A crack at KRACK

The WPA2 encryption your Wi-Fi basestation uses isn’t as secure as you thought. Security researcher Mathy Vanhoef revealed a flaw that makes any WPA2 encrypted data on a WiFi network hackable, regardless of what operating system you use.
KRACK flaw makes WPA2 hackable on any WiFi network. The flaw, called Key Reinstallation attack (KRACK) takes advantage of a flaw in the WPA2 standard that lets an attacker decrypt the data flowing through the wireless network.

Here’s my advice: OK, so Apple is the least vulnerable here, but still – it depends what serves your WiFi, an Apple AirPort or something else, do you know? If it has been updated recently, it should be OK, but if you installed it a couple of years back and have never looked at it since, maybe not.
If it’s an Apple AirPort, the updates should appear and be installable should you launch the AirPort Utility in the Utilities folder in your Applications folder (or Finder, Go menu>Utilities).
Either way, if any new security updates come for whatever devices you use to create your WiFi zone, you should update them immediately. 
On the upside, it’s extremely unlikely you are a target considering whoever tries to hack into your zone needs to be within 50 metres of your WiFi server (modem, AirPort, whatever) and have the know-how to do it.
This would be much, much more likely if:
1/ You are known or suspected to have something people would really want to steal, and
2/ You were in a highly built-up area, say in an urban apartment complex. 
Another vulnerability is WiFi-ready environments including cafes, libraries and airports. Who knows how good they are at updating their stuff, and who else is sharing that network?
Your home network is probably pretty much off the radar – of course, if you’re a well-known currency trader working from home, with easy access to someone sitting in a car with a laptop or iPad within 50 metres, that might be a different story.

For now: I would be more inclined to make sure the Firewall is on (System Preferences>Security and Privacy, Firewall tab) and keep monitoring the Apple news. I mean, it’s easy to imagine swarms of hackers out there converging on your house, butit’s SO unlikely in real life, Busy internet cafes, sure.
Also, using a VPN neatly sidesteps the issue completely, although it slows things down to a quarter speed.
For example, this deal at Apple World Today couldn’t be more timely.


iPhone X limitations, Maps gets Irish transit

First shipment of Apple’s iPhone X may be limited to just 46,500 units — Apple’s main assembly partner, Foxconn, recently sent out its first shipment of the iPhone X —but that batch included just 46,500 units, according to one report.

iPhone X, pent up demand predicted to drive Apple sales for years to come, if all factors line up — An analyst has mixed feelings about the iPhone X pricing and release schedule, and believes it may drive Apple’s valuation to new heights, but if it is not well accepted, then it will eat into the company’s earnings for years to come. [That market of rich people who only need a device this expensive to show off with must be somewhat limited.]

Apple Maps gains public transit directions for Ireland — Apple has introduced public transit directions for Maps users in Ireland, confirming recent signs that it was about to do so.

Apple Park gardens, FaceTime hook, VPN deal, Photos editing

Photos has new editing tools in macOS High Sierra

Landscaping, complete visitor’s center highlight latest drone footage of Apple Park — The latest round of drone footage shot in October of Apple Park demonstrates a fully complete visitor’s centre, plus the massive effort it has taken to bring the landscaping up to where it stands currently.

Apple on the hook for $439.7 million to VirnetX over FaceTime should appeals, patent invalidation fail — A series of motions by Apple in court challenging the validity of a ruling in favor of patent aggregator VirnetX have been denied, with Apple facing a US$439.7 million dollar penalty —but there are still appeals of judgements to be made, as well as the conclusion of a patent invalidation process which may wipe the slate clean.

A lifetime of VPN One Click for US$29.99 — Apple World Today has a VPN deal. VPNs encrypt all of your communications on the internet, can hide your IP address, and even make it appear as if you’re on the ‘net in another country. Today’s deal is for a lifetime subscription to VPN One Click for Mac for $29.99 — that’s 88% off the usual price of $250.

How to use the new editing tools in macOS High Sierra — Photos in macOS High Sierra helps you keep your growing library organised, accessible, and good looking. New intuitive editing tools help you polish your images. Click the triangle next to a tool to fine-tune a photo and you’ll be given several options (and there’s a lot more at this link).

