Choosing a Wi-Fi Router to Use With Apple Devices →

April 27, 2018 · 13:22

Apple Support:

For the most compatibility, reliability, and performance when used with Apple devices, look for a Wi-Fi router that offers these features…

If you just have a regular-sized apartment, just get a good 802.11ac router from a reputable manufacturer, but if you need great coverage over a larger area, mesh Wi-Fi, such as Eero or their competitors, is the way to go. Personally, I wouldn’t ever get Google’s WiFi mesh solution — I simply wouldn’t trust them with so much of my data.

If you are however looking for a Time Capsule replacement, just additionally get a 2 or 4-bay QNAP NAS and configure the Time Machine backup feature on it. I have been using mine for years now and it has been flawless, better than Apple’s own product, which required me to reset my backups every few months, due to some sort of error.


1Blocker X for iOS — New App, More Rules

April 25, 2018 · 12:15

The guys behind 1Blocker for iOS and macOS are launching 1Blocker X tomorrow, with support for many more rules by combining several content blockers into one app — this rewrite took them 6 months, which is why I completely understand their need to make back their investment. Salavat Khanov wrote up all the new features of 1Blocker X on their blog — it’s an interesting read — and now that I finally understand how it works under the hood, I’m upgrading tomorrow, when the app goes live. You can pre-order it today though…

1Blocker X — $4.99 / €5,49 / 23,49 PLN


Google Has More of Your Personal Data Than Facebook →

April 23, 2018 · 11:04

Christopher Mims, for The Washington Post:

As justifiable as the focus on Facebook has been, though, it isn’t the full picture. If the concern is that companies might be collecting some personal data without our knowledge or explicit consent, Alphabet’s Google is a far bigger threat by many measures: the volume of information it gathers, the reach of its tracking and the time people spend on its sites and apps […]

It’s likely that Google has shadow profiles on at least as many people as Facebook does, says Chandler Givens, chief executive of TrackOff, which develops software to fight identity theft. Google allows everyone, whether they have a Google account or not, to opt out of its ad targeting. Yet, like Facebook, it continues to gather your data […]

Google also is the biggest enabler of data harvesting, through the world’s two billion active Android mobile devices. Because Google’s Android OS helps companies gather data on us, then Google is also partly to blame when troves of that data are later used improperly, says Woodrow Hartzog, a professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University.

A good example of this is the way Facebook has continuously harvested Android users’ call and text history. Facebook never got this level of access from Apple ’s iPhone, whose operating system is designed to permit less under-the-hood data collection. Android OS often allows apps to request rich data from users without accompanying warnings about how the data might be used.

Meanwhile, we still don’t have the tools or means to protect ourselves from being targeted by Google, Facebook, and others, or to block their tracking practices completely.


Aleksandr Kogan Collected Facebook Users’ Direct Messages →

April 13, 2018 · 11:45

Alex Hern and Carole Cadwalladr, writing for The Guardian:

Aleksandr Kogan collected direct messages sent to and from Facebook users who installed his This Is Your Digital Life app, the Guardian can reveal. It follows Facebook’s admission that the company “may” have handed over the direct messages of some users to the Cambridge Analytica contractor without their express permission. The revelation is the most severe breach of privacy yet in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

This just gets better and better. I wonder what else we don’t know yet.

For the record, I deleted my Facebook account on March 22, a day after my last post on the subject.


All of Apple’s OSes Should Get Comprehensive Instruction Manuals

April 9, 2018 · 11:24

This is but one example of the hundreds, if not thousands, of hidden features inside iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Siri. There are so many of these right now, that I don’t know a single person who would be aware of all of them. I read one of my own tips, which I published a few years ago, and was amazed that something like that was possible, and that I did not remember it1.

P.S. If you’re on macOS and don’t know the following keyboard shortcuts, make sure to memorise them — they’re really useful:

  1. I have since forgotten it again.

Solo: A Star Wars Story Official Trailer

April 9, 2018 · 09:00

Han Solo is Harrison Ford. Harrison Ford is Han Solo. He is the character of the original Star Wars trilogy. I watched and rewatched the movies because of him and for him. I might have shed a tear or ten when he died in The Force Awakens. I truly hope this newest Star Wars Story doesn’t ruin him for me and I’m half-tempted to not watch it at all.


macOS High Sierra Has a Huge Vulnerability — Change Your Root Password ASAP

November 29, 2017 · 10:47

Lemi Orhan Erhin disclosed a huge vulnerability in macOS High Sierra yesterday, allowing anyone to log onto a Mac with root access.

Please follow the instructions here to enable the root account and set its password to something complicated1, which you should safely save in 1Password (or whatever password manager you’re using).

