iOS 7: It’s the details

Admittedly small things in such a large OS, but these are the types of details that Apple thinks about.

How to use Mavericks’ new tools to extend battery life

Spend some time with Activity Monitor to get a sense of the energy usage of your particular installation.

Apple’s new suite of energy saving settings, App Nap — not to be confused with Power Nap — doesn’t really have an interface. Which is fine! The whole idea behind App Nap is that it runs in the background, looking for apps that fit certain criteria like whether they’re maximized or currently downloading or playing media.

That doesn’t mean App Nap can’t benefit from some occasional monitoring. The venerable app, Activity Monitor, has a new tab labeled “Energy” that lets you do just that. It lists your currently running programs and daemons, their energy usage, and whether the application is App Nappin’. If you see an app that has a disproportionate energy impact, kill it, and consider uninstalling it.

Good article. Pass it along.

Mavericks review

John Siracusa dives deep into Mavericks

Pixelmator 3.0

Pixelmator 3.0 FX is the most advanced version of Pixelmator to date, introducing lots of new features and improvements, including the following:

  • Layer Styles: Thanks to non-destructive Layer Styles, creating polished and advanced compositions is now so much simpler, faster, and more enjoyable
  • Liquify Tools: Shape images in multiple ways—slightly twist an element, add an artistic detail, or completely distort an entire image
  • New Image Editing Engine: The new state-of-the-art image editing engine harnesses the full power of the latest OS X technologies making Pixelmator feature rich, yet blistering fast
  • OS X Mavericks support: Tags, Multiple-Displays, App Nap support and more.

Another great looking release from the Pixelmator Team. This is easily one of my favorite apps on the Mac. Ever.

Apple working on a fix for some legacy iWork and iLife upgrade issues

Serenity Caldwell

Some users (including yours truly) are reporting issues where the Mac App Store doesn’t recognize their copies; when they click on an iLife or iWork app’s price, they receive the following alert: “[App] is already installed and was not purchased from the Mac App Store. Do you want to buy [app]?” Macworld spoke with an Apple spokesperson who noted that there’s currently an issue with some legacy customers, and the company is working on a fix.

iCloud storage limits

Sam Radford talks about Apple’s 5GB of iCloud storage space and how the company has to increase the limit. I agree with Sam. Years ago 5GB was a lot of space, but if Apple wants users to utilize iCloud and all of its services, they are going to have to increase the limits.

iMessage for Android. Yikes.

Jay Freeman, better known as Saurik, has taken a closer look at what’s happening under the hood with iMessage Chat and he raises the concern that your information might not be secure as it passes through the app maker’s servers in China before it’s sent on to Apple. Fellow developer Adam Bell claims the app is circumventing Apple’s restrictions by spoofing chat requests as a Mac mini.


iOS 7’s motion effects are triggering vertigo and nausea symptoms


A major change in Apple’s iOS 7 update was its sleek, minimal aesthetic; however, the amount of motion now found within is anything but minimal.

The net result: “It feels to me like the whole screen is moving, and it generates a sort of motion sickness. I feel dizzy and can feel the very beginnings of nausea kicking in.”

It’s not as bad as full on motion sickness for me but I do find the animations to be annoying eye candy I wish I could toggle off.

Apple iBeacons

Back in June, at WWDC, Apple first announced iOS 7, detailing a host of new technologies. Hidden among them, with the barest of mentions, was the iBeacon.

Think of an iBeacon as a tiny radio you can put almost anywhere. When your iPhone or other iOS device gets within range (a few dozen feet or so), it detects the iBeacon and can estimate how far away it is. Each iBeacon has its own identifier, too, so if your iPhone is within range of more than one iBeacon, it can tell them apart.

One company that is hard at work making their own brand of iBeacon sensor is estimote. From their web site:

Simply stick our tiny sensors in any physical place — such as your retail store — and your app users will benefit from personalized micro-location based notifications and actions when they walk in to your venue or interact with your products.

Roximity is another company that makes iBeacons. From their website:

Manage your beacons and triggers from a simple yet powerful web based dashboard. View detailed analytics about your campaigns, in store foot traffic, busiest times of day, and much much more!

I think this technology has incredible potential.

New settings in iOS 7

The major changes in iOS 7 have been written about for a few months, but Dave Hamilton focused his attention on some lesser known settings that could be helpful to you.

Resetting your DNS cache

Ever find yourself in a situation where a web site is loading on one device and not another? Or, perhaps, you just registered a new domain name and your browser is not finding it? One possibility is that your DNS cache needs to be flushed.

