building apps while using the iPhone maker’s Swift programming language.
Apple all set to kill 187,000 iOS apps on the App Store
This is not quite as big a deal as the headline says.
Those apps have NOT been updated to work with iOS 11.
The first look at how you’ll sculpt in augmented reality using Apple Pencil and ARKit is here, and awesome

The demo was shown on YouTube by India-based developer Fabin Rasheed. 

The app, which is called MakerStudio, shows the ability to create 3D objects and paint those objects in AR, all while using the precision of the Apple Pencil. There's no word on when this app might be available to the public, but it's just another exciting glimpse of what iOS 11 users will be able to do once they get their hands on the AR-enabled iPhone 8.
Apple promotes iOS 11 for iPad in new ad series
Apple on Thursday published a series of six iPad commercials to its official YouTube channel, focusing on the new capabilities iOS 11 is set to deliver to tablet users this fall.
iOS 11 has a ‘cop button’ to temporarily disable Touch ID

With fears over access to devices at border control points around the world, this quick trick will at least prevent Touch ID from being used until a passcode is entered.
iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Review
As we all know, iOS 11 is coming soon with a lot of iPad-specific improvements. Once it is out, the iPad Pro (10.5-inch) will be good enough to replace the MacBook for a lot of people.
The iPad Pro is not a MacBook replacement just yet but it is slowly getting there. Apple has built a premium tablet with an excellent display that delivers great performance in a market where there is virtually no competition.
I Just Got into iCloud Keychain on my iPad Air With Phone Breaker
Using a tool called Elcomsoft Phone Breaker, I was able to view data stored in iCloud Keychain—data that’s not supposed to be accessible.
But the recent update—version 7.0—does something previously thought to be impossible, or at least extremely hard to do. It is the first, and right now only, tool that can directly access and decrypt passwords and other sensitive data stored in iCloud Keychain.
Apple iCloud Keychain easily slurped by cops, ElcomSoft claims
Credentials stored in the cloud succumb to forensic software
ElcomSoft, the Russia-based maker of forensic software, has managed to find a way for crime investigators to access the data stored in Apple's iCloud Keychain, if Apple ID account credentials are available.
ElcomSoft's Phone Breaker 7.0 has gained the ability to access and decrypt iCloud Keychain data, under certain circumstances.
In an email to The Register, CEO Vladimir Katalov said this capability is not the consequence of any vulnerability. Rather, it's intended for forensic investigators and law enforcement, given that an Apple ID and a trusted device are necessary.
iCloud security: How (and why) to enable two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication isn’t the be-all to security, but it’s a good step in making your data more secure. And it’s easy to set up.
Two-factor authentication is yet a weapon you can use to keep data secure and cyberthieves at bay. But it’s just one step in a never-ending quest to stay ahead of the bad guys. Apple embraces a variety of technologies to shield data from prying eyes — with the Secure Enclave and Touch ID combo, end-to-end Message encryption, and, as noted, iOS security.
Seven years later, we’re still debating what the iPad even is
Steve Jobs briefly departed from his usual razor-edged storytelling to admit ambiguity about the identity of his latest creation: “[The iPad] has to find its place between the iPhone and the Mac.”
Jobs’ hesitancy proved to be insightful. In fact, exceptionally so: Seven years later we’re still debating what the iPad actually is.
It’s abundantly clear that the iPad will continue to replace the Mac

