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Tom Briant

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Wrap-up for Sunday 3-19-2017

Just What Was in That iOS System Update?
Where does Apple officially tell you about all the things that change in iOS upgrades?
You can see a list of the new features, added apps, bug fixes and other tweaks Apple has made to each version of its iOS mobile operating system by visiting the iOS Downloads page in the support area of the company’s site.
Why iPhone users should NEVER say 108 to Siri
One-Zero-Eight (108) is the number for emergency services in India.
Other numbers in similar pranks are: 112,110, 000 and the US number 911.
Man dies while charging iPhone in bath
A UK man plugged his iPhone into an outlet via an extension cord and appears to have rested the charger on his chest in the bath.
How to back up your iPhone before installing iOS 10.3
Although it's not likely you'll run into trouble with the new OS, better safe than sorry. Here's a quick refresher on manually backing up your data.
Two sets of instructions:
One for backing up to iTunes.
The other for backing up to iCloud.
You can now save as much as $330 on Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro
If you act now — there’s no telling how big Apple’s current supply is — you can pick up the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro in either Silver or Space Gray for $1,269. The sticker price represents 15% in savings and is a solid $230 off the normal list price of $1,499.
If you’re looking for a little bit more horsepower and bang for your buck, you can also pick up a refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage for just $1,869. This is $330 cheaper than you would otherwise pay for a new machine with the same specs from Apple’s online store.
Lastly, for anyone curious about what buying a refurbished MacBook Pro entails, here’s what Apple has to say about the process:

“Apple Certified Refurbished Products are pre-owned Apple products that undergo Apple’s stringent refurbishment process prior to being offered for sale. While only some units are returned due to technical issues, every unit is evaluated to ensure it meets Apple’s quality standards.” 
MacBook Pro Touch Bar: cool effects, worryingly easy to hack
Fortunately, this hack was done by the good guys, not the bad.
As for the specific details regarding how the attack was implemented, that information will be made available to Apple so that they patch up any existing security holes before the public gets a look at how it was all accomplished.
Rachel Zirin; I love my Apple Watch
Last November, I decided to buy myself the Apple Watch Series 2 hoping I wouldn’t lose interest. I hoped that it had apps and settings that were better than the Fitbit. The Apple Watch cost me about $400 and I have to say it was the best thing I ever did.
The Apple Watch is still the best designed smartwatch
As things stand today, two years after its release, the Apple Watch still presents the best balance between looks, size, function, battery life, and price.
Apple simply designed its way around the shortcomings of smartwatches better than everyone else.
For the immediate future at least, the Apple Watch looks like the best designed smartwatch that any of us can get. For many of us, its greatest limitation is that it’s locked inside Apple’s walled garden, remaining a toy only iOS users can have. But that’s by design.
Apple Watch can tell you when you’re going to get sick
You'll know when you're about to get sick, and know what to do about it
Data captured by the Apple Watch is already being used to provide warning of poor heart health, but in conjunction with A.I. it already seems capable of identifying other problems early.
"Whereas the average medical study struggles to recruit 100 patients, building our study on Apple Watch has let us recruit 10,000 participants in under a year. And unlike the average electronic medical record system, Apple provides clean APIs that let us easily access heart rate, step count, workouts, and more. All in all, we now have about 30 billion data points," Cardiogram co-founder, Brandon Ballinger, told me. used data gathered from 66,317 people who are part of the study to figure out which workout routine works best to improve resting heart rate (they turn out to be running and elliptic exercise). has developed Cardiogram, a free app for iPhone/Apple Watch that organizes your heart, sleep, and activity data to make it more actionable.
The best writing apps for your Mac, iPad and iPhone
All of the apps featured are available for both Mac and iOS, as I feel it’s important that you can work on the move as well as at a desk.
Clickbait Headline of the Day: WIRED magazine
Brian Barrett’s piece for Wired claims that Amazon's Alexa is superior to Apple’s Siri.
How the Internet Is Saving Culture, Not Killing It
The internet taught a whole generation that content was not something you really had to pay for.
But now something surprising has happened.

In the last few years, and with greater intensity in the last 12 months, people started paying for online content. They are doing so at an accelerating pace, and on a dependable, recurring schedule, often through subscriptions. And they’re paying for everything.
It’s difficult to overstate how big a deal this is. More than 20 years after it first caught mainstream attention and began to destroy everything about how we finance culture, the digital economy is finally beginning to coalesce around a sustainable way of supporting content. If subscriptions keep taking off, it won’t just mean that some of your favorite creators will survive the internet. It could also make for a profound shift in the way we find and support new cultural talent. It could lead to a wider variety of artists and art, and forge closer connections between the people who make art and those who enjoy it.
Mesmerizing maps show where the most educated Americans live
Gamer's death pushes risks of live streaming into view

