Maccast 2018.01.21 - Show #641
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V In this episode:
* A couple of new maleware attack you should probably know about
* Apple expands it original video content plans even more
* A shipping date for HomePods might be in sight
* Apple invests in America
* More iPhone battery stuff and a look forward to the next big iPhone updates.
* That, plus you share your recent experiences with Apple support and battery replacements. Why Netflix pops up in the TV app, and what to do if you don't want to (or can't) upgrade your old stuff.
V News
V Mac 'DNS Hijacked' malware
* The news comes via MalwareBytes in a blog post titled, “DNS Hijacked”
* After reading the post security expert and Mac developer [Patrick Wardle]( over at Objective-See dug in with a great in-depth analysis.
* Unfortunately he wasn’t able to determine the attack vector, but looks like this likely hits via malicious emails or fake “security” pop-ups on web sites.
V After being infected the malware changes your Macs DNS setting and then can start doing some pretty beasts things including:
* Taking screenshots
* Generating simulated mouse events
* Possibly persisting as a launch item
* Uploading and downloading files
* Executing commands.
V Right now the version discovered changes your Mac DNS settings adding two IPs to route your traffic through remote servers.
* and
* It also installs a root certificate for itself, nasty
* Another bigger issue is that, at the moment, most anti-virus or malware programs aren’t detecting the hack.
V So what can you do?
* Check your ‘System Preferences > Network > Advanced’ settings and look at the DNS entires for those malicious IPs
* Check ‘Utilities > Keychain Access’ for a certificate from ``
V How do you remove it if you’re infected
* The absolute best way is to re-install your OS from scratch because once they have control it’s possible they’ve executed addiction all attacks or hacks.
V If you don’t want to take it that far you could remove the offending DNS entries:
* ‘System Preferences > Network > Advanced’ button'
* Click the ‘DNS’ tab. If you see the malicious DNS servers ( and, select them and click the minus button to remove.
V and remove the certificate
* Open ‘Utilities > Keychain Access’
* Click on ‘System’ keychains from the list on the right
* Search or look for one called cloud`. If there, control+click on it (right-click) and choose ‘Delete’
* As always stay informed, don’t open or click on suspicious links in emails or from websites.
V Another annoying, slightly less dangerous, attack on iOS devices surfaced this week.
* This one is. “Chat bomb” that is reportedly targeting Apple’s Messages app.
* Really the “attack” is a maliciously crafted website with an excessively long “meta” tag.
* The exploit relies on a bug in how Messages renders “OpenGraph” data in link previews.
* The bug can cause Messages to crash and in some instances bring down the whole OS with it.
* The “fix” I’d to delete the message thread with the offending link.
* Apple reportedly already has a fix in the next iOS update which is expected any day now or might already be out by the time you hear this.
V Apple battles HBO for new Abrams series
* Never thought I’d add ‘Variety’ as one of my weekly sources for Apple news, but here we are.
* This week they say J.J. Abrams has a new sci-fi drama TV series and both Apple and HBO want it.
V Variety claims details on the show are scarce, but they do know it’s deals with “a world’s battle against a monstrous, oppressive force”.
* But ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ has sources with more details who describe the show in more detail
* About a family where there is a mother, father, and daughter. The mother is a scientist
* After a car crash the mother is in a coma and the daughter starts digging through her experiments in the basement.
* There she, “winds up being transported to another land amid a world’s battle against a monstrous, oppressive force. Her father then follows her into this new world.”
* Warner Bros, Bad Robot Productions, and Abrams are producing and Warner Bros. is open to other bidders.
* Many of the new shows Apple is reportedly working on sound pretty good. The rumors have been, while Apple is not spending as much as say Amazon, they are focusing on quality.
* Certainly I would think a J.J. Abrams TV series could fit the bill. I hope they land it.
V Apple may have also landed a third series from Reese Witherspoon’s production company, “Hello Sunshine”
* Coming again From “The Hollywood reporter” this one is a comedy series that will star former SNL star Kristen Wiig.
* The 10-episode series is said to be inspired by Curtis Sittenfeld’s upcoming short-story collection “You Think It, I’ll Say It”
V A new detail was also released about the untitled drama series about morning talk shows starting Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston
* We already new Apple had ordered a 20 episode series, but the Hollywood Reports says Aniston and Witherspoon might be earning as much a $1.25M each per episode.
* The piece notes that the payouts may be driving up costs for Apple’s competitors.
* Witherspoon also stars in the HBO series, “Big Little Lies”
* HBO ordered a second season, but reportedly had to give Witherspoon and co-star Nicole Kidman, “massive” pay increases. From $250K and $350K per episode up to $1M/episode.
