New iPad ads, colours killed off, Secure Enclave hack, ARKit-supporting iDevices


Apple promotes iOS 11 for iPad in new ad series — Apple has published a series of six iPad commercials to its official YouTube channel, focusing on the new capabilities iOS 11 is set to deliver to tablet users this fall. The iPad spots are basically promotional content disguised as explainer videos. [There’s a pretty good explanation of how the file browser will work.]

Apple silently kills off some colours for iPhone, iPad & Apple Watch accessories — A variety of colours for official Apple accessories are reportedly vanishing from the company’s online and retail stores, suggesting Apple is phasing out some options, and/or allowing stocks to deplete before new devices arrive this fall.

Everything you need to know about the Apple Secure Enclave hack — Last week, a hacker by the name ‘xerub’ released a decryption key for Apple’s Secure Enclave Processor (SEP). This sparked fears that iPhone encryption has been compromised. It hasn’t, but there has been – as iMore puts it – fear, uncertainty, and doubt surrounding the issue. Here is everything we know about the Secure Enclave hack, and what it means for the security of the iPhone.
First, the iPhone’s encryption is as strong as it’s ever been. This hack doesn’t mean hackers can break into your iPhone or iPad and steal your data. The Secure Enclave is a coprocessor included in the Apple S2, A7, and later A-series chips, and was introduced in 2013 along with TouchID in the iPhone 5s. The SEP includes encrypted memory, as well as a hardware random number generator. It’s used as part of the secure boot process, and it’s responsible for processing your fingerprint data from the TouchID sensor, as well as keeping Health data and Apple Pay financial data safe. In short, it’s a very important part of hardware security architecture for Apple’s devices.
The Secure Enclave is isolated from the rest of the system. It’s like having a house where the windows are blacked out. The decryption means that now we can look through the windows, but we still can’t get in. And the decryption only works on the iPhone 5s, although it’s possible the code could be modified for other models.

Here are the iPhones and iPads that Support iOS 11 ARKit — When Apple showed off iOS 11 at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this year one of the standout features was ARKit. Powerful augmented reality in the palm of our hand is pretty compelling, but it isn’t for all iOS 11-capable devices. Read on to see which iPhones and iPads support ARKit.

Apple I, hidden recruiter, Screenflow expansion, lava lamp encryption, 2 new games


Functional Apple I computer to hit online auction block in September — A fully operational Apple I computer built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in 1976 is going up for auction through Charitybuzz next month, with all proceeds earmarked for charity.

Apple uses hidden webpage to recruit cloud infrastructure engineer — A hidden, now-defunct page on Apple’s website was apparently being used to recruit an engineer for work on a “critical infrastructure component.” While not necessarily difficult for a veteran engineer to find, the page’s unusual placement likely ensured a base level of proficiency.

ScreenFlow 7 update turns the screen recording app into a video suite — Extensive editing, titling and annotation features recently added to ScreenFlow 7 make it a serious production tool.
ScreenFlow 7 will record your screen as it always has, but it now goes dramatically further than that, taking your Mac or iOS screen’s recording and helping you produce broadcast-quality video with it.

10% of the internet is encrypted with lava lamps — So it turns out that 10% of all the traffic on the internet is encrypted with the help of Lava Lamps. Fast Company Design did a story about how Cloudflare uses Lava Lamps as a super random number generator. Cloudflare offers content delivery network services, protections against denial of service attacks, and and anti-bot protections.

Formula One 2017 for Mac with same day release as Windows on August 25th — Feral Interactive has announced that Formula One 2017 will be released on August 25th, with a same-day release for Mac and PC. The game, created by Codemasters, offers a stunning Formula One racing experience. In addition to the trailer, Codemasters released a 26 minute, unedited gameplay video that is just unbelievable. The game features a Research 7 Development tree, the ability to tune the cars, a career mode, and off-track activities. The game will be available through Feral and Steam for US$59.95, with a Mac App Store version coming later for US$49.99. System requirements haven’t published, but are likely to be steep. If you’re a racing game enthusiast, it’ll be worth it.

Beat The Game to launch on Steam for the Mac on September 27 — Worm Animation says its debut title, point-and-click music adventure Beat the Game, will launch September 7 on Steam for Mac, PC, and Linux systems. In the game, players go on a journey with Mistik, the hero of Beat The Game, to uncover the mysterious, abstract universe he finds himself in after a motorbike crash. Mistik, though, is a music producer. With the help of his trusty recorder, Mistik must collect the samples scattered around Beat The Game’s beautiful, dream-like environments in order to create the ultimate track.