The latest hint? Six lovingly crafted videos that promote iOS 11 features that were designed specifically for the iPad and iPad Pro.  For example, a Mac-like dock with touch user interface.
Not so fast—the Mac isn’t going away any time soon
Why this cartoonist chooses the iPad Pro over a Wacom tablet
The New iOS Update Could Have a Surprising Impact On Digital Marketing
In September 2017, Apple will release new changes to Safari with Apple iOS 11 called “Intelligent Tracking Prevention.” These changes will have large effects on the ad tech industry and will create new winners and losers.
The Losers:
    Traditional ad networks: Slightly negative impact.
    Large retargeters and demand-side platforms (DSPs): Very negative impact.
    Publishers: Very negative impact.
The Winners:
    Facebook and Amazon: Very positive impact.
    Google: An initially negative impact that will be positive in the long term.
    The iOS 11 changes really help the big guys, are neutral to the
    small guys and significantly hurt the mid-size guys.
Apple iOS 11: Safari turns Google AMP links back to original ones when shared
For those who don’t know, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are stripped-down, faster webpages from publishers which are designed to be more mobile friendly.
With AMP pages, when users are trying to share it anywhere, you can’t share the full original URL and instead the AMP URL is what gets shared. However, as the tweet by Viticci points out it looks like iOS 11 will ensure that users can share the regular URL instead of AMP ones.
Safari in iOS 11 will finally get rid of Google’s annoying AMP links
When an iOS 11 user on a Google AMP page tries to copy and send a web link to another user, the actual URL will be sent as opposed to a URL with a bunch of AMP data strings in front. As it stands now, all AMP links begin with the following:
Google’s AMP is a standard for stripped-down, faster webpages that Google favors in search results. People have many feelings about it.

See how much time you're wasting on your phone with this hidden iOS trick
AccuWeather updates its iOS app to address privacy outcry
Responding to privacy concerns, AccuWeather is out with a new version of its iOS app that removes a controversial data sharing behavior. Earlier this week, security researcher Will Strafach called attention to the practice in a Medium post and users took to Twitter to announce their intention to dump the app in droves.

“AccuWeather’s app employed a Software Development Kit (SDK) from a third-party vendor (Reveal Mobile) that inadvertently allowed Wi-Fi router data to be transmitted to this third-party vendor,” the company wrote in a statement accompanying the app update.
MacBook Pro 15-inch review
Hands-on with Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro to see what's been updated for 2017.
Windows users just got yet another reason to get a Mac
Parallels Desktop 13 offers MacBook Pro Touch Bar support and a host of performance enhancements that make it the go-to solution for running Windows on Mac.
Parallels Desktop 13 launched this week. The software makes it really easy for any Mac user to run Windows on their Mac, it even downloads a copy of Windows 10 for you (though you will need to purchase the OS from Microsoft).
Mac users who aren’t used to the ways of Windows should install the Kaspersky antivirus software Parallels provides, and also remember to be more security conscious when working inside the Windows install.
It's a long-held belief that Macs aren't vulnerable to malware, and unfortunately for the overconfident that's anything but true. As Apple's market share has increased malware that targets its products has skyrocketed, and the same has been true for Android devices.
The threats facing macOS are different than Android or Windows, which is somewhat good news. Rather than ransomware and malware, which the report says is the smallest concern for macOS, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) and adware dominate.
PUPs include adware, clickers, and other apps that perform hidden functions in the background.
How to Kill Active Listening on Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google
Some devices are designed to listen to you, but you can axe active listening. Here's how.
Why would anyone trust a mega-corporation that lives and dies off data collected about users to not gather more data?

Turning off active listening isn't always an option, or it's difficult to find, in large part because that's often the point of having such a device. But if you'd like to exercise more control over how Siri, Cortana, Alexa, or Google listen in on your life, read on for the details.
Apple’s Wrong Turn
The self-driving car was a dead end.
The New York Times reportedthat the company has narrowed its focus from building an autonomous vehicle to building autonomous driving software for an employee shuttle. That shuttle won’t even be built by Apple, according to the Times’ anonymous sources: It will likely just be a commercial vehicle purchased from a major automaker.
In October, Bloomberg reported that an Apple-made iCar was no longer in the works, and in June, CEO Tim Cook basically admitted as much.
The age of AI surveillance is here
For years we’ve been recorded in public on security cameras, police bodycams, livestreams, other people’s social media posts, and on and on. But even if there’s a camera in our face, there’s always been a slight assurance that strangers wouldn’t really be able to do anything that affects us with the footage. The time and effort it would take for someone to trawl through months of security footage to find a specific person, or search the internet on the off-chance they’ll find you is just unrealistic. But not for robots.
Today, computerized neural networks that mimic how the human brain works can be trained to learn what a person’s face looks like, and reliably identify it again and again.
US governments are already beginning to use the technology in a limited capacity. Last week the New York department of motor vehicles announced that it had made more than 4,000 arrests using facial recognition technology. Instead of scanning police footage, the software is used to compare new drivers’ license application photos to images already in the database, making it tougher for fraudsters to steal someone’s identity.
So what’s a privacy-minded, law-abiding citizen to do when surveillance becomes the norm? Not much. Early research has identified ways to trick facial recognition software, either by specially-made glasses to fool the algorithms or face paint that throws off the AI. But these often require knowledge of how the facial recognition algorithm works.
Raising a Son with Autism — With Help From Siri
Judith Newman’s twins, Gus and Henry, were born prematurely, after a difficult pregnancy. In the hospital, shortly after giving birth, Newman was visited by a friend, the editor of a parenting magazine.

