Archive for June 4, 2018

Urban Armor Gear Launches Special Edition Camo Pathfinder Series

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 4, 2018 by itnerd

Urban Armor Gear leading designers of lightweight mobile device cases, are thrilled to announce a new Special Edition of MIL-SPEC drop-tested cases. Created with the tactical crew in mind, UAG’s new Camo line is designed to effectively keep devices safe from everyday drops and extreme rugged activity.

The feather-light construction allows explorers to take their mobile devices to new heights, while the scratch resistant skid pads and a screen surround create the perfect barrier between device screens and harsh terrain. Enjoy the freedom of texting, calling, & browsing, without your phone blowing your cover.

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UAG Pathfinder SE Series for iPhone X, iPhone 8,7,6 Plus, and iPhone 8,7,6. 
Available in Arctic, Midnight and Hunter
MSRP $49.95

  • Armor shell and impact resistant soft core
  • Feather-light composite construction
  • Oversized tactile buttons & easy access to touchscreen and ports
  • Scratch resistant skid pads and screen surround
  • Apple Pay and wireless charging compatible
  • Meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6)

UAG Pathfinder SE Series for Galaxy S9 and S9+
Available in Midnight
MSRP $49.95

  • Armor shell and impact resistant soft core
  • Feather-light composite construction
  • Oversized tactile buttons & easy access to touchscreen and ports
  • Scratch resistant skid pads and screen surround
  • Samsung Pay and wireless charging compatible
  • Meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6)
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So What Did Apple Announce At WWDC 2018?

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 4, 2018 by itnerd

Well, Apple had their World Wide Developers Conference keynote today. And given that Apple has some dark clouds hanging over it in the form of buggy software, security fails, #BatteryGate and #KeyboardGate, this keynote was going to be very important. So I watched the livestream with great interest to see what they were going to do. Here we go with what was announced.

iOS 12: According to Apple, iOS 12 will be available on all the same devices as iOS 11. Performance will be improved across the board. One of the way that they plan to do that is that iOS 12 will ramp up processor performance instantly to its highest state to deliver the best performance. Then ramp it down to preserve battery life. A new new file format, developed with Pixar which is optimized for sharing called USDZ. 3D objected placed into the real world. ARKit 2.0 for multi-user augmented reality was also announced as well. Improvements in Photos, Siri, and built in apps. Plus CarPlay will FINALLY get third party app support including third party maps. A new feature called Screen Time which shows you how much you are addicted you are to your iDevice and helping you to manage your (or your kids) app usage. Finally there’s changes to Do Not Disturb, Notifications (including grouped notifications), group FaceTime, and new animoji and memoji (meaning that you can create your own emoji). More details here.

watchOS 5: There will be improvements such as activity challenges, improved workouts types (specifically running, yoga, and hiking) including workout detection (it will automatically start workouts and stop them too. ). There’s a walkie talkie feature that allows you to send short audio messages to another Apple Watch user. The Siri watch face is going have more functionality and third party app support. Oh yeah, you won’t need to use the “hey Siri” phrase to get Siri’s attention. Notifications are more interactive, and web content will be accessible on your watch for the first time. More details here.

Apple TV/tvOS: Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision is the big news for Apple TV 4K users. iTunes will have content to support this this fall and existing content will be upgraded for free. Apple is also working with cable companies worldwide to bring live content to Apple TV. There’s also new Apple TV aerial screen savers as part of the upcoming tvOS update. More details here.

macOS 10.14:  The new version of macOS is going to be called Mojave which ends four releases named after mountains. System wide dark mode is finally in the OS. There’s a new feature called dynamic desktop that changes your desktop during the day. They’ve enhanced the organization of the desktop via a feature called desktop stacks. The Finder has new views including gallery view to preview content and action it, quick look can do the same thing as well. There’s a new screenshot tool that looks like an enhanced version of the one that’s been on iOS for the last year. Continuity now works with your iPhone’s camera to take photos and pop them in your documents. News will come to the Mac. Stocks and voice memos are coming to the Mac too. HomeKit support is finally on the Mac too with Siri support. From the “it’s about freaking time” Apple is finally getting support for stopping apps from accessing your microphone and camera among other security enhancements. Safari is getting higher levels of privacy to stop you from being tracked and fingerprinted for tracking purposes. These Safari changes will be in iOS as well. There will be a new App Store that will be similar in a lot of ways to the iOS App Store. Improvements to Metal and Machine Learning will be along for the ride. Oh yeah, APFS will support spinning hard drives and fusion drives….. Though they said that last year. More Details here.

All of these updates are coming this fall.

So, if you were hoping that Apple would spend their time stabilizing their OSes, well they are clearly not doing that. It’s new features until the cows come home. In other words, business as usual. That to me is a bit of a risk because if things are like 2017 and early 2018 where Apple was putting out software QA fires right left and center, then this will become a massive problem for them. So for their sake, I hope that Apple gets this right and these OS updates ship relatively bug free and drama free.

Third Lawsuit Regarding #KeyboardGate Filed Against Apple

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 4, 2018 by itnerd

Apple has 99 problems and #KeyboardGate one of them.

