Maccast 2015.06.07 - Show #528
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor: Gazelle
V Gazelle
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V News
V Apple’s Music & TV streaming services
* The Wall Street Journal thinks Apple will announce it’s "Apple Music" streaming service at WWDC.
* Interestingly they claim it will exist, at first, along side Beats Music.
V They also, claim that Apple is "rushing" to finish up deals in time to make the announcement Monday.
* The labels are supposedly squeezing Apple hard to get a better deal for themselves than they have with rival Spotify
* Bloomberg says the labels are pushing to get a 60 percent revenue share—5 percent more than they receive from Spotify.
* The labels squeezing also had an impact on the services reported price. For a time it was rumored Apple wanted a lower $7.99 price, but they had too much push back. The pricing is expected to be set at $10/mo. which is in line with other streaming services.
* One thing that may give them an edge is a longer free-trial period than other services. Many site say Apple plans to offer a 3-moth free trial period for new subscribers to the service.
* Separately it’s also being said that Apple will update some iTunes Radio stations with DJs assigned to better curate playlists. They also have plans for using guest celebrity DJs from time to time.
V Re/code says that despite their desire to do so Apple will not be able to announce their rumored Streaming TV service at WWDC
* Apple told their TV partners they planned to make the announcement, but have been forced to delay the reveal due to licensing disagreements.
* Another sticking point still seems to be securing the rights to local TV content. Something Apple wants to set it’s service apart, but something hard to do since many networks don’t control the rights to local content.
V UEFI Attack surfaces
* There was a presentation at the Chaos Communication Congress (CCC) in 2014 and showed something pretty scary if you own a mid-2014 or earlier Mac.
* It showed how a vulnerability in the boot script table could be used to rewrite the firmware when a Mac wakes after being in sleep mode.
* If you don’t understand that, don’t worry I didn’t either. Basically your Mac has something called the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) and that is used to boot from firmware and into the OS X operating system. In the old days we used the BIOs, if you know that then this is the modern Macs equivalent.
* During bouts the firmware on your Mac is read-only. But in this talk the research showed how when waking from sleep, mid-2014 and newer Macs can write to the firmware.
V So at first to me this sounded pretty serious. iMore dug in and claims that
* This is more likely to be used for a targeted attack. Meaning someone wants to spy or you or gain control of your system. There are already claims the NSA was doing just that since this exploit has been know about for a year.
* iMore also says the attacking code needs "root" access, but then they go in to say running an admin account is vulnerable (an admin account can do some "root" stuff without authenticating, but needs to authenticate to be true "root").
* Also an malicious app or physical access to your machine would be need to execute this exploit.
V You can protect yourself in a couple ways
* Don’t run apps from unknown sources or untrusted developers. This is what Gatekeeper is for.
* Don’t run as 'admin'
* If you are running as admin don’t let your Mac sleep. Display sleep is not the same.
V Thunderbolt 3 is USB-C friendly
* Thunderbolt 3 will use the USB-C connector instead of Mini-Display Port
* It will be a "superset" for USB 3.1, which runs at 10Gbps and capable of speeds of up to 40Gbps with high-end cables
* It will also get the other USB-C and USB 3.1 advantages of supporting DisplayPort 1.2, third-generation PCI Express, and power up to 100 watts.
V Now Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C are NOT equal. They are two different technologies sharing the same connector. So your Macbook’s USB-C will not be able to do Thunderbolt 3
* So basically you can connect USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 devices into a Thunderbolt 3 port, but connecting a Thunderbolt 3 device into a USB-C only won’t work.
* It’s expected to come out later this year and will require Intel's next-generation Skylake processors.
* I would fully expect we will see updated Macbook Pros with Thunderbolt 3 and Skylake processors, probably in the Fall.
V What’s awesome is that all the same connectors and cables and devices will work with the Thunderbolt 3 port.
* Monitors, hard drives, devices, etc. all on the same connector? Awesome!
V Would explain a lot of things
* Apple’s addition of USB-C as the only connector in the Macbook
V Apple’s recent update of the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros using updated Haswell processors and NOT the Broadwell (new Macbook Pro appropriate Broadwell chips arrived this week, right AFTER Apple’s revs).
* Skylake is said to be on target for later this year, so why "upgrade" to ships that will be replaced in months and that won’t support Thunderbolt 3?
V Home Kit part of Apple TV
* Apple added HomeKit support to the Apple TV in software update 7.0
* This week the first round of HomeKit devices started appearing on the market and ElGato’s Eve line was one of those
* In their documents they note controlling HomeKit devices "away from home requires an Apple TV (3rd generation or later) with Apple TV software 7.0 or later and an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 8.1 or later."
* So while not becoming a "command center" we now at least know the Apple TV can act as a bridge to give you remote control of home kit connected devices.
