Maccast 2014.04.20 - #485
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Sanebox
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V News
V Sick of Heartbleed? Me too, but…
* Everyone seems to be going on and on about the huge concern of Heartbleed, and they should, but we need more of the why and what.
* For the why my buddy Jeff Gamet at the Mac Observer has been doing a great job of breaking things down. You can read his awesome article for the full details, but here’s the highlights
* Heartbleed is a exploit of a security flaw in OpenSSL
* Most of us know SSL (Secure Socket Layer) as the "little lock" that pops up in our browser that protects/encrypts that data between our browser and certain websites
* OpenSSL is an open-source implementation of the SSL and (newer) TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocols and used by many, but not all, websites.
V The Heartbleed exploit takes advantage of a flaw in a version of the OpenSSL code that can be used to trick the server to handing over it’s private encryption keys
* Anyone with the private key part of a SSL/TLS connection can decrypt what's passing through a secure connection
* The flaw is in OpenSSL's hearbeat function. This function keeps your SSL/TLS sessions open with a server instead of timing out and forcing you to start over.
* The flaw is that if a browser sends a heartbeat request that doesn’t include as much data as it should, and the server responds by handing over random pieces of data stored in its memory, 64K at a time. Do this enough and you end up with enough extra data to rebuild the encryption keys. Thus the name, Heartbleed.
* The code bug that makes heartbleed possible was introduced in March 2012, and wasn't patched until April 7, 2014.
V The big fix for this is for owners of sites that are using the unpatched versions of OpenSSL to update their servers.
* They need to revoke their SSL certificates and re-issue them. This will take time in many cases
V You have no easy way of knowing if a site or service you use is impacted
V Apple, OS X, and iOS are not impacted as Apple doesn’t use OpenSSL
* That’s not to say that apps, website, or services you access on OS X or iOS aren’t impacted.
* You could email the site host and ask
* There are also some lists on-line.
* If you are aware of a site that is vulnerable, then don’t use that site until their patched.
* You should make sure you’re using different passwords on every site you use and if you haven’t changed passwords in a while do it.
V Make sure your Mac is set to recognize revoked certificates
* Go to Applications > Utilities > Keychain Access
* Launch Keychain Access
* Go to the Keychain Access menu and choose Preferences
* Click the Certificates tab
* Set Online Certificate Status Protocol and Certificate Revocation List to Best Attempt
* Set Priority to OCSP
* This will tell every application that relies on your Mac's built-in keychain to avoid revoked certificates. That includes Safari and Mail, as well as many other applications
* If you Chrome, Jeff has instruction in his article.
V Latest iPhone 6 Rumors
V Continued reports that we’ll see a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in the Fall and possibly a 5.5-inch version later in the year
* These are being echoed over and over, but repeating something doesn't always make it true.
* ChangeWave says 40 percent of near-term iPhone buyers want a larger screen.
V Analysis of an alleged front panel from a Chinese website "Weibo" shows a 5.1-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
* Make sense because the iPhone 4 aspect ratio.
* Also could due a 1080p resolution 1920 x 1080 would make sense
* Doesn’t jive with ANY other rumors
V KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo
* 4.7-inch screen 1334x750 (326ppi), 5.5-inch screen at 1920 x 1080 (401 ppi)
* An A8 processor, 1GB of RAM, LTPS display panels, optical image stabilization, and Touch ID.
* 10 to 20 percent narrower bezel and 6.5–7.0mm thickness.
* Sleep/wake button on the side
* NFC integration (no, no, no)
* Only the 64GB 5.5-inch version will use sapphire displays.
V Would you pay more?
* Jefferies analyst Peter Misek says Apple’s been testing carriers with a $100 price hike
V Updated iPad Air’s and Mini's
* Air with A8 processor, TouchID, and updated 8MP camera
* Mini to say same, but add A8 processor and TouchID
* No 12.9-inch iPad "Pro" this year
V Latest iWatch rumors
* Seems like it will definitely have a big health/fitness band component
V From KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo
* Able to operate independently of an iPhone or iPad, but offer feature functions that are iOS-exclusive like health monitoring apps
* 1.3- to 1.5-inch flexible AMOLED display with sapphire cover.
* System-in-package (SiP) design and NFC
* Use a 200 to 250mAh cell, he says battery life is expected to hit at least one day.
* Casing and band will come in a variety of materials
* Pricing topping out in the "several thousand’ dollar range
V Nike is reportedly getting out of the fitness band hardware business and focusing on software
* The timing seems ripe for a big software deal with Apple’s new iWatch hardware
V Release date likely to be in the fall along side the iPhone 6
* Keep hearing rumors of parts and suppliers begin lined up for production
* As a matter of fact, grab your barf bag with your wallet because the fall will once again be an Apple Product Pukefest.
V KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo saws expect new iPad Airs and iPad minis, an iWatch in two sizes, an all-new 4.7-inch iPhone, an all-new 12-inch MacBook and an update to the MacBook Pro lineup. Also, toss in an Apple TV upgrade for good measure too. Come on, it’s wafer thin.
