Rogue Amoeba on macOS Sierra and Gatekeeper Path Randomization →

June 30, 2016 · 23:35

Jeff Johnson:

At their recent Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced macOS 10.12 (Sierra), the next major version of the Mac operating system. Sierra is scheduled for official release in the fall, and we’re hard at work on getting our software ready for it. For now, however, we recommend that if you can’t live without our software — which we love to hear! — you should stick with 10.11 (El Capitan) or lower. We’ll be releasing fully compatible updates for 10.12 as soon as possible. For more detailed information, please see our Status page.

I’d like to take a few minutes now to talk directly to fellow software developers about Sierra, specifically about a new Sierra security feature called “Gatekeeper Path Randomization” (GPR) that has serious implications for software delivered outside of the Mac App Store.

How to Avoid Clipboard Poisoning Attacks on the Mac →

June 4, 2016 · 14:56

Thomas Reed:

Graham Cluley drew my attention the other day to an issue that has apparently been known to some for years, but was new to me: clipboard poisoning, an issue where a website can replace what you think is on your clipboard with something else (…)

It turns out that there’s a possibility that this could lead to remote code execution. In other words, it could lead to someone else’s malicious code being run on your computer without your knowledge!

Once malicious code has been run on your computer, that code can download and install other processes, and in no time, your Mac has been pwned.

The key to this issue lies with any code that the user might copy from a website, then copy somewhere else in such a way that it is automatically executed. It turns out that this is possible with shell scripts pasted into the Terminal.

As an example, consider the following command, which is commonly cited as a way to make your Mac show hidden files:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE; killall Finder

Read his full post for tips how to keep yourself safe.

via @qurczaq

Dropbox and the OS X Kernel →

May 28, 2016 · 19:09

Damien DeVille:

Traditionally, Dropbox operated entirely in user space as a program just like any other on your machine. With Dropbox Infinite, we’re going deeper: into the kernel—the core of the operating system. With Project Infinite, Dropbox is evolving from a process that passively watches what happens on your local disk to one that actively plays a role in your filesystem. We have invested the better part of two years making all the pieces fit together seamlessly. This post is a glimpse into our journey.

Looks like I’ll be purchasing BitTorrent Sync after all.

Apple Just Dropped a Huge Clue That OS X Will Be Renamed MacOS →

April 18, 2016 · 08:30

Nick Statt:

Apple today let slip another reference to its potential operating system rebranding from OS X to MacOS. As part of its new environmental webpage in honor of Earth Day 2016, the company lists off names when discussing how it evaluates product life spans. “Years of use, which are based on first owners, are assumed to be four years for MacOS and tvOS devices and three years for iOS and watchOS devices,” the company writes.

Why ‘MacOS’ and not ‘macOS’, which would fit the current iOS, watchOS and tvOS scheme?

Transmission for OS X Infected With KeRanger Ransomware →

March 7, 2016 · 08:03

Claud Xiao and Jin Chen:

On March 4, we detected that the Transmission BitTorrent ailient installer for OS X was infected with ransomware, just a few hours after installers were initially posted. We have named this Ransomware “KeRanger.” The only previous ransomware for OS X we are aware of is FileCoder, discovered by Kaspersky Lab in 2014. As FileCoder was incomplete at the time of its discovery, we believe KeRanger is the first fully functional ransomware seen on the OS X platform.

Attackers infected two installers of Transmission version 2.90 with KeRanger on the morning of March 4. When we identified the issue, the infected DMG files were still available for downloading from the Transmission site. Transmission is an open source project. It’s possible that Transmission’s official website was compromised and the files were replaced by re-compiled malicious versions, but we can’t confirm how this infection occurred.

You’ll find the malware removal instructions under the title’s link.

Siri Reportedly Coming to OS X 10.12 (Codenamed ‘Fuji’) →

February 24, 2016 · 16:39

Mark Gurman:

Instead of integrating Siri as a swipe menu akin to the Mac’s Notification Center or as a full screen view like on the iPhone and even the iPad Pro, Siri for the Mac will live in the Mac’s Menu Bar. Similar to the Spotlight magnifying glass icon for search and notifications icon for Notification Center, a Siri icon in the top right corner of the menu bar will activate the voice control feature.

At last! I hope Siri also gains the ability to understand multiple languages in one sentence, eg. ‘Hey Siri, give me travel directions to Grande Anse des Salines’.

Siri on the Mac will have its own pane in System Preferences and users are said to also have the option to choose a keyboard shortcut for activating the service. Like with recent versions of iOS, users will be able to enable Siri at the first startup of OS X 10.12, according to sources. If the Mac running the new OS X version is plugged into power, a “Hey Siri” command will work much like with recent iPhone and iPad models.

That would be strange, especially considering the ‘Hey Siri’ works on the most recent iPhones and iPads without the devices needing to being plugged in.

