How Verizon and a BGP Optimizer Knocked Large Parts of the Internet Offline Today →

June 25, 2019 · 12:02

Tom Strickx on Cloudflare’s blog:

Today at 10:30UTC, the Internet had a small heart attack. A small company in Northern Pennsylvania became a preferred path of many Internet routes through Verizon (AS701), a major Internet transit provider. This was the equivalent of Waze routing an entire freeway down a neighborhood street — resulting in many websites on Cloudflare, and many other providers, to be unavailable from large parts of the Internet. This should never have happened because Verizon should never have forwarded those routes to the rest of the Internet. To understand why, read on.

There have been smaller and larger outages over the past few years, with AWS failures triggering the biggest problems for users. These lasted for mere hours at worst and I’m sure darker scenarios is still to come. What will the fallout of a serious (week- or month-long) internet outage entail?


Jason Snell’s First Look at macOS Catalina Public Beta →

June 25, 2019 · 11:55

Jason Snell, on Six Colours:

Catalina takes the Mac in a new direction. I’m encouraged by the fact that Apple is cranking up its focus on security and privacy without locking Mac users out from running the software they want, when they want to. I’m of the belief that the introduction of Catalyst will result in the influx of some really good software from thousands of iOS developers who have been using the Mac all this time without the wherewithal to develop software for it.

I’m curious to see how the current crop of iOS/iPadOS-only apps will compete with traditional Mac apps once the former are Catalysed.


Recall for Batteries in Certain MacBook Pro Units →

June 21, 2019 · 07:33

Apple Support:

Apple today announced a voluntary recall of a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units which contain a battery that may overheat and pose a safety risk. The units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 and can be identified by their product serial number.

The recall does not affect any other 15-inch MacBook Pro units or other Mac notebooks.

Because customer safety is a top priority, Apple is asking customers to stop using affected 15-inch MacBook Pro units.

You can find out if you are affected here.


Shortcuts Automation Triggers →

June 20, 2019 · 20:15

Matthew Cassinelli on his blog:

Below is a table of the all the new Automation triggers in Siri Shortcuts. This list is not finalized as the Shortcuts app is still in beta, however it is as current as possible.

I can’t wait to start experimenting with the new Shortcut actions and HomeKit once all my devices are on iOS/iPadOS/tvOS/HomePodOS/watchOS 13.


SIM Swap Horror Story: I’ve Lost Decades of Data and Google Won’t Lift a Finger →

June 19, 2019 · 09:22

Matthew Miller, on ZDNet:

First they hijacked my T-Mobile service, then they stole my Google and Twitter accounts and charged my bank with a $25,000 Bitcoin purchase. I’m stuck in my own personal Black Mirror episode. Why will no one help me?

I use a password manager but I made it a point many years ago to keep some passwords only in my head. My banking login information included.

Regarding the part about Google and Twitter — it’s 2019 and getting help from those companies, in critical situations, is basically impossible. Baffling.


I Emailed Craig Federighi →

June 12, 2019 · 08:09

Yours truly:

I’d love to see iOS also alternate between dark and light mode depending on the available light (as determined by the ambient light sensor). I often find myself in a dark environment during the day, when the sun is shining full blast, yet I want Dark Mode to activate in those types of scenarios. Tweetbot has it. I hope iOS 13 gets it.

I rarely feel strongly enough about something to take the time to contact a company about adding a feature, but I did this time. The iPhone and iPad are incredibly powerful and simple automation is a task they should handle easily, without us having to waste time by manually turning Dark Mode on or off. So I emailed Craig Federighi, with a 🤘🏻 emoji and everything. Hope he’s better at reading his email than Marco Arment.


Dark Mode in iOS 13 Is Missing a Feature →

June 11, 2019 · 10:42

From the iOS 13 feature preview page:

Have Dark Mode turn on and off at a certain time or based on sunrise and sunset, which is great when you’re outside at night or using your iPhone before you go to bed.

I’d love to see iOS also alternate between dark and light mode depending on the available light (as determined by the ambient light sensor). I often find myself in a dark environment during the day, when the sun is shining full blast, yet I want Dark Mode to activate in those types of scenarios. Tweetbot has it. I hope iOS 13 gets it.


Mechanical Keyboards, Apple Keyboards, GMK Phosphorous — A Brief History of My Keyboard Hobby

June 7, 2019 · 10:17

Ever since I got my 2016 MacBook Pro, I have had a love/hate relationship with its keyboard. Yes, it’s pretty good to type on. No, it doesn’t offer much feedback and the travel is extremely shallow. There was the one (well, two actually) with the Touch Bar, which I got rid of because of its mediocre battery life and being unable to live with Apple’s latest “innovation”. Then I had to have one on my MacBook Pro Escape replaced.