On top of the bad press and two other lawsuits being filed, comes a third just before the keynote for the Apple World Wide Developer’s conference. This latest lawsuit which was spotted by Patently Apple is much like the first two, but it also accuses Apple of ‘fraudulent concealment’ of the problems. Fraudulent concealment is when a company deliberately hides a material fact with the intention of deceiving or defrauding someone. In this case, the allegation is that Apple was aware the keyboard design was faulty, and deliberately hid that fact from consumers so that they would purchase the machines.

So, with three lawsuits, there’s likely going to be others to come. Hopefully for the sake of Apple, they have a plan to deal with this. Because this is not starting to look good for them.

Facebook Shared Data With Device Makers: New York Times

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 4, 2018 by itnerd

According to a report from The New York Times, Facebook formed data-sharing partnerships with Apple, Samsung, and dozens of other device makers, allowing them to access vast amounts of its users’ personal information (If you hit a paywall, here is an alternative source):

Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, “like” buttons and address books.

But the partnerships, whose scope has not previously been reported, raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found. Most of the partnerships remain in effect, though Facebook began winding them down in April.

Facebook who is now very sensitive to this sort of thing has hit back via this blog post where they confirmed some parts of the Times’ report but disputed others. In short, they put some spin on this. But given what’s gone on over the last little while, I am not sure if that will be enough to calm the waters.

 

One Reason Why You Should Install macOS 10.13.5 RIGHT NOW…. A Critical Firmware Flaw Exists

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 4, 2018 by itnerd

When I install an update from Apple, I always read the security content document that Apple puts out to find out what was out there that was a security threat to me. In the case of macOS 10.13.5, the security document has this in it:

Firmware

Available for: macOS High Sierra 10.13.4

Impact: A malicious application with root privileges may be able to modify the EFI flash memory region

Description: A device configuration issue was addressed with an updated configuration.

CVE-2018-4251: Maxim Goryachy and Mark Ermolov

Lovely. What this means is someone could write an app that could install something in the firmware of your Mac that would be persistent before the OS boots. Which means that getting rid of it would be difficult as erasing the hard drive and reinstalling the OS would not fix such an attack. Thus this makes installing this macOS update important for Mac users. Thus don’t delay the installation of this update as it will protect you in the long term.

Rogers Messaging About The Apple Watch With LTE May Be Sending The Wrong Message

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 4, 2018 by itnerd

As frequent readers of this blog will know. Rogers has been very unwilling to say one way or another if they will carry the Apple Watch with LTE. I personally had to switch to Telus to be able to use one, and many others have switched to that carrier or Bell for the same reason. Well, the waters in regards to this may have been muddied further as Rogers have appeared to have altered their talking points. I cite this Tweet as an example:

So, this is how I interpret this:

  • Rogers isn’t going to carry the Apple Watch. Which isn’t the biggest deal in the world as you can get it straight from Apple.
  • Rogers still plans to roll out “the technology for cellular-enabled wearable tech” in 2018. Which I assume means support for eSIM

However, that isn’t how the universe seems to interpret this. Based on the e-mails that I’ve received over the weekend, the universe interpreting this as “Rogers isn’t going to carry the Apple Watch. So you should move to Telus or Bell.” This impression is being played out on Twitter as well:

Now, not carrying the Apple Watch is not the same as not having support for it. But because Rogers messaging in regards to this issue has been just so horrific from the moment that the Apple Watch with LTE first appeared, it has been conflated to be the same thing. Perhaps if Rogers took my advice which was to come out with a clear statement in terms of their plans for eSIM support ages ago, perhaps we would not be talking about this now. However, there’s more as evidenced by this Tweet:

And:

At this point, Rogers customers really don’t believe what the telco is saying. That’s a problem as customers are assuming the worst and bolting as a result of that.

Rogers, here’s some free advice. You can clear this up right now by coming out with a  clear statement in terms of your plans for eSIM support. Some contrition would be nice as well as I can tell you that your customers are incredibly frustrated. Because what you’re doing isn’t helping you to retain customers. And even if you do, they clearly don’t trust you.

So how about it Rogers?

Has Microsoft Bought GitHub?

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 4, 2018 by itnerd

If you’ve never heard of GitHub, that’s okay. Here’s what you need to know about it. GitHub is the code repository company popular with many software developers. It is an essential tool for coders. Many corporations, including Microsoft and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, use GitHub to store their corporate code and to collaborate. It’s also a social network of sorts for developers.

The only problem is that they have lost money. Thus Microsoft appears to have swooped in buy the company. The deal could be announced as early as today. But even the mere rumblings of Microsoft buying GitHub has caused a swift backlash because many feel that Microsoft simply can’t be trusted given their past history of embrace, extend, extinguish when it comes to anything that Microsoft sees as a threat. For example a petition that seeks to “stop Microsoft from buying Github” had garnered support from more than 400 developers. And rival code repository SourceForge has a tool that will import your GitHub project to SourceForge. So this purchase may go ahead, but you can expect a lot of blowback.

Watch this space for updates.

UPDATE: That didn’t take long. It’s now official:

UPDATE #2: The exodus from GitHub has begun as TNW reports many developers jumped ship even before this was officially confirmed. And the company itself has confirmed the exodus: