The MacValley blog


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Tom Briant

The MacValley blog

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for Friday, 4-27-2018

n a Leaked Memo, Apple Warns Employees to Stop Leaking Information

The crackdown is part of broader and long-running attempts by Silicon Valley technology companies to track and limit what information their employees share publicly.

Apple is notoriously secretive about its product development.


The best tablets you can buy

Different recommendations for different purposes.  Several Apple products recommended.


Apple iPad (2018) vs. iPad Pro 10.5: Is the iPad Pro worth the extra cash?

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is better in almost every way, but the differences aren’t overly important for the average person.  The iPad Pro is more powerful, has a slightly better screen, a better camera, and more — but the iPad (2018) still offers more than enough power for most average users.


iPad vs Fire HD 10 tablet — Apple vs Amazon — which one is better?


Apple sells 5 different types of iPad and it's hard to choose — but there's one that's best for most people


Why I'm Only Using My iPad Pro!


Four Videos:
Wonder what the new cheap iPad can do with the Apple Pencil?


Top 10 features of the new iPad you should learn to use


Apple iPhone X early adopters: We love everything about the phone, except Siri

A new survey of iPhone X owners has found extremely high levels of satisfaction with every single key feature of the device, but just 20 percent satisfaction with Siri.


Why Apple makes it so hard to get a new iPhone battery

A longstanding conspiracy theory about iPhones: Apple intentionally slows it down to encourage you to buy a new one. And it turns out, that conspiracy theory was mostly true.


Apple has a new iPhone-destroying robot called Daisy that can disassemble 200 phones in an hour

Daisy can disassemble 200 iPhones an hour, Apple said in a press release extolling the virtues of its latest droid. And Daisy can take apart nine different versions of the iPhone.


iPhone terminator: Apple's Daisy teardown robot can rip your phone apart in 18 secs

Daisy can disassemble 200 iPhones per hour or around one every 18 seconds, which is six seconds slower than Liam's teardown time. However, the newer robot is capable of disassembling more iPhone models than its predecessor with high precision, according to Apple.


Review: Surface Book 2 and the MacBook Pro


The 2017 MacBook Pro keyboard has to be one of the biggest design screwups in Apple history. Everyone who buys a MacBook depends upon the keyboard and this keyboard is undependable.


Apple Replacing MacBook Pro Batteries For Free After Reports Of Swelling

If you own a MacBook Pro laptop, you should know that Apple has announced a battery replacement program for some of the 13-inch versions.

The replacement is being offered due to an issue wherein the battery in these laptops may physically expand.

The affected laptops were manufactured between October 2016 and October 2017.


Remember to check this web site every day for new bargains on apps for iPhone and iPad.


Apple shares new developer tools that will help users delete, restrict, and export iCloud data

Starting today, Apple will supply tools to developers to allow users to both export and then delete user data stored in iCloud. This will be done by new native App and Web APIs.

While these new tools will be primarily be targeted at Europe, it will be helpful to all users around the world, especially with the whole Facebook scandal going down right now.


Apple details tools to help developers comply with new EU data regulations

Apple unveiled a set of developer tools designed to keep app makers in line with the European Union's upcoming General Data Protection Regulation, a set of rules that grants users more control over their digital histories.


Everything you need to know about Apple's GDPR privacy upgrade
Included in Apple's update to comply with the EU's GDPR, customers will be able to download all the information Apple keeps about them.

Apple is updating its products and services to bring the company in line with the EU’s forthcoming privacy protection rules, General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

The GDPR rules are designed to bring existing data protection laws into the 21st century. They give individuals the right to see what information companies hold about them, oblige business to handle data more responsibly, and put a new set of fines and regulations in place. Almost any entity that handles personal data will be impacted by the GDPR rules.

These changes may be taking place in Europe, but there is expectation most big tech firms will apply similar protections outside Europe, which will give more effective protection to most people — which is a good thing.


How to Download Apple ID Data With Apple’s New Feature

Because of the European Union’s upcoming privacy rules called the General Data Protection Regulation, U.S. companies are scrambling to comply. Apple is doing its part by letting customers download Apple ID data, which contains everything the company knows about you.

Basically, Apple knows about stuff you buy and content you consume, but everything else is off-limits. This is in stark contrast to companies like Google and Facebook, which know EVERYTHING about you.


