This is the last update of MacVolPlace News this year. I will be back on Jan. 2, 2019. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. -mam
Apple is now selling its own 18W USB-C charger and is now allowing third-party MFi certified Lightning to USB-C cables. AppleInsider discusses why this is a good sign for future USB-C parity in all of Apple's chargers. -- AppleInsider.
Announced during the introduction of the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple's long-promised ECG has finally arrived with the watchOS 5.1.2 update. We tried out the new electrocardiogram after updating our 44mm model. -- AppleInsider.
On Thursday, the Australian parliament approved a measure that critics say will weaken encryption in favor of law enforcement and the demands of government.
The new law, which has been pushed for since at least 2017, requires that companies provide a way to get at encrypted communications and data via a warrant process. It also imposes fines of up to A$10 million for companies that do not comply and A$50,000 for individuals who do not comply. In short, the law thwarts (or at least tries to thwart) strong encryption. -- Ars Technica.
"Microsoft Edge will now be delivered and updated for all supported versions of Windows and on a more frequent cadence. We also expect this work to enable us to bring Microsoft Edge to other platforms like macOS," said Microsoft.
The news was revealed as part of Microsoft's larger announcement that Edge will be rebuilt based on the open source Chromium rendering engine, the same engine used by Google Chrome. Microsoft said it expects to have a preview build of the Chromium-based Edge browser ready in early 2019 for users to try. -- MacRumors.
Daring Fireball's John Gruber noticed something interesting when he was going through Apple's Best of the Year awards. When talking about its iOS app of the year, Procreate, Apple had to explain how to Undo and Redo. This would not be necessary on a desktop -- there are established conventions for these functions. While there are conventions iOS, they are not implemented with anywhere near the force they are on desktops and so for some apps something so seemingly basic required explanation. -- Fireball.
Apple has reportedly acquired the talent-scouting and development startup Platoon, a firm set up in the UK by Saul Klein and Denzyl Feigelson, with the latter formerly an Apple executive responsible for the popular iTunes Music Festival. -- AppleInsider.
A story of how choices made to "save money" made things difficult in replacing an old iPhone with a new one. The writer tries to blame Apple but it seems stupid to blame them because he decided to not have an Apple based backup. It's like driving without insurance.
A parable of our times. -- ZDNET.
Apple makes its money by persuading people who already have an iPhone to upgrade to a newer model. It's been years since it boasted about people switching from Android to iPhone. Both ecosystems are now bedded in. The problem for Apple is the lack of a compelling reason to upgrade ("It Just Works.") -- The Register.
A new report (PDF) from the AINow Institute calls for the U.S. government to take general steps to improve the regulation of facial recognition technology amid much debate over the privacy implications. "The implementation of AI systems is expanding rapidly, without adequate governance, oversight, or accountability regimes," it says. The report suggests, for instance, extending the power of existing government bodies in order to regulate AI issues, including use of facial recognition: "Domains like health, education, criminal justice, and welfare all have their own histories, regulatory frameworks, and hazards. -- MIT Technology Review.
Apple has overhauled the Apple Pencil with a refreshed design, new features, and better quality. Apple has done a great job with this iteration, but it's still far from a perfect pointing device.
An Apple Pencil update was the subject of a continuously grinding rumor mill for a while prior to the actual launch alongside the iPad Pro. Fuel for the mill was likely provided by some issues that even its biggest champions were seeking fixes for. -- AppleInsider.
Apple on Wednesday released macOS Mojave, tvOS 12.1.1 and iOS 12.1.1 to the public, with the latter update bringing changes to FaceTime calls, additional eSIM support for the 2018 iPhones, and an extension of Haptic Touch on the iPhone XR, among other changes. -- AppleInsider.
Total download and install took here a UT with a fast network took about 15 minutes. All the usual suspects are running. No one has refused yet. Film at eleven and your mileage may vary.
An issue that I don't like is that after the install and reboot I CANNOT boot into SAFE mode or RECOVER. The progress bar goes to full and stops. Also Disk Utility froze my iMac when I clicked First Aid. Not auspicious.
GeekBench 4.3.0 benchmarking of my Intel iMac (2.9 GHz Intel Core i5, 16GB 1600 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M 512 MB, 1TB Fusion Drive).
Geekbench scores are calibrated against a baseline score of 4000 (which is the score of an Intel Core i7-6600U released September 2015.) Higher scores are better, with double the score indicating double the performance.