TrueDepth AR, Visual Inertial Odometry, GarageBand fix, Movies Anywhere, better photos

The Mac Observer has tips for better photos

How Apple’s iPhone X TrueDepth AR waltzed ahead of Google’s Tango — Apple’s iOS 11 brings Augmented Reality to a huge installed base of over 350 million iOS devices with powerful A9, A10 Fusion or A11 Bionic chips. However, another form of AR is about to be introduced, exclusive to the company’s new iPhone X. Here’s a deeper look at Apple’s big AR surprise.

Inside Apple’s ARKit and Visual Inertial Odometry, new in iOS 11 — When iPhone launched ten years ago it took basic photos and no videos. Today’s iOS 11 now achieves a new level of image capture with Depth, AI Vision and Machine Learning. In parallel, it hosts a new platform for Augmented Reality, which integrates what the camera sees and graphics created by the device. Here’s a look at how it works.
Apple’s ARKit has been installed more than three million times through a host of ARKit-powered apps and games since iOS 11 launched on September 19.

Apple promises fix for GarageBand failing to open after iOS 11 update — Apple is working to fix a glitch preventing some people from launching GarageBand – the company’s simplified music creation tool – after updating to iOS 11, according to an online support document.

7 ways to watch your Movies Anywhere collection — Movies Anywhere is unifying our digital movie purchases from iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play, and Vudu. Read on to see a few ways you can watch your newly combined movie library.
[Updated — this only works for those in the US and Canada so far.]

6 ways to better photos — No matter which iPhone you have, you can make use of these tips and tricks to make your iPhone photos look great.

GeForce Now Btea, Calfornian wild fires, macOS home server, diversity apology, macOS Live Photos

(Image from Apple Insider)

Nvidia GeForce Now beta goes live, delivers high-end gaming to Mac— Announced at CES in January, Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud-based gaming service went live in beta form on Friday, promising users the ability to play graphically intensive games on their Macs including PC-only titles.
Nvidia’s service, currently available for testing in the US and Canada, relies on the power of GeForce GTX GPUs in the cloud to deliver a virtual PC experience to Mac owners.
The clever system performs all the heavy lifting in the cloud, then pipes down a processed stream to a user’s Mac, allowing owners of older Apple hardware play games that they might not otherwise have access to. In addition, since the service is basically a virtual PC, users can sample a host of PC-only titles.

Apple to donate $1 million plus matched employee contributions for California wildfire relief — Apple is donating $1 million outright and matching worker donations two-to-one to support relief efforts for the wildfires scorching northern Califoria.

Why you want a macOS home server, and how to get one going — Sure, you can get a network attached storage device, or rely on somebody’s cloud – but Mike Wuerthele has run a Mac-based home server for a very long time. Why has he kept one running, and why should you start one?

Apple diversity chief apologizes to staff for statements made at summit — Apple VP of Inclusion and Diversity Denise Young Smith on Friday issued an internal memo to clarify and apologise for comments made during a business summit last week, reiterating that Apple is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace.

How to add effects to Live Photos in macOS High Sierra — With macOS High Sierra, you can turn your Live Photos into fun videos you can share. You can click Loop for continuous action, or jump backwards and forwards with Bounce.

The Apocalypticon ~ Fire flood and plague, data hackers, Cuban noise, denial, cell wars

‘Perfectly normal apocalypse’ in California — that’s right. Southern California has firestorms resulting from a  boil-up of fuel thanks to wetter winters then drier summers, and single-dewllig suburbs on the fringes allow fires to spread fast. All ‘perfectly normal‘… In cities, it’s not the devouring flames you should fear but the asphyxiating smoke. This is thanks to Trump’s ‘not climate change’. Hey, at least there haven’t been any hurricanes.
Scientists are perplexed over a giant hole that has opened up in Antarctica. According to Motherboard, the “gigantic, mysterious hole” is as large as Lake Superior or the state of Maine. It’s really ‘quite remarkable‘.
Tokyo is preparing for bigger floods than ever with high tech. Linked by tunnels that divert water away from the region’s most vulnerable floodplains, its US$2 billion underground anti-flood system, completed in 2006, is an extraordinary example of the defenses that global cities are readying as they face an era of extreme weather brought on by climate change [or not, as Trump prefers].

