Announcing the First SHA1 Collision →

February 23, 2017 · 20:22

Google Security Blog:

Today, 10 years after of SHA-1 was first introduced, we are announcing the first practical technique for generating a collision. This represents the culmination of two years of research that sprung from a collaboration between the CWI Institute in Amsterdam and Google. We’ve summarized how we went about generating a collision below. As a proof of the attack, we are releasing two PDFs that have identical SHA-1 hashes but different content.

NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star →

February 23, 2017 · 09:15

NASA:

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

“This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”

I would love to live in an age, where space travel and the Millennium Falcon are the norm.

The Nvidia GTX 1080 — the Nail in the Coffin for the Mac Pro →

February 23, 2017 · 09:08

Marco Solorio, writing on the OneRiver Media Blog:

But as good as that juiced up Mac Pro Tower is today, I know at some point, the time will have to come to an end, simply because Apple hasn’t built a PCIe-based system in many years now.

The Nvidia GTX 1080 might be the final nail in the coffin. I can guarantee at this point, we will have to move to a Windows-based workstation for our main edit suite and one that supports multiple PCIe slots specifically for the GTX 1080 (I’ll most likely get two 1080s that that new price-point).

With all that said, I see (and have already seen) a huge migration of longtime Apple users (such as me) going to Windows systems for their main workstation needs. The sheer power and lower cost is just too huge at this point. The Nvidia GTX 1080 just compounded that point exponentially stronger.

The only way out that I can see, is building a Hackintosh, but that’s just not possible for pros who need to rely on their hardware and software every hour of every day.

I am personally starting to consider that I will have to go Windows at some point in the future, just on my desktop and just for my video and photography needs.

Reverse halo effect, anyone?

The Magic of AirPods

February 22, 2017 · 14:23

The new AirPods perfectly encapsulate the magical experience that only Apple is capable of creating. Open the case in which they are stored1 — a pop-up appears on your iPhone, asking if you’d like to pair them. Do it again, anytime in the future — you can quickly check your battery status. Play some music on your iPad2 — hear it in your AirPods, despite not having paired them with that device. Mac? Same thing.

Continue reading →

  1. It doubles as a charger with a built-in power bank.
  2. It has to be signed in to the same Apple ID.

App Store Deals — 22/02/2017

February 22, 2017 · 12:41

You might want to take a look at GoodNotes 4, Due, and Launch Center Pro, if you haven’t bought them already. Those games are pretty good too…

Civilization: Beyond Earth – Mac – €39.99 > €9.99
Civilization Revolution 2 – iOS – €9.99 > €2.99
Dead On Sight – iOS – €0.99 > €0.00
Deus Ex GO – Puzzle Challenge – iOS – €1.99 > €0.99
Due – Reminders, Countdown Timers – iOS – €4.99 > €0.99
GoodNotes 4 – Notes & PDF – iOS – €7.99 > €0.99
Launch Center Pro – iPad – €2.99 > €0.99
Launch Center Pro – iPhone – €2.99 > €0.99
Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee – iOS – €2.99 > €0.99
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath – iOS – €2.99 > €0.99
Sid Meier’s Starships – iPad – €2.99 > €0.99
XCOM: Enemy Within – iOS – €9.99 > €2.99

The Men at Uber Are Pigs →

February 22, 2017 · 12:28

Susan J. Fowler:

After the first couple of weeks of training, I chose to join the team that worked on my area of expertise, and this is where things started getting weird. On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.

I cannot imagine anyone I know behaving in the fashion described by Susan. I don’t know her, I do believe her words, yet I cannot fathom how something like this could happen. I have long since stopped using their service and this piece just reaffirms my decision to do so was correct.

9 Reasons Why You’ll Want to Ditch Your Mac and Take a Serious Look at the Surface Book →

February 22, 2017 · 12:23

A post on Photography Talk:

Here’s nine reasons why I think you’ll be ditching your Mac soon in favor of the Surface Book.

I can list ten things I love about these types of posts1.

Sure, the Surface Book outweighs the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro by nearly 300 grams. Of course, that’s due in part to the innovative design of the Surface Book that makes it a laptop and a tablet in one.

So, the extra weight and thickness of the Surface Book aren’t all bad because the Surface Book is just simply more versatile than the MacBook.

I’m willing to bet that if the Surface Book was lighter than the MacBook Pro, it wouldn’t be listed under cons.

But in this case, it’s not just the larger size but also the number of pixels. The Surface Book i7 sports 3000×2000 resolution compared to the MacBook’s 2560×1600 resolution.

This is valid — the new 2016 MacBook Pros should have a 2800×1800 px panel, to support the new default resolution of 1400×900 pt.

Microsoft’s offering also achieved a better Adobe RGB score in testing, as well as a higher contrast ratio. That means you get a higher quality picture with the Surface Book i7 than you do with the MacBook Pro because it’s 67 percent brighter with 25 percent more colors.

No it hasn’t. It covers 100% of sRGB, but still has a way to go to cover Display P3.

Put simply, the Surface Book shines when it comes to storage space.

Ooh, does Microsoft now offer 2 TB of storage?!