The Apocalypticon ~ US ‘justice’, old trauma, 91 Antarctic volcanoes, phone repairs contain hacks, medical emergencies, bees, solar eclipse myths, Miami flooding


US ‘Department of Justice’ demands data from anti-Trump sites — A web hosting provider has revealed the US Justice Department’s efforts to obtain records about an activist website established to coordinate “mass protests to shut down the inauguration of Donald Trump”. DreamHost said it was opposing a broadly-worded US federal warrant that seeks access to “all information available” about the website disruptj20.org. In other Trump news, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is leaving President Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, the latest executive to distance himself from the president following the weekend’s events in Virginia. In a blog post, Krzanich said that the decline in American manufacturing remains a serious issue, but said that “politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base. I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing.” Trump recently more or less validated – several times – the racist and thuggish ideologies hurled by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
US voting machines have leaked 1.8 million Chicago voter records, and Wired has published a handy guide to Russian hacking attempts aimed at US democracy, all part of an increasingly digital intelligence playbook known as “active measures:” techniques and strategies that Russian military and intelligence services deploy to influence the affairs of nations across the globe.
~ And Americans thought they’d been specially singled out …

Can your great-great grandparents’ trauma be passed on to you? An affinity for Russian literature might be something your parents passed on via social influence, reading it to you before bedtime, just as their parents did for them. But life experiences such as trauma, researchers have recently found, can be passed on, too: children can inherit the changes that occur in how their parents genes are expressed due to environmental stressors.

91 volcanoes discovered under Antarctic ice — Scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on Earth, and it’s two kilometres below the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica.
~ We’d best uncover that as soon as possible, then … don’t worry, we’re working on it. 

Replacement phone parts can contain secret chips — Just when you were congratulating yourself on that cheap phone repair you found, there’s a possibility the replacement parts installed by repair shops contain secret hardware that completely hijacks the security of your device. The concern arises from research that shows how replacement screens, one put into a Huawei Nexus 6P and the other into an LG G Pad 7.0, can be used to surreptitiously log keyboard input and patterns, install malicious apps, and take pictures and email them to the attacker.

Medical emergencies: UK deadly fungus outbreak — More than 200 patients in 55 UK hospitals were discovered by healthcare workers to be infected or colonized by the multi-drug resistant fungus Candida auris, a globally emerging yeast pathogen that has experts nervous.
An alarming report from the World Health Organisation estimates that some 500,000 Yemenis have contracted cholera since April of this year, of which 2000 have died. It’s now the worst active cholera epidemic in the world, and one of the largest in decades.

Popular pesticides are stopping bumble bees laying eggs — Wild bees, such as bumblebees, play just as crucial a role in pollinating many fruits, vegetables and wildflowers, and compared to managed colonies of honeybees, they’re in much greater jeopardy. A group of scientists in the United Kingdom decided to look at how bumblebee queens are affected by some widely used and highly controversial pesticides known as neonicotinoids. What they found isn’t pretty.

Solar eclipse myths — Loads of evidence to the contrary won’t stop people from believing some pretty bizarre eclipse myths – mostly ones that involve sex and/or death.

Finally for this week why is the sea rising so fast in Miami? Sunny day flooding is occurring more often, and rising sea levels and climate change are to blame. But, as is often the case when you drill down into the inner workings of our planet, the full story is a bit more complicated. A combination of two naturally-occurring climate patterns (the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation) are associated with hot spots of sea level rise along the Eastern seaboard.
~ That was supposed to be the good news that ends this column … sorry!

Futurology ~ TRAPPIST, self-extinguishing civilisations, NZ Milky Way, bacteria balloons, algae steroids, Wind and solar health, out-tanking EV, Penguin code, forever-glider


Artist’s rendering of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system. (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Everyone’s favourite alien system is a cranky old grump — Trappist-1, the ultracool dwarf star system which was first announced back in February, has garnered a lot of interest because it harbours seven Earth-size planets. At least three of those planets are within the habitable zone that can support liquid water and potentially, life. As we’re all clamouring to understand this alien system, a duo of researchers has figured out some pretty salient information about its star’s age. They estimate it’s between 5.4 and 9.8 billion years old. Our Sun, by comparison, is only about 4.5 billion years old.
~ But has it retired yet? Anything living on these might be very ancient and hardy. Besides …

Astrophysicist believes technologically-advanced species extinguish themselves — Why haven’t we heard from intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? Retired astrophysicist Daniel Whitmire explains that using the principle of mediocracy (a statistical notion that says, in the absence of more data, that your one data point is likely to be ‘average’), that not only are we the first intelligent life on Earth but that we will likely be the only (and thus the last) intelligent life on this planet…
Unfortunately that isn’t the worst of it. Coupled with the Great Silence, it implies the reason we haven’t heard from anyone is that intelligent life, when it happens anywhere else in the universe, doesn’t last and when it does it flames out quickly and takes the biosphere with it (preventing any other intelligent life from reappearing. Sorry dolphins!).
~ Luckily, it usually appears that we’re far from ‘advanced’