Geekbench uses a number of different tests, or workloads, to measure CPU performance. The workloads are divided into four different sections:
Apple on Wednesday launched a standalone option for its 18-watt USB-C power adapter, enabling fast charging for the iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XR, and iPhone XS.
The U.S. version of the adapter costs $29. Buyers will, however, have to supply their own charging cable. There are also various international editions, such as the British one, which sports a unique folding prong mechanism. -- AppleInsider.
A copy of the first issue of Macworld, signed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, will go up for auction starting on Thursday, potentially fetching tens of thousands of dollars. -- AppleInsider.
Above are the covers of my copies of the premier issues MacWorld and MacUser. Unsigned. But ,ome are in better condition than theirs. -mam
Apple's latest Safari Technology Preview includes support for the WebAuthentication API, which allows users to validate website login credentials via hardware security keys that typically come in the form of a USB stick. -- AppleInsider.
The Earth's oceans are rising. It's an inevitable outcome when ice sitting on land melts and when oceans warm, which causes their volume to expand. But if you live at the coast, it may not be rising near you. Places like Miami and Newport News are experiencing floods at many high tides. Some places in Alaska, in contrast, are seeing the oceans edging away, as land seems to lift out of the sea (albeit incredibly gradually.)
How can that happen? -- Ars Technica.
As artificial intelligence technology becomes more integrated into our daily lives, it may have a profound effect on how everyday objects look and behave. That's especially true of autonomous vehicles. While the first self-driving cars in development have built upon human-controlled designs, AI will steer vehicle design past traditional shapes and features. With fewer human factors to worry about, the shape and behavior of vehicles could change radically. And it could all start with something as simple as headlights. -- Ars Technica.
It's not just you: it appears that Siri Shortcuts have not been working properly for some iPhone users since as early as Tuesday.
A small but increasing numbers of users on Twitter and the MacRumors forums claim that they are unable to invoke shortcuts using Siri, including Federico Viticci of MacStories and Rene Ritchie of iMore. The shortcuts still work if executed directly from the Shortcuts app, but not with a Siri voice command. -- MacRumors.
A British lawmaker has released more than 200 pages of confidential, internal Facebook emails revealing discussions of payments for user data and special access for certain companies, including Netflix, Airbnb and Lyft.
The CNBC report further notes: "Damian Collins, a British Member of Parliament and vocal critic of Facebook, published the emails Wednesday alongside a summary of his findings and some of the more notable details. -- Patently Apple.
It's easy to use, just enter your email address. Have I been pwned? allows you to search across multiple data breaches to see if your personal data was compromised by any of the big hacks on record.
The app includes no collecting of private data, searching among published databases and so-called pastes, getting real-time updated by receiving push notifications when new breaches happen, and information behind certain hacks, provided with relevant links to more information.
The app has also been provided as open source software.
I ran it against 2 of my email addresses. One was OK but the other had been pwned by the Acrobat hack. Time to update some passwords.
Security expert Jon Callas formerly led a team of hackers to break into Apple products before they were released to test their security. Now he has joined the ACLU to fight against government back doors.
Wizner said he expects Callas to help the group resist governments demanding access to company platforms for surveillance of users and to weigh in on issues including fairness and transparency in artificial intelligence.
Starting today, the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 marks the first direct-to-consumer product that enables customers to take an electrocardiogram right from their wrist, capturing heart rhythm in a moment when they experience symptoms like a rapid or skipped heart beat and helping to provide critical data to physicians. The irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch can now also occasionally check heart rhythms in the background and send a notification if an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation (AFib) is identified. Apple worked with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a number of years to receive De Novo classification for the ECG app and the irregular heart rhythm notification, making the features available over the counter. -- Apple PR.
Duet Display is an app made by former Apple engineers that allows you to use your iPad as a second screen for your Mac. In this article, we'll explain how it works and the steps you need to follow to get things up and running. -- MacRumors.
This year Dr. Mac auditioned numerous wired and wireless headsets. After countless hours of testing he found a pair of new devices he likes well enough to use occasionally and recommend without hesitation.
This year I auditioned at least half a dozen new wired and wireless headsets for my iPhone and other devices. After countless hours of testing, I concluded that while none of the new headsets will unseat my long-time favorite wired and wireless headphones, I did discover a pair of new devices I like well enough to use occasionally and can recommend without hesitation. -- The Mac Observer.
Today, with A software update, Apple switched on two highly anticipated features of its popular wearable: The first uses optical sensors to detect irregular heart rhythms on Apple Watch Series 1 and later iterations. The second enables wearers of Apple Watch Series 4 to record an electrocardiogram, or ECG, directly from their wrist. -- Wired.
