Maccast 2016.03.09 - Show #563
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
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V News
V Apple OLED iPhone in 2017
* Rumors that Apple has discussed ramping up OLED display production with LG and Samsung
* They also reportedly have been telling appropriate industry associations to prepare for the switch
* The rumors say one of the key drivers for the move is OLEDs ability to conform to curved handset designs.
V OLED also offers the ability for thinner displays that have a higher contracts with much deeper blacks
* Like on the Apple Watch, it can seamlessly hide the bezel around the display making it feel like the display extends edge to edge.
* Previous reports had claimed Apple was looking to move to OLED iPhone displays in 2018 and analyst Ming Chi Kuo has stated he believes Apple won't make the move until 2019
V Production volume could wind up being an issue with the sped up timeline
* Sharp has reportedly been trying to increase production volume and Samsung as well
* One possibility is that at first OLED displays could be limited to the higher end models like the Plus models.
* DigiTimes reported it would be exclusive to a larger 5.8-inch version with the iPhone 7s or iPhone 8.
V The moving of the timeline up may also be a way for Apple to counter slowing iPhone sales by introducing more dramatic iPhone designs.
* With OLED it would be possible for Apple to wrap the display around the edge of the phone.
V Intel may provide LTE modem chips for the iPhone 7
* Multiple reports have surfaced that a "significant portion", probably 30 to 40 percent, of LTE chips would be produced by Intel
* The rest are expected to be supplied by Qualcomm.
* The Intel chips is presumably the 7360 LTE Modem and would have faster theoretical downlink speeds up to 450 Mbps, uplink speeds up to 100 Mbps, and support for LTE category 10 and 29 LTE bands overall.
* It's good for Apple to not have to rely on a single supplier for any iPhone component.
* Another option for future phones would be integration of the LTE modem into the A-series processor. Then they could license LTE modem intellectual property from Intel or Qualcomm.
V Rumored case designs for iPhone 7 are also surfacing
* They seem to be consistent with the rumors of no headphone jack
* Also left and right speaker cutouts.
* Cases for the iPhone SE seem to show the sleep/wake button still on top along with the headphone jack on the bottom.
V Apple has rolled out the sixth version of iOS and OS X betas
* Sent out to developers and public beta testers just a week after beta 5
* iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4, and watchOS 2.2
* tvOS did not appear to get a beta 6 update.
V Apple Pay a hit in China
* China Merchants Bank claimed more than 3 million cards were activated with Apple Pay in the first 2 days of availability.
* On average, Apple Pay users in China spent just over $15 each during the launch period.
* Almost 20 banks representing about 80 percent of Union Pay cards in China are supporting Apple Pay.
V Apple passes on Thursday night NFL
* Apple has reportedly decided not to bid on the right to broadcast some Thursday Night NFL games on the Apple TV
V Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Verizon, and Yahoo had all been reportedly invited to bid for the streaming rights.
* The bid would reportedly be for 18 regular season games for this upcoming season
V Apple seems to feel that the potential cost is not worth the benefits.
* Last season Yahoo paid $15 to $20 million to stream a single game.
* NBC and CBS will reportedly pay $225 million ($45/game) to televise and stream 5 games each in 2016 and 2017.
* The bidding with the remaining companies is expected to be finished by March 20th.
V Apple pulling out dosen't necessarily mean you won't be able to stream Thursday night NFL on your Apple TV.
* Many of the networks are still in the bidding and many of those have apps on the Apple TV.
V DA implies San Bernardino iPhone houses a 'cyber pathogen'
* This case just gets weirder and weirder
* San Bernardino District Attorney Michael A. Ramos made statements In his amicus brief that the suspects iPhone might house a a "dormant cyber pathogen"
* The implication seems to be that the suspect may have used his iPhone to inject a virus into the computer infrastructure of San Bernardino Country.
* No one beyond the San Bernardino District Attorney, including the police or FBI, have made the same claim
* He also made statements in the same brief that the phone might contain information implicating a third co-conspirator.
* Basically he's trying to give possible justifications as to why Apple should be compelled to help the FBI crack the passcode on the suspects iPhone.
* I get the argument of potentially uncovering other persons of interest, but the cyber pathogen theory seems a bit far fetched.
V Then in France French parliamentary deputies have voted in favor of legislation that would impose fines or jail time for executives who refuse to provide encrypted data to investigators
* It was part of an amendment to a penal reform bill
* It would impose penalties of up to five years in jail and a €350,000 (£270,000) fine
* It passed a lower parliament vote, but still needs to pass the National Assembly and Senate and the French government does not favor the amendment
V Mac's will support Oculus when they're "good".
V Oculus CEO, Palmer Luckey, was asked about when he thinks Oculus Rift will have Mac support and he didn't pull punches on his answer
* "That is up to Apple. If they ever release a good computer, we will do it."