Federico Viticci’s iPad-Only Setup — a Year in →

February 23, 2016 · 15:24

Federico Viticci wrote at length about his iPad-only workflow yesterday, and I have to say that I envy him that he can go and do this:

OS X is a fantastic desktop operating system, but it runs on machines that increasingly don’t fit the lifestyle of users who, like me, can’t sit down at a desk every day. I can’t (and I don’t want to) depend on Macs anymore because I want a computer that can always be with me. The majority of the world’s population doesn’t care about Xcode. I want to use an OS without (what I see as) cruft of decades of desktop conventions. I want powerful, innovative apps that I can touch. An iPad is the embodiment of all this.

I’m currently travelling, as you may have noticed, and I had a touch decision to make when packing — iPad Pro or MacBook Pro. I ultimately went with the MacBook for one reason, and one reason only — to retain the ability to edit my RAW files in Adobe Lightroom. iOS software still has a way to go, and I wish companies such as Adobe would start working on a full LR replacement, instead of making it a companion app.

A year into my iPad-only setup and with only one task left for my Mac, I feel safe to say I’ve moved past OS X at this point. The iPad Pro and iOS 9 have continued to free me from the physical constraints of my MacBook thanks to better hardware and a stronger software ecosystem. Macs are great, and they’re not going away any time soon, but they’re no longer the kind of computers I want to use. I need a computer that I can hold, with built-in 4G Internet and apps I can touch, and with a vibrant developer community whose apps constantly improve how I get work done. That’s an iPad.

I wonder at times if younger people have it easier when adopting a newer platform. I’m probably ten, if not more, years older than Federico, and I find things easier on OS X, most probably because I’ve known the intricacies of this operating system for a numbers of years now, whereas iOS is constantly evolving. This reminds me of the time in my teens when I used to play Doom a lot, using just the keyboard for everything. When I switched to Quake, I continued to use the keyboard, despite the fact that using a mouse and keyboard simultaneously gave the player much more precision. I still remember the day I walked into an internet café and saw four kids firing away, right hands on mice, left on keyboards. I finally made the switch, but it wasn’t easy for me, and they were probably just five or six years younger than me. The difference was that they skipped the keyboard-only phase…

And I never even tried to switch to playing FPS games on a gamepad…

OS X 10.11.4 beta 3 — What’s New?

February 9, 2016 · 13:13

I’ve been much more enthusiastic in the new OS X betas than the iOS ones, to be honest. I’m really glad Apple is working on both systems, not only focusing on new features, but also stabilising both platforms. The third beta for OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 was released yesterday and unfortunately has no new goodies that I know of.

Continue reading →

OS X – Choose Between the Character Accents Popup
and Key Repeat When Holding Down a Key

January 4, 2016 · 22:18

Apple introduced an iOS feature to OS X some years back changing the behaviour of the keyboard. Traditionally, if a key was held down, the letter would start repeating itself on screeeeeeeeeen. This was changed to a popup which displayed various non-standard characters. I was never a fan of this, even though it does indeed simplify finding accented letters. This cannot be changed through System Preferences, but a quick visit to the Terminal can sort things out.

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Ambient Light Compensation in OS X El Capitan Beta 7

August 22, 2015 · 10:31

When OS X 10.11 El Capitan’s was first released, I was curious as to what Ambient light compensation was, so I started searching what others had written. David Pogue mentioned that it allows for “the screen brightness to adjust with the room brightness,” which is probably incorrect, as that is controlled by the Automatically adjust brightness check box. A few minutes later I found Paul Robinson’s reply on Quora.

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PCalc for OS X Yosemite with Continuity / Handoff

October 17, 2014 · 13:26

I had the opportunity to beta test the wonderful PCalc by James Thomson for these past few weeks and I’ve really come to love it, especially on the iPhone. You can read my short review about the iOS version here.

The two other new features that got me hooked are support for Handoff and PCalc’s widget. Handoff — one of iOS 8’s new features — means that I can start my calculations on my iPhone and should I choose to pick up my iPad, a little icon will appear on the lockscreen, allowing me to continue where I left off. I’ve actually had a few situations where this worked out perfectly. The only downside is that Handoff support in iOS 8 is still a little bit finicky — sometimes it just refuses to work.

I’ve also been using the OS X version and unfortunately, Handoff only worked correctly between iPad and iPhone – I just couldn’t coax anything useful out of it on OS X on either of my computers. James rolled out the update in the Mac App Store a few days ago and I just updated it a few minutes ago. At first it didn’t work at all with my iPhone 6 and iPad mini 2… and then I had the idea of turning on Bluetooth on both devices, to test it again (this did not work earlier during the betas). The PCalc icon appeared in the lower left hand corner of my lockscreen immediately. And it worked the other way too!

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