The i7 models range from 256GB to 1TB, giving you plenty of options for your storage needs. If you opt for the less expensive i5 version, you can choose between 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB.

Hmm, no.

But on the 13-inch MacBook Pro, your only options are 256GB or 512GB. Even an upgrade to the 17-inch model still only gets you 256GB or 512GB. To get the same 1TB of storage offered by the Surface Book, you have to order the machine straight from Apple.

So… both offer a max of 1 TB, but since Apple’s MacBook comes from Apple it’s worse than Microsoft Surface Book which comes from Microsoft? I see no logic in this statement. None at all. And the 17-inch model (which doesn’t exist; I assume the author is referring to the 15-incher) goes up to 2 TB.

(…) the Surface Book wins in the battery life department.

The new MacBook can last about eight hours unplugged. The Surface Book offers about the same amount of time.

The Surface Book wins because it gets the same 8 hours as the MacBook Pro? Gotcha!

The fact that Apple removed the SD card slot won’t be a big deal for some people, but for a lot of photographers, it could be a deal breaker.

I do miss my SD card slot, but it’s not a deal breaker in real life. It’s not even a hassle.

Where the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro runs $1,499, the entry-level Surface Book is a mere $1,299.

First of all, the Surface Book is currently on sale. Its regular price is $1499. For that money, you get a 128 GB SSD, while the MacBook Pro has a 256 GB of flash storage. The i5 Surface Book with 256 GB of storage comes in at $1699.

A bump up to the entry-level Surface Book i7 will set you back $2,099. To get similar processing speed and storage capacity, you have to upgrade to the entry-level MacBook Pro, which runs a cool $2,399.

The i7 Surface Book is indeed $2099 and it includes a 256 GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM. For $1999 you can get a MacBook Pro with a Core i7, a 256 GB SSD, and 16 GB of RAM. So the Surface Book is more expensive in all regards, with the top model maxing out at $3199 (1 TB SSD, 16 GB of RAM, dGPU). The MacBook Pro (13” with Touch Bar) maxes out at $2899 with the same specs, although I have to note that it does not include discrete graphics. You could just get a 15” model for almost the same money. It comes in at $3199 for the Core i7 2.7 GHz (which is a quad-core CPU!), 1 TB of storage, a dGPU, and 16 GB of RAM.


I’m sure that the Surface Book is a great machine, but the author’s arguments unfortunately aren’t.

  1. That’s sarcasm, yes.

Quincy Larson: “I’ll Never Bring My Phone on an International Flight Again” →

February 18, 2017 · 14:33

Quincy Larson:

It’s only a matter of time before downloading the contents of people’s phones becomes a standard procedure for entering every country. This already happens in Canada. And you can bet that countries like China and Russia aren’t far behind (…)

When you travel internationally, you should leave your mobile phone and laptop at home (…)

Is all this inconvenient? Absolutely. But it’s the only sane course of action when you consider the gravity of your data falling into the wrong hands.

If you bother locking your doors at night, you should bother securing your phone’s data during international travel.

At this point in our history, seeing what’s happening in the US, I would definitely not bring my iPhone with me. A cheap, secondary smartphone, which I can configure with what I need after I’ve been let in, would be more than sufficient.

Phil Schiller: ”It Feels Like WWDC is Going Home“ →

February 16, 2017 · 21:33

John Gruber:

Apple doesn’t like to explain itself. I don’t know why Apple moved WWDC to San Francisco in 2003. But my guess is that they sought more media attention. Apple went to where the attention was. Today, the attention comes to Apple. They could hold WWDC in the middle of a desert and it would still sell out in an instant and there’d be the same convoy of media trucks outside the hall the morning of the keynote. If a large corporation can be described as a homebody, Apple is it. And San Francisco is not Apple’s home turf.

Schiller has been at Apple (and on stage at WWDC) throughout this entire run, and he seems ready to go back. “It feels like WWDC is going home,” he told me.

It’s still one of my dreams to go to WWDC, but since I’m not a developer, it wouldn’t feel right taking part in the lottery. The costs are an issue too, of course, but the former is a primary deterrent for me.

WWDC 2017 Will Be Held in in San Jose on June 5-9, 2017 →

February 16, 2017 · 16:50

Apple PR:

Apple® today announced its 28th annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) — hosting the world’s most talented developer community — will be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. The conference, kicking off June 5, will inspire developers from all walks of life to turn their passions into the next great innovations and apps that customers use every day across iPhone®, iPad®, Apple Watch®, Apple TV® and Mac®.

Mark your calendars.

Confide: A Quick Look →

February 16, 2017 · 13:05

Jonathan Zdziarski:

My inbox has been lighting up with questions about Confide, after it was allegedly found to have been used by staffers at the White House. I wish I had all of the free time that reporters think I have (I’d be so happy, living life as a broke beach bum). I did spend a little bit of time, however reverse engineering the binary and doing a simple forensic examination of it. Here’s my “literature in a rush” version.

My Photography (16) — Spiral Staircase, Vatican Museums, 2014

February 16, 2017 · 13:00

The Spiral Staircase in the Vatican Museums was designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932 — we spent only half a day inside, which was definitely not long enough. I suggest putting aside at least a full day, if you’re planning on going there. Two preferably.