  1. Please don’t use password or 123456.

BBEdit 12 — It (Still) Doesn’t Suck®

October 13, 2017 · 15:53

Version 12 was released yesterday and Bare Bones Software published info on how to upgrade, depending on which version you’re on — you can find it here. It’s probably easiest to just upgrade when they ask you to — completely worth it in my opinion. They also published a complete change log:

BBEdit 12.0 contains many new features, enhancements, and refinements to existing features. It also includes fixes for reported issues. This document describes changes in BBEdit since the previous update (11.6.8).

BBEdit also has a wonderful manual which is totally worth reading. It’s probably the first software manual that I have read in my life.


No More DISQUS Comments (And Typography Changes)

August 20, 2017 · 13:20

DISQUS have informed me that they will be introducing ads to their commenting system on my site in the following week or so, hence I have chosen to remove their service from Infinite Diaries. They do offer an ad-free experience, but I would have to pay for their pro tier, which makes no sense whatsoever in this case.

In the meantime, I have also modified the typography used on Infinite Diaries, settling on Lato and Noto Serif.

Update

You can additionally login via WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook to leave a comment.

Update 2

I turned Noto Serif off. It didn’t fit.


iPhone 8 Code Name and Image Found in Homepod Firmware

July 31, 2017 · 08:39

Steven did a little sleuthing over the weekend, poking around the HomePod firmware…

Pearl ID and BiometricKit found, but still no word whether the iPhone 8/Pro (or whatever else Apple will call it) will have Touch ID along facial recognition.

Guilherme Rambo‏ also found an image representing the new iPhone, which Steven confirmed, along with its D22 code name.


Someone at Apple is going to have an angry phone call today…


Tesla Model 3 Photos and Specs

July 29, 2017 · 09:43

The Model 3, according to what Elon Musk said, will come in two variants. The standard model will cost $35,000, accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 5.6 seconds , and have a range of 220 miles (352 km). The long range model will be more expensive at $44,000, accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, and have a range of 310 miles (496 km). Still no word on the “D” models, with AWD.

Continue reading →


iPod Nano and Shuffle Removed from Apple.com

July 27, 2017 · 22:23

Sadly, the iPod Nano and Shuffle were both removed from Apple.com. The iPod brand still lives on, in the form of the iPod touch in 32 GB and 128 GB flavours. I kept hoping Apple would release an iPod Nano with Apple Music support in some form, even if it didn’t have a modem — it appears that those dreams won’t come true.


A Letter to the US from John Cleese →

February 8, 2017 · 10:23

John Cleese:

To the citizens of the United States of America, in light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II resumes monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy.

Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Theresa May, MP for the 97.8% of you who have, until now, been unaware there’s a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America. Congress and the Senate are disbanded. A questionnaire circulated next year will determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid your transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect…

Do make sure to read the whole thing — it’s absolute comedy gold! I love this guy!

8. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left. At the same time, you will go metric without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

This one’s probably my favourite.


The Case for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro →

January 18, 2017 · 12:21

Jason Snell:

Dan Provost of Studio Neat wrote an interesting post last week about reports that Apple is planning on releasing a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro alongside the 12.9- and 9.7-inch versions.

The idea seems kind of far-fetched at first. Provost himself cites John Gruber’s statement that it doesn’t make any sense, but after reading Provost’s post, Gruber said that “the math works out”. And I have to admit, the more I think about it, the more appealing this possible product sounds to me.

I did the math 5 months ago, after Ming-Chi Kuo’s first rumour about the new iPad:

If you take the resolution of the 12.9″ iPad Pro of 2732 x 2048 px (it also has 264 PPI) and shrink it down to 10.5″, you get approximately 326 PPI. This could mean that the 10.5″ iPad Pro would get the slightly larger UI of the biggest iPad in the lineup, together with the better virtual keyboard and more room for two apps side by side.

I have not changed by mind — I love the amount of information that fits on the iPad Pros 12.9″ screen, but I would love to have it in a smaller form factor. My only worry is the Smart Keyboard — I use it because of its full-sized keys. Back to Jason:

A slightly wider iPad Pro would give Apple and third-party keyboard makers a little more room with which to work. Yes, the 12.9-inch model is 65 millimeters wider than the smaller iPad, but a look at the respective Smart Keyboards suggests that the 12.9-inch Smart Keyboard has width to spare. There’s at least 30 millimeters total of wasted space on the sides of the larger Smart Keyboard. Squash a few of the modifier keys at the edges, as on the smaller model, and an iPad that’s only slightly larger would probably allow for a keyboard with full-sized keys.

