The MacValley blog
Welcome to the MacValley blog, your first stop for all the latest MacValley news and views.
The MacValley blog
Editor: Tom Briant
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Thankfully, there's a couple of methods to hide this annoying feature that randomly appears.
The app, called EpiWatch, is designed to track seizures. It uses the sensors in the Apple Watch to record heart rate and movement.
Stress was linked to 37% of the seizure activity, with sleep deprivation accounting for 18%, menstruation for 12%, and over-exertion for 11%. Other notable triggers included diet, missed medications and fever or infection.
Defying conventional wisdom on epilepsy, seizure triggers did not depend on the type of seizure the participants reported.
"The data collected will help researchers better understand epilepsy, while helping people with epilepsy keep a more complete history of their seizures," said study author Gregory Krauss, MD.
• a visitor's center with an Apple Store and a café that are open to the public
Why People Are Excited About The Return Of The Reliable Nokia 3310
The smartphones that sit uncomfortably inside our pocket are now more powerful than the large desktop computers from 10 years ago. However, many people will tell you that these fantastic advances in technology are not always a sign of progress.
For example, anyone that remembers the days when the tank like Nokia 3310 ruled the world will scoff at our unusual modern ways. Back in simpler times, you didn't have to worry about dropping your phone or constantly searching for a power socket to charge your phone, and it even fit in your pocket.
DARPA: We’re on cusp of merging human and machine
We are at the point where computers and machines are no longer going to be simply tools. Computers are becoming, literally, part of us.
For several years now scientists have been working to combine machines with living, organic material, creating a hybrid system.
It might not be a sci-fi vision of cyborgs, but a near future where soldiers might have implanted chips that help them communicate in the battlefield or receive information from GPS systems or drones.
True privacy online is not viable
You can hide from casual observers, but a motivated person will see through your attempts at anonymization
vacy-concerned consumers desperately want a magic bullet, some simple thing they can use that will protect their identities and their web activity. And although there are a plethora of offerings today that make such a claim — VPNs, privacy-focused browsers such as Tor, privacy search engines such as DuckDuckGo, quite a few services that claim to anonymize anyone’s activity — the practical realities of human behavior make such privacy claims bogus.
Let me stress that almost all of these services do indeed help a person remain anonymous from the casual, untrained observer (the typical roommate, spouse, co-worker, boss, etc.). But any consumer who thinks that these tools will thwart a law enforcement agent, motivated cyberthief or identity thief, or anyone who is willing to spend the time to track you down is in for unhappiness.
Bottom line: you can hide from advertisers and others well enough with privacy devices, but if someone really wants to track you, well, you can click, but you can’t hide.
American NASA scientist says his work phone was seized at airport
A major software bug means that passwords from the world's biggest sites, including Fitbit, OKCupid, and Uber have been leaking for months.
Cloudflare said on Friday there was no sign yet the leak had been exploited by hackers — but security experts have said there is no way the company could know this.
Elon Musk’s former tech guru says what hackers are doing now is ‘freaking me out’
“The new thing that worries me in the activity you see hackers doing is ransomware,” he told Business Insider.
“I’ve seen examples where they didn’t only just go after their data, but in the case of Sony Pictures, where they even tried to erase all the backups, and all the backups of the backups, and really tried to screw them over.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
I have decided that the only free two pane file manager for OS X that makes the best sense to acquire is Commander One. You can try out the pro features for 15 days, upgrade for $29.99 if you so desire; but in any case you’ll have a useful addition to your utility apps.
I have tried out many dual-pane file managers, paid to begin with and free with paid upgrade, and Commander One works the best of the free with paid upgrade lot.
What’s in a name?
Commander One, like all file management apps with the word “Commander” in their name, owe a debt to Peter Norton’s classic MS-DOS file program, Norton Commander of the 1980’s and 1990’s. They have borrowed some or all of the function key assignments (Figure 1) with the most commonly used placed right out front to remind you.
Commander One has a wealth of other keyboard shortcuts. Go to the Preferences under the Commander One menu item to the Hotkeys (Figure 2) to list a thorough list of all of them. The window only shows part of the list at one time. Scroll up and down through it to see all the assignments
You’ll use the Preview function and the Edit function frequently. Under the General section of Preferences, you can change the default editor from Text-Edit to another editor, such as the free Text Wrangler, in your Applications folder. As for viewing files, you can choose between the internal viewer, OS X’s Quick Look, or go for the full Preview app. (Figure 3)
Handy Toolbar icons
You will notice several icons in the toolbar above the two panes. You have easy access to several functions through these.