Madagascar is fighting the plague — The World Health Organisation has delivered more than a million doses of antibiotics to Madagascar amid a raging epidemic of plague in which at least 33 people have died and 230 others have been infected. The ongoing epidemic involves mostly cases of pneumonic rather than the more common bubonic plague, but the airborne variety of the disease is significantly more transmissible and deadly.

The Security Paradox — There were 400,000 Britons were exposed in the US Equifax data breach. Oh, wait, the number was actually closer to 700,000.
That’s why we use VPN, right? Except a VPN provider has been sharing it’s logs with the FBI. Logs the provider said it didn’t keep. You see, someone who secures you information has access to that information. This is the Security Paradox – what happens when the locksmith wants to get into your house?
But don’t worry, there’s an Antivirus Paradox too: Russia exploited ‘antivirus software’ from Kaspersky Lab to trawl US systems for classified data. and HP Enterprise actually allowed Russia to review the cyberdefense software used by the Pentagon. The source code review could help Moscow discover weaknesses in the software, potentially helping attackers to blind the US military to a cyber attack. This is why people increasingly want AI to take over these tasks. Shame it’s already so biased, and yet we’re entering the Age of the Bizarrely Intelligent Robots. What’s it like working with them? Wired knows. This makes a perverse kind of sense when you consider that in many cases, we’re allowing – no, in some cases actually voting for – our countries to be run by the most greedy and flawed people.

Can noise weapon? If ever anything sounded like fake news … The Associated Press has obtained a recording of what some US Embassy workers heard in Havana in a series of unnerving incidents later deemed to be deliberate attacks. The recordings themselves are not believed to be dangerous to those who listen. Sound experts and physicians say they know of no sound that can cause physical damage when played for short durations at normal levels through standard equipment like a cellphone or computer. [Aha, but Castro’s speeches were s o  l o n g  . . . ]

Deny this: a restored prisoner’s letter uncovers horrific details of life at Auschwitz death camp. In 1944, Marcel Nadjari, a Greek Jew who was forced to remove bodies from the Auschwitz gas chambers, buried a letter in a forest near the camp. The text was rediscovered in 1980, but was virtually unreadable. Using a new imaging technique, scientists have finally reconstructed the letter, and it’s providing harrowing new details of the Holocaust — and what it was like to work as a forced labourer in a Nazi extermination camp.

Parody ‘Subgenius’ religion wants to crowd-fund contacting aliens — In 1979 the followers of J.R ‘Bob’ Dobbs founded a satirical religion called the Church of the Subgenius. Combining UFOs and conspiracy theories with some social critiques (and a few HP Lovecraft characters), the strange group is now re-emerging online with an official Facebook page and a slick new video channel.
Eighteen months of experimentation lead to clues about a flying saucer arriving on ‘the Black Day’ – and one last chance at eternal salvation and everlasting Slack: the construction of an alien-contacting beacon. [Good for a laugh, anyway. At least, they’re enjoying themselves.]

And after that, some good news … In an effort to reduce the 40 trillion kg of carbon dioxide humans produce each year, three companies have been working to build machines that can capture the gas directly from the air. One such machine in Iceland has begun operation.
Climeworks just proved the cynics wrong. On October 11th, at a geothermal power plant in Iceland, the startup inaugurated the first system that does direct air capture and verifiably achieves negative carbon emissions.
This technology could pull us back from the brink. Yay!

Futurology ~ Stolen star, Hauema ring, Titan methane storms, Moon atmosphere, Quantum puzzle, drone-slayer, Deep Learning, robots-camouflage, stay-home Stone Age

Naftali Tishby, a computer scientist and neuroscientist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, presented evidence in support of a new theory explaining how deep learning works

Our nearest neighbouring star may have been stolen — Less than five light years away sit three stars orbiting each other. You probably remember that one of them, Proxima Centauri, has a planet orbiting in its habitable zone — which got us really excited about the possibility of life. But what if that star was stolen?
~ Tell it to the judge, I say.]

