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Unite 4 turns any website into an app on your Mac

Thanks to BZG for sponsoring The Loop this week. Unite 4 lets you turn websites into customizable, native apps on your Mac. Unite 4 includes dozens of new features, including support for native notifications, new customization options, M1 support, and much more. Unite apps also serve as a great alternative for resource hogging Electron apps or half-baked Catalyst apps.

You could create a Gmail web client that behaves like a native mail client, or a status bar app for Apple Music or Overcast, and much more.

The Loop readers get 20% off this week when you purchase Unite 4 or when you use the promo code ‘LOOPINSIGHT’ at checkout.

You can also try Unite for 14 days absolutely free or use it as part of your subscription if you’re a Setapp subscriber!

The Dalrymple Report: Apple Watch, Rick Rubin, and Duck, duck, jeep

Dave and I talk about some of the features of the Apple Watch this week, including tracking your sleep with the device. We also look at Rick Rubin’s new documentary about the Beatles and Dave tells us about a game he found out about called duck, duck, jeep.

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Apple updates the Mac MagSafe power adapter page

On Tuesday, Apple updated the MagSafe power adapter (not to be confused with the iPhone MagSafe interface) support page.

At the very least, this is a walk down memory lane, but note the references to Macs with USB-C power adapters. Is there a purpose to this change? After all, what does MagSafe have to do with USB-C? Probably a simple edit and this is a tiny ado about nothing. But note the date on the bottom of the page. The change happened Tuesday.

File under mildly interesting.

Steve Jobs’ 1973 job application once again up for auction, in physical and NFT form

Ian Sherr, CNET:

A London-based entrepreneur is hoping to set off a competition between the physical and digital worlds, putting a 1973 job application filled out by Steve Jobs up for auction. The form Jobs apparently filled out for an unspecified position at an unspecified company will be available to buy either as a purportedly authenticated physical good or in digital form, as a nonfungible token, or NFT.

Interesting to watch Steve’s original job application go up in value, from $18K in 2017, to $175K in 2018, then in March to $222K.

If you’ve not seen it before, go to the official auction web site and check out the high res scans.

A twist to this version of the auction is the addition of an NFT version of the application. Might be old man yelling at a cloud, but this feels like pure money grab. I thought the purpose of an NFT is to benefit an artist, allow them to keep ownership even as their work is resold again and again. But the artist, in this case, is Steve Jobs. And the seller is just a 3rd hand buyer/reseller. Am I missing the point?

How to install Apple’s beta firmware on AirPods Pro

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

Apple in July 2021 began offering beta firmware for the AirPods Pro, with the software available for Apple Developer program members.

I don’t recall past AirPods firmware being distributed in this way.

‌AirPods Pro‌ firmware betas are limited to developers and are quite tricky to install, with an installation guide available below.

And:

Installing the firmware in an unauthorized way can put the ‌AirPods Pro‌ into an unusable state that necessitates an out-of-warranty repair, so non-developers should not attempt to install the software.

And, most importantly:

Apple says that once the ‌AirPods Pro‌ firmware has been installed, it’s important not to put un-updated earbuds into the charging case because they may be updated with the firmware.

This firmware features “FaceTime Spatial Audio and Ambient Noise Reduction”.

Here’s how to check your phone for Pegasus spyware using Amnesty’s tool

If you’re new to the NSO Pegasus spyware controversy, here’s a post that’ll get you caught up.

With that in mind, this from The Verge’s Mitchell Clark:

Amnesty International — part of the group that helped break the news of journalists and heads of state being targeted by NSO’s government-grade spyware, Pegasus — has released a tool to check if your phone has been affected. Alongside the tool is a great set of instructions, which should help you through the somewhat technical checking process. Using the tool involves backing up your phone to a separate computer and running a check on that backup.

Here’s a link to Amnesty’s instructions. A bit techie, but not too hard to follow if you are OK using Terminal.

Twitter testing internal “dislike” button for tweet replies

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

Twitter appears to be testing a new “dislike” or thumbs down button for tweets, which is designed to let people downvote replies. Twitter says that the feature is available for “some” iOS users.

A dislike button? Hmmm. From Twitter support:

  1. This is just a test for research right now.
  2. This is not a dislike button.
  3. Your downvotes are visible to you only.
  4. Votes won’t change the order of replies.

Interesting that Twitter specifically calls out that this is not really a dislike button. Feels like the Twitter team trying this out in a non-public way to get their heads around dislike behavior.