Continue reading →


Apple’s New A10-Powered iPod Touch →

May 29, 2019 · 11:44

Apple’s Newsroom:

Apple today introduced the new iPod touch with enhancements to power, capability and communication at a remarkable price. The Apple-designed A10 Fusion chip brings improved performance in games, and for the first time on iPod, immersive augmented reality (AR) experiences and Group FaceTime, making it easy to chat with family members, friends or colleagues simultaneously.

I’m guessing a new iPod Touch with just an upgraded A10 chip was introduced because of Apple Arcade, Apple Music, iOS 13 support, and all the industries, including stores, museums, etc. that use it for various tasks, where an iPad is too large.


Adding Dark Mode to Infinite Diaries

May 23, 2019 · 12:05

Mozilla released Firefox 67 a few days ago and they introduced support Dark Mode, as Safari did a while ago too. This prompted me to finally tackle implementing this feature here, on Infinite Diaries, hacking through my CSS. I should have spent the time to rewrite it from scratch, using CSS variables, but that will have to be done another day.

P.S. You might have to clear your browser’s cache to get it to work.

Continue reading →


The Most Expensive Lesson of My Life: Details of SIM Port Hack →

May 22, 2019 · 11:36

Sean Coonce:

I lost north of $100,000 last Wednesday. It evaporated over a 24-hour time span in a “SIM port attack” that drained my Coinbase account. It has been four days since the incident and I’m gutted. I have zero appetite; my sleep is restless; I am awash in feelings of anxiety, remorse, and embarrassment.

This was the single most expensive lesson of my life and I want to share my experience + lessons learned with as many people as possible. My goal is to increase awareness about these types of attacks and to motivate you to increase the security of your online identity.

I try to take all my security very seriously, but since “I know what I’m doing”, I do like to cut corners a bit. Not as much as Sean though. His piece has motivated me to review my whole setup.


Microsoft Launches Edge preview builds for macOS →

May 21, 2019 · 11:00

Microsoft Edge Team:

Today, we are pleased to announce the availability of the Microsoft Edge Canary channel for macOS. You can now install preview builds from the Microsoft Edge Insider site for your macOS or Windows 10 PC, with more Windows version support coming soon.

Microsoft Edge for macOS will offer the same new browsing experience that we’re previewing on Windows, with user experience optimizations to make it feel at home on a Mac. We are tailoring the overall look and feel to match what macOS users expect from apps on this platform.

I just installed and played around with it for a few minutes. Having not used Chrome for years now, defaulting to Safari and Firefox, I have to say it feels OK. Apart from the hold-Command-Q-to-quit! That’s horrible! Microsoft is still customizing a few things for the Mac so changes will come but it doesn’t feel foreign (though I’m not a fan of the side menu; the menu bar is populated though). There is some stuttering when scrolling but since this is a Canary build and an early one at that, I assume those issues will be fixed in the future. One of the bonus features of Edge is that it supports Chrome Extensions, if someone has a need for those.

Anyway, I don’t plan on moving away from Safari but I will continue to observe the new Edge. I don’t see it replacing Firefox as my secondary backup browser but it could in theory.


Google’s Ecosystem of Apps Banned from Future Huawei Smartphones →

May 20, 2019 · 12:03

Angela Moon, reporting for Reuters:

Alphabet Inc’s Google has suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday, in a blow to the Chinese technology company that the U.S. government has sought to blacklist around the world.

Holders of current Huawei smartphones with Google apps, however, will continue to be able to use and download app updates provided by Google, a Google spokesperson said, confirming earlier reporting by Reuters […]

Chipmakers including Intel Corp, Qualcomm Inc, Xilinx Inc and Broadcom Inc have told their employees they will not supply critical software and components to Huawei until further notice […]

This could spiral out of control very easily.


Translating an ARM iOS App to Intel macOS Using Bitcode →

May 18, 2019 · 12:22

Steven Troughton-Smith, on High Caffeine Content:

Of course, the specter of macOS on ARM has been in the public psyche for many years now, and many have pondered whether Bitcode will make this transition more straightforward. The commonly held belief is that Bitcode is not suited to massive architectural changes like moving between Intel and ARM.

I was unconvinced, so I decided to test the theory!

Of course he did. Since this is Steve, the results are predictable.

That was easy!

This means, in theory, that if Apple wanted every iOS app on the App Store to run on the Mac, today or in the future, they have a mechanism to do so transparently and without needing developers to update or recompile their apps.


MacOS: How to Enable Full Mitigation for Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) Vulnerabilities →

May 17, 2019 · 12:39

Apple Support:

Intel has disclosed vulnerabilities called Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) that apply to desktop and notebook computers with Intel CPUs, including all modern Mac computers.

