A Week of Podcasting With Only an iPad Pro →

February 20, 2019 · 09:59

Jason Snell, on Six Colours:

Last week I took a trip during which I needed to record three podcasts (Liftoff, Download, Six Colors Subscriber Podcast) with guests who would be participating via Skype. I almost took my trusty old MacBook Air with me, but I decided to see if I could figure out a way to replicate the bulk of my home recording setup without requiring a Mac.

While I can do a lot on an iPad, I am still constantly amazed how many hoops people are willing to jump through to do something, which wouldn’t be an issue on MacOS (or Linux/Windows for that matter). I’m at a point where I can’t be bothered anymore (if I don’t already have a workflow set up for a particular problem).


Apple’s Latest Macs with T2 Chip Have a Serious Audio Glitching Bug →

February 20, 2019 · 09:53

Peter Kirn:

The problem is, it appears that this new chip has introduced glitches on a wide variety of external audio hardware from across the pro audio industry, thanks to a bug in Apple’s software. Issues with the way the new chip synchronizes timing causes dropouts and glitches in the audio stream. (It seems basically all USB 2.0 audio interfaces will be impacted. This of course unfortunately leads users to blame their interface manufacturer, but the fault lies with Apple.)

This will mostly impact pros who are using audio interfaces in production environments, basically screwing them over, having to look for solutions while they’re scrambling to get their job done.

via @mjtsai


Twitter vs. Reddit

February 20, 2019 · 09:34

Every day, in the morning, while drinking a tea, coffee, or Red Bull, I’d first launch Twitter and catch up on events. For the past two weeks, more or less unconsciously, I have been slowly transitioning to Reddit.

I think the problem is the people I follow — they’re just posting less. Perhaps I could change things up by following new people but Reddit is partly superior in this regard — I can just follow topics that interest me instead. This naturally leads to more disconnect with specific people but there’s so much more variety and content.

I can’t hide the fact that I’m extremely disappointed with how Twitter itself is being run and I’m sure these feelings influence my usage but it’s refreshing to know I have found an alternative of sorts, especially since Twitter will die for me the day they pull the plug on third-party clients, such as Tweetbot and Twitterrific.


My Photography (62) — The Many Planes of Funchal, Madeira, 2019

February 19, 2019 · 14:35

I was completely taken aback when I first saw how houses and roads are built on Madeira. Taking the funicular railway is a great method to getting a unique angle on their architecture and road system, where houses are almost built on top of one another and roads snake around gorges, hills, mountains, and bridges.

Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 28 mm f/2: f/8, 1/200 s, ISO 100.


My Photography (61) — 87 MP Panorama of Ponta de São Lourenço, Madeira, 2019

February 19, 2019 · 12:43

Ponta de São Lourenço is a fascinating place to spend a day (or two) on and I highly recommend going prepared — a good set of hiking or trekking boots and drinking water at the least. We went twice and unfortunately, the light and weather weren’t kind to us, which means I didn’t get the shots I wanted to get but I did get a few panoramas. This is one of them, stitched together from 5 vertical photos. I posted the full resolution (12244 x 7154 px) version on my Flicker, in case you’d like to zoom in a bit.

87 MP Panorama of Ponta de São Lourenço, Madeira, 2019

Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 28 mm f/2: f/8, 1/80 s, ISO 100. Total of 5 shots.


Apple to Release 16” MacBook Pro and 31” 6K Display in 2019 →

February 18, 2019 · 03:36

Chance Miller, for 9to5Mac:

According to the analyst, Apple will release a new MacBook Pro between 16-inches and 16.5-inches with an all-new design. Further, Kuo says Apple will return to the display market with a 31.6-inch 6k3k monitor. This display is said to feature a Mini LED-like backlight design, giving it “outstanding picture quality.”

I hope this means that the display will fill out the bezel, like other manufacturers have been doing for the past year or so. Keeping my fingers crossed for a standard connector to the display too instead of a proprietary solution (and 120 Hz), which is probably just wishful thinking.


February 15, 2019 · 11:11

If you’re updating MacOS 10.13 High Sierra to 10.14 Mojave and you get booted into Recovery during the upgrade with a “the installer resources were not found” error message, make sure you don’t have a secondary SSD or HDD with the same name connected to your computer. My main drive is called “Macintosh SSD” and since I also had my clone connected, which has the exact same name, the installer could not figure out what to do.