However you have migrated from your old to your new Mac, you reach the point where you think everything is now ready to use. Until now, I like to keep Time Machine (or any other backup system) turned off, to save it getting in the way of file movements and all those migration activities. -- Eclectic Light Company.
In late August, Sean Panchal and his wife had just settled down to relax after putting their newborn to bed when they saw car lights through the curtains of their Danforth-area home in Toronto.
At first, they thought it may be another car going by.
Later, they discovered someone had hopped into their Toyota RAV4 and driven away.
"If you do live in a house, try to leave your keys either upstairs or ... as far away from the vehicle as possible," he said. "The other thing that you can do is there are products out there that you can put your key fob into," such as a faraday cage -- a box used to block radio signals -- a key pouch, which works similarly, or even a steel box. -- CBC.
Microsoft and MasterCard announced that they are teaming up to create a digital identity solution to help protect consumers across the shopping, investment and travel industries.
Near everyone has the issue of managing their digital identities, including multiple passwords, two-factor authentication, and other hurdles proving themselves who they purport to be. Microsoft and MasterCard's solution is one of many working on this problem. -- AppleInsider.
Anyone who frequents Apple retail stores knows they can always count on knowledgeable and sympathetic help from an employee. One might assume that Apple retains such people with high salaries. Nope. -- Cult of Mac.
Steve Jobs wanted customers to understand the Apple store "with one sweep of the eye," as if gods standing on Mount Olympus. Indeed, the outlets seem to speak for themselves. Bright, uncluttered, and clad in glass, they couldn't contrast more sharply with the big-box labyrinths they were designed to replace. -- The Guardian.
Apple today reminded Mac developers that it is encouraging them to have their apps notarized, meaning that the apps have been scanned by Apple and checked for malware and other security issues. -- MacRumors.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 50 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we briefly touch on a speaker array that is part of a family of next-gen speakers that started with HomePod, an alternative Apple Watch form factor and one relating to 3D depth cameras. Apple was also granted a design patent for a three person sitting bench. And as always, we wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today. -- Patently Apple.
If you're in the market for a new 4K/UHD TV, an understanding of High Dynamic Range (HDR) is essential to make sure all your equipment is compatible. HDR is what sets 4K/UHD systems apart. It's not available on High Definition (HD) TVs.
There are two approaches to the subject. The first is a technical understanding, to some degree, about what HDR is, how it works, and the benefits to the viewer. -- The Mac Observer.
Everybody likes to learn a few tips that will save them time, so I've identified a dozen things Siri will do for you that you may never have come across before. -- Computerworld.
Refresh your memory of what Siri can do for you on your iPhone, iPad and HomePod with this list of useful commands.
Do you use Siri to its full potential? Perhaps it's time to refresh your memory with this list of useful things you can ask it to do for you. -- Computerworld.
As a CTO, the result I see too often is a system that meets the specifications but does nothing to create pervasive change in the organization. As technology leaders, we've all probably wondered why, even when we provide the best technical solution, people either won't use it or worse, they'll choose to use something inferior. Experience has taught us the answer: Specifications and engineering may define the ruggedness of the solution, but design addresses the human need and defines the level of adoption. -- Forbes.
A new report from computer scientists estimates that it's likely to be at least a decade before quantum computing tools become powerful enough to compromise the current system of public-key cryptography that serves as the foundation for data security and financial transactions. -- GeekWire.
The Secret Service is planning to test facial recognition surveillance around the White House, "with the goal of identifying 'subjects of interest' who might pose a threat to the president. The document with the plans was published by the American Civil Liberties Union, describing "a test that would compare closed circuit video footage of public White House spaces against a database of images -- in this case, featuring employees who volunteered to be tracked. -- The Verge.
Tadashi Tokieda lives in a world in which ordinary objects do extraordinary things. Jars of rice refuse to roll down ramps. Strips of paper slip past solid obstacles. Balls swirling inside a bowl switch direction when more balls join them. -- Quanta Magazine.
The season of Santa, reindeer, gifts, and eggnog is upon us, which means we must be cautious of common holiday ploys to steal credit card and personal information. With the mass amount of online gift buying during the holiday season, cyber security criminals believe this presents a prime opportunity to steal your information. Be aware of e-mails or any online advertising that seems too good to be true. False advertisements and phishing e-mails are two ways in which cyber security criminals will try to lure you in to steal your information. Remember, if the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Here are some additional tips you can use to avoid being a victim of cyber fraud:
As a reminder, OIT will post email scams to the Recent Email Scams tab within the OIT System Status Center. You can check this site to see if a suspicious email has already been reported. If you have concerns about a specific email, you may report the email to OIT via email@example.com or contact the OIT HelpDesk. -- IT Weekly.