Early on February 19, Brian C. Vigneault was nearing the end of a 24-hour marathon of live streaming himself playing the tank warfare video game World of Tanks when he left his computer to buy a pack of cigarettes.
He never returned.  During the break, Vigneault died in his Virginia Beach, Virginia, home.
Vigneault's friends wonder if the lengthy live streaming on Twitch, a website owned by Amazon that lets people broadcast themselves playing games, may not have helped. At the time of his death, Vigneault, 35, had streamed for 22 hours straight to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Two of his friends said that he often broadcast his game playing for long periods.
Vigneault's death followed reports of other players dying during or after lengthy gaming sessions in Taiwan and South Korea, intensifying a discussion about the health risks of a streaming culture that rewards people for staying online for long periods.
A book about technology addiction now has me terrified of product designers
Adam Alter is an NYU psychology professor and the author of the new book, "Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.”  It's a hard, thoughtful look at the ways smartphone apps and social media hijack our brains to crave what those apps deliver.

I am terrified.
There are incredibly smart people working to engineer apps that people can't resist. Alter says they wield "tremendous power."

And while Alter says most designers care more about creating a fast, frictionless app — not some darker Machiavellian pursuit — psychology research has found the end result is the same. Apps really can be too well-designed for our own good.
Researchers at the University of Michigan released a paper Tuesday explaining how audio tones can send false readings to devices through the devices' accelerometers. Accelerometers are those sensors in phones, fitness trackers, and tons of other tech toys that tell our devices where they are in space.
The results of the hacks the Michigan researchers demonstrated are minor. They caused a Samsung Galaxy S5 to spell out the word "WALNUT" in a graph of the accelerometer's readings (which the user wouldn't likely see), and they tricked a Fitbit fitness tracker into recording steps that no one was taking.
But the fact is, something as simple as sound waves can make your devices do something you didn't ask them to do. You probably don't like the sound of that.
The technical details are available in the PDF document at the link below.
Researchers show sound waves can be used to hack everything from phones to fitness trackers

University of Michigan researchers reveals that millions of gadgets that use accelerometers are at risk.

Researchers found the tiny sensors can be tricked, registering fake movement and giving hackers a backdoors into devices.

The team used a $5 speaker and precisely tuned acoustic tones to deceive 15 different models of accelerometers into registering movement that never occurred.  
The approach served as a backdoor into the devices - enabling the researchers to control other aspects of the system.
The key to the process is hitting the right note.

The researchers recommend ways to adjust hardware design to eliminate the problems. 

They also developed two low-cost software defenses that could minimize the vulnerabilities, and they've alerted manufacturers to these issues.
The university is pursuing patent protection for the intellectual property and is seeking commercialization partners to help bring the technology to market.
Sex Toy Maker Pays $3.75 Million to Settle ‘Smart’ Vibrator Lawsuit
Think twice about connecting those sex toys to the Internet: A vibrator company has agreed to pay up to $10,000 to U.S. customers who used a smartphone app that relayed their data to the firm's server.
Security researchers discovered the company was also using the smart phone app to harvest data about how customers used the vibrators. The apps collected information such as what temperature and intensity settings the owners used, as well as how often they used the toys.

While We-Vibe stressed that no customer data was hacked by outside parties, the data collection nonetheless led two customers to file a class action lawsuit against the company.
A hacker reveals the most secure thing you can do to your passwords
Don’t choose your own passwords.
Have computer software (such as LastPass and 1Password) create and manage your passwords for you.
Then trust the software to remember your passwords for you so you don’t have to remember them yourself.
You will need a “Master Password” to access the many passwords that will be created for you.
That Master Password should be a phrase, sentence or lyric that you can remember easily.
The greatest security is using a password manager app and two factor authentication together.
A hacker explains the best way to browse the internet anonymously
If you want to protect the anonymity of your internet address, a web browser called TOR is best.
TOR uses a network that is designed to hide the people who use it.
This is NOT the same as encryption.
To use encryption, a URL should begin with https, NOT http.  The extra “s” stands for secure.
There is a “plug-in” called “https everywhere” which makes a web browser use encryption with every web site that it can.
This is how Russian hackers broke into millions of Yahoo accounts without passwords, according to the FBI
Essentially, the hackers managed to get hold of a secret directory that contained Yahoo usernames, encrypted passwords, and other information. They then used that data to trick Yahoo into thinking their web browsers were already logged into Yahoo's online service — a clever technique that meant they never needed to actually decrypt any passwords.
Venezuela is cracking down on 'bitcoin fever’
"Bitcoin is a way of rebelling against the system," Caracas-based software developer John Villar told Reuters.
Now the Venezuelan government, long caught up in battles with the political opposition and in bloody struggles with rampant crime, has turned its attention to bitcoin users and producers.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday, 3-12-2017

