thewayne: (Default)
I learned last night that apparently my iPad can take the update, so apparently it is an iPad Mini 2. So that's cool. And I may go ahead and risk upgrading my phone. I'm pushing my departure back to Thursday from Wednesday: I didn't get everything done that I needed to do, including reviewing five long boxes of comics in case there's anything that I want to keep (possible but not very likely), and the difficulty of loading my car since I recovered four banker boxes of comics from my storage unit yesterday afternoon. I'm not sure if it's all of my comics, I know there's three or more long boxes at my parent's that I'll deal with when I get there, but that'll be a vast bulk of them and a lot of space recovered.

On top of that, only 3 hours of sleep last night. AND one of the nose pads fell out of my reading glasses. Found the nose pad, fortunately I have a spare screw from a previous broken set of reading glasses.

I forgot to mention a new feature of iOS 11 that should be interesting: you have a Do Not Disturb mode for driving: anyone texting you receives an autoreply saying that you're driving and will get back to them later. I like that. Definitely appealing when you're about to set out on a 500 mile drive. I'm doing a different outbound route that a friend says is much more picturesque, so we'll see. It's also rather cellular dead, which causes me a slight amount of apprehension. Just need to fuel up and hit the restroom before hitting that 200 mile stretch.
thewayne: (Default)
Maybe that was midnight Cupertino time, I don't know. Regardless, both of our iPads are too old, as is my wife's iPhone 4S. That leaves my iPhone 6 as the only device that can run it, and since I'm about to head for Phoenix and I won't have my iMac with me for a system restore should something glitch, I think I'll hold off a bit. For that matter, the new MacOS is supposed to drop in a couple of days, and I won't be upgrading to that until I get back from Phoenix, so I'll probably just do a device upgrade frenzy when I get back.

Some of the features in iOS 11 are pretty cool. I like the 'press the power key 5 times to disable the fingerprint reader', definitely cool. It doesn't materially affect me as I don't use the fingerprint reader to unlock my phone, but that's OK. And they've apparently made the reverse video mode more intelligent for not reversing images, which is good. I really wish they had an override for web pages and such so you could force white letters on black background, for example. That's what I love about Ars Technica and hate about most others, I find white on black to be much easier on my eyes.

But I DO NOT like updating my phone apps over WiFi (as I wrote about last week), I thought loading apps through iTunes was easy and one-stop syncing. They've just increased the hassle and it's likely to increase the time between me doing updates from daily to weekly or monthly or whenever. Which increases potential security vulnerabilities, which ticks me off. iTunes should be a framework that supports plug-ins, then all they'd have to do is write a plug-in that reads the app store for just iPhone/iPad/Watch apps, and re-casts them in to the iTunes framework. It's still just one app store, it just looks like two.


GET OFF MY LAWN! Kids these days.

(In a totally unrelated incident, I got "Sir'd" last week! I was sitting in a barber shop waiting for my guy to finish with his current client, and the other guys started talking about horror movies. I'm not a big horror movie fan, so I didn't participate until later. Now, this barber shop is an actual barber shop, not a hair salon, run by 30-somethings with tattoos up to their necks and possibly beyond, smoking their e-cigs and playing that reissued Nintendo Classic that came out last year when they're slow. I don't really care. So what if they're young. I piped up about some movie, I don't remember what, throwing in my $0.002 worth, and this one barber later comes over and apologizes, saying that he didn't know that he had an older gentleman in the shop and they wouldn't have been talking like that if they'd known! Yes, dude, I'm 55, and some day you'll be there, too, if you're lucky. Maybe I'm moving towards the far side of middle-age, but trust me, though I am growing older I definitely have not remotely grown up. In my headspace I'm still a 30-something, though my body constantly reminds me that I am not. I laughed at him, reassured him that I was not offended, then told them a pretty grizzly story about a quietly spectacular suicide that happened while I was working for the police department. The crime lab was in the basement as was computer services, and the car that this guy offed himself in was so pungent that finally I told my boss that I'm taking off for the day. The fire department later used that car as burn practice.

I'll go in to no further details, unless people want it, in which case I'll put it in a new post under a cut.)
thewayne: (Default)
This is the second time in a month or so that for reasons unknown, 130 apps were transferred to my phone while syncing. WTF!!! This is ridiculous. I could delete them from my library, but there are several that I know I'll be adding back later, such as the Washington, DC subway schedule app what I only use one week a year.


Definite WTF.

ETA: I went ahead and deleted most of the apps from my library. In one case I went to look it up in the iTunes store and it was no longer available.
thewayne: (Default)
It's probably true of any smartphone, but I've never worked with an Android so I don't know about them.