The Apps, Games, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts and More That Shaped Entertainment and Culture Around the World This Year.
As the year comes to a close there are so many unanswered questions: Who is Kiki, and does she love me? Should I start a podcast? Where is Donut County? Why didn't Offred escape Gilead (again!)? Today, Apple reveals the Best of 2018, a global collection of top charts and selects from our editors across every category highlighting all of the amazing things to watch, read, listen to and play across apps, music, podcasts, books, TV and movies. It's an invariable list of the who's who and what's what from the past year that is certain to help answer at least some of the most burning questions and make for fun conversation around any holiday dinner table. -- Apple PR.
Across the last 20 years, Apple has shifted from selling Macs in a world dominated by Windows PCs to being a dominant global brand that services a vast installed base that's more valuable, influential, and lucrative than Windows was at its peak. Apple wants its investors to understand that, and is now challenging the media narrative that suggests it running an unsustainable race against various manufacturers churning out ever-increasing volumes of hardware units. -- AppleInsider.
Apple on Monday updated its Machine Learning Journal with a post by the company's Siri speech and audio software engineering teams, explaining how the company uses machine learning to help the HomePod hear people under tougher circumstances than iPhones and iPads. -- AppleInsider.
Apple has always made you pay a lot for its newest and best Macs, and, believe it or not, the 2018 lineup isn't even close to the most expensive Apple has ever been. AppleInsider takes a look back at Apple's Mac pricing over the last three decades. -- AppleInsider.
Apple has extended the online Apple Store dedicated to those in the armed forces, with the Veterans and Military Purchase Program offering more discounts to present and past soldiers and sailors. -- AppleInsider.
Some adopters of the 2018 MacBook Air are reporting poor camera quality during FaceTime calls.
Apple's newest ultraportable has a 720p camera above its display, which should provide HD video capture. However, for a small few, its performance seems a lot worse than that. -- Cult of Mac.
Graphic design, one of today's busiest creative industries, can seem inaccessible if you don't have expensive software and education. Vectornator, a free app that brings professional-grade tools to iOS devices, aims to make graphic design easy for everyone. -- Cult of Mac.
A pair of fitness applications were found to be tricking users into authorizing financial transactions. They have been removed from the App Store, but stand as examples of something to watch out for.
If third-party software asks for you to identify yourself with Touch ID or Face ID, carefully consider whether there's a good reason before doing so. -- Cult of Mac.
Mr. Kass, now 28, is part of a new crop of hackers building easy-to-use, data-driven tools to empower tenants and take on notoriously bad landlords. The goal behind this wave of what coders call "civic technology" is to create low cost solutions to some of New York City's most pressing civic problems, like affordable housing. -- New York Times.
While we can't say why Apple is having a a last minute sale, but they are right now on Apple's US Home Page. The offer is not available in Canada at the moment.
Moments ago the home page began with the announcement of the iPhone XR from $449 with a trade in as noted below. Apple doesn't spell out the particular iPhone versions or the exact trade ins when you click on their offer so it's a little difficult to figure out what Apple is doing other than trying to get rid of inventory. -- Apple.
Peter von Panda anguished over his decision. Would a used 2013 Mac Pro be a better choice for the money than a 2018 Mac mini? The debate rages on still.
It all started when Peter posted his initial video about his decision to cancel his 2018 Mac mini order and, instead, acquire a used 2013 Mac Pro. It had the RAM (32 GB) and the storage he wanted (1 TB SSD). Here's his first, controversial, video. -- The Mac Observer.
A South Korean publication has been writing about Korean students finding meaningful employment in Silicon Valley. One of them landed a job with Apple and today they covered a brief interview with Jeong Min-woo. When Jeong Min-woo began his master's program in natural language processing (NLP) at Pohang University of Science and Technology 15 year ago, he had no idea that artificial intelligence (AI) would become the next big thing. -- Patently Apple.
Scam apps for iPhones were discovered over the weekend that trick users into making in-app purchases they didn't mean to make. Sometimes these scams steal as much as $120 from a user.
Apple hasn't commented but it removed the scam apps from its App Store over the weekend. Apple says that it approves every single app on the App Store, but cracks in that review process are starting to show. -- Business Insider.