Apple's iOS 10.3 update could result in you losing all of your data if you do not perform a back up
This article has instructions on how to do the backup.  It is possible to backup to Apple iCloud or by using iTunes on your Mac.
How to back up your Apple Watch: Keep music, settings, Health & Activity fitness data safe
Backing up an Apple Watch is relatively straightforward, fortunately, and it is definitely a good idea.
Here's the easy bit: the Apple Watch constantly and automatically backs up to its companion iPhone, and it's easy to restore from the iPhone if the Apple Watch gets wiped for whatever reason.
How to Force Close an App on Apple Watch Running watchOS 3
This article contains a step-by-step tutorial.
How to Use Theater Mode on Apple Watch
Theater Mode, as the new feature is called, lets users mute the volume and disable Raise to Wake on their Apple Watch in one easy tap.
33 photos of the rise and fall of Apple in its earliest days
Apple still destroys all other PC makers in one important way
Customer Service.
Laptop Mag said that “Apple offers the best tech support in the business, year after year. The company’s website and mobile app are loaded with helpful, step-by-step tutorials and, whether you reach them via phone or live chat, support reps are knowledgeable and friendly. Apple also answered Twitter messages quickly and accurately.”
Apple Tops 'Tech Support Showdown' List for Third Consecutive Year
Apple has topped Laptop Mag's Tech Support Showdown list for the third year in a row, receiving praise as "the best tech support in the business," and beating out nine other computer-making companies in the process.
The saga of the strange love-hate relationship between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs
iPhone Browser Showdown: Chrome vs. Safari
The Verdict: Chrome Is Great If You’re Deep In Google’s Ecosystem, Safari Is Best for Everyone Else.
Follow this guide to learn how to delete, and recover, notes on your iPhone

Apple's iPhone-destroying robots are 'operating' in California and Europe
Way superior to shredding obsolete iPhones.
Neat video too.
Developers Continue to Revolt Against The New Macbook Pro
Apple unveiled its brand new MacBook Pro lineup in October 2016.
The new MacBook Pros have received a great deal of backlash from developers and creative professionals as well as Apple fans in general. The Mac has long been the computer that professionals flock to, but the new laptops are definitely the exception. 
Battery Explosion Utterly Destroys 2015 MacBook Pro
The unfortunate reality, however, as seldom as it occurs, is that Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries are simply prone to this type of demise. From time to time, though not very often, a mobile device will succumb to a self-invoked fiery inferno — simply because it ‘just so happens’, as the result of internal glitches, manufacturing defects, or simply because the battery, itself, is just worn out.
The 20 best smartphones in the world
According to this article, Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus is in third place and iPhone 7 is in fourth.
The article awards first place to Google Pixel and second place to Google Pixel XL.
Hands On: BusyCal's long development benefits feature set for Mac, iPhone
For experienced Mac and IPhone users, Busy Cal is a big improvement over Apple’s iCal.
You should only ever buy Apple accessories that have this sticker on their box — here’s why
MFi stands for Made For iPod, iPhone and iPad; it's a certification program that was originally started in 2005 for iPod docks and cables.
Once certified, MFi products are guaranteed to be compatible with Apple's products. But not all accessory makers join the program.

The reason why is because joining the MFi program requires the company to apply for a license, which it has to pay for. The benefits are guaranteed compatibility and being able to put an MFi tag on their product boxes. But in a market like cables where profit margins are razor thin, it can be seen as an unnecessary expense. Larger companies can afford to pay the licensing fee and keep their prices low, but there are a bunch of uncertified accessories out there.
Bluetooth is an open standard, so Bluetooth headphones and speakers wouldn't need to be certified to be compatible with your devices. Docks and headphones that use the Lightning connector, though, would need to be certified, since that port was created by Apple. This is going to be more important going forward, now that new iPhones don't have the standard headphone port.
The next time you're accessory shopping, keep an eye out for MFi certified products. They're typically a couple of bucks more expensive, but they won't give you any compatibility issues. That goes double for headphones.
These are the top 100 websites of the internet, according to web traffic

These 10 online courses will teach you skills you didn’t learn in college

A Visual Search Engine for the Entire Planet
At this moment in history, there are more satellites photographing Earth from orbit than just about anyone knows what to do with.
What should we do with all that imagery? How can we search it and process it? Descartes Labs, a startup that uses machine learning to identify crop health and other economic indicators in satellite imagery, has created a tool to better index and surf through it. They call it Geovisual Search.
It’s free and available online right now.
Republicans are moving to kill rules that'd make internet providers get your consent before selling your Web browsing data
Republicans in the U.S. Congress are moving to repeal regulations adopted by the Obama administration in October that would have subjected internet service providers to stricter scrutiny than websites to protect customers' private data.
Honeypot catches social engineering scams on social media
Research company investigates 40,000 fake accounts to find impersonator tactics.
“Social media is no longer used solely as a personal communication tool. It has evolved into a critical business application – helping businesses dramatically increase revenue and productivity – while strengthening and growing customer relationships. As businesses increasingly look to leverage social media – so are cybercriminals.,” said ZeroFOX’s Evan Blair.
WikiLeaks documents show CIA struggling to crack Apple gear, little danger to everyday folk
Any penetration requires four major factors to be effective —a vector of attack, a deployable payload compromising the system, invisibility, and exfiltration of gathered data. Failure of any of the four makes the effort pointless. 