Unintended experiment tracks a solar flare to the edges of the System — On 14 October 2014, our Sun let out a great big burp, a coronal mass ejection that swept through the Solar System at an incredibly fortuitous angle, because several spacecraft (and one intrepid Martian rover) detected the solar blast, resulting in an unprecedented experiment that stretched all the way from Venus to outer reaches of the Solar System.
~ Data was combined from a  variety of probes and satellites, and even Mars rovers.  

Milky Way from New Zealand — Christchurch’s Paul Wilson constructed a 113-megapixel photograph that captures the galaxy shimmering above a tumbling shoreline and reflected in the dark water of a dark part of the South Island.
~ Wow!

NASA launching bacteria balloons — These enormous balloons are part of a project aptly named the Eclipse Ballooning Project, and will be used to run several experiments, one of which could help researchers preparing for a mission to Mars. Of 75 balloons, over 30 of them will carry small samples of an extremely resilient strain of bacteria called Paenibacillus xerothermodurans over 24,384m above Earth. The P. xerothermodurans samples will be attached to thin, aluminium “coupons” and attached to the outside of the balloons. According to the researchers, Earth’s stratosphere is similar to the surface atmosphere on Mars, so they will be able to get some idea of how bacteria might behave there.
~ Sounds mental. 

Our life came from algae on steroids — What was life really like here on planet Earth before animals were big enough to leave fossils behind? How did living things turn from dinky capsules of genetic material into the intelligent, complex organisms that do things like fart and type curse words into posts on the internet? Scientists think they have found the answer… in algae steroids.
~ This supposition is based on the increasing diversity of organic compounds found in rock samples. Metallica, anyone?

Wind and solar health benefits surpass all subsidies — A paper in Nature Energy suggests the benefits we receive from moving to renewables like wind and solar that reduce air pollution exceed the cost of the subsidies required to make them competitive with traditional fossil fuels. Berkeley environmental engineer Dev Millstein and his colleagues estimate that between 3000 and 12,700 premature deaths have been averted because of air quality benefits over the last decade or so, creating a total economic benefit between $30 billion and $113 billion. The benefits from wind work out to be more than US7 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is more than unsubsidized wind energy generally costs.
~ So, Big Coal and Big Oil, how do you come back to that? Start paying your lobbyists even more immediately, I guess. 

Electric off-roader out-torques a tank — A Utah startup has just released the specs on the Nikola Zero, a four-seat UTV (utility task vehicle, or what you may know as a side-by-side) guaranteed to make you grin like a lunatic if you ever drive one. The less crazy version produces 415 horsepower and 3,675 foot-pounds of torque. But most people will probably take leave of their senses and go for the thoroughly crazy version, good for 555 horsepower and 4,900 foot-pounds of torque.
~ So this begs the question: did Nikola Tesla have a middle name for another electric vehicle startup? 

Scientists crack penguin undersea code — When Gentoo penguins swim into the open ocean to hunt for food, they often produce wierd buzzing sounds that marine biologists assume is a form of communication. By strapping cameras to the backs of these aquatic birds, scientists have finally figured out the purpose of these odd vocalisations.
~ ‘Hey, I have this weird thing strapped to me, can you help me get it off?’

Smart forever-glider — After learning a clever trick from birds, a sailplane featuring run-of-the-mill RC technology includes artificial intelligence that researchers are developing to pilot it. Using data from sensors that monitor air temperature, wind direction, altitude and other metrics (in addition to speed and location data from GPS), the AI pilot can detect when the sailplane is suddenly gaining altitude, indicating it has located a rising thermal, as birds do.
~ And us humans re generating more and more of these, thanks to our generous efforts to warm the planet. 

Touch ID Encryption key, new security features in iOS 11 and screen inversion


Encryption key for iPhone 5s Touch ID exposed, opens door to further research — Just prior to a hacker’s conference, a participant has revealed that the iPhone 5s Secure Enclave has been hacked, and the decryption key for it has been revealed. However, at present, there is nothing for iPhone users immediately worry about.

New security feature in iOS 11 will allow users to temporarily disable Touch ID, quickly call 911 — The latest beta release of iOS 11 includes a new security feature, with a few button presses making it impossible to unlock your phone with Touch ID, as well as giving a quick option to dial 911. Here’s how to use it. iOS 11 will also introduce a new Smart Invert viewing mode, which you can see in this video. It intelligently inverts all screen colours except for those in displayed media, such as photos, videos, and icons. The feature might be used to extend battery life on an upcoming OLED-equipped ‘iPhone 8.’