How to download a copy of everything Apple knows about you

Apple has repeatedly said it doesn't store a lot of personal information about users, and I found that to be true. If you've been using iTunes for a long time, however, you might be surprised by what Apple has.

I found that Apple mostly keeps tabs on my interactions with the App Store and iTunes.


Apple iOS 11.3.1 Release: Should You Upgrade?

Verdict:  Install iOS 11.3.1 if you are on iOS 11.3, otherwise avoid

It’s an easy call to make with iOS 11.3.1: since it does nothing but fix one lone bug introduced in iOS 11.3, only those running iOS 11.3 need apply. Especially with a couple of new problems circling.

That said, as much as users are frustrated by the lack of fixes in iOS 11.3.1, it is iOS 11.3 which is the real villain for introducing so many problems after more than 60 days of public beta testing. Nevertheless, while I wouldn’t have expected iOS 11.3.1 to be able to squash them all (there are somany), waiting a month for just a single patch is poor.


How to invoke split screen on iPad with iOS 11

With iOS 11, Apple supercharged the way how users. It came with many additions including a revamp to split screen multitasking. Gone is the swipe over and pick from a hideous and unintuitive app picker.


The percentage of people using Apple's newest software is trending the wrong way — and it could signal a new problem for Apple

Stats released by Apple show 76% of its devices are running the most recent version of iOS (vs 79% a year ago).

But to be clear, iOS is still crushing Android when it comes to giving its users up-to-date software. Less that 5% of Android phones are running the latest software, and only a third of Android owners are using software that was released in the last two years.


1Blocker X for iOS Review

1Blocker X includes roughly 120,000 rules at launch organized in the following categories:

• Block Ads
• Block Adult Sites
• Block Annoyances
• Block Comments
• Block Trackers
• Custom Rules
• International Rules

As someone who writes on the web for a living, I understand why many websites don’t like content blockers. At the same time, readers’ attention, like their trust, is something to be earned.

I’ve been a fan of 1Blocker since it launched in 2015 and have used it on both iOS and the Mac.


How to check if your Mac or iOS device is still covered under warranty or is protected by AppleCare


Making The Grade: AppleCare+ is a terrible investment for iPad deployments

While an AppleCare purchase may make sense for individual people, it’s overpriced for organizations that buy and manage hundreds or thousands of them.

Organizations can buy iPhone insurance that costs less and provides the necessary coverage.

This article provides detailed mathematics and reasons why.


In defense of the HomePod

This week, Bloomberg reported that times are tough for Apple's HomePod.

I think much of this criticism is misplaced. The HomePod is probably the best-functioning smart speaker of the bunch.

HomePod is not an unfinished product as some have said, and is certainly not “years behind” its competitors.


The best smart speaker: Apple HomePod vs Google Home vs Amazon Echo

A lot of our criticism of the HomePod when we first started using it was based on the fact that it was unable to answer or understand many of the questions we asked it. What we have learned by pitching it against the competition is that it’s not really that bad in comparison. The AI in each smart speaker seems to excel in some areas and not in others, but the overall feeling is that it’s a technology that isn’t quite there yet.

The other key takeaway was that because we are already in the Apple eco system it’s a lot easier to link everything up with the HomePod. With the other speakers there was a lot more complicated set up involved. However, it’s possible to get a lot of functionality out of the non-Apple speakers, so don’t let that put you off.

Audio quality is one area where the HomePod shines, but we’re not that sure it matters that much.


How to recover an iCloud account when a factor for two-factor authentication goes missing

Apple has a last-ditch effort when you’ve lost it all, but it’s not guaranteed.


Apple refuses to fix iMac Pro damaged in YouTube teardown

Citing an obscure repair policy, Apple has refused to fix a brand new iMac Pro that was damaged during a video teardown — even at the user’s expense.

The Apple store suggested taking the iMac Pro to a third-party Apple-authorized service provider, but Sebastian’s local store apparently lacks certification to fix that model.


Jamf has released a new survey today titled The Impact of Device Choice on the Employee Experience. Among other findings, Jamf reports that about three-quarters of employees picked iPhone, iPad, or Mac over competing options when given a choice.

It is important to note that Jamf’s business is selling management software for Apple products. But regardless, the data is great news for Apple.


