Half of Top Free VPN Apps Affiliated with China →

July 19, 2019 · 09:08

Simon Migliano:

Our investigation uncovered that over half of the top free VPN apps either had Chinese ownership or were actually based in China, which has aggressively clamped down on VPN services over the past year and maintains an iron grip on the internet within its borders. Furthermore, we found the majority of free VPN apps had little-to-no formal privacy protections and non-existent user support.

Apple and Google have let down consumers by failing to properly vet these app publishers, many of whom lack any sort of credible web presence and whose app store listings are riddled with misinformation.

People will generally prefer not to pay for something when there is a free alternative. The thing is, there is no such thing as free — you just pay via alternative means. In the case of VPNs, you’ll be paying with your privacy and security, which is what a VPN is supposed to help with. Do not use free VPNs.


Think FaceApp Is Scary? →

July 19, 2019 · 09:03

Brian Barrett:

Faceapp is a viral lark that takes a convincing guess at what you’ll look like when you’re old. FaceApp is also the product of a Russian company that sends photos from your device to its servers, retains rights to use them in perpetuity, and performs artificial intelligence black magic on them. And so the FaceApp backlash has kicked into gear, with anxious stories and tweets warning you off of its charms. Which, fine! Just make sure you save some of that ire for bigger targets.

When the last wave of Faceapp photos hit the internet a few days ago, after they added their new filters, I was again tempted to install the app, just as I was a few years ago, when the exact same concerns were raised. Resisting the temptation was pretty easy though. Why is it so hard for others? And how did they forget so quickly?


Keep a Stiff Upper Lip (WWDC Feedback) →

July 11, 2019 · 13:05

Daniel Kennet:

I’m a person that would describe myself as “slightly introverted”. I cannot begin to describe how deeply uncomfortable it was to walk into the registration room on Sunday to multiple employees cheering and clapping at me, trying to give me high fives. I understand the want to make people excited, but this needs to have its limits. During the conference, I got cheered and high-fived pretty much the entire week for things like:

  • Picking up a bag of chips.
  • Walking down some stairs.
  • Coming out of the toilet.
  • Walking back up the earlier-mentioned stairs.
  • Walking down the street outside the conference when I was going somewhere else.

I’m not especially introverted and I generally find Apple’s “high five culture” strange.


July 9, 2019 · 20:20

The Surface Pro 6 got a quad-core 8th gen. 15W CPU in October 2019 2018. It took Apple 9 months to add 15W Intel parts to 13-inch MacBook Pros.

It’s things like this, that piss me off most.


My Photography (70) — Downtown Dubai, UAE, 2019

July 9, 2019 · 20:14

I managed to get on the roof of Libery House in Dubai, which has a great view of Downtown. Unfortunately, it was so humid today, that my “big” camera completely fogged up and wouldn’t clear up for over 30 minutes. I gave up and pulled my iPhone out of my pocket. I hate failure.

Shot with iPhone XS @ 26 mm: f/1.8, 1/35 s, ISO 400.


I Won’t Buy Another MacBook Pro Until Apple Drops the Touch Bar (Or Makes It Optional) →

July 9, 2019 · 15:53

Apple PR:

In addition, the entry-level $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro has been updated with the latest 8th-generation quad-core processors, making it two times more powerful than before. It also now features Touch Bar and Touch ID, a True Tone Retina display and the Apple T2 Security Chip […]

The Touch Bar is just bad design. Not only does it not provide any feedback whatsoever, I cannot use the keyboard without actually taking my hands off of it to look at what I want to touch (I use it primarily on my knees).

If Apple hadn’t added the Touch Bar to the non-Touch Bar model and just upgraded the CPU, I would be ordering one right now — the new CPUs are exactly what I have been waiting for. Unfortunately, they did, so that probably means no more Macs for me, at least until they get rid of the Touch Bar. And no, the Air is not sufficient for my needs — it lacks Display P3 and a proper processor.

Update

Clarified that I’m all for making the Touch Bar optional. I would actually consider paying a small premium not to have it.


My Photography (68) — The View from the 124th Floor of Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE, 2019

July 5, 2019 · 22:19

So this happened! I actually had a minute or two of vertigo after looking straight down. The view really is quite stunning. Just try to avoid the haze if possible (which I didn’t).

The Burj Khalifa has a number of terraces and it’s actually cheaper to go up to the 124th floor than the one even higher up (150+) and I’m not sure if that one offers an outdoor terrace. The one I was on has viewports that can fit a lens, if it’s not very big in diameter. I managed to fit my Sony FE 28 mm f/2 without major issues but I couldn’t use my Zeiss ZF 100 mm f/2 Makro-Planar T*. Forget trying to use any larger zoom lens, e.g. a 24-70 f/2.8 or 24-105 f/4. You can shoot through the glass itself of course, but there are so many reflections, you might want to use one of those special flexible anti-reflection hoods.

Don’t forget to look at the fountain show down below!

Shot with Sony A7R II + FE 28 mm f/2: f/8, 75 s, ISO 100.


My Photography (65) — Level 43 Sky Lounge View, Dubai, UAE, 2019

July 3, 2019 · 21:08

The Four Points by Sheraton has a pool and restaurant/club on the roof — Level 43 Sky Lounge — with outdoor seating and a beautiful view. It’s not cheap but then you are paying for more than just the drinks and food.

Notes on the photo: The shot above is heavily compresed and you might see banding in the sky. The original has enough tonal capacity not to exhibit this effect but I had to compress it, to save on bandwidth and load times.

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


Jony Ive to Form Independent Design Company With Apple as Client →

June 27, 2019 · 23:27

Apple PR:

Apple today announced that Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, will depart the company as an employee later this year to form an independent design company which will count Apple among its primary clients. While he pursues personal projects, Ive in his new company will continue to work closely and on a range of projects with Apple.

“Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated, from 1998’s groundbreaking iMac to the iPhone and the unprecedented ambition of Apple Park, where recently he has been putting so much of his energy and care,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built. After so many years working closely together, I’m happy that our relationship continues to evolve and I look forward to working with Jony long into the future.”

Design team leaders Evans Hankey, vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface Design, will report to Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. Both Dye and Hankey have played key leadership roles on Apple’s design team for many years. Williams has led the development of Apple Watch since its inception and will spend more of his time working with the design team in their studio.

Sounds like Apple didn’t have a lot to say in the matter.


20+ Mac Productivity Hacks From CEOs, Artists, Developers, YouTubers and More →

June 27, 2019 · 10:07

Fabrizio Rinaldi:

I’m always surprised by how many Mac hacks, tricks and workflows I keep finding out that boost my productivity and make my life easier. Sometimes they’re hidden features, sometimes clever workflows people come up with — and this is also where the Mac community shows its best side. So, here’s the idea: I’m asking a handful of Mac power users what are some things they do to be more productive with their Macs.

A good list. Found lots of inspiration on it.


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.