Charlottesville hate, Apple worker lawsuit, asteroid shooter, technical resources for students, Bioshock Remastered requirements


Charlottesville (screenshot from Apple Maps)

Apple CEO Tim Cook addresses Charlottesville, company to donate $2M to fight hate —  Responding to last weekend’s demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia which resulted in the death of a human rights protester, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a letter to company staff deriding hate groups, bigotry and violence, and denouncing President Donald Trump’s speech claiming ‘equivalence’ of white nationalists and human rights advocates. Apple has also cut of Apple Pay support to any companies promoting hatred, and for websites selling white supremacist goods.

Lawsuit over Apple store workers’ unpaid time may be heading to the California Supreme Court — A class action suit over Apple store workers’ unpaid time spent in bag checks may soon be headed to the California Supreme Court, reports AppleInsider. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals the state’s Supreme Court to decide whether bag checks are “compensable as ‘hours worked’ within the meaning of California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 7,” even when people could technically avoid the checks by leaving purses, backpacks, and other bags at home. [Well, imagine being caught with an Android phone! Sorry, I am being facetious.]

Asteroid: Space Defense space shooter blasts onto the Mac — FreneticGamez has launched Asteroid: Space Defense 1.0 for the Mac. The retro arcade space shooter in which you control your space ship to avoid asteroids and other enemies in this retro shooter.

Back to school technical resources for students who are apple customers — Here’s a selected list of links that John Martellero thinks might be helpful for technical high school and college students. It’s not exhaustive and does not cover all academic disciplines, and it’s US-centric but may be useful.

How to safely test Apple’s Public Betas — Apple is now offering Public Betas of its next generation operating systems. Anyone can install pre-release versions, known as Public Betas, of the next releases of iOS, macOS; and tvOS. That’s mostly a good thing. The more people testing an operating system before its release, the less likely there will be unforeseen issues with it when it ships. Here’s how to do it safely.

The Macs that can handle Bioshock Remastered — The Remastered version of BioShock brings the Art Deco first person shooter to 1080p, but you’re going to need a Mac from 2013 or later to run it.
Feral has now announced requirements:
all 21.5” iMacs since late 2013 (1GB Nvidia GT 750M Models are not officially supported)
All 27” iMacs since late 2013 (1GB Nvidia GT 755M Models are not officially supported)
All 13” MacBook Pros since late 2016; all 15” MacBook Pros since late 2013, and all Mac Pros since late 2013.
The company said that Late 2012 iMac models with 2GB Nvidia 680MX graphics cards are also supported. The game will play on 2012 and other 2013 Macs, as well, but aren’t officially supported.
BioShock Remastered will be priced at US$19.99 through Feral and Steam, and a Mac App Store version will appear “shortly afterwards.”

Five Tip Friday ~ Memories, screenshots, Preview views Exif data, wrangles GIFs


1/ Use Memories in the Photos app in macOS Sierra — Apple revamped the Photos App in macOS Sierra, adding a Memories feature, which is designed to help you rediscover favourite and forgotten moments from deep in your photo library. Memories automatically creates curated collections of your most meaningful photos and videos.
To use it, open the Photos app and click Memories in the left sidebar. You’ll see a summary of the Memory’s contents, chosen from the best photos in your library. Choose Show All to see every photo and video in the Memory.
Scroll down to see the people included in the Memory, a map showing where the photos and videos were taken, and a list of related Memories for you to explore. At the bottom of your Memory, you can find options to add the Memory to your favorites or delete it.

2/ Save a Memory movie in macOS Sierra — Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap or click Add to Favorite Memories. You’ll find it in the Favorite [sic] Memories album of your Photos app. If you decide that you don’t want to save a Memory anymore, tap or click Remove from Favorite Memories.
When you add a Memory to your Favorites [sic ditto], you preserve it and keep it from going away when Photos creates new Memories. You can also share your experiences with friends and family. On your Mac, you can share the photos and videos from your Memory when you click.
On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, play a Memory movie, then tap on it to show the editing and sharing options. Tap  and choose to share the movie through Messages, Mail, iCloud Photo Sharing, and your favourite social media sites.

3/ Directly paste Screenshots into Documents — First, hold down Command (⌘) + Shift + 4, to bring up the screenshot selection tool.
Next, hold down Control, and make your selection on the screen using your mouse.Click and drag diagonally, and when you let go, the screenshot is captured.
Open whatever document you want to paste the selection into, including email messages and web-page windows of sites you control, or Facebook, say, and press Command (⌘) +  V or right-click/control-click and choose Paste from the pop-out Contextual Menu, or select Paste from the Edit menu, and the screenshot you captured is pasted right there.

