March 28, 2015

Link: Gary Allen’s Work Here is Done ☍

Gary Allen is going to wrap up his fantastic ifo Apple Store site, which we’ve linked to numerous times on here:

After following Apple retail for 14 years, I’ve reached a happy ending, and am gracefully backing away from the crazy world of following the company and its stores. No more stories or analysis, or flying out to far-flung locations to join overnight crowds,waiting for the excitement of new store opening (NSO). I began this Web site as simply a way of celebrating the fun of grand openings and the close friendship of the people I met when I arrived in a new country or city. […]

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to my fun over the years, both customers and employees. You’ve made my life’s journey more enjoyable and substantial, which is all I can ask.

No, Mr. Allen, thank you!

March 27, 2015

“Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar #HB1228.”

March 26, 2015

Link: Ode to the 12″ PowerBook G4 ☍

Christopher Phin for Macworld:

At its best, Apple has the ability to make stuff that reaches right around the rational, pragmatic part of your brain to grab your amygdala and squeeze it till the juice runs out. The 12-inch PowerBook G4 was such a machine. Hell, is such a machine. […]

And there was something just hugely cute about the little package all that G4 power was stuffed into. It felt chunky and dense, and the iBook-inspired soft, round edges gave it a friendliness as well. Above all, though, that aluminum shell—the first time Apple had used this material, which, for a decade or more since, its Macs have been hewn from—spoke of power, of fluency, of ability.

I was using an iBook G3 when this machine was introduced, deciding that the Titanium PowerBook G4 was too expensive and too much computer for my needs. If my purchase happened a year or two later, the 12″ PowerBook G4 would’ve been perfect for me. That being said, it’s amazing how twelve years later, people still speak fondly about this particular computer.

March 18, 2015

Link: NotNewsWire ☍

Brent Simmons:

People ask me — on Twitter, in person, in chat, via email — how NetNewsWire is coming along. (I just got another email this morning.)

Answer: I don’t know. Yes, I do see Black Pixel employees in person once or twice a month, but they don’t tell me. (The employees I see don’t necessarily know. But, if they did, it wouldn’t be right to talk about internal stuff like that, so they don’t.) […]

I’d still be interested in buying it back, but I strongly suspect this is off the table, or so expensive that it wouldn’t make sense. (The expensive part isn’t the code, it’s the name.)

What I would have done with it: Mac version only. Syncing would be via Feedly, Feedbin, etc.

The idea is that it would be easy to get into — since it would sync with something you’re probably already using — and it would be easy to mix-and-match. You could run NetNewsWire on your Mac and Unread on your iPhone. (I use Unread: I’m a fan. There are other good readers, too.)

I was a fan of NetNewsWire from way back, bought a license for the beta of the new version around the same time the world of Google Reader imploded, and had high hopes for the new version. Now a few years later, it still doesn’t have sync (I actually need more across Macs than iOS devices), development has stalled, and I’ve moved on. I will still check out the final version when it ships, but it seems that Black Pixel has bigger fish to fry.

March 17, 2015

Article: My 2015 Setup

Recently, I threw my setup into disarray by replacing one Mac with two, and that led me to think about how my setup has changed as a whole since April 2014 As I did last time, I used the format used on The Setup

March 16, 2015

Link: Bad Touch ☍

Thomas Brand geeks out about trackpads much in the same way I did the other day:

This weekend I had the opportunity to try out the new Force Touch trackpad on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. The sensation of a physical click is so good I had to turn the computer off, disabling the haptic engine, just to make sure I was using the new trackpad. With the MacBook Pro turned off the trackpad doesn’t move. (Clicking on it gives you the same sensation as pressing on the palmrest.) But after turning the MacBook back on, clicking the trackpad gives you the same sensation as the old trackpad where the surface is depressed. Dr. Drang calls this sensation tactile illusion, and it is caused by electromagnets in the haptic engine rapidly shaking the trackpad in a lateral motion. I call it another reason to buy a Mac.

At this point, if you want to confuse yourself, go to an Apple Store and try this out on the 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display. It’ll be the geekiest and best few minutes you wasted today.

Link: The New MacBook’s Single Port May Not Come with a Major Security Risk ☍

Russell Brandom for The Verge:

But while the new port is powerful, it also comes with serious security problems. For all its versatility, USB-C is still based on the USB standard, which makes it vulnerable to a nasty firmware attack, and researchers are also concerned about other attacks that piggyback on the plug’s direct memory access. None of these vulnerabilities are new, but bundling them together with the power cord in a single universal plug makes them scarier and harder to avoid. On a standard machine, users worried about USB attacks could simply tape over their ports, but power is the one plug you have to use. Turning that plug into an attack vector could have serious security consequences.

This is something that I’m surprised hasn’t been patched or attempted to be patched, but I’m sure smarter people will be happy to explain why not. That being said, it’s a bit scarier that you could have a compromised charger sending an attack. I thought the comment from “RogWilco” made the most sense and a great opportunity for some vendor:

This was my thought as well. Might be an opportunity for someone to sell a new accessory. A USB “condom” if you will: a mini female to male USB-C adapter that terminates everything except the power pins, passing those through to the host device.

Belkin, Griffin, NewerTech/OWC?

Update: Apparently you cannot flash the firmware on the MacBook via USB, so the whole point is moot.

March 14, 2015

Link: USB Type-C Power Adapter Possibilities ☍

Thomas Brand:

Think of your standard MacBook Air power adapter. Now think of the new $79.00 USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter Apple makes for use with the new MacBook. The USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter gives you access to HDMI and USB Type-A, alongside a passthrough USB Type-C connection. Why couldn’t the functionality of the AV Multiport Adapter be included in the power adapter? After all they both use the same connection to interface with the new MacBook.

This isn’t a bad idea, but I think the same could be said about the iPad power adapter, when compared with the Lightning Digital AV Adapter. I like the idea of it being modular, but wish Apple would’ve included one in the box since there’s still a lot of flash drives and USB-A devices floating around.