Initial review of documentation revealed in the WikiLeaks publication of the "Vault 7" program documentsshows a CIA having problems with combining all four factors on the newest Apple gear and software at the same time.
None of the exploits are mass-deployable, or pose any significant mass-surveillance threat. It remains far easier in most cases for the CIA or other intelligence gathering or law enforcement agencies to collect location and call data for iPhone users from wireless carriers, and perform some old-school legwork to suss out information about a target.
WikiLeaks claims the CIA built special tools for hacking iPhones and other Apple products
According to the WikiLeaks files, it appears that the CIA has teams specifically dedicated to breaking into Apple products, including iOS, the software that runs on iPhones and iPads, and even Apple's line of routers, AirPort.
WikiLeaks claims the CIA hacked into Samsung smart TVs and used them as secret microphones

... US spy agency is able to hack into Samsung smart TVs and use them as covert microphones.

WikiLeaks release likely to drive deeper wedge between spies, tech companies

The release of documents that purportedly describe hacking of consumer gadgets by the Central Intelligence Agency fueled new concern in the technology industry that U.S. intelligence agencies are working at odds with tech companies.

One expert who examined the dump, Rendition Infosec founder Jake Williams, told Business Insider it appeared legitimate.

The leak follows other incidents in recent years that have driven a wedge between the tech industry and the U.S. national security apparatus — most notably Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations of U.S. surveillance programs. Those episodes have made tech companies wary of cooperating with the federal government on issues involving customer privacy.

Hackers and governments can see you through your phone’s camera — here’s how to protect yourself

Exploits for iPhones cost about $1.5 Million each.

Exploits for Android phones are much cheaper — about $200,000 each — because it’s much easier to exploit an Android phone.

To protect yourself, always make sure you’re using the latest version of Apple’s iOS.

Government Spooks Can Use the Mic and Camera on Trump’s Phone Even When He Thinks It’s Turned OFF

Last year, Hollywood released a biographical political thriller based on the life of Edward Snowden that had one particularly creepy scene.  
In that scene, a government spook used a program to remotely activate the microphone and camera on a laptop, and by doing so he was able to watch a woman as she got undressed.  Sadly, as you will see below, this kind of thing is happening constantly.  Any digital device can potentially be accessed and used to spy on you even if it appears to be turned off.

8 tips to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour

"If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.”
 — Cardinal Richelieu in 1641
What do you have to worry about? As the motto of the United Kingdom's surveillance program reminds us, "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear."

Well, law-abiding citizens do have reason to fear. They do have reasons to secure their devices, their files, and their communications with loved ones.
This article has 8 tips you can use to keep your life private.
Here are 7 password tips to help improve your online security
5 ways to keep the government from spying on you
Use encrypted communication
Cover up your webcams (including in your computer and in your TV)
Secure your smart TV (or don’t buy one)
Update your devices
Cover your tracks on social media
Ransomware picks off broader targets with greater severity
According to SonicWall’s most recent Annual Threat Report, “ransomware attacks grew 167 times since 2015, from 3.8 million in 2015 to 638 million in 2016.”
“Data breaches have become so prevalent that cyber criminals have had difficulty finding buyers of data on the Dark Web. So, they are turning back to the victims themselves to sell back their stolen or encrypted data,” says Justin Fier.
“The next generation of ransomware will focus on denying basic resources such as clean water, electricity, gas, and sewer systems,” says Brandon Gunter. Some degree of societal breakdown is foreseeable here.
Why the Ukraine power grid attacks should raise alarm
The hackers who struck utilities in Ukraine, which is the first confirmed hack to degrade a power grid, weren’t opportunists who just stumbled across the networks and launched an attack to test their abilities.
The attackers staged a well-coordinated attack that relied on deep reconnaissance over a six-month period.

This unprecedented attack is a wake-up call for North American utilities.
Star Trek - Elaan of Troyius - effects comparison
The special effects in "Star Trek — The Original Series" have been upgraded.
This video compares the original special effects to the new upgraded ones.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Sunday 3-5-2017