Apple Plans News Event for March 25 →

February 14, 2019 · 12:10

John Paczkowski, reporting for Buzzfeed News:

Apple has settled on a date for its first big product announcement of 2019. Sources tell BuzzFeed News that the company plans to hold a special event on March 25 at the Steve Jobs Theater on its Apple Park campus. Headlining the gathering: that subscription news service that has been all over the news today. Unlikely to make an appearance: next-generation AirPods, or that rumored new iPad Mini.

Sources described the event as subscription-services focused, but declined to say anything about Apple’s stand-alone video streaming service, which is also rumored to debut in 2019.

My feelings towards Apple and their decisions have steadily changed over the past few years, ever since Tim Cook took over. Quite frankly, I am actually dreading what Apple will unveil at this event.


Apple Wants 50% Cut From Publishers for Subscription News Service →

February 14, 2019 · 12:06

Benjamin Mullin, Lukas Alpert and Tripp Mickle, for The Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc.’s plan to create a subscription service for news is running into resistance from major publishers over the tech giant’s proposed financial terms, according to people familiar with the situation, complicating an initiative that is part of the company’s efforts to offset slowing iPhone sales.

In its pitch to some news organizations, the Cupertino, Calif., company has said it would keep about half of the subscription revenue from the service, the people said.

A publisher would need to restructure a few things to adapt to this ‘Netflix for News’. What happens if or when Apple changes their mind? Or the structure of the service? Or abandons it, as they have done with things in the past? Even a 70/30 split would be greedy. I also assume access to this service would require an Apple device — I am strictly against siloing off the internet, which was designed to be open and accessible. Someone at Apple needs a reality check.


New iPad Mini 5 Will Look Like Old iPad Mini 4 →

February 12, 2019 · 09:04

Benjamin Mayo, for 9to5Mac:

The iPad mini 5 is not going to be the most exciting of updates according to recent reports. Macotakara says informed accessory manufacturers indicate the new iPad mini will look almost identical to the iPad mini 4 design.

A low-cost iPad mini could potentially become a hit for people who need something more portable than a 9.7-inch iPad, but what I really want to see is a small iPad Pro in the new design. That could get me to justify using two iPads Pro — a small one for travel, and a 13-inch model for the home.


Apple Allegedly Won’t USB-C All The Things →

February 12, 2019 · 08:57

Joe Rossignol, for MacRumors:

Japanese blog Mac Otakara believes that 2019 models will stick with the Lightning connector as a cost-saving measure.

Based on its conversations with various accessory manufacturers, the blog also predicts that 2019 iPhones will continue to be bundled with the same old 5W power adapter, forcing customers to spend extra if they want a faster charger like the 18W USB-C version that ships with the latest iPad Pro models.

I’m already invested in USB-C in 2018 so I won’t be interested in a Lightning iPhone or Lightning AirPods until they make the switch to the newer standard. Also, the iPhones really should get the 18W charger in the box, while the iPad Pros should get a 30W charger — they can actually use it.


Microsoft’s Keyboards Are Vastly Superior to Apple’s

February 11, 2019 · 11:40

I have been using Apple’s keyboards almost solely since 2008, starting with the silver keys on my now sold 17-inch MacBook Pro. I then graduated to an Apple Wireless Keyboard, the 2013 MacBook Air and 2014 MacBook Pro keyboards, an Apple Magic Keyboard1, and I’m currently on a 2016 MacBook Pro butterfly keyboard, which has been already replaced once in April 2018. My frustration with the last two has led me on a long quest to find a mechanical keyboard, which would bring back to the joy to typing once more — I am currently using a Vortex Race 3, custom programmed to my liking, which I also use with my iPad Pro. So that’s my background, but what’s up with headline?

Continue reading →

  1. I still haven’t found anything magical about it.

AirPods 2 Launching in First Half of 2019 →

February 11, 2019 · 10:35

Benjamin Mayo, for 9to5Mac:

Regarding AirPods, it is interesting that the website once again repeats that it believes a significant update is coming before summer. Digitimes previously said that redesigned AirPods would launch in the first half of the year and support health features. A sketchy report this morning said the new AirPods will use a new grippier coating and be offered in white and black colors.

I recently sent in my original, almost two-year-old AirPods in for repair and Apple’s diagnostics found that something was faulty in both AirPods — they would lose charge at different rates. They sent back my original case but with a new set of earphones. I am however waiting for a new version to get for my wife.