Ring discovered around dwarf planet around Haumea — Haumea was recognised by the International Astronomical Union in 2008 as one of five dwarf planets alongside Pluto, Ceres, Eris and Makemake. They are located beyond Neptune, 50 times farther away from the sun than Earth. By comparing what was seen from different sites the La Silla Observatory team could reconstruct not only the shape and size of the object itself but also the shape, width, orientation and other properties of its newly discovered rings.
~ A job for space Jif?

Intense methane rainstorms on Titan — Titan is the largest of Saturn’s 60 moons and is roughly the size of Mercury. It has an atmosphere, volcanoes, mountains, and sand dunes. And like Earth, Titan features free-flowing liquid at the surface, manifesting as rivers, lakes and seas. It has regional weather patterns and severe seasonal liquid-methane rainstorms.
~ Yeah, not really selling it. 

When the Moon had an atmosphere — New research suggests that long ago, an atmosphere briefly popped into existence as a result of intense volcanic activity. Around three to four billion years ago, powerful volcanic eruptions shot gases above the Moon’s surface faster than they could escape, creating a transient atmosphere that lasted for about 70 million years.
~ 70 million years is transient?

Australian scientists save 30-year-old Quantum puzzle — The scientific community has been working on this one for more than 30 years. Australian scientists from Griffith University just worked out how to measure things with with single particles of light to a higher precision than ever before – on a quantum level.
~ Dang, I thought I was about to solve that one. 

Humanity gets a laser-shooting, drone-slaying dune buggy — Small consumer drones are fairly benign nuisances, buzzing around beaches, filming neighbourhoods from 100 metres up, and hopefully keeping clear of airports. To US armed forces fighting overseas, though, small drones can be huge threats. They can be rigged with explosives and firearms, or simply deployed as surveillance tools. So Raytheon has rolled out an answer at the Association of the United States Army Exposition in Washington: a laser-shooting, drone-killing dune buggy.
~ Um, ‘hoorah’?

Deep Learning explained in new theory — The magic leap from special cases to general concepts during learning gives deep neural networks their power, just as it underlies human reasoning, creativity and the other faculties collectively termed ‘intelligence.’ Experts wonder what it is about deep learning that enables generalisation – and to what extent brains apprehend reality in the same way. But a new theory seems to explain it.
~ Experience, basically … why is this so surprising?

Robot camouflage informed by the octopus — Scientists have engineered a material that can transform from a 2D sheet to a 3D shape, adjusting its texture to blend in with its surroundings. They mimicked the abilities of an octopus, which can change both shape and color to camouflage. This is a first step toward developing soft robots that can hide in plain sight, robotics expert Cecilia Laschi writes of the research.
~ Oh no, where did I put that washing machine?

Staying home changed the Stone Age — A new study by scientists at the University of the Witwatersrand suggests that at about 58,000 years ago, Stone Age humans began to settle down, staying in one area for longer periods. The research provides a potential answer to a long-held mystery: why older, Howiesons Poort complex technological tradition in South Africa, suddenly disappear at that time.
~ Yet no TV …

Five Tip Friday ~ macOS High Sierra offers new features too

1/ How to Enable Type to Siri in macOS High Sierra — Just like in iOS 11, you can enable Type to Siri in macOS High Sierra. This is a feature that lets you type queries to Siri, just like you would a search engine. It’s useful for people who may feel awkward talking to their iPhone or Mac. It’s also helpful in certain situations where silence is a virtue, like in a library. Here’s how to turn in on in macOS.
Open System Preferences, then go to Accessibility. Scroll to the bottom and click on Siri in the left sidebar. You’ll see a checkbox that lets you turn on Type to Siri.
Next, go back into System Preferences and click on the Siri icon. You can enable or disable voice feedback, should you wish.

2/ Check a flight status using Spotlight — High Sierra has made it easier to check the status of a current or upcoming flight. Click on Spotlight’s magnifying-glass icon in the upper-right corner of your screen or press Spotlight’s keyboard shortcut (Command-Spacebar). Now type in the airline and flight number into the search bar that’ll appear.
If you end up with multiple results in the left-hand list, click through them to find the particular flight you’re looking for (and get more information on it).
You can also tell you have got than one result by the little pips at the bottom of the right-hand pane. This indicates you could swipe to view each of the results in turn if you’d rather do that than click them.