4/ View photo metadata, called Exif, using Preview Inspector — Preview is a superb and deceptively simple app built into macOS that has multiple uses, like viewing PDFs, photos and more. Preview Inspector is one its powerful, hidden features that makes Preview so useful.
Short for Exchangeable image file format, Exif data contains important information about a photo. Location, camera model, color space, exposure and more are contained in each image. If you need to quickly look at this information, using Preview is the easiest way.
Find the image you want in Finder, then right-click (or hold down your Control key and click on it) and select Open With Preview fro the menu that pops out.


Next, in Preview, click on Tools > Show Inspector in the menubar (or press ⌘ + I on your keyboard).
In the next window that pops up, click on the Exif tab. You’ll then see all of the pertinent information about your image.

5/ View and grab GIF frames in Preview — Open the GIF image in Preview – if this doesn’t happen when you double-click a GIF file, drag-and-drop the GIF onto the Preview icon in the Dock, or use macOS’s Quick Look feature to open the image (click the GIF’s icon ONCE, then press the spacebar, then click ‘Open with Preview’ in the upper right of the Quick Look window.
In Preview’s sidebar, scroll to the frame you want to save. Control- or Right-click and select Export As.
You can then export it in the file formats JPEG, PNG or PDF.

World’s most popular smartphones. Beijing transit blow, avoid iMessage scam, Cypress iCloud, Apple Pay extended


Apple’s iPhone 7 & 7 Plus top Q2 smartphone market, beating Samsung’s Galaxy S8 — The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus held on as the world’s most popular smartphones in the June quarter, according to research data published on Wednesday, handily relegating Samsung’s newer Galaxy S8 flagship to third place.

Apple was just shut out from Beijing public transportation mobile fares — Apple continues to face difficulties in China, as the company’s iPhone just got shut out of mobile payments for Beijing’s public transportation system. Yikatong, the payment card operator for that system, just launched an Android-only app for paying for fares and no plans for an iPhone app have been announced.

A new iMessage scam is going around; here’s how to protect yourself — A new iMessage scam has been going around in which the scammer sends a message with a URL, which is a malicious link that sends you to a fake website. This is called a phishing attack, and aside from not tapping on that link, there might be something else you can do.  A contact called ‘iMessage’sends people an SMS message that says: “Your iPhoneID is due to expire today. Tap <link> to update and prevent loss of services and apps.”
There is no such thing as an ‘iPhoneID’ of course, but some Apple customers may not know that. Additionally, Apple doesn’t text people with this sort of warning. The company has a support page in place for just this situation.

Cypress ads iCloud support to its IoT development platform — Cypress Semiconductor Corporation specialises in wireless connectivity solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT. Cypress has announced an updated version of its turnkey development platform for the IoT that simplifies the integration of wireless connectivity into smart home applications.

Apple Pay expands to 22 US banks, institutions in Russia, China and more — Apple this week updated its Apple Pay availability website for the second time in August, noting additional support has rolled out

Popin the service’s domestic US market, as well as in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Russia and the UK.

Long USB-C cables, original content, Sonnet Breakaway, Bioshock Remastered


The PSA has found that Thunderbolt 3 cables longer than 0.5m generally don’t support USB 3.1 speeds — USB-C is the future of computer connectivity, at least for Apple users, but there is a great deal of confusion over USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1, and what any given cable with USB-C connectors is capable of. Put simply, USB-C as a term by itself means nothing about data speed or charging ability — it’s only a description of the physical connector. Thunderbolt 3 at 40Gbit per second has to be USB-C at both ends. USB 3.1 at 5Gbit per second or 10Gbit per second does not. Both share the same physical USB-C connector for the host device.
AppleInsider breaks it all down.

Apple to spend $1B on original content for up to 10 new TV shows over next year — Apple is reportedly budgeting about $1 billion to secure and produce original video over the course of the next year, a figure which may soon make it a competitive force in that arena.

Sonnet’s eGFX Breakaway Box ships — Sonnet Technologies is shipping its eGFX Breakaway Box with 350W power supply, the first in the company’s new series of Thunderbolt 3 to PCI Express (PCIe) expansion chassis for professional graphics and gaming applications.

BioShock Remastered comes to the Mac on August 22 — Feral Interactive has announced that BioShock Remastered, a version of the first-person shooter running in 1080p, will be released for macOS on August 22nd to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the game’s original release. It was originally developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K for Windows and console.