Apple Tells App Developers to Disclose or Remove Screen Recording Code →

February 8, 2019 · 11:59

Zack Whittaker, reporting for TechCrunch:

Apple is telling app developers to remove or properly disclose their use of analytics code that allows them to record how a user interacts with their iPhone apps — or face removal from the app store, TechCrunch can confirm.

In an email, an Apple spokesperson said: “Protecting user privacy is paramount in the Apple ecosystem. Our App Store Review Guidelines require that apps request explicit user consent and provide a clear visual indication when recording, logging, or otherwise making a record of user activity.”

“We have notified the developers that are in violation of these strict privacy terms and guidelines, and will take immediate action if necessary,” the spokesperson added.

This is one area where the App Store Review Team needs to dramatically improve. Such code and analytics should not be able to make it into the App Store.


Teenager Finds MacOS Exploit That Steals Password From the Keychain →

February 8, 2019 · 11:57

Thomas Brewster, writing for Forbes:

[…] German 18-year-old Linus Henze has uncovered a vulnerability affecting the latest Apple macOS that leaves stored passwords open to malicious apps. That could include logins for your bank website, Amazon, Netflix, Slack and many more apps. And even though this is a Mac-only bug, if you’re using the iCloud keychain, passwords synced across iPhones and Macs may also be in danger.

To make matters worse, it’s likely that no fix is in the works. Henze isn’t disclosing his findings to Apple, telling Forbes the lack of payment for such research was behind his decision to keep the hack’s details secret from the Cupertino giant.

This is bad and while I understand why he doesn’t want to disclose it to Apple, all MacOS users are susceptible to a security breach.


My Photography (60) — On the Trail, Ponta de São Lourenço, Madeira, 2019

February 8, 2019 · 11:01

We dedicated the last two days of our Madeira trip to visiting Ponta de São Lourenço — the peninsula on the eastern tip of the island. This photo was shot on our first reconnaissance hike when I was looking for good spots to photograph the sunrise. Unfortunately, the weather foiled my plans for the next morning and I didn’t get anything really worth showing…

Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 28 mm f/2: f/8, 1/60 s, ISO 640.


Comparing Speed Limits to Gun Control →

February 5, 2019 · 15:04

Katrin Bennhold, for The New York Times:

As far as quasi-religious national obsessions go for large portions of a country’s population, the German aversion to speed limits on the autobahn is up there with gun control in America and whaling in Japan.

How can any sane person compare driving fast to the killing of innocent whales and other human beings?


Ex-Nsa Operatives Reveal How They Helped Spy on Targets for the Arab Monarchy — Dissidents, Rival Leaders and Journalists →

February 4, 2019 · 15:52

Christopher Bing and Joel Schectman, reporting for Reuters:

“I am working for a foreign intelligence agency who is targeting U.S. persons,” she told Reuters. “I am officially the bad kind of spy.”

The story of Project Raven reveals how former U.S. government hackers have employed state-of-the-art cyber-espionage tools on behalf of a foreign intelligence service that spies on human rights activists, journalists and political rivals […]

The operatives utilized an arsenal of cyber tools, including a cutting-edge espionage platform known as Karma, in which Raven operatives say they hacked into the iPhones of hundreds of activists, political leaders and suspected terrorists […]

Karma allowed Raven to obtain emails, location, text messages and photographs from iPhones simply by uploading lists of numbers into a preconfigured system, five former project employees said.

Fascinating read. And even more inspiration for a new James Bond movie.


Amazon Is Abusing Apple’s Enterprise Certificates Too →

February 1, 2019 · 14:11

The Amazon Flex app is where you will spend most of your time scheduling and completing your deliveries. So it only makes sense that after signing up and getting approved for Amazon Flex, your next step is to download the Amazon Flex delivery app on your phone and start making deliveries!

Unfortunately, because Amazon Flex is not a program that is completely open to the public, the Amazon Flex app cannot be found on the Google Play store or the App Store. Instead, you must manually install the Amazon Flex app on your phone through a special process. The instructions are quite different for iPhone and Android, so be sure to reference the correct section depending on the phone type that you are using!

So that’s the big three tech giants all accounted for. Who’s next?