3/ Stop videos from auto-playing in Safari — Open Safari and go to Safari>Preferences. Click on the Websites tab, then select Auto-Play from the sidebar. Within this list, you’ll see the websites you currently have open and ones you’ve previously configured auto-play settings for (if any), both with drop-downs next to them:
Allow All Auto-Play – all videos on the site can autoplay.
Stop Media with Sound – only videos that don’t have audio will autoplay.
Never Auto-Play – no videos can autoplay.
Finally, there’s a drop-down at the bottom of that window that’ll allow you to change the global setting.
By default, Safari should stop all media with sound, but if you’d like to be a bit more heavy-handed, you could switch this to Never Auto-Play. Yes!

4/ Set up Custom Reminders — You set a reminder for yourself that repeats on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, or configure one that pops up on the first weekend day of every month, whenever that happens to fall.
Open the Reminders app and click on a blank line to type in the title of your item. Hover your cursor over your new reminder afterward, and you should see a small ‘i’. Click that and you’ll see the options for how you’ll be reminded. To set up a custom repeat, select On a Day, and then click next to the Repeat section. A drop-down menu will offer you a Custom choice. Set a frequency for your repeated reminder: daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. Every frequency type has its own options; for example, weekly lets you pick multiple days of the week on which to get your notifications.
You can do the same thing with Monthly or use the drop-down menus at the bottom to get reminded on, say, the first weekend day of every month. Just click Done to commit.
[Most of these tips, including the one above, came from Melissa Holt at the Mac Observer.]

5/ Use ‘Grep’ to Find Matching Lines — This one’s a bit more pointy-headed. The Terminal doesn’t care if you know what you’re doing, which is why it’s always a great idea to be careful what you type in it! But one command that’s simple to use (at least at its most basic level) is grep. You can use grep to pull lines that contain search terms out of a text file. Here’s how it works: Let’s pretend this text file of mine has many hundreds of lines of data that I need to paw through.
Terminal lives in your Applications>Utilities folder. It gives you a prompt to start (ending with a dollar sign) – type ‘grep test’ (without the the single quotes).
Now you have to tell Terminal which file to run things on. An easy way to do this is by making sure to type a space after your search term, and then drag and drop the file you want to search onto the Terminal window. The program will fill in the path to the file for you,.
If you then press Return on your keyboard, the Terminal window will fill up with the lines that match your search.
There’s a lot more detail, plus pictures, at the Mac Observer.

iPhone interest, Nix colour sensor, turning off WiFi, Yale supports HomeKit, moving app

Teen interest in iPhone hits new high of 82%, Apple Music on the rise — Apple products like iPhone and Apple Watch continue enjoy healthy demand from young US consumers, as new data from Piper Jaffray shows a record 82% of teens have iPhone in mind as their next smartphone.

Nix Mini Color Sensor works with Your iPhone — The US$69 Nix Mini Color Sensor is a little device is a colour sensor that reports to your iPhone (or Android device). More specifically, it will match a given color to an existing colour library of more than 28,000 brand name paint colors, as well as RGB, HEX, CMYK, and LAB colours. It’s US$69 through The Mac Observer at the moment.

How to: turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on iPhone and iPad in iOS 11 — Apple recently caught flak from the Electronic Freedom Foundation for misleading consumers by incorporating “off-ish” Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings in its iOS 11 operating system, a byproduct of decisions that favor user experience. Apple Insider shows you how to completely turn off the radios.

Yale’s Assure smart lock family gets HomeKit support with iM1 Network Module upgrade — Long-time lock producer Yale has added HomeKit support to its Assure lock family, in the form of the iM1 Network Module that provides support for Siri controls through Apple’s Home app. [Ah, ‘Unlock the door’?] 

Top 5 Apple Watch fitness and health apps to get you moving — It can be a bit difficult to find new apps for the Watch. In the Watch app on iPhone, Apple doesn’t provide a list of categories like the App Store. Mac Observer shows you the top Apple Watch fitness and health apps.