10 reasons why not even the best Android phones can get iPhone users to switch
1.  Software updates: This was easily the reason that was cited most frequently.
2.  Customer support
3.  Water resistance
4.  Premium hardware
5.  iMessage
6.  Continuity
7.  Apple Watch
8.  Apps:  Apple’s iPhone almost always gets apps first, and the user experience is nearly always superior on iOS.
9.  Simplicity
10. Battery life
Apple’s iPad Keyboard Sucks. Get One of These Instead
New Apple iOS Releases Have A Great Secret Feature
A discovery by developer and accomplished hacker Steve Troughton-Smith has revealed Apple has been hiding new functionality in iOS for several releases without saying a word.
Use 'Print' to Create PDFs of Notes, Webpages & More on Your iPhone
Thanks to a tip discovered by Redditor htmlarson, you can actually turn notes, webpages, and other documents into PDFs on your iPhone, then easily upload the file to any compatible service.
Check this web page or a new list of free iOS apps every day.
New iPhone 8's Secret To Success Will Not Be Innovation
Apple’s skill is not about finding and launching innovative technology, it is about implementing existing technology in new and accessible ways.
That in a broad stroke is how each new iPhone is put together. The best elements from the mobile world, synthesized into a single smartphone, with a polish on the user experience.
Innovation? Arguable. Implementation? Definitely.
Was I wrong to think an Apple Watch might improve my life?
A charming story.
The Apple Watch is Winning
The Apple Watch sold 5 million units in its first holiday season, which is more than twice that of the iPhone on its release. Further yet, Apple Watch sold an estimated 11.6 million units in 2015 which wasn’t even a full year. The iPhone sold 5.3 million units in its first year. That turns out to be 117% greater sales from the first Apple Watch when compared to the first iPhone.
Apple products are rarely big hits on first release. The first iPod was a dud, really. The first iPhone wasn’t a real success either. When Apple releases a product, it adjusts quickly and responsively.
Also has an interesting graph of iPhone sales since its introduction in 2007.
Here’s A Birds-Eye View of Apple’s Massive New ‘Spaceship’ Campus
After years of construction Apple employees will finally begin to move into the tech company’s new campus starting in April.
Apple’s been cagey, their spokespeople won’t nail down exactly how much their new home is going to cost. Most estimates put it in the neighborhood of $5 billion.
“They didn’t invent the cell phone, but they revolutionized it,” said neighbor Eric Blanco. “That’s what they do. They stir things up, spice it up, take it up a notch. So, the spaceship is just historic.”
Apple’s Devices Lose Luster in American Classrooms
“At the end of the day, I can get three Chromebooks for each of the Mac devices I would have purchased,” said Steve Splichal, the superintendent of Eudora Public Schools.
Over the last three years, Apple’s iPads and Mac notebooks — which accounted for about half of the mobile devices shipped to schools in the United States in 2013 — have steadily lost ground to Chromebooks, inexpensive laptops that run on Google’s Chrome operating system.
The rise of Google’s Chromebooks has disrupted the momentum of Apple, which has been marketing its computers to schools for some 40 years.
The Chromebook has beaten out classroom competitors on pricing, usability and other factors.
Apple's Macs and iPads fall to third place in US classroom use
Versus 2015, Macs fell a percentage point to just 5 percent of devices in the American K-12 segment, while iPads shrank five points to 14 percent, Futuresource Consulting said. Apple's combined 19 percent put it below Windows' 22 percent, and well distant of the 58 percent owned by Chromebooks.
Google's Chromebook platform has proven popular with schools for a number of reasons, among them up-front price —Chromebooks can sometimes cost less than $200.
Making Your Phone Take Dictation
Third-party apps and services that convert spoken words into text files on iOS devices are plentiful in Apple’s online store, but depending on when you need the transcribing to happen, you may not need to download anything extra. For example, the Siri assistant software built onto iOS can open the iPhone’s Notes app and transcribe your words as you speak them.
Picking a New Phone Plan? Here Are Your Best Bets
Shopping for a phone plan can be as daunting as picking a health insurance package. The rates and options constantly change, and it feels impossible to make simple comparisons between carriers.
The best phone plans we recommended a year and a half ago are now obsolete because the wireless carriers have completely changed their offerings.
As enticing as that may sound, unlimited is ideal for a small set of people. For everyone else, you may be paying for more than you need...
This article contains several different recommendations, each based on different needs for different customers.
My 5 favorite iPhone games to play during my commute
6 dangerous toys that are not child's play
These toys allow outlaw hackers to spy on your children and access personal information about them over the internet.
The 43 best websites for learning something new
Free College (online)
At the moment, the in-person college experience is superior to taking classes online.  But that advantage of in-person college over online classes won’t last forever. The in-person experience will stay largely as it is, but online lessons will keep improving indefinitely.
A physical college is largely limited to using the professors it has. But an online system such as Whenhub can improve forever. It isn’t even a fair contest in the long run.
If the country wants free college for everyone, this is the disruptive path it will probably have to take. In ten years, I can’t imagine a scenario in which physical colleges are still competitive with online options, on price or performance.
I Watched Neil deGrasse Tyson Take On a Science Skeptic
Good Interview.
‘Artificial Intelligence’ Has Become Meaningless
It’s often just a fancy name for a computer program.
I asked my Georgia Tech colleague, the artificial intelligence researcher Charles Isbell, to weigh in on what “artificial intelligence” should mean. His first answer: “Making computers act like they do in the movies.”
Writing at the MIT Technology Review, the Stanford computer scientist Jerry Kaplan makes a similar argument: AI is a fable “cobbled together from a grab bag of disparate tools and techniques.” The AI research community seems to agree, calling their discipline “fragmented and largely uncoordinated.”
Isbell’s more traditional take—that AI is machinery that learns and then acts on that learning—also has merit. By protecting the exalted status of its science-fictional orthodoxy, AI can remind creators and users of an essential truth: today’s computer systems are nothing special. They are apparatuses made by people, running software made by people, full of the feats and flaws of both.
Television is Training Me to Not Watch Television
Way back in olden times when there were only a few television channels, I enjoyed watching television. I was happy with it most of the time. But in recent years, my television has trained me to stop watching it. 