We got home at 2:30 this morning from nine days in Phoenix. Originally we were coming home Wednesday, but it snowed 5" Tuesday night and I had my summer tires mounted last week. The daytime temperatures Wednesday and Thursday were high enough that the snow would be almost entirely gone by the time we arrived, so we stayed another day.

While I'm away from home, I don't do phone updates. My iPhone is synced through my iMac, which doesn't travel with me. I'll sometimes download podcasts directly on my phone when I'm away, but that's the only updates that I'll do. So I get home and power up my computer this morning, and there's a ton of application updates. Not surprising, Apple just did OS updates on their Mac and tablet devices, so presumably app developers are also updating their apps.

What did surprise me was when I went to sync my phone, it loaded 150+ apps that were not normally on to my phone. I had five or six pages of apps that were not previously there. They were things that I had previously downloaded, tried, and decided that I didn't want that app. It might be a temporary removal, it might be permanent. But I don't want it on my phone right now.

Well, it took a LOT of time to sync my phone and for all those apps to transfer over, then it took time for me to delete those apps and re-sync my phone. But now all seems well. Fortunately I didn't have to delete them from the phone itself: the iTunes page for my phone lets me delete stuff there, which was very fast.

Still, quite annoying. This had better not become a recurring nightmare!
thewayne: (Cyranose)
First, if you've upgraded to the latest iOS, v9, go to Settings/Cellular, and scroll all the way down. You'll see an option called Wi-Fi Assist. You'll probably want to turn it off. Last week I received a text that I was 3/4ths through my 10 gig monthly data plan, and I couldn't remember doing anything that could account for a huge spike in my plan usage. It was quite likely this option.

Obviously this only affects iPhone users and not iPad users, though it might if you have a cellular-enabled iPad.

The next is two bona fide malware packages for iPhones from China. It involves falling for porn banner ads that add a certificate manager that bypasses Apple's heretofore strong walled garden. The interesting thing about this particular exploit was that you didn't have to had jailbroken your phone for it to be vulnerable! Phones running iOS 8.3 or older are most vulnerable.

But that's just one of the two. And if you limit your porn viewing to browser-based sites, you're probably fine.

The second one is a lot more serious: some people found a way to hack the Xcode development system which is used to write most iOS programs. The issue is mainly Chinese: because of poor international internet speeds, lots of Chinese developers download the free Xcode development system from Chinese servers rather than from Apple direct, and those copies have been subverted.

Currently the tainted applications have been purged from the app store, and Apple is setting up more servers in China to better control the distribution of the Xcode system, which will improve things.

There was little that could be done to avoid this particular attack because the apps passed inspection by Apple and were allowed in to the app store. So the normal prohibition of only installing apps from trusted sources was subverted in a very clever way, and now defenses are being ramped up to prevent a similar exploit again.

But the perpetual problem is that it's not too difficult to defend against previous attacks. It's the next attack coming that's going to get through at least once.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
One thing that I find a little interesting is how people arrange things on their smartphones, I had the same interest in how they arranged menus and desktop icons on their computers. It always seemed to me that it was rather haphazard and usually without a goal in mind.

In my case, on both my Macs I really don't use the desktop. I know what I want to work on, I know the apps I need, and I know where the data is located. My desktop isn't bare, but there's not a lot on it. It's used more for scratch storage for stuff that I just don't bother placing somewhere more appropriate.

I got an iPhone 4S, my first smartphone, two years ago come this November. At that time, you needed to sync it through iTunes to back it up. I did that every morning since my breakfast is reading web comics and news while eating. Now they've advanced the OS to the point that your contacts, calendar, and notes are automatically backed up via iCloud, and you have no choice in the matter: it's the only way to back them up. It was a PITB before I got everything working correctly, but it is convenient to make a change to one of those data repositories from my iMac, Air, or phone and have it reflected a few seconds later on the others.

Basically now the only time I need to sync is if I need to add new podcasts or music or remove played podcasts. Their podcast app, IMHO, sucks and I refuse to use it if I can avoid it. The fact that if you have it installed, you can no longer play podcasts through the music app, really ticks me off. So if I'm on a road trip I might install the app to download something, then I'll delete it.

I expect I'll be screwed out of that option with the next iOS version.

But I have eliminated one nagging bit of OCD: updating programs.

I've always been conscious of that little red 1 or 2 on my home screen that showed me that I had updates. I usually wouldn't update until the next AM when I was once again going through my morning rituals. This was especially apparent over the last month that I was in Phoenix on a biohazard exile. It then occurred to me that there's no reason why the app store app, which is where you not only download apps but update them, that it should be on the start page.