“She told me she knew immediately that Henry was extremely intelligent. She said nothing about Gus.”

Years later, enter Siri. The voice-recognition software performs a wealth of functions for the autistic community: conversationalist, babysitter and elocution trainer. Like Disney animations, Siri provides a comforting commercial sameness. She has enabled Gus to have real, sustained conversations, albeit ones about turtles.
Steve Jobs Took This (Surprising) Class in College, and It Helped Inspire One of Apple's Most Important Features
Steve Jobs audited a calligraphy class in college, which he later credited to be the inspiration for Apple's beautiful typography.
This article has an interesting list of 25 web sites with the Wealthiest Audience
Twitter Alternative Gab Is Worth a Second Look If You Slept on It Early
When I first signed on to, I was skeptical. Things have improved a bit since then, enough that I think it’s worth a second look.
Yes, there are several areas for improvement.
Well, they now have an Android app, although Apple has so far been stonewalling them.
Still, with prominent people getting kicked off Twitter left and right (Mister Metokur is the latest high profile victim, as well as TRR contributor Christi Junior), Gab has now grown into an even more viable option.
Interview of Andrew Torba, CEO of
Here's the web site for Gab:
Free Speech Twitter Alternative ‘Gab’ Now Open for Public Registration
Gab, a free speech Twitter alternative, has finally opened to the public after nearly nine months of beta testing.
Users will now be able to sign up for the platform without waiting on a list.

Native image hosting, GIFs, quote posts, private messaging, and live streaming are all recent additions to the social network, as well as a unique payment model which allows users to optionally pay a fee monthly for extras in an attempt to keep Gab ad and investor free.
“Gab is the only social network that is 100% supported by the community, not by advertisers or venture capitalists,” the company declared in their statement. “In under nine months, 170,000 Gabbers have 7.6 million posts and raised $145,000 to help us expand our team and cover operational expenses. Make no mistake about it: we are The People’s underdog in the multi-billion dollar social networking landscape.”
Meet the CEO of Gab, The Free Speech Alternative to Twitter
Andrew Torba, CEO of, a new freedom of speech-focused social network. Though the Twitter-style network was only launched last Monday and is still very much in early beta, thousands of people are currently waiting in line for an invitation to the service, which aims to act as a shelter for freedom of speech and expression.
Gab Just Went Live And You Should Be There Too
Google’s app store has banned Gab — a social network popular with the far-right — for 'hate speech’
How To Keep Your Online Browsing Unfiltered By Political Propaganda
Facebook joined Twitter in censorship by putting forth initiatives to combat what they called fake news, and began implementing a fake news detector funded by the notorious left-wing election meddler George Soros.
The Left’s Big Tech corporations have had near-monopolies in their respective services for a long time, with competitors unable to gain traction simply because of the overwhelming amount of users who had already settled into these services. But by pushing so hard against the values of half of the country, these companies may have shown an Achilles heel, allowing for a number of freedom-centric competitors to get their feet in the door.
Founded by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, Brave is the first browser created with the user in mind instead of what data can be mined from its customers. Like most modern browsers, it blocks ads, but it also stops trackers from getting data from what you browse. It’s made to streamline websites so they load faster, and even keeps a running tally of all of the ads and trackers that it’s removed.