V Apple also has their own support document describing how the integration works
* After signing in with the same Apple ID on an iOS device and Apple TV, users can use Siri commands to remotely control lights, locks, thermostats, smart plugs and other HomeKit-enabled accessories.
* So sounds like you’ll still set up and configure different devices with their apps, etc but once in your network with your Apple TV you an command and control them with Siri from anywhere.
V At this point it’s unclear if will get new Apple TV hardware on Monday
* I think Apple will announced new tools and DevKits, but not reveal any new hardware plans
* I think new hardware is in the works, but will get a separate announcement likely in the Fall
* The NYT reported that their sources claim we won’t see new Apple TV hardware or an SDK at WWDC.
V Apple Watch finally hits retail
* Apple announce Thursday that beginning June 26, "some models" of the Apple Watch will be available for purchase at it’s retail stores
V Apple didn’t elaborate on which models, but one that will likely not be there is the Space Black with link bracelet.
* After the announcement of retail store availability coming Apple emails customers who ordered the Space Black Apple Watch and are still waiting on them to say the Space Black will not show up in stores until all current online Space Black Apple Watch orders have shipped.
* Apple also said the watch will be available in seven more countries on June 26. Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan.
V Recent Apple numbers
V The 2015 Fortune 500 ranking are out an Apple is number 5 on the list
* The list ranks U.S. corporations in terms of revenue. Apple is currently number one in the US by value.
* Still Apple is the top technology company on the list and the next closest is one of their iPhone partners, AT&T an number 12
* The companies ahead of Apple in the Fortune 500 are Walmart, Exxon Mobile, Chevron, and Berkshire Hathaway
V Adobe says Apple TV is the top set top "streamer" in the online video market
* In a report from Adobe's Digital Index team they say they examined 200 billion online video plays, 2.85 billion "TV Anywhere" authenticated video streams and 500 billion website visits and that the Apple TV doubled its share of premium video viewing in just one quarter from 5% in Q4 '14 to 10% in Q1 '15.
* That beats out Roku.
* iOS devices also widened their lead as the top "streaming" video device. Accounting for 47 percent of premium video views.
V The latest comScore numbers say Apple's share of the U.S. smartphone market grew nearly two percent over the past quarter
* Apple now claims 43.1 percent of the US smartphone market according to the report.
* Apple’s main competitor Samsun is in second with a 28.6 percent share, but their share dropped just a tad in the quarter by 0.7 percent
* LG, Motorola and HTC were the other smartphone makers in the top five with 8.4 percent, 4.9 percent and 3.7 percent of the market respectively.
V Why retailers say their snubbing Apple Pay
* Reuters asked 98 of the top 100 National Retail Federation's merchants if they play to support Apple Pay this year and only 25 percent said yes.
* This contradicts Apple’s clam that about "about half" would begin to accept Apple Pay this year.
* The report goes on to claim that when asked retailers said "insufficient customer demand" was the biggest reason why they wouldn’t support Apple Pay
* They also said inability to get customer data on buying habits was the second biggest reason they were not supporting Apple’s payment platform.
* Cost of installation and support of other contactless payments solutions was also give as a reason for dissing Apple Pay.
* I and my cohorts on the iOS Show are calling poppycock in this one. We think the number two reason is the the number one reason. Retails want to track your buying habits and they can’t with Apple Pay.
* I think too some are hoping that the, in my mind, already failed Current-C will get traction. They hate credit cards and their fees and want to mine all our data.
* Luckily some major MCX players like Best Buy and Target have said they WILL support Apple Pay, so I think long term will see Apple Pay adopted more and more.
* Get out their and demand Apple Pay at your local retailers. I already do and if we annoy cashiers enough maybe the word will make it up the chain of command.
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Covered app for media artwork
* Play comment from Paul
* Covered - Free ( iTunes)
V How big a hard drive in a Mac
* Kevin has an early 2008 MacPro 3.1 model and running the latest version of Yosemite with a 1TB HDD thats getting full.
* He wants to upgrade, but was finding conflicting reports online about size limits on hard drive upgrades.
* Some forums claimed that Disk Utility will not recognize drives larger than 2.2 TB.
* Kevin wants to get a 4TB drive, but is worried it won’t be supported.
V According to Apple’s own support documents you should be fine
* I think the largest drives available today are up 8TB on the way.
V As for any limits
* There was a 2TB limit in OS X 10.1.5 and earlier
* 10.2 brought it up to 8TB and 10.3 to 16TB
* Any version of OS X past 10.5.3 can support volumes up to 8 EB (exabytes) or 1 Million TB
* There is a maximum of 2.1 billion files or folders on a volume
* No limit on the number of volumes, except the 4 bay limit that’s in your Mac Pro. There’s always externals.
* And I’m talking OS limits. cabling, connections and interface limits aside.
