November 29, 2017

Link: Major macOS High Sierra Bug Allows Full Admin Access Without Password ☍

Juli Clover for MacRumors:

There appears to be a serious bug in macOS High Sierra that enables the root superuser on a Mac with a blank password and no security check.

The bug, discovered by developer Lemi Ergin, lets anyone log into an admin account using the username “root” with no password. This works when attempting to access an administrator’s account on an unlocked Mac, and it also provides access at the login screen of a locked Mac.

This bug is particularly concerning and I’m really curious how this happened. I’m baffled that this made it in the wild and it not only needs to be fixed immediately. In the meantime, Apple has posted a fix, which is to enable the root account and set a password.

Update: It’s been patched, so you can go grab the update and install without even restarting. Furthermore, John Gruber shares word from an Apple spokesperson and summarizes the situation nicely:

Security is a top priority for every Apple product, and regrettably we stumbled with this release of macOS.

When our security engineers became aware of the issue Tuesday afternoon, we immediately began working on an update that closes the security hole. This morning, as of 8:00 a.m., the update is available for download, and starting later today it will be automatically installed on all systems running the latest version (10.13.1) of macOS High Sierra.

We greatly regret this error and we apologize to all Mac users, both for releasing with this vulnerability and for the concern it has caused. Our customers deserve better. We are auditing our development processes to help prevent this from happening again.

Quick turnaround, and a strong apology. The bug never should have happened, but given that it did, you couldn’t ask for a better, faster response. To my memory, this is only the second time Apple has used MacOS’s automatic — that is to say, non-optional — update mechanism. The other was the NTP Security Update in 2014, that affected Mac OS X 10.8 through 10.10.

November 21, 2017

Article: Back to the iPad (Again)

Well, that didn’t last long. Since I wrote about using an iPhone as my primary device back in September, I have found the iPhone 8 Plus to feel “normal” in comparison to the iPhone 8 or SE, and really like the additional features. However, I have also found out how I much I missed having an iPad for around my apartment, writing, and just in instances where the iPhone screen is a bit too small…

November 19, 2017

Link: Oscar and Maddy in the Apple Store ☍

David Chartier:

Apple recently approached the Bear folks about adding their app to Apple Store demo devices. Of course we said yes, and I was tasked with creating the demo content that would be loaded into the app.

For one of the demo notes, the fine folks at Bear gave me the green light to include a photo of Oscar and Maddy, the cattle dogs Jessi and I have raised since they were each eight weeks old. If you are so inclined, you can see more of them on my personal blog. Maddy (the one on the left) passed away suddenly and unexpectedly a year ago this month. At just a hair under 10, she went too soon.

Whenever I’d go to the Apple Store, I’d always be curious where the demo content came from (I’m still wondering the backstory of the Cubs/Tigers ticket from June 10, 2015), and this was one that I had to go back and take a look on one of the devices. It’s pretty neat that it is somewhat intentional.

Link: The Increasingly Rare iPad Deal Killers ☍

David Sparks:

Jason Snell wrote an excellent piece today about how he uses his iPad for a lot of his work. The post references a recent quote from Microsoft’s Satya Nadella that implies the iPad is not a real computer and a recent iPad ad that makes its point nicely.

I’ve spent a lot of time writing and podcasting about the iPad as a potential laptop replacement. In the early days, I went iPad only while writing the book, iPad at Work. Back then it was rough. The hardware, operating system, and software were all in need of improvement. Things did, however, get better. iPad hardware these days benchmarks alongside currently shipping Macs very respectively.

This is a pretty fascinating analysis, especially when you consider that the little things where an iPad does fall flat are often nitpick niche cases. In my experience, PC users are quick to point out Microsoft Office, but for the day-to-day stuff I do, Word and Excel on the iPad are sufficient (Pages and Numbers probably would, if I wasn’t going to mess with importing and exporting files I’d share). Other than that, there’s a few Flash-based sites and some other fussy legacy things that I would love to see go away anyway.

Link: What’s a Computer? ☍

Apple’s new ad for the iPad Pro is pretty good, but I think those hoping for a new Mac Pro or non-crappy MacBook Pro keyboards are probably cringing a bit.

Update: As the URL slug was already used, I did some digging and forgot that Apple used this tagline a little over a year ago.