DNS is the phone book of the Internet, translating the human-friendly domain names (like into IP addresses, then back again. When domain names change, it takes some time for those changes to propagate through all the routers, devices, and browsers. Flushing your DNS cache gets rid of remembered DNS information and forces your device to retrieve new DNS.

The link above tells you how to flush the DNS on your computer. You’ll need to use Terminal, so ask a friend if you’ve not used it before. On your iOS device, turn on airplane mode, then turn it back off. That should do the trick.

Facebook “picture delete” hack details

A 21-year-old communications engineer and self-professed security enthusiast named Arul Kumar, from India, is about to get his second bounty from Facebook for pointing out a flaw in the system. This one was pretty interesting.

Basically, the hacker uses the support dashboard to request the removal of a photo from someone’s account. During the request process, the hacker has access to the photo owner’s Profile_id. Change the Profile_id to the hacker’s own id and the request is sent to the hacker instead of the owner. The hacker approves the request and the photo is deleted.

This movie is from Arul’s blog post. Good job, Arul.

Delete any Photo from Facebook by Exploiting Support Dashboard from Arul Kumar.V on Vimeo.

App Store Grifters

App cloning is a problem that impacts both large and small developers. In a nutshell, a cloner decrypts an app, then sucks out the binary. Once they have the binary, they modify it and resubmit it to the App Store as their own. A difficult problem for Apple to solve. They’d either need to apply significantly more resources to screening submitted apps, or take more time per app with existing resources, which would slow the review process to a crawl.

The app had only been out three months, and already the creators of A Beautiful Mess were scrambling to deal with a big problem: clones, copycats, and rip-offs, as many as seven of them, crowding the search results in the App Store. The clones appeared to be legitimate, affiliated versions, yet as all the developers knew, they were anything but. The CEO of the company that created the original A Beautiful Mess called them “infuriating.”

And getting rid of a clone is no easy task.

A Beautiful Mess developers tried to have the clones removed. “When we reported an IP infringement through Apple’s system, [Apple] would e-mail the company we were accusing and CC us on it,” said Trey George, the business development manager for A Beautiful Mess, in an e-mail to Ars. George believed that most of the clones originated with two operations, which he believed would feign innocence when confronted in a bid to buy time.

Clones and the like have been around the App Store almost since its inception. But this scourge has now become commonplace.

Android’s lack of strong oversight can lead to an even worse problem. Clymer highlighted the recent case of the game Gentlemen!, which was purchased legitimately 144 times and pirated more than 50,000 times.

Glad to see this problem getting the exposure it needs.

Microsoft’s downfall

Software isn’t an industry where the monster company selling the last generation’s product gets to stay being the monster for the next generation. It’s the industry where a thousand hungry small companies are waiting for a shift in the market that will allow them to slay the monster, carve it up and eat it for breakfast.

Very interesting article.

[Via Rian van der Merwe]

German government says Windows 8 too dangerous to use

The National Security Agency’s snooping practices may be costing American companies a lot of money. German publication Zeit Online has obtained leaked documents that purportedly show that IT experts within the German government believe that Windows 8 contains back doors that the NSA could use to remotely control any computers that have it installed.


GaTech researcher gets malicious-capable app in the App Store

Computer scientists say they found a way to sneak malicious programs into Apple’s exclusive app store without being detected by the mandatory review process that’s supposed to automatically flag such apps.

The researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology used the technique to create what appeared to be a harmless app that Apple reviewers accepted into the iOS app store. They were later able to update the app to carry out a variety of malicious actions without triggering any security alarms. The app, which the researchers titled “Jekyll,” worked by taking the binary code that had already been digitally signed by Apple and rearranging it in a way that gave it new and malicious behaviors.

My two cents: As a developer, I am not alarmed by this, as much as surprised no one figured out a way to do this earlier. This is why Apple’s App Store model works. There’s a choke-point for this type of mechanism. It’ll be interesting to see Apple’s response.

Apple developer Web site hacked

Apple Developer Website Update

Last Thursday, an intruder attempted to secure personal information of our registered developers from our developer website. Sensitive personal information was encrypted and cannot be accessed, however, we have not been able to rule out the possibility that some developers’ names, mailing addresses, and/or email addresses may have been accessed. In the spirit of transparency, we want to inform you of the issue. We took the site down immediately on Thursday and have been working around the clock since then.

In order to prevent a security threat like this from happening again, we’re completely overhauling our developer systems, updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database. We apologize for the significant inconvenience that our downtime has caused you and we expect to have the developer website up again soon.

Oh shit.