How to Enable Markup Annotation Tools in macOS

Recognizing the utility of Markup annotation tools, Apple has extended their availabilityin recent versions of iOS, but it's worth bearing in mind that you can access a similar and equally useful annotation toolset within several native Mac applications.


Most Useful Siri Commands on macOS

1.  Open

         Open iPhoto
         Open iTunes
         Open Documents folder

2.  Show Me

         Show me my most recent files

Several other commands in this article.


iFixit's new toolkits make it easy to take things apart (and put them back together again)
Whether you're tackling the big jobs, or really small ones, iFixit has developed two new driver kits to make it easier to take apart -- and put back together -- your devices.


Original Mac designer Susan Kare to receive prestigious AIGA medal

Susan Kare, a former Apple designer known to many as the "woman who gave the Macintosh a smile," will later this month receive an American Institute of Graphic Arts medal, an honor bestowed upon visual arts icons including Richard Avedon, Paul Rand, and Charles and Ray Eames.


This Steve Jobs-Favored Education Startup Made Smart Flash Cards To Help Kids Teach Themselves

In 2010, Montessori schoolteachers  June and Bobby George were so inspired by Steve Jobs' introduction of the iPad, that they decided to pour their life savings into into the hands of app developer Y Media Labs to make Montessori-inspired education apps.

Since its founding, the educational apps created by the Georges' company, Montessorium, have been downloaded over 2.5 million times.


Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Deactivates Facebook Account Over Privacy Concerns

Wozniak deactivated — but didn’t actually delete — his personal Facebook account, telling USA Today he didn’t want someone else to obtain his screen name. Wozniak’s official public page on Facebook, which has about 230,000 followers, was still active as of Monday morning but currently has only two active posts.

“Users provide every detail of their life to Facebook and… Facebook makes a lot of advertising money off this,” he said in an email to USA Today, according to a story published Sunday. “The profits are all based on the user’s info, but the users get none of the profits back.”

By contrast, Wozniak said, “Apple makes its money off of good products, not off of you. As they say, with Facebook, you are the product.”

The announcement from “The Woz” comes as Facebook continues try to contain the damage from the Cambridge Analytica scandal.


Apple releases iOS 11.3.1 alongside security updates for macOS 10.13.4


Apple Releases Security Updates for MacOS, iOS, and Safari


Connecticut Man Pleads Guilty to Hacking Hollywood Stars' iCloud Accounts

Federal prosecutors say 26-year-old George Garofano, of North Branford, pleaded guilty Wednesday to unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.


107 free online courses from the best colleges in the US — including Princeton, Harvard, and Yale


A 200-Year-Old Idea Offers a New Way to Trace Stolen Bitcoins

A group of Cambridge cybersecurity researchers now argues that one can still distinguish those contraband coins from the legitimate ones that surround them, not with any new technical or forensic technique, but simply by looking at the blockchain differently—specifically, looking at it more like an early 19th century English judge.

The Cambridge team, rather than try to offer any new detective tricks to identify the source of a Bitcoin transaction hiding behind a pseudonymous address, their idea instead redefines what constitutes a dirty bitcoin. Based on a legal precedent from an 1816 British court decision, they posit that the first coin that leaves a Bitcoin address should be considered the same coin as the first one that went into it, carrying with it all of that coin's criminal history. And if that coin was once stolen from someone, he or she may be allowed to claim it back even after it has passed through multiple addresses.

The Cambridge researchers have gone so far as to code a proof-of-concept software tool, which they plan to release later this year, that can scan the blockchain and, starting from known instances of Bitcoin theft, theoretically identify the same tainted coins, even if they’ve hopped around the blockchain for years.

Tracing bitcoins has long been easy in theory: The blockchain's public record allows anyone to follow the trail of coins from one address to another as they're spent or stolen, though not always to identify who controls those address. But that tracing becomes far dicier when Bitcoin users put their coins through a "mix" or "laundry" service—sometimes in the form of an unregulated exchange—that jumbles up many people's coins at a single address, and then returns them to confuse anyone trying to trace their path. In other cases, users bundle together their transactions through a process called Coinjoin that gives each spender and recipient deniability about where their money came from or ended up.


Google just revealed a huge update to Gmail — here's everything new


Why should I use DuckDuckGo instead of Google?

Gabriel Weinberg, CEO & Founder at DuckDuckGo provides 10 reasons:

#1 — Google tracks you. We don’t.