Although there are no known exploits affecting customers at the time of this writing, customers who believe their computer is at heightened risk of attack can use the Terminal app to enable an additional CPU instruction and disable hyper-threading processing technology, which provides full protection from these security issues.

This option is available for macOS Mojave, High Sierra and Sierra and may have a significant impact on the performance of your computer […]

Testing conducted by Apple in May 2019 showed as much as a 40 percent reduction in performance […]

You probably don’t need to enable these mitigations unless you’re a secret agent but I’m pretty sure this is really helping push the transition from Intel to ARM inside Apple.


Saying Goodbye to Tweet Marker →

May 17, 2019 · 12:36

Manton Reece:

Tweet Marker’s time has come and gone. I’ve notified developers using the Tweet Marker API that I plan to wind down the service by July 1st. I’ve also cancelled all the paid subscriptions. (Actually I haven’t billed anyone in over 6 months, so I’ve been running the service for free.)

Over a million people have used Tweet Marker. I’m proud of that. If you’re one of those people, especially if you supported Tweet Marker as a developer or with a subscription, thank you.

There was a short time when I did indeed use Tweet Marker, when I was juggling between an iOS and Android smartphone, but that didn’t last long. And I never did understand why Twitter itself did not choose to implement a timeline syncing feature — this is probably their largest technical fuck up.


Girl, 16, Kills Herself After Instagram Poll to Decide Between Life or Death →

May 16, 2019 · 12:05

Sky News:

District police chief Aidil Bolhassan said 69% of respondents at the time of her death had selected “D”. However, Instagram maintains that the poll ended after 24 hours with 88% of her followers choosing “L”.

Anything less than 100% for “L” is completely unacceptable. I cannot fathom how horrible a person you have to be, to even consider voting “D”, let alone actually doing it.


Apple’s Tariff Tradeoff: Raise Phone Prices or Suffer Margin Hit →

May 16, 2019 · 11:59

Mark Gurman, for Bloomberg:

In late November, Trump told the Wall Street Journal he might impose tariffs on mobile phones and laptops, and said consumers “could stand” a 10% increase in prices “very easily” […]

I’m sure that “said consumers” completely agree with Trump.

A $1,249 iPhone XS Max with 256 gigabytes of storage has $453 worth of parts, according to TechInsights. A 25% levy on that would be $113, raising the purchase price by about 9%. Apple’s other models, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XR, could face a similar increase, according to estimates. In a recent note to investors, Morgan Stanley estimated that a $999 iPhone XS would cost $160 more. JPMorgan analysts forecast a 14% price increase […]

If Apple passes the whole tariff cost to U.S. consumers, demand could drop by 10% to 40%, Cowen’s Sankar estimated on Tuesday. That, in turn, may slice earnings per share by 1% to 4% in fiscal 2020, the analyst said.

So, Apple could “very easily” lose between 10% and 40% in new iPhone sales. I guess that means that the free 5 GB iCloud tier isn’t going up in size anytime soon.


Lenovo Shows Off the World’s First Foldable PC →

May 15, 2019 · 14:30

Chaim Gartenberg, reporting for The Verge:

As for how you use the device, Lenovo is envisioning a variety of use cases. You can use it completely unfolded like a large tablet or partially folded in a book-esque form factor. A built-in kickstand lets you prop up the display on a table for use with an included wireless keyboard and trackpad.

And, perhaps most interestingly, you can turn the device on its side and use it in a traditional (albeit smaller) laptop style form factor, using the bottom surface as a digital keyboard or writing pad, similar to Lenovo’s two-screened Yoga Books. Cleverly, the right side of the display (which serves as the “bottom” portion when used in laptop mode) contains the entire battery, which keeps it weighed down so it won’t topple over.

Since I like prefer physical keyboards to their on-screen counterparts, I don’t envision using this PC without their external keyboard, which I would need to take around with me. In that situation, I may as well just carry a regular MacBook or something like a Surface Pro.

What interests me however, is what this kind of computer would look like if Apple made it, assuming they’ll even get in on this bendable screen trend. Imagine getting foldable iPhones or iPads in a few years time, running iOS. At the same time, MacOS on MacBooks will be running iOS apps via Marzipan. Will MacBooks get touchscreens, which could be useful for those Marzipan apps (at the very least)? Will Apple opt for making foldable MacBooks too? Would you prefer to use a foldable iPad running iOS, or a foldable Mac running MacOS with Marzipanified apps? Will iOS (or iPadOS) and MacOS merge together, despite what Apple has stated in the past? How would all of this even work?

Photo credit: The Verge


Google to Show Ads on Homepage of App →

May 15, 2019 · 10:05

Paresh Dave, reporting for Reuters:

Alphabet Inc’s Google will begin featuring ads on the homepage of its smartphone app worldwide later this year, it said on Tuesday, giving the search engine a huge new supply of ad slots to boost revenue.