Brave also offers Brave Payments, in which a user can allocate donations to favorite websites.
Where Can Users Get Unbiased Reference Information?
Infogalactic launched as an alternative to Wikipedia during the height of the toxic political climate of 2016. Wikipedia moderators at the time began deleting information that could paint conservatives positively, and replaced those articles with information from editorials with notorious left-wing biases. Vox Day, founder of Infogalactic, said these problems stemmed back to Wikipedia’s beginning.
Where Can Users Find Free And Open Social Media?
The mantra of since its opening day has been #SpeakFreely. CEO Andrew Torba saw the many controversial bannings of vocal Trump supporters across Twitter, how left-leaning pundits could get away with saying far worse than their right-wing counterparts, and finally said enough is enough. Torba wanted to experience social media without censoring from the other networks, and the only way he saw to do that was to create his own platform.
Here’s and interesting discussion about Brave (the web browser) and Gab (new alternative to Twitter).
"De-Google-ify Yourself" - video with recommendations
Look for the phrase “the password is …”
You need it to download the video.

For years, an online speech battle has played out on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. It typically goes like this: Activists pressure the company to crack down on content they consider offensive. In some cases, they call for a user or organization to be banned outright. The social media company then has a choice: Take action, or disclaim responsibility for the content.

Cutting off domain hosting is a potent weapon against the purveyors of objectionable content—and it could be double-edged.

the structure of their platforms plays an important role in shaping the way we communicate online. For example, Facebook’s news feed, as I’ve explained, inherently prioritizes certain types of speech and interaction over others. In other words, it can’t credibly claim neutrality with respect to content when its algorithms are already tilting the playing field.

The argument that web hosts and domain registrars should refrain from policing the content of the sites they serve, however, seems like a stronger one. GoDaddy’s service doesn’t distinguish between “high-quality” and “low-quality” content the way Facebook’s or Google’s algorithms do. Cloudflare may serve hateful or violent clients along with laudable ones, but it isn’t in the business of recommending or suppressing their content.

Moreover, if Facebook or Twitter bans a group, it can still take its message to any number of other social networks, or start its own. When domain registrars blacklist it, they effectively banish it from the public internet. It’s a far blunter instrument, wielded by a company with no experience or expertise in passing editorial judgments, and little track record of public accountability for its actions. 

Those back-end service providers may look like attractive targets for progressive activists today, when they hold the power to exile a noxious and violent white supremacist group to the web’s shadows with the flick of a switch. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that concentrating editorial discretion in these companies’ hands is a gambit that will eventually backfire.
Government Agents Admit Stealing Silk Road Bitcoins Seized By U.S. Marshals
Two rogue U.S. Secret Service agents, Shaun Bridges and Carl Mark Force, were caught and sentenced to prison for stealing Bitcoin funds that were seized in the Silk Road raid in 2015.
Bitcoin Is Not A Bubble, Will Continue To Grow Says John McAfee
AW comment:
I still think “investing” in BitCoin is speculation, but McAfee makes a very interesting case.
YouTube Removes Videos Showing Atrocities in Syria
In an effort to purge extremist propaganda from its platform, YouTube has inadvertently removed thousands of videos that could be used to document atrocities in Syria, potentially jeopardizing future war crimes prosecutions, observers and rights advocates say.
If YouTube takes these videos down, Keith Hiatt said, the platform risks losing “the richest source of information about human rights violations in closed societies.”
A Hunt for Ways to Combat Online Radicalization
The first step in combating online extremism is kind of obvious: It is to recognize the extremists as a threat.