Review ~ Norton Wi-Fi Privacy


A new entrant into the increasingly busy world of wireless and privacy is this pack by Norton, which promises to secure your wireless connection wherever you may, as of course the beauty of wifi is that you don’t need to plug it in. And it’s almost refreshing to get a pack these days, it’s kinda retro. In this case there’s nothing in it apart from some text telling you what to do and a long Licence Key.
But if you, as I do, imagine a wifi zone as a sort of invisible bubble, about 50 metres across in the case of wifi and about 10 for Bluetooth, within which connections can be made to the ’net, it’s a bit hard to monitor who else is in that zone and what interest they may be taking in your devices.
The way Norton WiFi Privacy does this is by the tried-and-true method of setting up a Virt
ual Private Network, or VPN. This is an arrangement whereby a secure, apparently (ie, virtual) private network is achieved using encryption over a public network like the internet.
Typically, your connection is directed to another server, not the expected one, ghosting across the networks, and most VPN services work on a subscription basis – this is no different, with the pack you can buy set to one year and available to be used on macOS, iOS, and also Android and Windows across five devices. So for a family or business trip somewhere for any length of time, this offers a viable solution.

Installation — Open the pack, visit http://www.norton.com/setup, enter the Licence Key, click Next, follow the on-screen instructions. This process installs the relevant software for whatever device you are on. You (inevitably, these days) have to set up an account, or log in if you already have one, click on Enter a new Product Key, you get asked to set up Automatic Renewal (in other words, it takes money out of your account again in one year) but you can Skip, then click Agree & Download. The disk image with the installer downloads (it’s called NortonWiFiPrivacy.dmg), double-click that, drag the Norton WiFi Privacy.app file into the Applications Folder alias the installer puts in that folder for you (this actually installs the app into your actual Applications folder), drag that off your desktop and voila.
Make sure you remember to eject the virtual disk image just as you would a plugged in additional hard drive or USB thumb drive.

The app — Double-click the app and it will launch, probably asking for your (in this case) Mac password to complete installation, sign in with that Norton’s account you set up online, and voila, like most VPNs I was thrown straight off Netflix, as Netflix is sensitive to VPNs ever since it was discovered people were ghosting their connections as if from America to get a much broader selection of titles. The app is installed into your top-right menu which has the following options: the cogwheel icon that’s shorthand for Settings/Preferences, a silhouette of a person that takes you to your Account Settings, and below that three tabs: WiFi Privacy, Virtual location (where it appears you are connecting from) and Ad Tracking.
The first tab lets you toggle the VPN on or off by clicking the big round graphic in the middle; Virtual Location not only shows you where you auto-ghosted to but lets you pick a virtual location (from almost 30 countries) and Ad Tracking blocking is an extra feature – as most other VPN services don’t offer this.
Another VPN service I have, VPN Unlimited, certainly does not, just quick connections to VPN servers via security profiles in installs into System Settings>Network. This was one I bought for a fixed price for 5 years; in my case it was less than NZ$50 as I waited for a deal to appear.

Some of the VPN services out there look a little shoddy, and you don’t really know what you’re getting. Or who is actually managing your connection and what they can monitor. This is one by one of the most trusted security companies in the world, with a solid reputation. The ability to block Ad Tracking is a plus, but boy, does this slow your Mac’s internet to a crawl! In my case, down to a Ping of 588 milliseconds, download speed of 8.81Mbps and upload of 12.1Mbps over Gigabit Fibre.
Turning it off bounces straight back to a ping of 3 milliseconds, 270Mbps download and 189Mbps upload – dramatically faster (over Ethernet instead of WiFi I get download figures around 920 for download). Using VPN Unlimited instead, I get a Ping of 51milliseconds, download of 21.1Mbps and upload of 32.7 (all a little odd as normally download speeds are far better than upload).
All these speeds vary over time of day, network load etc, so it’s just an indicator.
In other words, over WiFi, Norton WiFi privacy cuts my connection download speed by 96.7%, whereas VPN Unlimited cuts it by 92%. Bouncing your connection around several servers, hundreds if not thousands of kilometres away in the case of New Zealand, is bound to lead to slowdowns. With VPN running over WiFi we’re ending up back at normal pre-Fibre broadband speeds instead of the rocket speeds we have been able to get over Fibre in the last couple of years. Fine for safe email delivery, sure, and logging onto that bank account, but if you were trying to watch a movie in iTunes somewhere in safety, you’d be tearing your hair out.
Just for the sake of argument, VPN Unlimited over Ethernet instead of WiFi gives me a download speed of 35.9 and upload of 57.1. With Norton’s VPN running, this was better: Ping 74, download 120Mbps and upload 117Mbps, so in this case, using it with Ethernet instead of over WiFi is definitely preferable. (As I’ve said before, wired connections will always be faster – however, in hotels etc, and definitely in cafés and airports, you will almost never have access to a wired connection.)