At the upper left-hand corner, the right and left arrows let you cycle through the folders you have recently looked at.
To the right of the arrows, you see three buttons for choosing how your files and folders display. You can choose between the full file name and description with the left-most button, just the file names displayed in up to three columns with the middle button. Finally, the right-most button lets you choose an icon view of your files and folders.
In the upper center of Commander One, you see four buttons. The left-most gives you the option to see your otherwise hidden files by clicking on the button to move the virtual switch to the right.
The next one to the right gives you information on the file.
The next one to the right gives you a Quick Look preview of your file’s content. It gives you the option to use a more powerful app to edit the file, too.
Finally, the one at the right-hand side gives you the Search box. Not the Spotlight search, but Commander One’s internal search.
Over to the right you see two more icons. The first one, which shows a zippered object, gives you the Archive function. This will let you select how much compression you want to apply to a file or files on the fly. You can also choose to encode it with a password.
The icon of the folder attached to a pipeline gives you access to a variety of remote file access options, such as Microsoft’s OneDrive and Dropbox. Curiously, no mention is made of iCloud, but you have access to that through the Finder.
What about the Help?
When you access the Help, Commander One uses your default Web browser to take you to Eltima’s Web site for the latest information. This way, you can rest assured you have the latest Help files at your disposal.
Should I get the PRO Pack?
You have to determine your needs in that regard. Commander One gives you 15 days to try out the Pro features for free to see if you need them. They charge $29.99 for the Pro Pack.
One word of caution: You should get Commander One through Eltima’s Web site rather than the Mac App Store. I say that because apps sold on the Mac App Store must use sandboxing to isolate them. It can prove bothersome to click a few more buttons to switch drives and have to specify which folder you want to use at the start of each session.
What distinguishes Commander One from the other free/fremium offerings?
I tried Nimble Commander, a freemium product available through the Mac App Store and Double Commander, part of an ambitious project to create a cross-platform file manager for OS X, Windows and Linux. When I clicked on an OS X app, it only opened the app as a folder and did not start the application itself. Most annoying.
In my opinion, these other apps have their uses; but for most users just wanting to copy and move files with an occasional archiving to ZIP format, Commander One works best right out of the proverbial box.
Commander One provides a basic, no nonsense, dual pane file manger with extra features beyond the Finder:
- The aforementioned dual pane layout.
- Abundant keyboard shortcuts, with the most frequently used listed at the bottom of the app’s window.
- The ability to access otherwise hidden files through an on-screen icon and not have to use the Terminal for this.
- Access to Microsoft OneDrive, handy for those of us working cross-platform.
- And access to Dropbox and Google Drive, too.
Commander One file manager
Free to try, $29.99 for Pro Pack for additional features
Editor, MacValley Blog
Monday, February 20, 2017
I realize that MacValley comprises a wide range of people. When you look at the pictures of our members, though, one thing becomes apparent. A lot of us wear glasses and I’ll bet a lot of those who don’t wear contacts.
As we age, our eyes do, too; and it becomes harder to view text and numbers on the screen. We strain, we move our glasses up and down our noses for a precise focus; we even use the Mac’s internal accessibility features to zoom the screen.
So what’s a longer-lasting cure for our aging eyes? I have two solutions.
The first solution is to buy a new Mac. I was asked recently to help a client of mine with their new 27” 5K iMac. Among the first things I did was to set the resolution to show bigger text. This solved a long-standing problem.
If you are lucky enough to own a 5K or even 4K iMac, go to the Displays preference in System Preferences to set the screen text to a comfortable setting.
“But I don’t have a 5K iMac and Lord Knows I can’t afford one!” In that case, I suggest you think about a new monitor. 4K monitors have come down in price and the 5K monitors will come down, too. I bought a 2K monitor (2560 x 1440) Dell monitor and that has helped me a lot.
Look at the Fry’s ads that come out on Sunday.
Don’t see what you want or need at the Weekly Specials? Do some research. And let me tell you about my answer to this vision problem.
I use a Mac mini mid-2011 model. It runs a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1440. That gives me plenty of space for audio editing, but working with Quicken or other text & numbers based app is a strain.
Here’s how I changed the resolution down to a more comfortable 1280 x 720.
I’m using the Dell 2416D monitor I wrote about earlier.