Alyona Vargasova, some great guitar technique

Alyona Vargasova, showing off some incredible guitar chops.

As you watch, check out the hammering done by both hands. This is some great precision finger work and Alyona makes it look easy, effortless.

Comment: How new features in iOS 15 helped when my iPhone 12 was stolen

José Adorno, 9to5Mac:

Over the past few weeks, 9to5Mac has been covering how criminals in Brazil are stealing people’s phones and using them to drain user’s savings in just a moment. Over the weekend, my iPhone 12 was stolen, but iOS 15 and many other precautions were very helpful and ensured that the situation was not as bad as it could have been.

This SIM replacement trick is troubling. If you’ve not read about this exploit and Apple/Google’s response, take a minute to read this 9to5Mac post.

Back to José’s stolen iPhone:

One of the greatest features available on iOS 15 is the ability to make the iPhone findable even after being turned off or factory reset as long as Activation Lock is enabled. Turns out, this really works in real life, as I still have access to the iPhone’s position even though I factory reset it.

Read the article, some good preventative takes (how to protect your iPhone before being stolen) and response advice (iPhone stolen: what to do next?)

If you do nothing else, create a PIN for your SIM. Easy to do, great layer of protection.

iOS 15: What’s new with Notifications

Good look at what’s changed with Notifications by Juli Clover, MacRumors.

What struck me most about this redesign is the notification tuning made possible in the Notification Summary interface:

For Notification Summary, you can select specific times for notifications to be delivered, and decide which app notifications will be relegated to the Notification Summary. You can choose just a handful of apps or all of your apps.

This is definitely worth experimenting with if you feel a bit overwhelmed with notifications, need to rein them in a bit.

iPhone doesn’t unlock your Apple Watch after updating to iOS 14.7? It’s not just you…

Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac:

If you’re finding that your iPhone doesn’t unlock your Apple Watch after updating to iOS 14.7, it’s not just you. Apple has admitted that there’s a bug in the latest public release of iOS that affects iPhones with Touch ID instead of Face ID.

Not to be confused with errors unlocking your iPhone using Apple Watch, something folks with masks are finding incredibly useful.

But no, this is an issue for folks who use their iPhones to unlock their Apple Watch:

The Apple Watch automatically locks when you remove it from your wrist, an important security measure given that you can use it to make contactless payments without authentication, as well as access personal data in your apps.

When you first put your Watch on, there are two ways to unlock it: Enter your passcode on the Watch, or unlock your iPhone. The latter is often easier, so many people choose to do this.

If you are encountering this issue, make sure you have Unlock with iPhone enabled. To do this:

  • Launch the Watch app on the iPhone paired with your Apple Watch
  • In the My Watch tab, scroll down to Passcode
  • Make sure Unlock with iPhone is enabled

Here’s an Apple support document with all the details.

Foxconn says critical iPhone factory hasn’t been hit by massive floods in China

CNBC:

Taiwan electronics manufacturer Foxconn said Wednesday that its factory in Zhengzhou — known as the world’s largest iPhone assembly plant — has not been impacted by major flooding in the city.

And:

Zhengzhou in China’s central Henan province has been hit with torrential rain. Authorities said it rained more in an hour on Tuesday than it normally would in an average month.

And this from Tim Cook:

“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the flooding across Henan province, and the first responders helping people to safety,” Cook said, adding that Apple will be donating to support the relief effort.

BBEdit 14.0 released

BBEdit 14 introduces a Notes system; the ability to integrate Anaconda environments; new built-in support for syntax coloring and function navigation for source files written in R, Go, Rust, TOML, Arduino, Pixar Universal Scene Description (USD) and Lisp-family languages; plus now enables significantly enhanced code completion, error checking, interactive help and code navigation when using new support for Microsoft’s Language Server Protocol (LSP).

In addition, BBEdit 14 brings a wealth of other new features, changes, and improvements to its powerful tools, all of which are designed to enhance the productivity of web developers, desktop and mobile software developers, and anyone producing or editing Markdown documents.

BBEdit 14 enables several new features or significant improvements to built-in coding aids for developers, such as enhanced language-specific text completions and improved Find Definition, as well as new code-navigation features, built-in support for highlighting errors and warnings, and support for language-sensitive document reformatting; these features and improvements result from new built-in support for LSP, by which user-installed local “language servers” implement key language-specific behaviors. Specific available features may vary by language and by server.