Conclusion — Despite all that potential security and protection, you’d really want to hope Norton can make this faster.

What’s great — A trusted brand
What’s not — Big slowdown once running
Needs — People needing coverage over several different devices (as the single user price is not as cost effective)

Norton WiFi Privacy NZ$139.99 for 5 users (3 users $119.99, 1 user $89.99)

System — Current and previous two versions of macOS and iOS (and Android 4.0.3 or later, Windows 8 to 10)

More info — Norton NZ

Review ~ moshi symbian compact dock for USB-C Macs


If you have a new MacBook or MacBook Pro, you only have USB-C ports which are wonderful in every single way except one: hardly anyone uses them. Ouch. I mean, they’re faster, daisy-chainable, multi-functional … you know what I mean.
So, to get anywhere with these marvellous machines, you need dongles … dongles that basically step down all these marvellous new capabilities to the boring old tech everything else uses: USB, Ethernet, HDMI … but hey, you can go one better.
A Dock – one device, that only uses one of those precious be-all/end-all USB-C (AKA Thunderbolt 3) and parlays it into a veritable party of those old technology connectors so you can run everything you already have while, best of all, leaving three more of those USB-C ports (in the case of the 15-inch MacBook Pro) for newer technology. Once it shows up.
And these marvellous Docks will set you back a few hundred, but they do a lot of work for the money. I hope to look at Belkin’s and Kensington’s Thunderbolt 3 Docks soon (popularity seems to be affecting supply), but in the meantime, let’s assess this little Moshi contender, the symbus.

Small — This is a very compact (by Dock standards) and thence portable (although it needs its own power supply) USB-C hub. It’s only about the size of a packet of cigarettes – remember those?
The symbus is silver and sits on a fairly substantial, non-slip pedestal and has a fixed USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 cable coming out of the back, about 25cm long, which goes into your Mac, and a power-brick with NZ/AU power supply that plugs in. As for ports, it can’t fit as many as a full-size Dock but its array is well considered and, for many, indispensable: 1000mbps Ethernet, HDM for an external monitor or projector, and 2x USB-A 5Gbps ports.
In turn, plugging in the symbus, since it has a power supply of its own, can push up to 65 watts – enough to charge a MacBook or MacBook Pro 13-inch (the MacBook Pro 15-inch with Touch Bar needs 87 watts, so it’s not up to that). But on compatible Macs, that means another port is released for you.
Symbus will provide power delivery up to 65W for laptop charging. This is enough for MacBooks and MacBook Pros up through the 13-inch model from late 2016, but the 15-inch MacBook Pro (late 2016) with Touch Bar requires 87W of power to charge it.
The USB ports carry different power too. The left-hand USB port is high-speed for charging smartphone and tablets (2.1A). This meant it also ran my Zoom UAC-2 Audio Interface; the other port did not, so the right one’s more for mice, keyboards and other low-power requirements.

The symbius has two USB ports on the front, one Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, the fixed USB-C cable out and the power supply-in on the back.

App for that — Although this is a plug-and-play device, moshi has an an app in the Mac App store (free) called the USB-C Dock Utility which adds the features of letting you eject any USB devices plugged into the Dock at once, it indicates Ethernet status and lets you update firmware on the symbus should it be available.
This installs into your more amenable (to customisation) right-side menus at the top of your monitor.

Alternatives — Moshi also makes a USB-C Multiport Adapter, a 3-in-1 hub that supports 1080p and 4K video output to HDMI plus one USB port, with a pass-through USB-C port so it can also be used to charge a MacBook, for NZ$140. https://www.moshi.com/usb-c-multiport-adapter )

Conclusion — A handy compact Dock, in effect, that limits itself to the most useful features in a small form factor (Ethernet, HDMI and two USB ports). However, some devices need the high power port (some audio interfaces) and you’ll need to remember that’s the left-hand-one, not the right-hand-one.

What’s great — Attractive, small, portable, slick and very useful
What’s not — Good luck finding one. Moshi is still setting up retail sales in New Zealand. It’s also expensive for only four ports, it’s getting near the prices of much bigger Docks with 10 ports like the Kensington (NZ$380, but only charges to 60w) or Belkin ($640 but charges to 85w)
Needs — Anyone wanting to free up one or more ports, and those who prefer faster (than wifi) internet access, as I do, with Ethernet.

Left: my wifi speeds over Gigabit fibre; right over Ethernet (higher numbers = faster). Physical wires are always faster than over the air.