Around the world, Photos, Movies Anywhere, Oculus cheaper, different take on a dock

Tim Cook continues European tour, stops by Apple office and sustainable packaging partner — Apple CEO Tim Cook continues his tour of Europe, making a brief stop at Apple’s offices in Sweden, and continuing to discuss the importance of ARKit to Apple with a local publication.
Apple’s $1 billion Athenry, Ireland data centre has been approved after legal challenges squashed, and Apple, Google and others say Chinese investment regulations infringe on intellectual property rights.

macOS High Sierra: The Good Things in Life Are Free — Robert LeVitus takes a peek at some new features macOS High Sierra has that are interesting and cool, and he doesn’t believe any app has more interesting new features than the overhauled Photos app. Another post tells how to view Live Photos on Hight Sierra.

Revamped ‘Movies Anywhere’ service adds four studios, makes cross-platform viewing easy — Disney on Wednesday launched Movies Anywhere, an all-in-one movie viewing service that lets users watch purchased content from five major Hollywood studios on a variety of platforms, from iTunes to Google Play.
Movies Anywhere acts as a multi-platform content locker for movies from Disney, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Oculus reveals US$199 standalone ‘Go’ VR headset, drops Rift price to US$399 — Presenting at an event in San Jose on Wednesday, Facebook’s Oculus introduced the Go, a new headset capable of operating without a connected phone, Mac, or Windows PC.

GN28K Aluminum UBS-C Hub adds expandability options for new MacBook Pros — China-based QacQoc’s newest product, the GN28K Aluminum UBS-C Hub, is designed for 2016 and 2017MacBook Pros running macOS Sierra and High Sierra. It can simultaneously transfer data and charge devices — to a point. It works with devices based on USB Power Delivery Specification (USB PD protocol), but it’s incompatible with devices based on the QC (Quick Charge 2.0/3.0) charging protocol. also, it covers two USB-C ports, although it offers more, of course.
But the GN28K is reasonably priced (just US$89.99 + shipping), and it comes with a 12-month warranty.

iOS 11.03, Ive on X, Airplane Mode, Smart Halo for bikes

The Smart Halo is an iPhone-connected bike accessory. Apple is selling the SmartHalo for US$149.95 in the US and Canada. Compatible iPhones range back to the iPhone 4S.

Apple iOS 11.0.3 update available, fixes iPhone 7 haptic feedback, iPhone 6s screen service issue — Apple has issued a third update to iOS 11, with the latest fix sorting out haptics and audio on some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices, plus one involving non-genuine display replacement on the iPhone 6s.

iPhone X took over two years to develop, marks new chapter in iPhone design, says Jony Ive — In a brief interview with Japanese design magazine Casa Brutus, Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive dropped a few interesting tidbits about the development, future technological implications and public reception of iPhone X. [So, rich people will no doubt delight.]

Here’s how Airplane Mode is different in iOS 11 — Airplane Mode on your iPhone and iPad is pretty straight forward: activate it to turn off the radios in your device, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
iOS 11 still does what you expect with Airplane Mode, unlike Control Center’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles, but you can change its behaviour. When you enable Airplane Mode on your iPhone or iPad from Settings or Control Center the device’s radios are turned off. You can then selectively turn Wi-Fi and Bluetooth back on while leaving the rest of the radios in their disabled state. The Mac Observer has more.

OnePlus’ OxygenOS found to be linking device IDs to collected analytics data — Smartphone maker OnePlus, a competitor against Apple’s iPhone, is collecting a lot of analytics data from users and linking it to personally identifiable information, according to one security researcher.

How to Scan QR Codes in iOS 11 — You used to need a special app for this, but no longer. With iOS 11 that’s built in so you don’t need any special tools. Here’s how to make sure QR code scanning is turned on and ready to use.

SmartHalo bike navigation & tracking accessory comes to Apple stores — The SmartHalo, an iPhone-compatible bicycle accessory, aimed at navigation, fitness, and safety, is now available through Apple’s web and brick-and-mortar stores across the US and Canada.
The device locks to a bike’s handlebar, and communicates with a dedicated app via Bluetooth 4.0. Its signature ring light tells riders how to get to a selected destination via either turn-by-turn or compass-style modes. [I want one! Mind you, the app Cyclemeter records the same info on my iPhone as long as I activate it and take it with me.]