Apple Revokes Google’s Enterprise Certificate →

February 1, 2019 · 14:09

Tom Warren, for The Verge:

Apple shut down Google’s ability to distribute its internal iOS apps earlier today. A person familiar with the situation told The Verge that early versions of Google Maps, Hangouts, Gmail, and other pre-release beta apps stopped working alongside employee-only apps like a Gbus app for transportation and Google’s internal cafe app. The block came after Google was found to be in violation of Apple’s app distribution policy, and followed a similar shutdown that was issued to Facebook earlier this week.

Nicole Nguyen, for Buzzfeed News:

In a statement, Google told BuzzFeed News, “We’re working with Apple to fix a temporary disruption to some of our corporate iOS apps, which we expect will be resolved soon.” Apple told BuzzFeed News, “We are working together with Google to help them reinstate their enterprise certificates very quickly.”

Hands were slapped, but I wonder how many more companies are using enterprise certificates for things they shouldn’t be.


Hackers Are Passing Around a Megaleak of 2.2 Billion Records →

February 1, 2019 · 14:06

Andy Greenberg, reporting for Wired:

When hackers breached companies like Dropbox and LinkedIn in recent years—stealing 71 and 117 million passwords, respectively—they at least had the decency to exploit those stolen credentials in secret, or sell them for thousands of dollars on the dark web. Now, it seems, someone has cobbled together those breached databases and many more into a gargantuan, unprecedented collection of 2.2 _billion_ unique usernames and associated passwords, and is freely distributing them on hacker forums and torrents, throwing out the private data of a significant fraction of humanity like last year’s phone book.

You can (allegedly) safely check which of your accounts have been breached on Have I Been Pwned. Oh and if you aren’t yet doing so, I strongly recommend using a password manager, such as 1Password.


Apple Blocks Facebook From Running Its Internal iOS Apps →

January 31, 2019 · 09:39

Tom Warren, for The Verge:

Apple has shut down Facebook’s ability to distribute internal iOS apps, from early releases of the Facebook app to basic tools like a lunch menu. A person familiar with the situation tells The Verge that early versions of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and other pre-release “dogfood” (beta) apps have stopped working, as have other employee apps, like one for transportation. Facebook is treating this as a critical problem internally, we’re told, as the affected apps simply don’t launch on employees’ phones anymore.

This won’t change how Facebook operates. John Gruber recently called Facebook ‘a criminal enterprise’ and I’m finally willing to agree with him — that company should be treated as such by everyone. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t lose any sleep if they were completely booted from the App Store (including Instagram, WhatsApp, and all their other assets).


Bloomberg Suggests 3D Cameras and USB-C for iPhones, a New Cheap 10-inch iPad, a New iPad Mini and Dark Mode for iOS 13 →

January 31, 2019 · 09:20

Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, for Bloomberg:

Apple is also testing some versions of this year’s iPhone line that includes a USB-C connector instead of the Lightning port that has been used on iPhones since 2012, indicating that the company plans an eventual switch, according to one of the people […]

Beyond iPhones, Apple plans to release an updated version of its lower-cost iPad with a roughly 10-inch screen and a faster processor as early as this spring, according to people familiar with the plans. That device is expected to retain the Lightning port, according to one of the people. The company is also readying a new, cheaper iPad mini, its smallest tablet that hasn’t been updated since 2015, the people said.

Apple’s next operating system update, iOS 13, will include a dark mode option for easier nighttime viewing and improvements to CarPlay, the company’s in-vehicle software. There will also be iPad-specific upgrades like a new home screen, the ability to tab through multiple versions of a single app like pages in a web browser, and improvements to file management. The company will also integrate two new services, including a magazine subscription service and its original video content efforts, via iOS updates this year.

This summary by Mark Gurman, potentially confirming previous leaks, makes me feel like I won’t be upgrading my iPhone this year – the new camera module will allegedly only be present on the XS Max’s successor, which is just too big to use comfortably. I was a bit surprised that he didn’t corroborate the leak about the XR’s successor getting a dual-camera setup though.

In terms of hardware, I can’t wait for a new iPad Mini. I doubt I’ll buy one — having two iPads is overkill — but still I fondly recall my first generation iPad Mini. It was just so comfortable to use around the house and in transit.

In terms of software, I can’t wait to get my hands on the new iOS 13 beta this June — 2019 will hopefully be the year of meaningful iPad updates.