I searched on the Web for an answer and found it with this article at TekRevue.com It works for OS X 10.9 and above. They give a link to an article at OS X Daily for doing this with Lion and Mountain Lion.
You copy and paste the Terminal command they show into your Terminal. When asked for your Administrative password, enter it and press the Enter key.
This change adds the Hi Dpi (dots per inch) resolutions to your Mac.
Here’s my monitor at 2560 x 1440:
Here’s my monitor at 1280 x 720:
The article also tells you about two apps that will display resolutions that the Display Preference doesn’t show.
I found it easy to just put an icon in the Menu Bar for easy access. To do this, open up the Display Preferences and click on the “Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available“ checkbox in the lower left-hand corner.
You’ll see the icon below appear in the Menu Bar
So try it out. This doesn’t permanently alter your Mac and you can easily switch back and forth between your highest resolution for graphics work and these HiDPI resolutions for text and numbers work.
Editor, MacValley Blog
I believe that is by design. The days of a consumer buying a MacBook in 2010 and keeping it in good condition through personal maintenance and servicing parts for seven years may do wonders for Apple’s customer satisfaction, but it doesn’t contribute to Apple’s bottom line.
Ever wondered how they do it?
The answer is: boyfriends. Loyal, subservient boyfriends.
A Facebook page called "Boyfriends of Instagram" shows the dark underbelly of those beautiful, envy-inducing snaps as well the poor schmucks behind them.
When you're entering the United States, whether at an airport or a border crossing, federal agents have broad authority to search citizens and visitors alike.
And that can include flipping through your phone, computer, and any other electronic devices you have with you.
The Supreme Court decided in 1976 and 2004 that people have fewer claims to their Fourth Amendment privacy rights granted by the Constitution when entering the country, because the government has to protect its borders.
How can you protect your data?
First, Wessler says, travel only with the data that you need. That may mean using burner phones or laptops for traveling. After all, he said, "authorities can't search what you don't have."
Second, use encryption services. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Wired both have exhaustive guides to keeping federal authorities — or hackers, for that matter — from accessing your data. Always choose long, strong, unique passwords for each device and account.
A new bill — proposed by a senator who sees the potential for tracking humans to come to fruition — would make mandatory microchipping of humans a Class C felony.
Nevada State Senator Becky Harris believes Senate Bill 109 could be a pre-emptive measure against the worldwide push to implant humans with microchips — and the inspiration for the bill came from one of her constituents.
Microchips were first approved for human implantation 13 years ago, but have sparked furious debate over the potential for misuse or abuse — whether unintentional or malicious.
Should the new bill pass, Nevada would join California, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin — all passed similar measures after an incident in 2006, in which two employees at an Ohio-based surveillance firm implanted chips in their arms to ‘access protected vaults and police images.’
Start learning how Facebook's algorithms collect and interpret your activity patterns, and get Data Selfie
Available for free, Data Selfie is an open-source Chrome extension that helps you discover how machine learning algorithms track and process your Facebook activity, and gain insights about your personality and habits.
To prevent ill-intended individuals from obtaining the information it collects about you, Data Selfie keeps your data locally – only on your own machine – and never stores anything on external servers.
Monday, February 13, 2017
A personal story: Did the Apple Watch save my life?
One of the third-party apps I installed is called HeartWatch, which gathers sensor data from the Apple Watch and presents a richer view than Apple's activity tracking software.
Several weeks ago, I started receiving odd alerts from HeartWatch, saying my heart rate was elevated at certain times.
At first, I dismissed them ... I incorrectly interpreted these elevated heart rate notifications as spam.
While walking home from dinner out one night, I checked my pulse, and it was far too high, given my slow walking pace. I can tell you, watching that number rise was alarming.
After that, I went to see a doctor.
Finally, the Apple Watch software needs improvements. Read the article for details.
You can save your Visual Voicemail messages as notes or voice memos, or share them using Messages, Mail, or Airdrop.
You need iOS 9 or later, and a carrier that supports Visual Voicemail in order to save Visual Voicemail messages. If you aren't sure if your carrier supports Visual Voicemail, contact them for more information.
Of Thousands of Apps Tested, These Endured
a handful of the 3,000 or so apps I have tested over the years have true staying power, changing over time but remaining either fabulously useful, well designed or the best in class. With App Smart ending with this final column, here are the apps that have persisted on my home screen for the better part of five years.