Moshi symbus Compact docking station NZ$269.99 (US$124.95)
System — Any USB-C or Thunderbolt 3-equipped laptop – Thunderbolt-3 compatible and 100% plug-n-play, no drivers needed, although firmware updates are available through the free moshi app. HDMI port for adding an external display (4K@30Hz, 1080p@60Hz); Gigabit Ethernet port for wired data transfer up to 1000 Mbps; 2xUSB-A ports for connecting a keyboard, mouse, or hard drive; USB PD function for fast-charging USB-C laptops (up to 50W, which does not include the new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar) with integrated Smart LED charging indicator (for Macs that are supported)
More information — Moshi

iOS Public Beta 5, locking down AirDrop, ARKit demos


Mac Observer has placed all the Apple ARKIt demos it can find in one YouTube List

Apple releases iOS 11 Public Beta 5, speeding up the release cycle — Apple has released iOS 11 Public Beta 5. Mac Observer noted earlier that Apple released developer betas just one week after the last developer betas. That, plus a same-day release of a new public beta shows that Apple is speeding up its release cycle. Apple release iOS 11 Public Beta 4 last Tuesday, just six days before.

How to secure AirDrop on your iPhone to prevent unwanted photos — Reports have circulated that miscreants are sending unsolicited, inappropriate images to people in US public venues. While Apple’s default settings prevent this, AppleInsider shows you how to check the setting, and lock it down, if you’ve changed it for some reason.

Watch lots of ARKit Demos in one place — ARKit, Apple’s answer to augmented reality (AR) on iOS, has become tremendously popular already. Folks have posted quite a few ARKit demos on YouTube since Apple’s announcement of of the software development kit at WWDC 2017. Mac Observer will add to it as more ARKit demonstrations come on our radar.

Mac laptops up, 4th in brands, Aurora HDR 2018, macOS Public Beta 5, cellphone data concerns, Canadian dollar bond, eclipse map, another Dock, Video File List


Mac laptop sales are up 17.1% quarter-over-quarter — Apple sold an estimated 3.98 million Mac laptops in the second quarter of the 2017 calendar year for a quarter-on-quarter increase of 17.1%, according to TrendForce. The tech giant now ties for fifth place among the top global notebook brands, notes the market research firm.

Apple number four on NetBase’s list of the ‘most loved global brands’ — NetBase, which specializes in enterprise social analytics, has released its “3rd Annual NetBase Brand Passion Report: Top 100 Global Brand Love List.” Apple is in the top 10 of the most loved global brands at number 4.

Macphun announces the release of Aurora HDR 2018 that arrives in September — Except for being available for Mac and Windows, the new Aurora HDR 2018 will get a completely new user interface, become significantly faster and get some new features, like Lens Correction and much more. Get the sneak peek of what’s coming below. Don’t forget to check out the additional presets, if you have Aurora, either; some are free.

Apple releases macOS High Sierra Public Beta 5 — Along with developer beta updates for iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, Apple also released macOS High Sierra public beta 5 (build 17A344b). Like the developer beta, it includes bug fixes and other improvements.

Apple, Facebook, Google & others sign brief concerned about warrantless location tracking — Several high-profile technology companies, including Apple, have submitted a amicus brief in a key case at the US Supreme Court, expressing concerns about warrantless police access to cellphone location data.

Apple to borrow again with company’s first-ever Canadian dollar bond — Apple’s international borrowing continues to expand to new countries, with the company revealing in a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Tuesday that it will offer its first debt offering in Canadian dollars.

Interactive map shows solar eclipse details in your browser — The 2017 solar eclipse that’ll be visible from coast to coast in the continental United States is only a week away, so you’re running out of time to get ready for the once in a lifetime event in that hemisphere, here’s a great list of tips to help you enjoy the August 21st event, but there’s always room for more — like this awesome interactive web-based map that shows the eclipse details wherever you click.

StarTech’s Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station provides full power delivery and lots of connectivity options — *StarTech’s US$405 Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station with Full Power Delivery is one of the first (perhaps the first) docking stations on the market that provides full power delivery for Thunderbolt 3 enabled Mac and Windows platforms, so it’s perfect for Thunderbolt 3-equipped MacBook Pros. The StarTech device packs a 170W power adapter for efficient powering and charging (up to 85W). Most Docks don’t, and can only charge-up MacBooks and MacBook Pro 13s – not 15s.
[*I haven’t seen this brand in new Zealand.]

Lakehorn AG introduces Video File List 1.0 for macOS — Lakehorn AG has introduced Video File List 1.0 for macOS. The app is used to find out more about any collection of movies files.

Apple Mac, iPhone & iPad news for New Zealanders

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