Oh, and buy a ticket online, on the Vatican Museums’ webpage (beware of intermediaries!), to skip the line completely!

Shot with Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24 mm f/2.8G: f/8, 1/50, ISO 1400, 14 mm.

My Photography (15) — Bergen by Night, Norway, 2015

February 16, 2017 · 07:00

We spent three days in Bergen with our friends. Our wives and their boy were out taking in the sights of the city, looking for a restaurant, while we jumped on the Fløibanen to get some shots from the hills above the city — Fløyen to be precise. Hectic, but completely worth it.

Shot with Fuji X100T: f/5.6, 30 s, ISO 200.

My Photography (13) — Bicycle, Kraków, Poland, 2015

February 15, 2017 · 13:00

The weather was definitely not friendly — it was raining most of the day — but the sun did come out for a short while, and I chanced upon this bright green bicycle in the street; couldn’t pass it up.

Shot with Fuji X100T: f/2, 1/1000, ISO 200.

My Photography (11) — Wrocław’s Town Square, Poland, 2016

February 14, 2017 · 20:00

The day was freezing cold, windy, and I felt terrible, but I managed to get my favourite shot of Wrocław’s Town Square. It was taken from the observation tower in St Elizabeth’s Basilica — it’s a rough climb up some very narrow steps, but completely worth it.

Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 85 mm f/1.4 GM: f/16, 13 s, ISO 100.

My Photography (10) — Gran Canal, Venice, Italy, 2016

February 14, 2017 · 15:00

This is probably my favourite shot from Venice, from our recent four day trip during the summer of 2016. It was taken from the Ponte dell’Accademia towards Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. I used a x400 ND filter to get the two-minute exposure.

Shot with Fuji X100T: f/8, 125 s, ISO 200.

Making More Outside The App Store →

February 11, 2017 · 13:48

Paul Kafasis, on Rogue Amoeba’s blog:

I certainly won’t state that every developer will have this same success if they remove a product from the Mac App Store and distribute it exclusively through their own site. Your mileage will undoubtedly vary.

In our case, however, it’s clear that we were serving Apple, rather than Apple serving us. By removing Piezo from the Mac App Store, we stopped paying a commission to Apple for the many customers who had found Rogue Amoeba on their own. Better still, we were able to improve the quality of the product while simplifying our work considerably. Ultimately, that alone was enough to convince us that leaving the Mac App Store was the right move. The subsequent revenue increase we’ve seen is merely a nice bonus.

Paul’s whole analysis is worth taking a look at — the results surprised me. Personally, I theoretically prefer purchasing through the Mac App Store, mostly due to the fact, that if I ever need to reinstall or re-download a program, I just pull up the Mac App Store list and click one button. No need to register, no need to find my registration details. Having said that, I actually purchase software directly from developers if possible, because I know that they earn more this way, at no any real cost to me, and I also usually get more timely updates.

Most of the new software that is submitted to the Mac App Store is garbage — I don’t remember when I last found something of true value from an unknown developer that I don’t follow. I can’t help but wonder when it will be forsaken by developers completely.

Magic Variables in Workflow 1.7 Are Magic →

February 10, 2017 · 11:54

Federico Viticci:

Magic Variables mostly remove the need to manually save variables. They leverage Workflow’s Content Graph engine to automatically keep track of variables in the background, allowing you to access them at any time with the ability to change their type (format). It’s a novel idea, and it’ll take a few minutes to fully grasp, but it’s drastically superior to Workflow’s old variables. Magic Variables will change how you build workflows.

I started using the new Magic Variables this morning, trying to rework one of my older workflows. The one which I am in fact using to create this post. Thanks to the new system, I’m down to 6 steps instead of close to 20. There are two huge benefits: quicker workflow creation and much more readable workflows.

Awesome work!

Counter-Forensics: Pair-Lock Your Device with Apple’s Configurator →

February 10, 2017 · 11:39

Jonathan Zdziarski:

(…) This article is a brief how-to on using Apple’s Configurator utility to lock your device down so that no other devices can pair with it, even if you leave your device unlocked, or are compelled into unlocking it yourself with a passcode or a fingerprint. By pair-locking your device, you’re effectively disabling every logical forensics tool on the market by preventing it from talking to your iOS device, at least without first being able to undo this lock with pairing records from your desktop machine. This is a great technique for protecting your device from nosy coworkers, or cops in some states that have started grabbing your call history at traffic stops.

Apple Hires Amazon’s Fire TV Head to Run Apple TV Business →

February 8, 2017 · 10:34

Mark Gurman:

Apple Inc. has hired Timothy D. Twerdahl, the former head of Amazon.com Inc.’s Fire TV unit, as a vice president in charge of Apple TV product marketing and shifted the executive who previously held the job to a spot negotiating media content deals.

The moves suggest a renewed focus on the Apple TV and on providing more content for the device, an effort that has been stalled in the past by failed negotiations.

I use my Apple TV 4 every single day. It has potential, which is currently wasted by inadequate software, bugs, and missing apps. I truly hope this means that Apple is taking strides to make this the best platform possible.