V We already discussed this rumor, but now it looks like Apple’s original video content team is set to move into a 128,000-square-foot facility in Culver City
* This site will reportedly be in addition to the 85,000-square-foot space, also in Culver City, that was previously reported.
* Originally the new site was set for HBO, but when the deal fell through Apple stepped in.
* Both locations supposedly have a total of about 213,000-square-feet of “creative office space”.
* All this news shows how serious Apple seems to be about landing top talent for their new original content efforts and with their deeps pockets, at least for now, they can afford to throw some weight around.
V Apple HomePod may be close to shipping
* The Taipei Times reported this week that Apple’s supplier Inventec has already delivered 1 million HomePod units to Apple.
* Apple has two manufacturing parters for HomePod, Inventec and Hon Hai Precision Industry
* The report claims the December launch delay of HomePod was due to the need to “fine-tune” the software and hardware integration
V The report also says a source expects Apple to ship 10-12 million Homepods by the end of the year
* That number seems way off to me considering Amazon shipped about 10 million Echo’s in 2017
* I remember one analyst last year saying Apple could sell about 4 million HomePod units in the first year.
* As another indication that HomePod shipments are close the speaker has received FCC approval.
V There were also new icons in the Home app in the iOS 11.2.5 beta builds
* They were discovered and posted by Filipe Espósito on Twitter.
* They suggest that HomePod will support HomeKit scenes.
* There's also icon with a Homepod next to a muted Siri glyph. Seeming indicating you could use the Home app to toggle Siri on the HomePod. Could add muting in a HomePod scene, say "party mode" so guests can't activate Siri on HomePod.
* Other strings found seem to indicate support for multiple unique voices (multiuser)(. This would be great news.
* No one is really sure how close we are, but I imagine it’s more like weeks now then months.
V New Siri “Give Me News” feature rolled out in the US, UK, and Australia
* Possibly in advance of the HomePod, but you can use it now.
* Seems to be tied to the Podcast app
* By default uses NPR in the US, the BBC in the UK and ABC in Australia.
V You can change the default service by saying, “Hey Siri, switch to CNN”
* In the US Fox News and The Washington Post are alternatives.
* In the UK Sky News or LBC
* In Australia SBS and the Seven Network can also be picked.
V Apple pledges $350B to the US economy
* Apple announced that it plans to contribute $350 billion to the US economy over the next five years
V The company says it will focus it’s efforts on three key areas:
* Direct employment
* Spending and investments with domestic suppliers and manufacturers
* The “App” economy.
V The press release also offers some details on the investments
V Planned capital expenditures in the US, investments in American manufacturing over five years and a record tax payment upon repatriation of overseas profits will account for approximately $75 billion of Apple’s direct contribution.
* In fact they increased their expected contribution to their Advanced Manufacturing Fund from $1B to $5B
* They also expect to pay about $38 billion in repatriation tax payments.
V They will invest $30B in US capital expenditures and create 20,000 new jobs.
* Part of those to staff a new campus they plan to open later this year
* No details on what the campus is for or where it will be (not CA or TX).
* Over $10B will be in investments in their data centers
* The $350 investment is also outside of any tax payments Apple to the US from it’s day to day operations.
V Apple is also upping it’s investments to it’s employees as an internal email from Tim Cook revealed.
* They will do charitable matching at a rate of two to one up to $10K per employee in 2017
V Apple is also giving “all individual contributors and management up to and including Senator Managers worldwide.” a bonus of $2,500 in restricted stock units.
* This is for both full-time and part-time employees
V Future iOS will have battery performance ‘toggle’
* In an ABC interview given while touring Apple’s Reno data center Tim Cook gave some more details on the battery enhancement coming in a future version of iOS
* He was responding to questions about Apple’s decision to add code to iOS to reduce performance on older iOS devices with depleted batteries. What some have taken to call, “batterygate”
* Apple issued an apology and promised more transparency and options in a future version of iOS, but hadn’t give details
* In the interview Cook says user will be given the option to turn off the performance reduction.
* He reiterated that Apple’s motivation for reducing performance on devices with compromised batteries was always focused on the user experience
* Some have alleged it was purely done to force users with older devices to buy new iPhone’s. There are already dozens of global lawsuits filed.
V iPhone X maybe out. Larger iPhone in?
* A couple reports about the future of iPhone’s
V KGI doesn’t think Apple is selling as many iPhone’s this quarter as they originally predicted
* They believe Apple will ship 18 million in this quarter well below the 20-30 million they had estimated.
* They cite longer replacement cycles in China and part of the reason.