BBEdit is one of those must-have apps that I’ve been using for over 20 years.

The MagSafe Battery Pack shake test

How secure is the MagSafe Battery Pack attachment? Will it pop off easily, say, when I’m pulling it out of my pocket?

Watch the video. My takeaway, this puppy’s not coming loose too easily. That magnetic connection is solid.

iOS 15: How to Create a Focus

Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:

In iOS 15, Apple introduced a new Focus feature that aims to help reduce distractions and let you zone in on a single thing. Focus does this by filtering notifications based on what you’re doing.

If you don’t have access to the iOS or iPadOS 15 beta, this is worth a look. Tim Hardwick does a nice job walking through the new Focus interface, exploring the full tree of options.

A short read, but it’ll give you a sense of how to set up and enable a Focus once you do have access.

The story of how I lost my wallet on the subway at 5am and got it back the next day with Airtags

Reddit:

I’m generally prone to losing things, but I actually hadn’t lost my wallet in a couple of years. I was overdue. I was on my way back from my first concert since the pandemic started, it ended in Bushwick around 4am and then I had to walk 30 minutes to the Metropolitan G (there weren’t any Ubers out at that time). By then, I was barely alive, and my wallet must have slipped out of my pocket into the train sometime between 4:30-5:30am. Most of the time if you lose your wallet on the subway, your chances of getting it back are so slim you don’t even try, but I had luck, a kind stranger, and airtags on my side.

Good story, and a real-world use case showing AirTags living up to their potential.

One way to deal with the 8 types of USB-C cables

Salman’s blog:

USB-C was supposed to be the answer to the chaos that is charge and data cable compatibility. And to an extent it was. It unified ports and reduced the amount of cables and chargers I need to travel with. The cables themselves, however, turned out to be a mess. They come in many varieties with obtuse names, confusing markers, and unclear compatibility rules. Yet they all look exactly the same.

I couldn’t agree more.

What are the 8 different USB-C to USB-C cable assemblies? From Benson Leung’s post, we have:

  1. USB 2.0 rated at 3A
  2. USB 2.0 rated at 5A
  3. USB 3.2 Gen 1 rated at 3A
  4. USB 3.2 Gen 1 rated at 5A
  5. USB 3.2 Gen 2 rated at 3A
  6. USB 3.2 Gen 2 rated at 5A
  7. USB4 Gen 3 rated at 3A
  8. USB4 Gen 3 rated at 5A

Salman took Benson Leung’s post and used some nail polish to create easily identifiable cables. To see the result, follow the headline link, scroll to the bottom for a picture. One stripe for a 3A cable, two stripes for 5A.

This is a brilliant idea. I hope it gets some traction. As is, USB-C cables are a bit of a guessing game.

Ted Lasso creator Bill Lawrence talking about what makes the show work

Vanity Fair:

The other characters on the series initially react to him with mistrust, contempt, and deep and abiding caution. They are cynics, brutes, survivors. Others are the perpetually dismissed and bullied. Ted Lasso wins them over, just as he does viewers, by simply proving over and over again that he actually is pure-intentioned; he actually is kind; he actually is folksy and genuine, all the way down to his core. He is a good guy.

And:

It shouldn’t work, but it does. That’s what Vanity Fair decided to explore with showrunner Bill Lawrence, best known for Scrubs, Spin City, and Cougar Town, as we discussed the show that people—and Emmy voters—love because it proves all their worst suspicions wrong.

Who could have predicted this show would take off as it has. Well written, sure, but also coming out when the world was facing significant challenges, offering a strong note of genuine optimism to help carry people through the tough times. Good interview.

Unite 4 turns any website into an app on your Mac [Sponsor]

Thanks to BZG for sponsoring The Loop this week. Unite 4 lets you turn websites into customizable, native apps on your Mac. Unite 4 includes dozens of new features, including support for native notifications, new customization options, M1 support, and much more. Unite apps also serve as a great alternative for resource hogging Electron apps or half-baked Catalyst apps.

You could create a Gmail web client that behaves like a native mail client, or a status bar app for Apple Music or Overcast, and much more.

The Loop readers get 20% off this week when you purchase Unite 4 or when you use the promo code ‘LOOPINSIGHT’ at checkout.

You can also try Unite for 14 days absolutely free or use it as part of your subscription if you’re a Setapp subscriber!