* It might sound harsh, but generally it's true.
V The Rift needs some beefy GPU hardware and the current lineup of Macs, even the Mac Pro, don't have the chops.
* The minimum recommended specs for a Rift-capable machine include a 3.7GHz quad-core Intel i5-4590 processor or better, 8GB (or more) RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon 290 graphics card or better.
* An iMac or Mac Pro could cover the CPU and RAM specs, but the GPUs fall short
* The AMD FirePro D700 on the $6,000 Mac Pro isn't good enough.
* VR requires a machine that can hit 90 frames per second in VR games otherwise motion sickness can become an issue.
* Apple typically uses lower to mid level GPUs and CPUs to maximize the performance vs. power consumption. Especially in notebooks.
* If Apple would move back to the old days of offering BTO options with higher end GPUs the they'd be happy to bring Rift to the Mac.
V Still for VR we Apple fans may not need to count on Oculus
* There have been many recent reports that Apple is exploring it's own VR and augmented reality solutions.
* Apple has the ability to tune hardware and software to do more with less.
* We've also heard Apple has been exploring it's own custom GPU designs and processors for desktops and notebooks.
* Another, and likely better option, is to simply by a Windows PC VR rig. There are now options that start at USD $1049.00 and go up to $3,150.00
V Apple wants to sell used iPhones in India
* According to India's telecommunications minister, Apple has applied for government approval to import and resell used iPhone in the country
* The government has yet to give approval and it's not clear which models Apple plans to import
* We do know from other steps and statements that Apple looks at India as a big growth opportunity for iPhone
* They recently dropped out of the low end market in India by stopping sales of the iPhone 4s and 5c and lowering the price on the iPhone 5s.
* Selling used or refurbished devices could be a way to capture more price conscious iPhone buyers in India
V iPhone SE looks to also help with slumping sales
* RBC Capital Markets estimates the new 4-inch model could sell as many as 10 million
* If the rumored price is $400-$550 per unit that means an additional 4 to 5.5 billion in revenue.
V Mac's first ransomeware
* The makes of the BitTorrent client "Transmission" warned oh their site that the 2.90 version of their app installer had been infected with malware
* The malware list called "KeRanger"
V If infected the software would encrypt your drive and then hackers demand a ransom for the keys to get your data unlocked.
* Supposedly with this one there is a 3 day delay before the encryption happens
* It connects to a Tor command and control (c2) server
* Ransom is set at $400 USD
* They quickly patched the software to version 2.91 And then 2.92 which actively removes the malware.
V It's not clear how the infected installers made it on to the Transmission site.
* Transmission is an open source project
* Seems like the site might have been compromised
V Check if you're infected
* Look for a running process called 'kernel_service" in Activity monitor
* Select the process and choose "open Files and Port" and see if there is a file listed like "Users/Library/kernel_service"
* Terminate that process
* Look for the the files ".kernel_pid", ".kernel_time", ".kernel_complete" or "kernel_service" existing in ~/Library directory and if found remove them
* The infected app also includes and extra file named 'General.rtf' in it
V Apple acted quickly and revoked the certificate that allowed the exploit to be installed.
* The hacked installer was signed with a valid Mac developer certificate from a Turkish company, but not Transmissions
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V Follow up to Apple vs. FBI
V Leung points out that if Apple is forced to create GovOS another "burden" would be their engineers being targeted by bad guys who try to pay them to leak the code. That or possibly people trying to hire them away to give up the secrets of the backdoor
* While that does happen, remember in Ireland Apple employees are being offered large sums for their corporate login credentials, in this case there are other safeguards.
* The version of the OS has to be signed with Apple's keys. If Apple did create that version I assume they'd lock the code away somehow with very few people having access.
* If a person with the knowledge to write the code was hired away, they might be able to recreate it, but without the signing key from Apple it wouldn't run on an iOS device.
V Sean mentions that Apple would also have to continually maintain and update GovOS along with the main version of iOS
* Again only if they choose to keep the copy around and not re-write it from scratch every time they have a valid request.
V Your old OS X USB installer might not work
* If you're like me and have a stack of USB installers for OS X going back to OS X Lion you might get a surprise if you try to use them.
* They won't work and Tidbits has the details as to why.
* For security OS X apps, including the OS X into talkers, must be signed with a developers certificate.
* But here's the thing, the certificates are issued for only a set period of time, expire, and must be renewed.
* I think case the Apple Worldwide Developer Relations Intermediate Certificate has expired.
* Apple issued an updates and told developers to update their Apple Wallet Passes, Mac apps, extensions, Safari push notifications, and App Store submissions.
* Apple also updated their App Store submissions which would include their own OS X installers.
* The kicker is though that copy you made onto an old USB installer would have the old expired certificate. Attempting to run the installer would fail because it's now unsecure.