* 12-inch Macbook Air, fanless with a buttonless touchpad?
* Apple TV with and App Store and motion controls
* Also, a lower cost iMac by the end of this Quarter.
V Carplay for the rest of us
* Don’t have new car in your budget, but want Carplay? This week brings a few slightly more affordable options
* Pioneer and Alpine were added to Apple’s Carplay site and will be making aftermarket systems
* Alpine’s systems are reported to cost between US$500 to US$700. Pioneer’s will start at US$700.
* At launch Apple announced CarPlay support in Mercedes, Ferrari, and Volvo in 2014. Honda and Hundai have also announced 2014 models with CarPlay
* Still a lot cheaper than a new car.
V Yahoo search on iOS
* Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is reportedly working on a plan to convince Apple to change the default iOS search engine from Google to a new Yahoo solution
* Siri’s search is now using Bing and Yahoo Search is powered by Bing.
* Given Apple’s history with Google at first glance this doesn’t seem totally crazy, but I don’t think it will happen
* At the same time, do we really care where or search is coming from? I think a lot of people think they do, but really don’t.
* I use Siri a lot and the results I get I view as being from Siri/iOS, not necessarily Bing which they are from. Still I "never" would use Bing as my browser search.
* I don’t think Apple would give Yahoo exclusive, just default. Users could always opt to change the setting.
* So then it comes down to revenue. How much is yahoo willing to give to Apple to get that default OS X and iOS search slot?
* Yahoo! would do the mobile and contextual search on it’s own, without Microsoft. Meaning start to get back not the search game with Apple and mobile.
* If the business deal is lucrative enough it might be crazier for Apple NOT to do it.
V Sponsor: Smile
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V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Office may still suck, but support doesn’t
* I like many of us have a need from time to time to deal with a Microsoft Office document and while i prefer to use iWork sometimes I have to use the "real" thing.
* I had been using Office 2004, and been office-less for a while, but recently I did sign up for Microsoft Office 365 Home.
V I installed the Office Software, Office 2011 BTW and all was fine until I tried to upgrade.
* Got to "About a minute left" and hung on "running package scripts"
* Had to force quit the installer, which was fine until I tried to restart.
* Said the installer was still running.
* Had to open Activity monitor and force quit the installed daemon.
* I did all the usual voodoo dance trick like repair permissions and zapping the PRAM, but the updater would always hang.
V Last resort, call MS support
* Share the experience
V Also, mention the solution for me was to open the document in Word for iPad which was really very good.
* Downside is the files can only be saved locally
V Clear the dynamic link editor (dyld) cache
* So when I had to force quit the MS Office installer and force shutdown my Mac I opened up another can of worms (remember today’s theme? Rabbit Holes).
V On reboot suddenly my Finder was freaking out. I getting a dialog popping up:
* "The last time you opened Finder, it unexpectedly quit while reopening windows. Do you want to try to open its windows again? If you choose not to reopen windows, you may have to open and position the windows yourself." [Don’t Reopen] [Reopen]
* Didn’t matter what I choose it would re-pop-up every 30 seconds or so.
* Tracked it down to my Transporter Desktop software. If i quit that the message would go away.
* Really though the Transporter Desktop was just a catalyst for the real issue. My hard shutdowns had messed with my dynamic link editor (dyld) cache. What?! Yeah, I didn’t know I had one either.
* It can be caused by hard shutdowns or by having started up in SafeMode (which I did during troubleshooting).
V The dynamic linker, a system-level mechanism which OS X uses to help applications launch more quickly
* It does this by load and link programs to shared libraries
* Most apps use a shared library of routines in OS , so that stuff can be cached.
* If something happens to the cache, weird things can happen.
* A corrupt dynamic link editor cache can be a cause of the Spinning Beach ball of Death (SBoD) fro example.
V Luckily there is a Terminal command to clear that cache
V Normally the command is only run by Apple's Installer and Software Update, as they are the only official ways for OS dylibs to be updated.
* If a safe-boot is done (booting with shift key held down) the cache is deleted.
* I guess some apps, like Transporter Desktop in my case, expect that library to be there.
* Launch Terminal and type: sudo update_dyld_shared_cache -force
* When prompted, enter your OS X admin user name and password
* It can take a while for the process to run and you get no feedback. Once your prompt returns you know it did it’s thing.
* Restart and all should be right with the world again. (you must restart before the fix will take effect).
* As I mention, this can also help sometimes if an app continues to had the SBoD and typical fixes like Repair Permissions don’t work.
V iWork’s connection to Google Docs
* I received an email from Fillip and he was having an iWork ’13 issue where his iWork apps were generating these "extra" files.
* They had the same file name, but were folders with a .sb-[hash] at the end.
* On the screen shot he sent I notice that he was using a Transporter, so I thought that might be a factor.