For the Islamic State, that began to happen in the last few years.
In many ways, researchers said, white supremacists are even more sophisticated than jihadists in their use of the internet.
Engage directly with potential recruits to prevent radicalization.
Consider The Redirect Method, an anti-extremism project created by Jigsaw, a think tank founded by Google.
Jigsaw curated a series of videos showing what life is truly like under the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The videos, which weren’t filmed by news outlets, offered a credible counterpoint to the fantasies peddled by ISIS — they show people queuing up for bread, fighters brutally punishing civilians, and women and children being mistreated.
Then, to make sure potential recruits saw the videos at the right time in their recruitment process, Jigsaw used one of Google’s most effective technologies: ad targeting.
How Hate Groups Forced Online Platforms to Reveal Their True Nature
White supremacist marchers had not yet lit their torches when the deletions began.
Facebook banned a range of pages with names like ‘‘Right Wing Death Squad’’ and ‘‘White Nationalists United.
Several different web sites banned The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi site that promoted the march and celebrated its fatal outcome.
The platforms’ sudden action in response to an outpouring of public grief and rage resembles, at first glance, a moral awakening and suggests a mounting sense of responsibility to the body politic.
In the process of building private communities, social media companies had put on the costumes of liberal democracies. They borrowed the language of rights to legitimize arbitrary rules, creating what the technology lawyer Kendra Albert calls ‘‘legal talismans.’’
Despite their participatory rhetoric, social platforms are closer to authoritarian spaces than democratic ones.
Social media offered strong mass participation; a means for affinity groups to find one another and mobilize, gain visibility and influence. This felt and functioned like freedom, but it was always a commercial simulation. This contradiction is foundational to what these internet companies are. Nowhere was this tension more evident than in the case of Cloudflare, a web-infrastructure company. Under sustained pressure to drop The Daily Stormer as a client, the company’s chief executive, Matthew Prince, eventually assented. It was an arbitrary decision, and one that was out of step with the company’s stated policies. This troubled Prince. ‘‘I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the internet,’’ he wrote in an email to his staff. ‘‘No one should have that power.’’
A community of trolls on an internet platform is, in political terms, not totally unlike a fascist movement in a weak liberal democracy: It engages with and uses the rules and protections of the system it inhabits with the intent of subverting it and eventually remaking it in their image or, if that fails, merely destroying it.
The U.S. Senate is considering a bill that would classify WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service” bundled as part of the 2018 Intelligence Authorization Act. Presumably, that classification would authorize the use of force against WikiLeaks.

“It is the sense of Congress that WikiLeaks and the senior leadership of WikiLeaks resemble a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors and should be treated as such a service by the United States,” a section of the Act reads.

The Act almost unanimously passed a Senate panel last month 14-1, rejected by only one man, Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who staunchly opposed the measure due to the provision that was snuck in about WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks, an international non-profit whistleblowing organization, has leaked at least 10 million classified documents to date from various governments including the United States.
DARPA Commits $65M To Brain Implant Program For Super Soldier Project
The U.S. military is disclosing a super soldier project, revealing to have allocated funding of $65 million dollars for a program to develop a ‘Brain-Computer Interface’ that would allow participants to plug into a computer like the movie The Matrix. No this isn’t science fiction Neo, this is the future that the MIC wants for its soldiers.
The goal of the project is ‘developing an implantable system able to provide precision communication between the brain and the digital world,’ DARPA officials said.
The military industrial complex has been trying for years to develop robotic exosuits and mech robots to increase a soldier’s strength and make their wearers stronger, have an increased agility and endurance like a superhero.  In other words, a real life “Iron Man” suit.
The United States military is making substantial investments to develop technologies that would enhance the ability of warfighters to complete their missions safely and effectively.
As with other emerging military technologies, such as robotics and cyber-capabilities, human enhancement technologies challenge existing laws and policy, as well as underlying ethical values.
The enhancement goal of creating a super-soldier is not unusual: that is essentially what we are doing with military robots, but from an engineering or mechanical starting point rather than a biological one. Indeed, we are beginning to see a conver- gence in the two approaches where robotics and computer interfaces are integrated with the human body.
human enhancement technologies are more than mere tools: we are drawing in these tools so close to our bodies that they become internal to us or, for all practical purposes, integrated with ourselves.
The human enhancement debate is a deeply passionate and personal one, striking at the heart of what it means to be human. Some see it as a way to fulfill or even transcend our potential; others see it as a darker path towards losing our humanity.
Catherine and George Annas argue that soldiers should not be compelled to use enhancements but only do so voluntarily and with the advice of a physician who cannot be ordered to prescribe them.

No comments:

Post a Comment



Blog Archive