So I moved it to a group on the last page of apps on my phone, so I no longer see it if an update is needed. It doesn't nag me, the apps get updated usually within a day, and one small source of irritation is removed from my day.
thewayne: (Default)
NY ACLU released one about a month earlier. The important thing about this app is that it directly streams the video to the ACLU's servers, so even if a cop takes your phone and removes the SIM, the video has already been captured.

There have been apps along this line available for a while, but this one doesn't look like your phone is recording something. So theoretically you might be able to record longer.

Going a little further than the NY press release,the NJ ACLU has said that if you record a police incident outside of NJ, they will forward the video to the appropriate ACLU chapter.

Gee, I wonder how many Occupiers are downloading this app right now? Oh, an iPhone version will be available soon, it's currently undergoing Apple's review.

This is especially useful because in March, the Department of Justice posted a very public-friendly opinion. "The department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division has affirmed the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights of citizens to record police officers in the public discharge of their duties. In an opinion letter issued on May 14, 2012 in regard to the ongoing litigation in Sharp v. Baltimore City Police Department, the DOJ stated that the individual right to record officers who are publicly executing their duties is a First Amendment right. Relying on Glik v. Cunniffe, the DOJ letter states “Recording governmental officers engaged in public duties is a form of speech through which private individuals may gather and disseminate information of public concern, including the conduct of law enforcement officers.” (DOJ letter, page 2.)"
thewayne: (Default)
First, available only in beta on Android phones right now, is an application called iOnRoad. You mount your phone on a windshield or dash carrier, and your phone monitors the driving conditions around you and sounds alerts if the distance between you and the car in front of you begins reducing precipitously. It's not perfect, but it is interesting. They say an iPhone version will be available later this winter.

Next week's CES show marks the 5th anniversary of the introduction of the iPhone. It wasn't available at retail until June, but the slavering began in January.

I got an iPhone 4S just after Thanksgiving last November and I've been quite happy with it. It's been reliable, it reduces the number of devices in my pocket from 2-4 down to 1, and it's reliable. It will be interesting to see how smart phones, both iOS and Android, continue to evolve.
thewayne: (Default)
Would that be the iGen? Or the Legion of iPhone Somethings?

Anyway, I like it. I got a 4S. I had planned on getting a 16 gig as I had been using an 8 gig iPod Touch, and I saved up to afford the 32 gig with minimal discomfort, and my wife gave me her credit card and bought me a 64 gig. Wow. Talk about space! I have a huge amount of music and podcasts, and needless to say my program collection has slowly been growing.

Things that I like:
Audio quality. I am blown away by the telephone audio quality! It's really amazing, even cell-to-cell conversations sound better than landlines. Of course it is probably more a reflection of the crappy phones that I've had in the past when I thought they were pretty good. I am truly gobsmacked at how good the audio is. And the audio for listening to music without external speakers or ear buds is also not too bad.

Speed. I had noticed that some programs were getting kind of slow starting on my iPod, like The Weather Channel and an RPN calculator program that I like. Now they open very fast. That's pretty sweet.

Ease of use. I haven't really had to look up anything to find out how to do something, but I've been using an iPod Touch for over two years, and the difference is whether one has a cell phone added in. Apparently custom ring tones is new to the 4S/iOS 5, so that's cool, though I haven't used it yet. I wanna get the Flint Phone ring tone. Apparently it's easy to create your own ring tones through Garage Band if you have a Mac, and I do.
Read more... )
thewayne: (Default)
Sounds a lot like Zone Alarm Pro, the only software firewall that I have a lot of experience with (and quite liked).

In other news, Apple released an iOS patch today to fix their location tracking kerfuffle.
thewayne: (Default)
The patch will encrypt the location database and force it to recycle. Also, if you turn off the location tracking option, it will not store location information in the table.

In the Wired article, Apple says: "Apple calls this “crowdsourcing” location data, because millions of iPhones are collecting this data and transmitting it to Apple to build its comprehensive location database to assist with location services.

“Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take up to several minutes,” Apple said. “iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data to quickly find GPS satellites, and even triangulate its location using just Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data when GPS is not available (such as indoors or in basements).”