V In my testing what I noticed was that when you would save an iWork file you would get a .sb-[hash] file generated automatically and then it would disappear.
* My theory is that there is that because the Transporter files are saved locally and then sync these files are starting to sync as soon as they are created
* This means that they might be "locked" when the iWork app tries to do it’s clean-up.
V Now the rabbit hole, what the heck are these .sb-[hash] folders and why are they created at all?
* So I went looking for the answer and didn’t exactly find it, but found something else
V iWork ’13 significantly changed the document format of iWork files
* Requires you convert old files into the new format and export to iWork '09
V The problem with iWork ’09 files was migrating them to iWork for iPad and back to the Mac
* Required some trick behind the scenes conversions of the file format
* We were unaware, but if you knew where to look and wanted to dig through package contents and XMl files you could figure things out.
* Under all the layers the file format was basically a set of property lists and XML. You could open these in a TXT editor and make sense of them.
V In iWork ’13 Apple changed things again so that the file format on the Mac and on iOS is consistent. The same files work on either platform
* But that required some significant change sunder the hood.
V Inside a Pages file (package) you now see
* Data
* Metadata
* JPG preview files
V Why all the changes?
* They have split that the large XML document into many small binary files.
* Each piece can be loaded one at a time, useful on an iOS device. Each slide in a Keynote for example is a separate binary file inside that package
* Binary, because those tend to be smaller in file size. Faster to load and sync.
* Also syncing, easier to sync just the files that change when they are a smaller set of files vs. one large XML
V Extract the and you have a collection of .iwa (iWork Archive) files
* These now appear to be in a binary format, no longer the human readable XML
* Components are serialized into .iwa (iWork Archive) files, a custom format consisting of a Protobuf stream wrapped in a Snappy stream. (see work of Sean Patrick O'Brien)
V Here’s the thing, Protobuf (Protocol Buffers) and Snappy are Google technologies
V According to Google, "Protocol buffers are a flexible, efficient, automated mechanism for serializing structured data – think XML, but smaller, faster, and simpler."
* Google uses Protocol buffers for consistent storage of data, meaning it’s likely the format Google Docs are stored in.
* Snappy is a compression format created by Google aimed at providing decent compression ratios at high speeds. IWA files are stored in Snappy's framing format, though they do not adhere rigorously to the spec
* Concerns have been expressed that proprietary binary formats come at the expense of portability, but as it turns out these binaries aren’t totally proprietary (see Nick Heer piece)
* Funny choice since Apple tells developers they should use Core Data fro document formats. Core data is reasonably compact, supports partial-loading, allows for syncing, and use an open SQLite format.
* So why did Apple themselves opt for a different binary format that incorporates a lot of Google technology? My guess is Cloud has a lot to do with it, especially since developers have had a hard go with Core Data and iCloud syncing.
V File formats and the future
* So why do we need to even care at all about file formats?
* Portability and non-obsolescence are two BIG reasons. I still get email from people who ask about old WordPerfect or AppleWorks files and how they might open them.
V One way you can plan for this is to make sure there are "open" ways to export your documents from the apps you use
* Export to RTF, PDF, JPG, CSV, TXT, MP3
* Notice that I use "open" loosely and that not all the formats I use in my examples are necessarily going to be here forever, but they are more universal then a proprietary binary format tied to a one specific app.
* The biggest concern here is having the ability to export when you need the file in a new format. If you wait too long that may not be possible.
V The other thing you can do is develop workflows that start with more open formats.
* This is something I learned from Mac Sparky (David Sparks)
* He was using a 'markdown' workflow where almost all his files start as TXT (markdown) files.
* He then progress those into other apps, like Word, Pages, etc.
* Feels a little like what we do in programming, start with some "source" code and then compile it into it’s binary form. The source is always portable and can be read and converted to a new language if need be.
* Either way it’s probably important to keep and backup both the "open" and proprietary versions of the files.
V Time Machine Dual Monitor Bug
* I ran into this during my crazy week. I needed to restore some files from Time Machine and found I couldn’t select any files in the Time Machine interface.
* Discovered the issue was my second monitor and it’s an OS X Mavericks known issue.
V They way I was able to work around it was by turning on mirroring temporarily
* System Preferences > Displays
* Click on the Arrangement tab
* Check the Mirror Displays box.
* Another option would be to simply disconnect the second display while you do your restore.
* Some folks report having success in going into Mission Control and unchecking the 'Displays have separate Spaces' option. This change requires a log out/in to take effect, so to me isn;t as convenient,
V My best guess as to the root cause of the big is the fact that OS X Mavericks now has the option to have each display have separate Spaces, which is why that last fix works. Put’s it back to the "old" way
* Time Machine still blanks out the second display when in it’s "full screen" mode so maybe it’s not been updated to support the newer "I’m in my own Space" model.
* Some have also said making sure the Finder was on their "Main" display before activating time Machine worked to fix the issue for them. That didn’t work in my case.
V Closing
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