I really hope Jason is right about this and this is the path that Apple chooses — typing on the 9.7″ Smart Keyboard is a pain for me.

I also wonder if this might be an opportunity for Apple to release its own keyboard cover based on the new butterfly keyswitches it’s using on the MacBook and MacBook Pro, rather than leaving traditional keyboards to the third-party market.

I’ve grown to really like both the Smart Keyboard and the new butterfly mechanisms on my late 2016 MacBook Pro and Magic Keyboard. A marriage of the two would be a very interesting concept. It should also be more than possible — Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 keyboard is very good.

But I’ll give back a little bit of physical size if it also can bring support for full-sized external keyboards to the party.

Me too!


Another Example of the 2016 MacBook Pro’s Absurdly Terrible Battery Life

December 20, 2016 · 13:21

As you can imagine, I don’t compose my ‘App Store Deals’ posts manually — they’re automated with the help of Keyboard Maestro. Not very complicated too. Basically what I do is I select some text, run the script, select the price change, run the script, find the App Store link, and run the script again. I get a full set of formatted results in a BBEdit file. My script is basically using Safari, the clipboard, and BBEdit. It just copies text, pastes it elsewhere, and searches the App Store for an URL.

I have used the script for several years. It would barely impact the battery life of my MacBook Air 11″ (2013) and Pro 13″ (2014) — I’d lose perhaps 1-2% in 30 minutes. The same script on my 2016 MacBook Pro (13″, base Core i5, with Touch Bar) needed exactly 10%. The whole thing took me 35 minutes to complete (I spent some 5 minutes changing a few details in the script itself — it was in need of a few tweaks).

Looks like I won’t break the 5 hour barrier today. If my replacement’s behaviour doesn’t improve, it’s going back. Sorry Apple, but 5-6 hours of actual battery life is not enough.


A Transcript of Bogdan Popescu’s Phone Call With Apple

October 12, 2016 · 08:42

I’ve followed the Dash vs. Apple kerfuffle for the past few days and have a slightly different take on the subject than anyone else I’ve seen — think ‘lost in translation’ with a dash of pride1, and a pinch of exasperation. Anyway, while writing about the whole thing I made a transcript of the phone call published by Bogdan, which you can listen to on his blog.

Continue reading →

  1. Pun not intended.

Jason Snell on the New iCloud Features →

September 21, 2016 · 11:16

Jason Snell:

Now, I may not be the perfect user for this feature, but I wanted to give it to try. And I definitely saw it in action, but I can’t call it a success. It was, in fact, the single most frustrating moment I spent with macOS Sierra.

Here’s what happened: I was editing a podcast in Apple’s Logic Pro X, and my project was stored on the Desktop. All of a sudden, the voice of one of my podcast panelists simply vanished from the mix. I quit and re-launched Logic, only to be told that the file in question was missing. Sure enough, a visit to Finder revealed that Sierra had “optimized” my storage and removed that file from my local drive. I’ll grant you, the file was a couple of weeks old, and very large as most audio files are. But I was also actively using it within a Logic project. Apparently that didn’t count for anything?

So that’s bad. That’s enough for me to turn off that feature and never use it again—or at the very least, never keep my project files on the Desktop or in the Documents folder.

To add insult to injury, at the time my files were deleted, my hard drive had approximately 80GB of free space. Why were the files deleted? I have no idea, but I suspect a bug in how Sierra was viewing the stock internal SSD of my iMac, because it’s also warned me that it didn’t have enough space to back up a 64GB iPhone with more than 100GB free, and gave me a “you’re about to run out of disk space” warning with 60GB free. So not only did Sierra remove files that I was using, it did so without any necessity.

At this point I downloaded all my files from iCloud, copied them to a file server just in case, and turned off both the Manage Storage feature and iCloud syncing of my Documents and Desktop folder. It’s a nice idea, but I’m not willing to have the place on my Mac where I keep key projects and documents to be a place I can’t count on. Think twice before enabling this feature.

I use BitTorrent Sync Pro to synchronise my Desktop and Downloads folders between my Macs. I can’t see myself moving away from this solution in the near future and switching to iCloud.


macOS Sierra Is Available to Download on the Mac App Store

September 20, 2016 · 19:11

The new macOS Sierra 10.12 is ready to download and install from the Mac App Store. Before you do the latter, please remember to backup your drive — I suggest two backups at the least. Personally, I always make sure my Time Machine has a fresh backup and I also clone my system drive with Carbon Copy Cloner. Better safe than sorry.

macOS Sierra

P.S. The Dev GM 2 and final build numbers are the same — both are 16A323. The public beta GM is an older build.