* So if you want those old installers you'll need to re-download them from the Mac App Store's purchased section and rebuild your USB installer drives.
* Note too that you can only see installers in the purchased section that are compatible for the Mac you are running the Mac App Store on.
* A hack around for the certificate check is also to set your Mac's clock manually back to before February 14th, 2016 (the date the old certificate expired).
V How to stop ransomeware
* A couple of piece from Mac Kung Fu and AppleInsider have some tips on keeping you safe from the next Ransomware trojan
V BlockBlock App is a background app that keeps an eye on the places in the system where persistent background apps are typically run from.
* If anything installs a persistent piece of software, BlockBlock will display an informative alert.
* It gives you the options to block or allow the software to run
* You control the Block Block app from the menubar
* Use an app like LittleSnitch to watch for and be alerted about apps making outgoing connections.
V Have offsite backups since it will try to encrypt all local files. IF you get hit you will need to have turned off the backup before it runs and overwrites the non-encrypted cloud backups.
* Manually backup to a not always connected USB drive with cloning software would also work.
V AppleInsider's piece describes how to use the "checksums" on the installers
* Sometimes when you go to download the software from a site it will list the "checksum" or "hashes" for the installers
* They's look like long series of alphanumeric characters, but what they are are basically software "fingerprints"
* It is a fingerprint taken from the software installer that the developer originally uploaded.
* On your Mac you can then run a simple command to get the "fingerprint" of the installer you downloaded and compare that to the original fingerprint.
V There are typically three kinds of hashes or checksums you'll see. SHA-1, SHA256, or MD5.
* The kind will be listed with the "hash" number next to the installer on the developers site.
* Using Terminal you will input the appropriate command and point it at the installer file you downloaded. That will return the hash (fingerprint). Then you simply compare your result to the result posted on the developers website.
V If they match you know that installer is legit. If not, you can assume the installer was changed and might be tampered with.
* It is possible too that the developer just forgot to update the hash on the site, but you at least then know to contact them and check.
* This technique would work too even if you downloaded the installer from another site. As long as it was the installer the developer built and put out for distribution it's checksum should match.
V Homekit exercise in frustration
* I'm not sure what it's going to take for Apple to get this right.
V Matt wrote in
* Has Phillips Hue bridge, Hue lights, and an Ecobee 3
* Give Siri command for "lights off", they go off, but then Siri times out
* Siri can't seem to communicate with the Echobee at all.
* Using the "Home" app and all the accessories say "error" next to them.
* Matt even tried a full reset. Basically Logging out of iCloud and HomeKit and re-registering all his devices. No fix.
V Found that if he logged out of HomeKit all his accessories worked fine, so is the issue the iCloud piece?
* Apple has never been very good with iCloud integrations.
V iCloud is really only used, or should only be used, when you are accessing accessories from outside your home network
* Even there I believe you must have a 3rd generation Apple TV or better.
V You can see the HomeKit iCloud setting in Setting > HomeKit
* Select your "Home" and there should be an 'Allow Remote Access' option.
* You can also invite other people with iCloud accounts to control your HomeKit accessories.
* Matt, you might try just turning off the "Remote Access" and see if that clears things up.
V That said, you're for sure not alone.
* My system can often be finicky.
* Often I'll issue a Siri command for the light that she happily reports she changed though nothing happens.
* I found that restarting my iPhone sometimes fixes it.
V Things did seem to get better when I added my custom built Raspberry Pi Homebridge hub
* Also, my Insteon Pro Hub recently had another firmware update.
V Retrain iPhone Autocorrect
* Derek mentions an issue that has frustrated me in the past too.
* The autocorrect feature can sometimes be too smart in learning words that you frequently type. The issue is that it starts to build it's own autocorrect dictionary that is customized to stuff you type.
* In Derek's case he has a dog named 'Elwood' (great name BTW) and now the iPhone knows that.
* When he starts types 'El' it now "corrects" it to "Elwood". Frustrating if what you want to type is El Capitan and it becomes "Elwood Capitan".
* Worse, if you use iCloud the dictionary is sync'd. Every Mac and device will start making the same corrections.
* There are some things you can try:
V Retrain the dictionary
* When you start typing "el" and it makes the wrong suggestion, to Elwood, click the little "x".
* You'll likely have to do it a bunch but eventually it should "unlearn" the wrong correction.
V You can also go extreme and completely reset the dictionary
* Settings > General > reset > Reset Keyboard Dictionary
* You'll get a warning and need to enter your passcode to continue.
V As a workaround you could also set your own keyboard shortcuts for words like "El Capitan"
* Settings > General > Keyboards > Shortcuts
* Then add a shortcut, say "elcap" and set the correct text you'd want typed.
* Some will use a special character before the shortcut text, like a comma, to avoid conflicts with actual words.
* You could do the same trick with an app like Textexpander and use their 3rd party keyboard.
V Closing
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