In the Q&A, "4. Is this crowd-sourced database stored on the iPhone?
The entire crowd-sourced database is too big to store on an iPhone, so we download an appropriate subset (cache) onto each iPhone. This cache is protected but not encrypted, and is backed up in iTunes whenever you back up your iPhone. The backup is encrypted or not, depending on the user settings in iTunes. The location data that researchers are seeing on the iPhone is not the past or present location of the iPhone, but rather the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers surrounding the iPhone’s location, which can be more than one hundred miles away from the iPhone. We plan to cease backing up this cache in a software update coming soon (see Software Update section below).

Further, Apple claims "The reason the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below). We don’t think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data."

And finally, the fix: "Software Update
Sometime in the next few weeks Apple will release a free iOS software update that:

* reduces the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone,
* ceases backing up this cache, and
* deletes this cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.

In the next major iOS software release the cache will also be encrypted on the iPhone."

Apple Q&A:
thewayne: (Default)
Two people, so far, have filed suit against Apple, and undoubtedly they'll seek (and probably get) class action status. I'm so surprised. *yawn*

Meanwhile, Steve Jobs says 'we don't track anyone.' Steve is known for frequently responding to anyone sending him email, someone sent him the following and got a reply:

Q: Steve,

Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It's kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don't track me.

A: Oh yes they do. We don't track anyone. The info circulating around is false.

Sent from my iPhone

Not a lot of meat there. The MacRumors article goes on to say "As many observers have noted, the iOS location database does not record exact GPS data, instead seeking to pinpoint the locations of Wi-Fi access points and cell towers that the device comes within range of, although the database does offer a clear general track of a user's movements."
thewayne: (Default)
This story broke a few days ago and is causing quite a kerfuffle. Apparently there is a small database file that stores every location you've ever been to with your iPhone/iPad 3G. The file is uploaded to Apple on a regular basis and is backed up to your computer every time you sync the device.

And Google does something similar with Android phones. Apparently the difference is that the iPhone keeps the location information seemingly forever, the Android phones keeps it for a fixed number of days then I guess it overwrites the oldest info.

Apple claims that it is there to 'improve the user experience', but when you get down to it, it's going to be used to better target advertising and better relate geographic activities available.

Part of the outcry is that 'Apple is tracking your every move!' How does Apple benefit from knowing where I am at any given time? They don't in the specific, they do in the aggregate. They can't sell advertising based on one person's movement, they can in the aggregate. At the same time Apple/Google is tracking your movement, so is your cell carrier. They know precisely where you are whenever your phone is turned on, and it is logged and archived for a long time. Look at what happens if there is a murder investigation: law enforcement subpoenas cell provider records, and they can geomap your whereabouts before, during, and after the murder. I used to work for a taxi company, and our system tracked every car's movement with GPS lat/long coordinates, and we could geomap and timestamp a vehicle's movements to the point of seeing them drive around the block, we did this occasionally when customers called in complaints.

And since the table is backed up every time you sync your phone, if someone steals your laptop, they can know where you go! I think this is kind of a silly argument. If someone steals your laptop, unless they are a government agency or involved in corporate espionage, why would they care? They want the value of the laptop that they can sell it for. I have a password on my laptop, and I'm considering encryption, so I'm not too concerned about it. And theoretically if they steal or find your phone, they can track your location! But it's easy to lock an iPhone and program it to self-destruct the data if the correct code is not entered in X attempts. There's also software via MobileMe that will track your phone's location and allow you to remotely lock it or wipe it.

And it just came out that if you have a Mac and use Apple's Safari browser, it also tracks location data there.

So your cell phone company has the location info, your cell phone maker has less precise location info. How important is it?

I really don't know. The data in the iPhone is stored in a SQLLite database. I'm wondering if you could open a SQLLite program, open the database, zero the contents, and then restore the phone from the backup, thus zeroing the data on the phone.

I think that we'll probably see Congress writing some letters to Mr. Jobs asking for an explanation, and it wouldn't surprise me if in a couple of months there's an iOS update that has better geolocation opt-out features. Regardless, your cell provider will always track your location, they're legally required to for emergency 911 services.

Oh, and if you're interested, there's an app that you can download for the iPhone that will read this table and geomap it, so you can see where it has tracked your location.

Myself, I don't own an iPhone yet, supposedly the iPhone 5 will launch later this year, probably August-ish. I'll look at them at that point and get either a 4 or 5. I don't think I'm particularly concerned at this point, especially since you're always going to be tracked by your cell carrier. It's going to be used to target advertising, something that I'm very good at ignoring, it's just another one of life's little annoyances.