My cable company now offers hundreds of options.
My experience of watching television has turned from consuming to hunting…and hunting…and hunting. Until I give up in frustration or run out of time.
I see no hope of television surviving in the long run if they stick with their current business model of training their customers to hate the entire television experience.
For non-controversial topics, my Twitter-driven traffic for a tweet to my blog would be 200-300 per minute in the half-hour after a tweet. On this topic, it hovered between 10-14.

As many others have documented, Twitter throttles back the tweets of people who hold political views they don’t like.
That’s why I am building my own podcasting studio in my home. I’ll be spreading my creative content across multiple platforms to try and claw-back my freedom of speech.
Former Convicted Hacker on How to Protect Your Data
Why hackers breach data with relative ease, and why we should never link our devices.
Your child’s teddy bear could now be vulnerable to hacking
Wi-Fi connected teddy bears are plush, huggable, talkative — and, in some cases, hackable.

Advertised as “a message you can hug,” CloudPets toy company allows parents to record and send messages through the accompanying app to their child’s teddy bear.
Now, two million of those intimate recordings between parents and children have allegedly been exposed to potential hackers, along with 800,000 emails and passwords to their accounts.
Uber's Secret App for Tracking Cops Sounds Creepy as Hell
Uber’s very bad year just got worse. The New York Times is reporting that the company used secret internal software as well as good old-fashioned cyberstalking to identify law enforcement officials who were investigating Uber’s business practices. The situation is even crazier than it sounds.
The basic idea behind Greyball involved spotting and thwarting authorities who were using the Uber app as part of sting operations, often in cities where the service had been deemed illegal.
Cameras have been shown to reduce crime by 51% when used in parking lots, and the incidence of speeding by 65% and up to 44% for fatal car accidents. When used by police officers, body cameras reduced the use of force by officers by 60% and citizen complaints by 88%.
The Government’s Secret Wiki for Intelligence
Analysts reportedly tucked classified information about Russian hacking inside Intellipedia for safekeeping.
Built on the same software platform as Wikipedia, Intellipedia's articles are often cribbed directly from the free encyclopedia, but with sensitive classified information added by analysts.
During the final weeks of the Obama administration, officials began to worry that the results of ongoing investigations into Russia’s election-related hacking might get swept under the rug once President Trump took office. They decided to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for congressional investigators to find later, according to a report from The New York Times.
Guard yourself against tax-refund fraud
New cases of tax-identity theft have dropped sharply following coordinated efforts by tax agencies and preparers, but filers need to stay vigilant.
Victims are often unaware of the crime until a computer rejects the real return. Correcting the problem is often onerous and can take months.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

How to Successfully Network between macOS, Ubuntu Linux, and Windows using the Dukto file-transfer app



In my last two articles, I wrote about setting up secure networks using SSH and SFTP. Now I’m going to switch gears and tell you about a not-so-secure file transfer app designed strictly for use on a Local Area Network where you trust all the users.


The name of the app is Dukto and Emanuele Colombo, an Italian software developer and engineer, wrote it for OS X, for Linux, and for Windows.


This is Dukto on my Ubuntu MATE machine. You can get it for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Linux


Dukto window to show which type of files to send

This is Dukto for macOS. It’s available for 10.6 on up. I’m using it on 10.12.3.

Dukto showing all three computers

This is Dukto for Windows 10


Dukto for Windows 10







It’s not a secure, locked-down networking app. You install it on each of your computers, start up the app, and they all start recognizing each other on the local area network. You can send and receive files, folders, text files and text from the clipboard via Dukto to your various computers.


THERE ARE NO PASSWORDS. Which may be a blessing or a curse, depending on the circumstances. Your mileage may vary, caveat emptor, and so on and so forth.


Now you have to send them from a computer to a computer. Unlike shared drives, where you can see the drive on the other computer, you can’t see the files or folders on the other computer. So use the text feature to tell someone else to send files to you that you asked for last Wednesday.


It’s a really nice app for when you don’t need an elaborate network and you don’t have the time to set up passwords and security fingerprints and such. You just want the files from the other computer sent to your computer ASAP.


How do I set it up?

With macOS, you download the .dmg file from, Mr. Colombo’s Web site with links to all the versions for various operating systems.. It’s the same install process, drag and drop from the mounted .dmg file into your /Applications folder, as you’ve done before.


Here’s a link to the site, which also has links to the other versions for other OS.

Dukto for OS X how to install

With Windows, you can get it at the Windows 10 Store (which is where I got my copy), or from Mr. Colombo’s  Web site or from various download sites. It even has a portable version you could install. On a flash drive.

The link above is for the OS X version. Look below the green box for the OS X version and you will see a link for Browse all files. You will see the Windows installer. Download the Windows installer, double-click on it, and follow the prompts.