#2 — Block Google trackers lurking everywhere.

#3 — Get unbiased results, outside the Filter Bubble.

#4 — We listen.

#5 — We don’t try to trap you in our “ecosystem.”

#6 — We have !bangs — that let you search web sites directly and skip DuckDuckGo.

#7 — We strive for a world where you have control over your personal information.

#8 — Our search results aren’t loaded up with ads.

#9 — Search without fear.

#10 — Google is simply too big, and too powerful.

Last year Google outspent every other company on lobbying Washington.

Google trackers are actually lurking behind the scenes on 75% of the top million websites.  Facebook is the next closest with 25%.


Google’s File on You Is 10 Times Bigger Than Facebook’s — Here’s How to View It

Dylan Curran’s Google report contained an incredible amount documentation on his web activity, going back over a decade. But perhaps more importantly, Google had also been tracking his real-life movements via his smartphone device or tablet. This included fairly random places he’d frequented, many of the foreign countries and cities he visited, the bars and restaurants he went to while in these countries, the amount of time he spent there, and even the path he took to get there and back.

This, of course, is not new. It has been well-known for some time that Google silently tracks you everywhere you go and creates a map of your physical movements through its Location History feature. You can deactivate it by going to your timeline and adjusting the preferences.


Mark Zuckerberg runs a nation-state, and he’s the king
Thanks to decades of research on political economy, we know how hard it is to check the powers of a king.

“In a lot of ways Facebook is more like a government than a traditional company,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said.

Facebook is so powerful in its own domain that it is, indeed, like a sovereign state. It can upend the business models of companies that depend on it, or completely change the ways its individual users relate to each other — without them even realizing what has happened.

As Larry Lessig observed decades ago, computer code is law. And today, Facebook’s code establishes critical rules by which more than 2 billion of the world’s people and millions of businesses interact online.

This means that Facebook is a powerful sovereign and Mark Zuckerberg is the key lawgiver.

The king can try to adhere to an informal norm of behaving responsibly. However, this is very hard to maintain over the long term, as new demands and changing circumstances challenge even the most sincere commitments. Facebook’s competitor Google used to have a simple motto: “Don’t be evil.”

Over time, the company succumbed to the temptation to accept practices that motto would once have forbidden, becoming just a little bit evil, and then just a little bit more, and more, until much of its original idealism seems to have become submerged.


Facebook and Google are dangerous 'behavior-modification empires' resulting from a tragic mistake

All of the troubles surrounding Facebook and Google can be traced back to a mistake, according to TED speaker and virtual reality visionary Jaron Lanier.

"How do you celebrate entrepreneurship when everything is free? The solution is ads," Lanier said.  “Entities who use this system became more experienced and clever. Advertisement turned into behavior modification.”

At the end of his talk, Lanier issued a dire warning: "I don't believe our species can survive unless we fix this."


Department Of Homeland Security Compiling Database Of Journalists And 'Media Influencers’

The United States government, traditionally one of the bastions of press freedom, is about to compile a list of professional journalists and "top media influencers," which would seem to include bloggers and podcasters, and monitor what they're putting out to the public.

What could possibly go wrong? A lot.

As part of its "media monitoring," the DHS seeks to track more than 290,000 global news sources as well as social media in over 100 languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Russian, for instant translation into English. The successful contracting company will have "24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc." in order to "identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.”

If you think the idea of the U.S. government's compiling and monitoring a list of media professionals and "top media influencers" is a potential threat to democracy, now would be the perfect time to call your local and congressional representatives to let them know how much you value a free press and the freedom of speech, just in case they've forgotten.


Homeland Security to compile database of journalists and ‘media influencers’

DHS is looking to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, television, and radio, according to a request for information.

DHS spokesman Todd Houlton tweeted to say that despite what was being reported this was nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media.

“Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists,” he said.


News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress.  All the rest is advertising.
     — Lord Northcliffe


China has started ranking citizens with a creepy 'social credit' system — here's what you can do wrong, and the embarrassing, demeaning ways they can punish you

The Chinese state is setting up a vast ranking system system that will monitor the behaviour of its enormous population, and rank them all based on their "social credit."

The program is due to be fully operational by 2020, but is being piloted for millions of people already. The scheme is mandatory.


How the Internet Turned Bad
The 1990s Vision Failed

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