Washington Post: Despite the hype, iPhone security no match for NSO spyware

Washington Post:

The text delivered last month to the iPhone 11 of Claude Mangin, the French wife of a political activist jailed in Morocco, made no sound. It produced no image. It offered no warning of any kind as an iMessage from somebody she didn’t know delivered malware directly onto her phone — and past Apple’s security systems.

Once inside, the spyware, produced by Israel’s NSO Group and licensed to one of its government clients, went to work, according to a forensic examination of her device by Amnesty International’s Security Lab. It found that between October and June, her phone was hacked multiple times with Pegasus, NSO’s signature surveillance tool, during a time when she was in France.

And:

Pegasus can collect emails, call records, social media posts, user passwords, contact lists, pictures, videos, sound recordings and browsing histories, according to security researchers and NSO marketing materials. The spyware can activate cameras or microphones to capture fresh images and recordings. It can listen to calls and voice mails. It can collect location logs of where a user has been and also determine where that user is now, along with data indicating whether the person is stationary or, if moving, in which direction.

And all of this can happen without a user even touching her phone or knowing she has received a mysterious message from an unfamiliar person — in Mangin’s case, a Gmail user going by the name “linakeller2203.”

The instance described above is the tip of the iceberg, one story among many, a small part of a massive story that broke over the weekend. A few reads to get a sense of this:

From that Guardian post:

NSO has always maintained it “does not operate the systems that it sells to vetted government customers, and does not have access to the data of its customers’ targets”.

In statements issued through its lawyers, NSO denied “false claims” made about the activities of its clients, but said it would “continue to investigate all credible claims of misuse and take appropriate action”. It said the list could not be a list of numbers “targeted by governments using Pegasus”, and described the 50,000 figure as “exaggerated”.

And:

The Guardian and its media partners will be revealing the identities of people whose number appeared on the list in the coming days. They include hundreds of business executives, religious figures, academics, NGO employees, union officials and government officials, including cabinet ministers, presidents and prime ministers.

And, regarding iPhone specific attacks:

Guarnieri has identified evidence NSO has been exploiting vulnerabilities associated with iMessage, which comes installed on all iPhones, and has been able to penetrate even the most up-to-date iPhone running the latest version of iOS. His team’s forensic analysis discovered successful and attempted Pegasus infections of phones as recently as this month.

Looking forward to official Apple comment on this situation.

How ‘Ted Lasso’ won over American soccer stars and contributed to UCLA’s Pac-12 title

Kevin Baxter, LA Times:

As well as “Ted Lasso” has done with the critics, winning SAG and Golden Globe awards for Jason Sudeikis, one of the show’s creators and its star, it has done even better with professional soccer players and coaches. Fans of the show, which returns Friday, include Dave Sarachan and Gregg Berhalter, the last two coaches of the men’s national team, and Jill Ellis and Vlatko Andonovski, the last two coaches of the women’s national team.

And:

Carli Lloyd, a two-time women’s world player of the year, is taking the first season with her to Tokyo to watch during the Olympics. Lloyd’s Olympic teammate Alex Morgan did a Lasso-inspired goal celebration this season after scoring for the Orlando Pride, prompting Emmy nominated co-star Hannah Waddingham to respond to the video on Twitter, “Oh this is very bloody cool!”

Here’s that Alex Morgan Ted Lasso-inspired goal celebration:

https://twitter.com/USWNT/status/1396266327246004224

Jason Sudeikis:

“There is this absolute love for that sport and it’s history and it’s philosophy and its deep complications, both culturally and also just strategically,” said Sudeikis, who, like Hunt, came to soccer late in life and is now a passionate fan. “This show is as much about soccer as ‘Rocky’ is about boxing. But we wanted soccer fans, athletes, lovers of it, to feel it honors the spirit of that beautiful game.”

Love that quote. Ted Lasso is about way more than soccer.

AirPods Pro and U.S. Customs record number of counterfeit wireless headphone seizures

Joe Rossignol, MacRumors:

According to The Information’s Wayne Ma, roughly 360,000 counterfeit wireless headphones with a retail value of $62.2 million were confiscated in the first nine months of the U.S. government’s fiscal year.

And:

The Information examined counterfeit AirPods Pro sold in Hong Kong in December, noting that they had a genuine Apple serial number and were physically indistinguishable from legitimate AirPods Pro, and even had functional active noise cancellation and Transparency mode features. The report claims one of the only ways to determine that the AirPods were fake was by looking up their firmware version, which was incorrect.

If I was going to buy AirPods Pro, I’d buy them from Apple. Period.