Google Will Stop Peddling a Data Collector For iPhones →

January 31, 2019 · 09:08

Zack Whittaker, Josh Constine, and Ingrid Lunden, reporting for TechCrunch:

Google has been running an app called Screenwise Meter, which bears a strong resemblance to the app distributed by Facebook Research that has now been barred by Apple, TechCrunch has learned.

In its app, Google invites users aged 18 and up (or 13 if part of a family group) to download the app by way of a special code and registration process using an Enterprise Certificate. That’s the same type of policy violation that led Apple to shut down Facebook’s similar Research VPN iOS app, which had the knock-on effect of also disabling usage of Facebook’s legitimate employee-only apps — which run on the same Facebook Enterprise Certificate — and making Facebook look very iffy in the process […]

After we asked Google whether its app violated Apple policy, Google announced it will remove Screenwise Meter from Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program and disable it on iOS devices.

The company said in a statement to TechCrunch:

“The Screenwise Meter iOS app should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise program — this was a mistake, and we apologize. We have disabled this app on iOS devices. This app is completely voluntary and always has been. We’ve been upfront with users about the way we use their data in this app, we have no access to encrypted data in apps and on devices, and users can opt out of the program at any time.”

Translation: ‘Please Apple, don’t disable our certificate, like you did Facebook’s. We’ll be good now. Promise!’


Second China-Bound Apple Car Worker Charged With Data Theft →

January 31, 2019 · 09:03

Kartikay Mehrotra and Mark Gurman, for Bloomberg:

An Apple Inc. hardware engineer was charged by the U.S. with stealing the iPhone maker’s driverless car secrets for a China-based company, the second such case since July […]

Jizhong Chen was seen by a fellow Apple employee taking photographs Jan. 11 with a wide-angle lens inside a secure work space that houses the company’s autonomous car project, about six months after he signed a strict confidentiality oath when he was hired, according to a criminal complaint in federal court in San Jose, California.

Prosecutors said Chen admitted to taking the photos and backing up some 2,000 files to his personal hard drive, including manuals and schematics for the project, but didn’t tell Apple he had applied for a job with a China-based autonomous vehicle company.

Will the James Bonds of the world adapt to this new reality, in which stealing code for autonomous cars is more important than trying to steal nuclear launch codes?


UAE Used Cyber Super-Weapon to Spy on iPhones of Foes →

January 31, 2019 · 08:54

Joel Schectman, for Reuters:

The ex-Raven operatives described Karma as a tool that could remotely grant access to iPhones simply by uploading phone numbers or email accounts into an automated targeting system. The tool has limits — it doesn’t work on Android devices and doesn’t intercept phone calls. But it was unusually potent because, unlike many exploits, Karma did not require a target to click on a link sent to an iPhone, they said.

In 2016 and 2017, Karma was used to obtain photos, emails, text messages and location information from targets’ iPhones. The technique also helped the hackers harvest saved passwords, which could be used for other intrusions.

It isn’t clear whether the Karma hack remains in use. The former operatives said that by the end of 2017, security updates to Apple Inc’s iPhone software had made Karma far less effective.

How many tools are currently out in the world, whose existence we are completely oblivious to?


Facebook Pays Teens to Install VPN That Spies on Them →

January 30, 2019 · 09:55

Josh Constine, reporting for TechCrunch:

Desperate for data on its competitors, Facebook has been secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user’s phone and web activity, similar to Facebook’s Onavo Protect app that Apple banned in June and that was removed in August. Facebook sidesteps the App Store and rewards teenagers and adults to download the Research app and give it root access to network traffic in what may be a violation of Apple policy so the social network can decrypt and analyze their phone activity, a TechCrunch investigation confirms. Facebook admitted to TechCrunch it was running the Research program to gather data on usage habits.

Since 2016, Facebook has been paying users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 per month plus referral fees to sell their privacy by installing the iOS or Android “Facebook Research” app. Facebook even asked users to screenshot their Amazon order history page. The program is administered through beta testing services Applause, BetaBound and uTest to cloak Facebook’s involvement, and is referred to in some documentation as “Project Atlas” — a fitting name for Facebook’s effort to map new trends and rivals around the globe.

[Update 11:20pm PT: Facebook now tells TechCrunch it will shut down the iOS version of its Research app in the wake of our report. The rest of this article has been updated to reflect this development.]

Just delete your account. The stuff they’re doing is completely unacceptable and I’m actually surprised nobody has been jailed yet.