V They still think though that in 2018 Apple will continue with a three device lineup, but will “go big”
* A 6.1-inch LCD model, a successor to iPhone X and a 6.5-inch OLED ‘iPhone X Plus’
V KGI is predicting the current iPhone X model will be phased out and replaced when the new model launches
* No reduced price for the current iPhone X
V The piece says despite the low estimates for iPhone X older models like the iPhone 7s and 6s’ are still selling well.
* Still they expect sales growth to be almost flat in the first half of 2018, 0-5 percent growth over 2017.
* They remain hopeful that the 2018 lineup Gould drive iPhone growth up into the 10 percent range for 2018.r
V Sponsor: Backblaze
V Backblaze
* Unlimited, cloud backup for Macs and PCs for just $5/month
V Backblaze backs up documents, music, photos, videos, drawings, projects - everything!
* Includes attached drives
* Mobile Apps for on the go access
V Tell 'em what I love about Backblaze.
* Beyond the price, by far the easiest solution I've ever used.
* Great easy to use native user interface. System Preference pane and menubar item.
V Really fast. Took several months with other services where Backblaze did my uploads in weeks. And there was no noticeable impact on my day to day performance.
* They have a great bandwidth checker at: that will calculate how many GB a day your connection will upload (at max speed, so adjust if you throttle it in the settings). Mine 12Mpbs, but limit to 1/4 that.
V Many ways to restore
* You can restore just one file, or all your files – the choice is yours
* Restore by Mail – if you have a complete system failure you can purchase a hard drive with all your data on it, overnighted via FedEx
* You can even return the drive and get a full refund – it’s a win/win.
* Receive a fully featured 15-day free trial at: Go there, play with it, start protecting yourself from potential bad times! Start Today!
* You really have no excuse now for not backing up your stuff.
* Make sure you visit so they know where you came from and continue to support the show!
* Don’t forget about Business Backup! Already use Backblaze at home? Tell your sys admin at work! Go to and hit the “Business Backup” link at the top of the page. The same awesome service with more admin tools using Backblaze Groups.
* Make sure you visit so they know where you came from and continue to support the show!
V Feedback, commentary, opinions
V More 'good times' at Apple Stores
V Russell wrote in to share a story about a recent Apple Watch replacement for his daughters 13 month old Apple Watch
* After a low battery warning she let it run in regular mode until it powered off. The next morning it would not wake and a force start and a reset attempts didn't work to revive it.
* Call to Apple resulted in the quote of a $249.00 out of warranty replacement cost. It would have to be sent in and then replaced. Meant several days without an Apple Watch, which the daughter wasn't happy about.
* Made a few more calls in the subsequent days and was told they could get the replacement sent out first and then send it in, turned out to be incorrect info. Called when they were going to be in town to schedule it and found out it was just the box, not a replacement watch.
* At that point escalated the call and explained things. The support rep then said there was nothing he could do to ship a watch until the broken one was returned, but he offered to waive the $249 fee.
* Needless to say Russell and his daughter were thrilled. I'm guessing they rep made an exception since it was so close to the end of warranty period.
* Play comment from Daniel
V Reminder about Apple's "Today at Apple" program
* to see what programs are coming to Apple stores in your area.
* Studio Hours: All projects. An 1:30 session where you can just get help with your creative projects.
* Basics and Quick Start classes for new users.
* Photo Walks, are the thing Daniel mentions. The also have a "How to Shoot with iPhone" session.
* All Free.
V Sending in your iPhone for battery
V You might want to be a bit cautious in using this option right now.
* I had one listener who sent in their iPhone for a new battery after talking with Apple Support on the phone.
* The process was great, they were sent a box and sent in the iPhone.
* The trouble, 8 days later they are still without an iPhone and no word from Apple on when the devices might come back.
V If you use the support app also be aware that setting up a Genius Bar appointment will only be for the diagnostic and to place your battery order
* One Maccast listener wrote to express frustration that he scheduled an appointment listing "battery replacement" as the reason two weeks out only to be told at the appointment that they would have to order the battery and he would have to return once the ordered battery arrived possibly weeks later.
* For this type of situation I would say call Apple Care support and have them set everything up. Ordering the battery and setting up the call back or install appointment at the store. I don't know if they're doing that, but at least a human can tell you what is or is not possible.
V Your milage might vary if you try to use a local Apple Authorized Service Provider for your battery repair.
* I have some details from a provider that tells me they cannot match Apple's prices.
* Reason is Apple provides no re-inbursement for labor costs on out of warranty repairs and only pays a small percentage on warranty repairs.
* The provider who alerted me says they have to charge $101 (instead of $29) to just break even.