Where to get Dukto installers



The Linux versions are hosted at the OpenSUSE Web site. You can install from the Terminal by copying and pasting the command lines posted on the Web site into your Terminal, or just scroll down for the binary .deb files for Ubuntu and .rpm for Fedora.

Download the .deb installer file for Ubuntu, double-click on it and follow the prompts from the graphic Gdebi installer app. Remember, you want the R6 version, the latest one.

How do I use it once I’ve installed it on my computers?

Go to your applications menu, click on the flower pot icon, and you’re ready to go.

It should identify the other instances of Dukto on the network, so that you can just click on a “buddy” to send files, folders, or text to.

Dukto lets you use the file dialog box of your system to pick which files and folders to send, or you can just drop and drag them from your File Manager onto Dukto. Either way, Dukto sends the files over to your buddy immediately.

You can select which folder/directory to save files into.

That’s about it. It’s as simple a file sending app as can be. It’s not designed for security, so don’t even consider using it outside of a closed Local Area Network. It’s a convenient way to link multiple computers of disparate operating systems together.

And if you like this app, please consider donating via Paypal to Mr. Colombo. He’d appreciate it.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Voice.

How to Successfully Network from Ubuntu Linux back to macOS 10.12.3 Part II

I’m sure when you set out to network your Ubuntu Linux machine, or any other Linux machine for that matter, over to your ran into difficulties.

 First off, you followed the instructions for sharing from a Ubuntu Linux machine. It’s simple.


You right-clicked on the folder you wish to share and click on “Share This Folder” From there, you just followed the steps as laid out for you by your Linux distro. Simple and straightforward.

 Then you went back to your Mac and looked on the Finder’s Sidebar for shared devices. You found your shared folders. You double-clicked on them. Up popped a dialog box. So far, so good.

 You entered your Linux user name and your Linux password. Over and over again. This got old real fast.


What is wrong here? I’ll tell you what’s wrong. How Linux uses the SAMBA SMB networking protocol differs markedly from how macOS 10.12.3 uses the SMB networking protocol. They are totally incompatible. You’ll end up tearing out what little hair you have left over this.

 So relax, have a refreshing beverage, and continue to read. I’m going to show you how to network your Linux machine, in this case stock Ubuntu 16.04, with my Mac Mini running macOS 10.12.3.



I have found two ways to network a Ubuntu Linux machine to a Mac. One takes five minutes, but requires a little terminal work in Linux.

The second one takes more terminal work in Linux, plus the installation of a 3rd party SSH/SFTP browser called Filezilla on your Mac

You’ll have to edit one file in all this, but it’s one line and it’s pretty easy.


Here’s how to do it:

First, on your Ubuntu desktop (I’m assuming Ubuntu for this. If it’s a derivatives of Ubuntu, such as Kubuntu with the KDE GUI, just start the Konsole terminal from the Launcher menu), ahem, PRESS THE CONTROL + ALT + T keys.

Up pops your Terminal

The Ubuntu Linux terminal ready for editing

Enter this line into the Terminal. Copy and paste it if you want to:

sudo apt-get install netatalk

The Ubuntu terminal ready to install netatalk

After entering that line, press the ENTER key

The terminal will ask you for your password. This may be the hardest part, because you have to type in your password with no visual feedback.

The Ubuntu Linux terminal asks for the password

Nothing shows on screen to help you.

Now press the ENTER key. If you succeeded, the download and installation process will begin.

If not, well, try again and type slowly and mindfully. Then press the ENTER key.

Assuming you’ve succeeded, the download and installation of Netatalk begins. At some point, you’ll get asked whether to proceed. Just press the Y key and the ENTER key.

The Ubuntu Terminal installs netatalk and returns to the Terminal prompt

When it’s done, you’ll return to the Terminal prompt.

Now for the file editing. Type or copy and paste the following into the Terminal at the prompt:

sudo nano /etc/netatalk/atalkd.conf

Press the ENTER key. Enter your password if asked.

You now see the nano editing screen with atalkd.conf ready to edit.

Nano editing atalkd conf

Scroll down to the very bottom of the file by pressing and holding the Down arrow.

At the bottom of the file add these four characters:


That’s an “e”, a “t”, an “h”, and a zero. Not the letter o.

Nano editing and adding eth0 to file


To save, or write out, this modified file, press the Control key and the letter O.

You will get a highlighted message showing the file’s name and the file path or where’s it’s located in the file system.

Nano getting ready to save atalk with control and o

Go ahead and press the ENTER key to save, or write out, the file to disk. You’ve saved 38 lines.

Nano wrote 38 lines to disk for atalkd

Now press the Control and X keys to exit the nano editor. You’ve returned to the terminal prompt.

Your work on the Ubuntu Linux machine is done for now. Move back to the Mac.

Open the Finder. Look at the Sidebar under Shared. You want a computer icon with the name of your Linux machine under it.

Don’t see it? Restart the Linux box. Give it a kick in the pants to get its attention.

Now you should see it. My shared directory is called Lamont, after Lamont Cranston, The Shadow. Super-hero of 1940’s radio. But I digress...