Mac sales decline, gay protections, best monitors, Indian music labs, Spielberg series, organising photos

(Image from Apple NZ’s Compare Mac Models page)

Mac sales continue decline in Q3, Apple drops to 5th place worldwide — Apple’s Mac sales continued to atrophy in the third calendar quarter of 2017 to put the company at fifth place among fellow vendors, according to fresh estimates from research firm Gartner. [What this really means is that Apple has finally joined the general drift downwards in computer sales, after years of bucking the trend.]

Apple among 76 companies asking Supreme Court to clarify protections for gay employees — A collection of 76 businesses including Apple, Google, and Microsoft has asked the US Supreme Court to take up a case that should clarify whether a law against workplace sex discrimination also covers a worker’s sexual orientation. There is an absence of a federal law explicitly preventing discrimination based on orientation, and it’s hampering recruitment in the 27 remaining states that haven’t adopted their own protections.

The best bargains on external displays for your Mac — This is for the US, but some of the brands and models are also available in NZ: whether you have a Mac mini or are looking to add a second, larger display to your MacBook Pro setup, having a high resolution monitor on your desk can be an asset. Apple Insider has the top bargains on monitors in a variety of sizes, all under US$570.

Apple opens two Indian ‘Mac Labs’ teaching music production with Logic Pro X — Apple’s head of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, appeared in Mumbai, India today to announce the launch of two ‘Mac Labs”‘ for KM Music Conservatories, an institution founded by musician AR Rahman.

Apple may reboot Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories Apple is eyeing a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories as one of its first series in its foray into original programming under Jamie Erlicht & Zack Van Amburg, heads of the newly formed worldwide video programming division, reports Deadline.

How to organise photos in macOS High Sierra — It’s easy to organise your photos in macOS High Sierra. Start by, of course, launching the Photos app.
Use the pop-up menu at the top right to find just the photos you want, then drag the photos to an album to quickly organize your shots. You can also select the photos you’d like to put in your album. Hold down the Command key on your Mac’s keyboard to select multiple photos at once. Apple World Today has more.

Review ~ Sonnet Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort adapter

Image from Sonnet site. Either Sonnet has a site smart enough to know I’m connecting from New Zealand and change the desktop picture accordingly, or this was a nice coincidence. The adapter is at centre on the foot of the monitor stand.

This handy little (59x99x16mm) unit from the Apple-friendly US-based Sonnet supports an additional two 4K (up to 4096×2160 pixels) 60Hz displays via separate DisplayPort cables or one 5K (5120×2880 pixels) 60Hz display using both, adapting them into one of those USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) ports on a Mac.
The Sonnet Thunderbolt 3 to DisplayPort adapter runs at 40Gbps and supports audio over DisplayPort and gets its power from the built-in USB-C connector, plus it’s backwards compatible with lower-resolution displays down to 1080p, and other types of monitors and projectors can be plugged in also, including projectors, via adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA (there’s a list of compatible devices, apparently, at the Sonnet site).

I love how these things ‘just work’ on Macs, don’t you? The instructions for Mac are basically plug it in since macOS already has integral drivers (then launch System Preferences, choose Displays and configure). For Windows, it’s update your BIOS to the latest version, update to the latest Thunderbolt version, confirm it’s running the latest Windows and if not update that too, connect the adapter with your computer turned on and then tell it to approve’ the device. Yikes. I don’t even know what a BIOS is (don’t worry, I don’t really want to, either). Besides, not all Thunderbolt 3 Windows PCs support dual displays or 60Hz refresh rates – who knew? Also, this Sonnet display adapter is not compatible with USB-C-only ports. (I didn’t realise these existed either.)

Conclusion — There’s not much to say about this really, it’s plug-and-play, works perfectly and doesn’t even need a power supply. Sonnet always makes good stuff.

Sonnet Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort adapter, NZ$195 (US$79)

More information — MacSense NZ

Apple Mac, iPhone & iPad news for New Zealanders

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