* Even if you're will ing to pay more, they don't have batteries at this time either.
* So my general advice at this point is if it can wait, WAIT. I would say also not to wait until the end of the year either.
V Netflix in TV app 'Up Next'?
* Brian had a film he began watching on the BBC iPlayer app for Apple TV, but it's time there ran out, so when he went to access it again from Up Next it brought up the screen listing where it was also available.
* iTunes of course, for purchase, but it also showed a 'Play in Netflix' option. Clicking that opened the Netflix app and started it playing.
* So he asks, is there some sort of Netflix integration with the TV app? I had reported on many occasions that Netflix isn't supported.
* The answer is "no", but obviously since there was a "Play in Netflix" button what is going on?
* The answer to that is "Siri Search". Netflix does participate in the universal search feature. So if you search for a Netflix show inside Siri Search you will see the results to play that show.
* This data is also available to Apple's TV app, so they leverage that when you search for a show. They can show you all the apps that can play that content from the ones you have installed.
* Unfortunately this feature is separate from "Up Next".
* In Brian's case this is more confusing because the content was accessed from UpNext, but it was only there because BBC iPlayer had that show and shared that data. That's why pressing play from Up next did NOT just launch and start playing the show from Netflix.
V After I explained this he asked, "If Netflix did decided to be part of “Up Next”  how would it integrate the profiles that are on Netflix?"
* Answer is, I don't think they can. Since iOS and tvOS are single user systems I don't know how they could match and control the different family profiles.
* This could possibly be one technical reason why Netflix has not added in full TV app integration.
V Not upgrading older devices
* If the whole Apple battery controversy has illustrated anything it's for sure the fact that Apple devices are used for long periods of time.
V They are built to last, passed down, and placed into service in for other purposes longer than a lot of other technology products.
* I still use a Early 2006 Mac Mini (Intel Core Duo) connected to a Drobo as a file and backup server on my network
* The OS unfortunately is locked at OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard
V Maccast listener Bill is also like many of us. He said in a recent email that his, "argument against shelling out for the new equipment is he (I) tends to buy the newest and then keep it a long time".
* Bill is rocking a 2008 MBP, with an SSD upgrade, that serves him just fine. Trouble is now it won't un macOS High Sierra.
* He also has an iPhone 6 Plus that he's happy with though he hasn't wanted to upgrade to iOS 11 because of concerns over degraded performance.
V He also points out that Apple's current new offering just are not compelling for him.
* The new MacBook Pro keyboards are suffering from known hardware issues and the touchbar is not overly compelling.
V The new iPhone X is comes with a very high price tag.
* He also mentions concerns of OLED burn in and high screen repair costs. I wouldn't be concerned about that Bill.
* In the end Bill asks, "Do you have any advice for those of us with older devices that are no longer or only partially receiving updates, including those for security?"
V I would say the biggest concern those of us with older vintage and obsolete products IS the lack of security updates.
* That said there are so few of these devices out here that we do get some security by obscurity.
* Still I would say you have to remain vigilant about protecting yourself as much as possible.
V Another big issue can be lack of continued software support
* I just got a notice that with their next server upgrade Dropbox will no longer support the version of the version of their app that still runs on my Mac mini.
* My Drobo may end up in a similar situation some day.
V For things like this it's to be expected. No piece of electronics is designed to last forever.
* You could find ways to repurpose stuff.
* Running linux distros (that are up to date for older hardware) maybe?
* Macquarium anyone?
V One the subject of being ready to maybe upgrade, but not liking the current offerings…
* One option might be to find a more current used or refurbished device and get a good deal.
* This could maybe get you through the "in-between" years while you wait for say the Macbook Pro design to mature.
* Places like our sponsor [Small Dog Electronics]( or [PowerMax]( have deals. You can also try eBay or ask friends who have upgraded recently.
* Don't forget also Apple's own refurbished and clearance stores.
V Doing upgrades of RAM, storage (SSD), and for some models, even CPU or GPU upgrades are a possibility.
* Places like [iFixit]( and [OWC]( are great for tutorials, parts, and upgrade kits.
V Closing
V Podcast Marketplace
V Thanks to my sponsors
* Smile
V Gazelle
* Gazelle. The fast and simple way to sell your used gadgets! Find out what your used iPhone, iPad and other Apple products are worth at
V Supporters
* Bandwidth for the Maccast provided by CacheFly at
* Advertising is handled by Backbeat Media at
V Keep emails coming. Audio comments.
V 281-622-4269 or 281-Mac-I-Am-9
* MacCast Forum
* Follow me on Twitter
Maccast on Twitter
* Checkout the page on Facebook
Maccast on Facebook