This is the reason why your iPhone shuts down when it’s cold outside
Throughout winter, many Brits with iPhones have taken to social media to complain about their phone batteries running out suddenly.
But it turns out that there is a technical reason behind the problem.
The lithium-ion battery that keeps your device charged up is affected by extreme temperatures — which is why your iPhone is designed to shut down if it gets too cold or too hot.
If your phone’s level of warmth drops below 0 degrees Celsius (32°F) or soars above 35 degrees Celsius (95°F), it is likely to shut down.
Fortunately, your iPhone will return to normal operation once it’s back within the allowed temperature range.
iMessage is the only thing keeping me on an iPhone
SEE ALSO: I ditched Android for an iPhone 7, and I'm not sorry
iMessage has become the most individual form of texting on the market, and it's good enough to keep me, a lapsed Android-lover, on Apple's system forever.
Now more than ever, Apple needs strategies to lock users into their universe, because it's easier than ever to switch from iPhone to an Android.
In an era when basically any high-end phone is amazing, software like iMessage or Google Assistant can be the tipping point that keeps someone on a platform
There is nothing else about my iPhone 7 that I would describe as "superior" to high-end Android phones.
Apple wins out for making direct communication easy, personal and fun. It really is that simple.
The 20 best smartphones in the world
According to this article, the Google Pixel is now best.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7 are third and fourth, respectively.
Security News This Week: At Least 76 iOS Apps Are Vulnerable to Attacks
Lots of those apps are listed in this article.
A hint on how to reduce the chance of the vulnerability is provided in this article:
The vulnerability is very likely to only be exploited if your connection is flowing over Wi-Fi. You can work around the issue by opening “Settings” and turning the “Wi-Fi” switch off. While on a cellular connection the vulnerability does still exist, cellular interception is more difficult, requires expensive hardware, is far more noticeable, and it is illegal.
There is no company Apple should buy that they can’t because they don’t have enough money.
But ultimately, Apple needs to do what it has always done. They need to invent their future, not buy it.
John Gruber — http://daringfireball.net
Apple Is Already the Best Value Stock on the Market – and Just Wait Until Trump Cuts Taxes
Apple is absolutely a value stock, one of the market's most compelling buys right now.
Apple now sports a market cap of $675 billion, but it trades at less than 16 times earnings.
That's way below the Standard and Poors 500 index (S&P 500) Price to Earnings (PE) ratio above 22, or 26 on a forward basis.
On his campaign trail, Donald Trump also called for a reduction in the federal tax corporations would have to pay if they brought their stashed cash home, from 35% down to a flat 10%.
If that happens, Apple would likely bring a monstrous amount of cash back home.
Apple shareholders will be the beneficiaries of all that cash, one way or another.
Want A Job In The Future? Get Ready To Become A Cyborg — Companies Have Begun Implanting Employees With RFID Chips
A Belgian marketing firm called NewFusion has microchipped its staff, replacing their traditional ID cards with RFID chips implanted in their hands.
The radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips are about the same size as a grain of rice and store personal security information which can be transmitted over short distances to special receivers.
The US military has already held meetings to discuss the feasibility of microchipping all of its soldiers to be able to track them via GPS.
An intern who received internship offers from Facebook, Google, and Apple shares the 7 books that prepared her to ace every interview
Monday, February 6, 2017
"Night Shift," an iPhone setting designed to reduce eye-strain, will soon be introduced for Macbooks, but experts question the benefit
The latest iPhone is barely better than its predecessor, which means the upgrade curve is slowing down both literally and figuratively. The technology lags badly behind where comparable Droid devices were years ago.
The Apple Watch… a flop.
Apple cars… no sign of them.
Apple Pay… just a ripple in the hotly contested retail shopping experience.
And we have Alexa to thank for that.
The amazingly intelligent digital personal assistant developed by Amazon’s Lab126 should have been an Apple product. It’s what Siri was supposed to be.
What could go wrong with lots of internet connected light bulbs, speakers, etc?
A lot more than most people are prepared for, it turns out.
The good news is that so far, online attacks on home devices are relatively uncommon.
As smart home devices become more popular, they will become bigger targets for hackers. So it behooves us to get ahead of the curve by securing our home appliances, using these tips from security experts who have closely studied smart home accessories.
Or you could go the safest route and opt out of having these devices at all. That was the method chosen by Mr. Tien, the lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who previously studied the privacy risks of smart meters, the devices that utility companies use to monitor energy consumption.