Thanks to GDPR, Apple now offers a way to view and download all of the data it has collected from you over the years. Australian developer Pat Murray has created an incredibly interesting tool that is able to visualize your Apple Music year in review. -- 9to5Mac.
With iOS 12.1 and later, Group FaceTime makes it easy to chat with multiple people at the same time. You can start a Group FaceTime right from the FaceTime app or from a group conversation in the Messages app. The tile of the person speaking gets larger automatically, so you'll never lose track of the conversation. -- Apple Support.
There are two basic situations you might encounter when you want to combine two scanned documents in macOS. Either you already have separately scanned document files that you need to combine, or you haven't yet scanned the files and want to combine them easily during the scanning process. Fortunately, you don't need any additional software for this, and macOS' built-in tools can handle this process for you. -- Apple Gazette.
If you've forgotten your Apple ID password, go to iforgot.apple.com. Reset or manage your account for iCloud, iTunes... -- Apple Support.
Smartphones are still shrouded by various myths. Reports say that long telephone conversations may cause tumors, your signal may weaken if you move too quickly, and strong signals from base stations could kill people. Whether or not these things are true remains a mystery, but one thing that we do know is real is the threat of mobile malware.
For this test, I tried to infect a smartphone, having previously removed the antivirus software and all security features. My victim was a relatively old Moto G3 with Android 6. -- BetaNews.
Blockchain eliminates the need for central authorities and the need to trust them. It does this by allowing each user of the system to maintain their own copy of the ledger and keeping all copies of the ledger verifiably synchronized through a consensus algorithm.
And this short plain-English backgrounder explains the basic concepts in simple to understand terms.
Well, this is sure to spark some intensive debate. The classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz is the most influential movie of all time, with Star Wars: A New Hope and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho in second and third place, respectively. That's the conclusion of a new study by Italian scientists in the journal Applied Network Science, suggesting a fresh metric for determining a film's success, similar to that used for scientific publications. -- Ars Technica.
On November 15th Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Patent Confirms Future Support for Unique Trackpad-Like Functionality for the iPad Pro's Smart Keyboard & more." Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 38 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today and one of the key patent wins is for the Smart Keyboard with new trackpad mode and mouse support. -- Patently Apple.
David Barnard takes a close look at App Store scams and manipulation going on. It sounds like it's easy to game the system.
Apple can and does dramatically shape the App Store economy. Similar to how governments shape economies through tax law and other policies, Apple shapes the App Store economy through App Review policies, App Store implementation details, editorial decisions, the App Store search algorithm, and in so many other subtle (and not so subtle) ways.
There are shady practices going on in the App Store, and Apple should do more to crack down on developers who abuse it. -- David Barnard.
Apple, and Tim Cook in particular, has been a vociferous advocate for learning to code -- what we once used to call programming -- in education. With Swift Playgrounds on iPad and related teaching materials, Apple has provided excellent tools to support this. Armed with an inexpensive and ubiquitous iPad, Apple's free app, and the free iBooks, the next generation of developers have a near-perfect start.
What worries me is what becomes of them when they want to graduate to building 'proper' apps. -- Eclectic Light Company.
Do you have a spammy email account or mailbox on your phone that you just can't seem to delete? You're not alone.
This seems to be a fairly common problem for some, judging by the number of posts on the Apple Support Communities describing the problem. Typically, the mailbox will be called "Daily Free Coupons" or something similarly spammy. -- iDrop News.
There's another new goodie included in iOS 12 that you may not have time to pay around with yet: Shortcuts. The feature lets you "program" your phone to automatically perform certain tasks and functions when you tap a button or speak a custom voice command to Siri. -- Business Insider.
With iOS 12 or later, Siri Shortcuts let you quickly do everyday tasks, and with the apps you use the most -- all with just a tap or by asking Siri.
Siri learns your routines across your apps. Siri then suggests an easy way to perform common tasks on the Lock screen or in Search. -- Apple Support.
When I landed in Cupertino in May 1985, I had a few simple ideas for short and medium improvements that would help sales, and was happily surprised by the support that most of these ideas got inside the engineering community.
I count 30 faces around the conference table. That's one too many. As Apple's newly-appointed VP of Product Development, according to a temporary org chart, I start with 29 direct reports… who's the interloper? -- Monday Note.
Federal regulators have proposed loosening real-estate appraisal requirements to enable a majority of U.S. homes to be bought and sold without being evaluated by a licensed human appraiser. That potentially opens the door for cheaper, faster, but largely untested property valuations based on computer algorithms. -- The Daily Mail.