Google will also start placing ads with a gallery of up to eight images in search results, potentially increasing ad supply further.

It appears that they’re still keeping their desktop homepage clean though.

Since you’re reading this, please consider switching to DuckDuckGo as your main search engine. Its results are close enough to Google’s that it doesn’t matter 99% of the time, and it doesn’t track you. Period. You can also set DDG as your default search engine on Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, etc. Try it, at the very least.


Adobe Tells Users They Can Get Sued for Using Old Versions of Photoshop →

May 15, 2019 · 10:01

Karl Bode, reporting for Vice:

Adobe is warning some owners of its Creative Cloud software applications that they’re no longer allowed to use older versions of the software. It’s yet another example of how in the modern era, you increasingly don’t actually own the things you’ve spent your hard-earned money on.

Adobe this week began sending some users of its Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, Premiere, Animate, and Media Director programs a letter warning them that they were no longer legally authorized to use the software they may have thought they owned.

“We have recently discontinued certain older versions of Creative Cloud applications and and a result, under the terms of our agreement, you are no longer licensed to use them,” Adobe said in the email. “Please be aware that should you continue to use the discontinued version(s), you may be at risk of potential claims of infringement by third parties.”

Users were less than enthusiastic about the sudden restrictions.

The reason behind this seem to be ongoing litigation but users should not be subjected to this sort of treatment. I have been using Adobe products for at least 20 years and the only reason I’m still paying them money is Lightroom — nobody else has anything close to it in terms of functionality. That does not mean that I’m happy with what I’m paying for…

My current Photography Plan consists of:

  • Lightroom Classic (which I use)
  • Lightroom CC (which I don’t use)
  • Photoshop (which I don’t need)
  • 20 GB of cloud storage (which I don’t use; also, 20 GB would allow me to store around 200 RAW files, where each file is around 100 MB — laughable)

I just want Lightroom Classic and I couldn’t care less about the rest, yet I am forced to pay for unused features. Adobe’s Creative Cloud is a very frustrating experience.


The Rumoured 2019 iPhone XR’s Camera Bump Is Hideous →

May 15, 2019 · 09:50

Joe Rossignol, for MacRumors:

[…] Mark Gurman has since tweeted a photo of what appears to be shards of casing glass for the next-generation iPhone XR in a variety of colors, including lavender, green, white, black, and yellow.

Based on this information, we’ve mocked up what the next iPhone XR lineup could look like, including a comparison with the current colors. Our renders include a dual-lens rear camera in a square bump, as rumored for the next iPhone XR, but otherwise the device looks similar to the current generation.

I don’t really care for the XR colours, apart from the red, white, and black, but the real story will be in the camera bump. I don’t really trust these leaks but if the rears of the 2019 iPhones are anywhere near to what’s being mocked up, I’ll have another reason to skip this generation (the first one being lack of USB-C).


What to Expect From Marzipan →

May 13, 2019 · 09:26

Craig Hockenberry, on Iconfactory’s blog:

It’s clear that this year’s WWDC is going to be a doozy. We’ve written here previously with our thoughts about Dark Mode, now it’s time to talk about iOS apps coming to the Mac.

A trove of good advice and information detailing what we should expect from Marizpan apps coming to MacOS, for both users and developers.


Apple is the MacBook Pro’s Biggest Enemy →

May 8, 2019 · 23:00

Rob Griffiths, on Robservatory:

To sum it up, the extra $300 on the Touch Bar machine gets you:

  • An OLED display strip embedded above the keyboard
  • A CPU that’s one generation newer—with faster clock speeds and twice the cores
  • Faster graphics
  • A True Tone display
  • Two additional Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Bluetooth 5.0—faster, longer range, lower power draw
  • Touch ID

All that for $300—from the same company that charges $600 for a 32GB iMac RAM upgrade that you can buy for under $200. There’s no doubt which machine you’d order—and which machine Apple wants you to order—if you were in the market and didn’t mind the Touch Bar: The non-Touch Bar Mac is clearly inferior to the Touch Bar version.

I have refused to upgrade my MacBook Pro (without TouchBar) to a newer model, and will continue to do so, until Apple decides to (1) make the Touch Bar optional or (2) bring the model without the Touch Bar up-to-date. I will not pay absurd prices for old tech — Apple is insulting its users by even offering that config. I don’t consider the MacBook Air to be a replacement either — it has a 7W CPU while the old Airs had 15W parts (as does the non-Touch Bar MBP). And yes, I tried to live with the Touch Bar. It did not end well — I ended up returning two models.

Apple prides itself on customer loyalty but they’re extremely close to losing me. When the time comes for me to upgrade, if they don’t offer what I need, I’ll just go with another brand.