* That era Mac Pro has a 3.0 Gbps Serial ATA (SATA) controllers, so that will limit the speed somewhat, but 6Gbps will just downgrade to the speed of your controller
V Where you might have issues is with actually mounting the larger drives.
* Some drives 3TB and up might have reduced screw depth on the screws adjacent to the platters. So you might need to shim with washers to get proper alignment in the sleds of the Mac Pro.
V I’m also seeing that 6TB and larger drives might have en entirely new a new standardized mounting screw pattern that might not compatible with older Mac Pro models.
* OWC sells a mounting bracket that can install in the extra optical drive bay on older Mac Pros
V Better password storage and security
* Bill has been using the old pencil and paper password memory technique, but a recent hacked Gmail account has him asking questions about a better way.
V His passwords are mostly, "easy to remember words interspersed with numbers and characters" that he thought were, "pretty secure"
* When it comes to passwords length is more important than most other factors.
* That’s why many security experts will tell you to use a "passphrase" instead a password.
V It’s all about brute force hacking
* Computers compare hashes in lists of stolen passwords
* They use dictionaries to do this. They also already have "waterfall" tables with the known words already hashed.
* They know all your ticks "3" = "E", "0" = "O" and they build those into their dictionary files. They know you’ll have combinations of numbers/letters/uppercase/symbols
V There’s a great xKCD cartoon that explains "Bits of Entropy". How long it takes a computer to crack the code.
* Basically we make short 8-12 character passwords that are hard for us to remember, but easy for a computer to crack in a few day brute force and in seconds with dictionary and waterfall tables.
V So here’s a trick.
* Use a password that is four common words that are not related, but you can remember
* I use the first word from the title of four of my favorite books.
* I then added a number before the last word and a special character on the end.
* It’s a 24 character password and would take a computer hundreds of years to crack at 1000/guesses per second.
* Also it’s very unlikely a dictionary app would contact that specific combination of random words.
* So it’s easy to remember, but hard for a computer to crack.
V Finally, if you use the base password an then just add the site name on the end for each registration as a 5th word. You have a unique password for each site and they are again easy to remember and even harder to crack.
* Only issue here is many sites limit your password length. Argh!
V The difference in using Apple’s iCloud Keychain for password creation as opposed to using LastPass
* OK, so here there isn’t much difference other than with Apple iCloud Keychain your Mac Login or iOS passcode unlock your keychain
* With iCloud Keychain you also have integration with Safari making filling in web passwords easier, especially on iOS, but Extensions changed that.
V How to update and find old insecure or not used passwords
* 1Password has a Security Audit feature
* Watchtower, weak passwords, duplicate passwords, old passwords.
V Worries about losing access to the password if not on paper.
* Paper can get lost, stolen, or destroyed too.
* Backup, backup, backup
* I sync my iPassword on Dropbox.
* 1Password keeps a history of all your changed/past passwords too.
> Can also print it out (mine would be 344 pages).
V Apple Watch feedback
* Play comment from Billy
* There are more an more Apps for me that are showing up on my Watch even when I don’t want them to.
* There really aren’t many great ones yet and most are still pretty slow.
* Hopefully at WWDC Apple will give app developers and Apple Watch SDK.
* Apple's Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams said at Re/codes Code Conference that we will get native 3rd party apps in the Fall.
V On the fitness side one thing to note that is confusing a lot of folks is the "Stand" notifications.
* These are really notifying you when you haven’t moved enough.
* They always come in at 10 mins before the hour if you’ve been sedentary for too long.
* I’ve learned to "cheat" them by waining my arm for a minute. Though I guess waving my arm is "some" movement, right? 😉
V Overall I’m still really liking the Apple watch, but more for what it allows me "not" to do.
* I can detach from my iPhone more.
* Leave it in my pocket. Leave it on the desk when I go to the kitchen.
* Ignore certain notifications. In the past it’s be that few extra seconds of talking it out of your pocket.
* Also when you’re in public and looking at your phone it creates a physical barrier between you and who your with. With looking at you notification on your wrist you are still opened up physically, not closed off.
* Killer apps for me in order Time, Notifications, Maps, Siri, Messages, Activity.
V Thing of the Moment: Spark
* New email client for iOS from Readdle.
* I’ve actually replaced Mail on my iPhone dock.
* Smart Inbox, universal inbox with categories. New, Newsletter, Pins
* Smart notifications. Emails that are from active threads or people you email with a lot.
* Quick replies, swipe actions you can customize, multiple signatures (swipe to change)
* Apple Watch app, that allows you to dictate replies.
* Save emails as PDFs. Save to Cloud.
* Integrated calendar and to-dos.
* Awesome, fast natural language search. "jpg attachments"
* And it’s FREE. No in-app purchases yet, but they will have Widgets to add more custom functionality.
V Closing
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V Thanks to my sponsors
* Smile
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