But if you do buy from a third party, like Amazon or Best Buy (because price), I would check the firmware as soon as they arrive, make sure you’re getting the real McCoy.

Apple TV+ wins four Daytime Emmy Awards

Apple:

Apple was recognized for its outstanding achievement in daytime television programming earning four Daytime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Special Class Daytime Animated Program and Individual Achievement in Animation: Character Animation for “Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth,” Outstanding Editing for a Preschool Animated Program for “Stillwater,” and Outstanding Multiple Camera Editing for “Helpsters.” The winners were announced on Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18 by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at a virtual ceremony.

More signs of progress for Apple TV+.

Reminder: Apple TV+ is nominated for 35 Emmy Awards. Those winners will be announced September 19th.

Unite 4 turns any website into an app on your Mac

Thanks to BZG for sponsoring The Loop this week. Unite 4 lets you turn websites into customizable, native apps on your Mac. Unite 4 includes dozens of new features, including support for native notifications, new customization options, M1 support, and much more. Unite apps also serve as a great alternative for resource hogging Electron apps or half-baked Catalyst apps.

You could create a Gmail web client that behaves like a native mail client, or a status bar app for Apple Music or Overcast, and much more.

The Loop readers get 20% off this week when you purchase Unite 4 or when you use the promo code ‘LOOPINSIGHT’ at checkout.

You can also try Unite for 14 days absolutely free or use it as part of your subscription if you’re a Setapp subscriber!

Dead Startup Toys

This is a site dedicated to “honoring” failed startups. Tongue firmly in cheek, but they will take your money (though this run of drops has completely sold out).

This looks great in a desktop browser, though it will work just fine in iPhone Safari. If you have access to a keyboard, be sure to tap the “F” key to pay your respects to Capitalism (sound on).

Apple artist teaches you how to draw yourself as a Peanuts character using iPad and Apple Pencil

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to draw, this is a great way to get started. You’ll get to meet some of the folks behind The Snoopy Show (so this is the real deal, not simply someone who knows how to draw in that Peanuts style, but people who do this for a living), and get to do some real drawing.

You’ll need an iPad and Apple Pencil, though iPhone and your finger will also work.And you’ll also need the free Pages app.

That’s it. Enjoy!

Microsoft announces Windows 365, bringing cloud-based Windows to Mac and iPad

Microsoft:

Windows 365 takes the operating system to the Microsoft Cloud, securely streaming the full Windows experience—including all your apps, data, and settings—to your personal or corporate devices. This approach creates a fully new personal computing category, specifically for the hybrid world: the Cloud PC.

And:

Windows 365 provides an instant-on boot experience that enables users to stream all their personalized applications, tools, data, and settings from the cloud across any device including your Mac, iPad, Linux device, and Android. The Windows experience is consistent, no matter the device.

And:

You can pick up right where you left off, because the state of your Cloud PC remains the same, even when you switch devices.

If any part of your workflow is Windows-based, this is huge news. Guessing this won’t be a substitute for GPU dependent gaming, but that use case aside, seems like this will solve a lot of people’s Windows needs.

Reminder: AirPods Pro Service Program

Reddit:

I purchased AirPods Pro in late 2019 and recently began encountering issues with crackling sounds and poor noise cancellation performance. I made an appointment at a local Apple Store from Apple’s AirPods Pro Service Program page and got both AirPods replaced for free later the same day. They gave me a new pack of ear tips and returned my existing wireless charging case. It was a very short appointment; they took the AirPods into the back, ran a test, and told me that they both failed the volume and noise cancellation tests.

If you own AirPods Pro and are hearing a crackling sound and/or notice poor noise cancellation performance, hop over to the AirPods Pro Service Program page.

Jim and I discussed this on this week’s podcast (drops tomorrow afternoon). Jim has the crackling sound and my noise cancellation has started to fail. We’re both taking trips to the Apple Store to see what’s what.

Note that the program is good for two years from “the first retail sale of the unit”, which means we are closing in on the end of coverage. The AirPods Pro were released October 30, 2019. Still time to get them fixed, if you qualify.

Apple becomes the first US public company with a market capitalization of $2.5 trillion

Market cap is the total value of a company’s outstanding shares. $2.5 trillion is a lot.

To see this for yourself, type AAPL in your browser search bar, then scan the detail page that appears for mkt cap or market cap.

Seems like just yesterday when Apple hit $1 trillion (August 2018) and then $2 trillion (August 2020).

Doomed.