Home Directory showing up in the Finder

The Folders within the Home Directory

Anyway, that’s the quick way to set up a two-way network with Ubuntu as the server and your Mac as the client. Just treat the HOME directory as another Mac folder to drag files to and from.

If the reboot of the Ubuntu Linux machine didn’t work, check to make sure all the Ethernet cables are firmly in place. Pull them out and push them back in until you hear and feel a click.

Now you’ve shared your Linux HOME directory as an Apple Filing Protocol network drive. Until further notice, this works just fine. But read on for a warning about the future.

The future-proof way to network your Ubuntu Linux machine back to your Mac

This reverses the process I showed you in Part I, where you set up your Mac as an SSH/SFTP server and your Ubuntu Linux machine as the client.

Step One: Ubuntu Linux doesn’t come with an SSH/SFTP server installed. You have to install it. But it’s relatively simple.

Go back to the Ubuntu Linux machine and start the Terminal by pressing Control+Alt+ T or going under the Applications Menu for the Terminal.

What matters is that you start the Terminal.

Now to install the SSH server, known as OpenSSH, via the Terminal. You type, or copy and paste, this one line, into the Terminal:

sudo apt-get install ssh

Ubuntu Linux Terminal showing installation of OpenSSH


Press the Enter key.

Enter your Linux password carefully and mindfully to ensure no errors. Press the ENTER key and the installation should begin.

Watch the text scroll down the screen and then return to the prompt.

How do I know I succeeded before I add any more software?

Well the Finder can’t work with SFTP and SSH connections, but your Terminal can.

So open the Terminal to enter this command:

ssh <Linux user name>@<Linux computer name or URL>

MacOS Terminal logging into Ubuntu

Press the ENTER key. Enter your Ubuntu Linux password carefully and mindfully to avoid mistakes.

Now you’ll get asked if you want to trust the Linux computer. If it’s sitting right next to you, of course you do. So type yes and press the ENTER key.

You will get a warning that you’ve made friends with this computer for better or worse now.

Finally enter the Linux password one more time. Now you’re sitting virtually in front of your Linux computer from your Mac. It’s quite possible you could do this with a Linux computer much farther away!

By the way, the URL refers to the Linux computer’s Internet address of


But I doubt that you want to enter a complicated command line just to copy or move a folder from your Linux compute to your Mac or the other way. No, you want a file manager that recognizes SSH and SFTP connections. And Finder just won’t cut it.

Now you may already own a suitable browser. Do you own the Forklift file manager or the Commander One Pro file manager? They’ll do it.

If not, go here to the Filezilla Web site to download the donationware Filezilla SSH/SFTP browser. it works with macOS 10.7 and up.

You will run an installer to set it up. Beware of bundled crapware. They are a non-profit and have to pay the bills somehow. So they agree to bundle software with it that you have the chance to forgo. So be careful. It’s not destructive malware, but you don’t need the Yahoo Search Engine replacing what you already use in your browser.

So start up the Filezilla browser. I’ll explain it to you.

Filezilla before logging into your Ubuntu Linux machine

You need to enter the connection information first.

The Host Bar settings explained

The host is the Ubuntu Linux computer’s name or its Web address.

The username is your Linux user’s name.

Your password is your Linux password.

The port for SSH and SFTP connections is port 22.

The Quick Connect drop-down menu is for previous connections.

So enter in those four pieces of information and press the ENTER key. You should see Filezilla connect to your remote (even if it’s just sitting next to you) Linux machine in the dialog box below displaying status:

Successful login from Mac to Ubuntu Linux machine

Below the status line on your left-hand side is the two panes showing your local directory. In my case, it’s my Music directory or folder.

On your right-hand side is your remote directories listing. Now it will show your visible and hidden files and folders, so you may want to scroll down until you reach the directories or folders that you recognize.

Now just drag and drop files between the two directories. It’s that simple.

That’s a brief lesson in how to use Filezilla. As I said, it’s donation-ware, so if you like it, give a few dollars to the cause.

You can find tutorials for more advanced aspects of Filezilla on the Web. Just search for them by typing in Filezilla Tutorial into your Web browser’s address bar.

Why I said this was a future-proof method of connecting your Mac and your Linux machine.

Apple plans to replace its creaky file system, HFS+, which they’ve used for 30 years, with the new and shiny Apple Filing System (APFS). They also plan to deprecate and eliminate the Apple Filing Protocol, which Netatalk currently depends on.

I would speculate that Netatalk, under very active development, will adjust to this change when bringing out new products. So don’t panic.

I will further speculate that Apple will NOT replace the SSH and SFTP protocols. So you’ll still have those to use when connecting your Mac to your Linux machine. So this article will remain valid for some time to come.

I don’t know about Apple’s plans for Apple Filing Systems, other than what I read at AppleInsider and If you know more than I do, please tell us about it in the comments.

Now on to Part III, where I tell you about a simple way to network your computers using the Dukto file transfer program and the Synergy mouse and keyboard sharing program.

Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog




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