NPR also has a story on this: (heck, all sorts of sites have stories on this)

Yes, you can turn off location tracking in your phone's preferences, but it doesn't really disable this particular thing. The option just prevents applications from accessing location info, and it's questionable if it actually does that.
thewayne: (Default)
You may have heard that today Verizon has announced that it's getting the iPhone next month. There's one significant difference, and therein lies my question: do you use voice and internet access at the same time? That apparently won't be possible under Verizon as it will be limited to their CDMA 3G network. I don't think it will be a big problem for me, just wanted your opinions.
thewayne: (Default)
When the DMCA was passed in '98, part of the law stipulated that the Library of Congress would review possible exemptions every three years. They just concluded that allowing jailbreaking of iPhones was a valid exemption to allow people to thwart Apple's monopolistic iTunes store and allow them to install apps not approved by Apple.

They also approved the following:
*allow the unlocking of mobile phones to change carriers.
*allow the cracking of video game digital rights management controls to probe security flaws.
*allow the breaking of DVD encryption by professors, students and documentary makers so the clips can be used for education and commentary.
*allow the blind to circumvent locks on e-books to enable read-aloud features.
*allow the bypassing of broken or irreplaceable dongles.
thewayne: (Default)
I'm not in the least bit surprised. AT&T's network is struggling with 3G load as is, there's no way they could continue to support unlimited data plans, especially at the rate that Apple is selling iPads, not that I know how fast the 3G iPad is selling.
thewayne: (Default)
If you're running Lucid Lynx v10.04, plugging your iPhone mounts it as a USB device and you have total access to the data on the phone.

"This, quite honestly, is a staggering flaw. It basically allows anyone capable of driving a Linux PC to copy data off of an iPhone without the owner of the phone having any idea whatsoever that this has happened.

What’s more worrying is that Marienfeldt and Herbeck think that write access to the iPhone is only a buffer overflow away, which means serious access."

There was a recent article about smartphones being seized by law enforcement organizations (LEO) and the potential for the phone to be remotely ordered to wipe itself. I know iPhones and Blackberries can do this. So they're talking about LEOs using needing to use Faraday Cage bags and rooms to examine the phones after they make sure to remove the battery when they seize the phone. Of course, the iPhone is a sealed unit and the battery cannot be removed.

Apple claims: "iPhone 3GS protects data through encryption of information in transmission, at rest on the device, and when backed up to iTunes."

In the past I used a Palm Pilot extensively and had a program called CryptoPad that used Blowfish encryption and I knew the backup was also encrypted which required a desktop version of the program to access the backups. I've been looking for an encryption product for the iPad Touch which has become my daily use PDA, so this really bothers me that I can't encrypt things and have confidence that they're secure.

Apparently Apple's encryption and business-level security is badly flawed. And that sucks.
thewayne: (Default)
"An inside source over at HotHardware reports that AT&T will lose their iPhone exclusivity on 1/27, coincident with Apple's upcoming press event next week, though it's not yet clear what other carriers will be stepping in to pick up the iPhone. For anyone who has followed the saga, you may notice that you haven't seen AT&T fighting to extend their original exclusive agreement as of late. In fact, they have spent most of their time fighting Verizon's negative ad campaigns. This may not be all that surprising. Inside of AT&T, word is that the iPhone is causing more trouble than ever before. On some level, having the iPhone is hurting AT&T's image. Do you remember hearing about AT&T's 'horrible network' before the iPhone? The iPhone itself doesn't really handle the switch from 3G to EDGE very gracefully, so calls that are in-progress tend to fail whenever 3G connections aren't optimal and the phone attempts to step down to EDGE. It seems that AT&T may finally be tired of taking the heat."

I had heard that AT&T's exclusive contract in the US was up this year and that it was likely someone else, or perhaps multiple carriers, would gain access to the iPhone. This is a VERY good thing, as AT&T has lousy/no service in my area.

I bought an iPod Touch last year as a PDA as it was obvious that Palm had ceded the PDA market to Microsoft (they have since dropped all PDAs and only make cell phones). I was doubtful at first because of unfamiliarity with the device, but the description of programs available made it look like it might be a good replacement for my Palm, and $190 for a factory refurb unit from Apple (which has a longer warranty than the one you buy at Best Buy) seemed like a reasonable amount of money to experiment with, especially compared to the price of a new HP/Compaq PDA.

I have been extremely happy with it. In fact, I'm on my second Touch. I bought an 8 gig, then my wife was playing with it and found her favorite card game, Set, was available for it. So I ceded my 8 gig and bought a refurb 32 gig.

Depending on who picks up the iPhone and their coverage in my area, I'll seriously consider getting one in a few months. There's no way I'm going to immediately jump on the band wagon considering all of the problems AT&T has had with their network capacity and the iPhone. I saw an article recently that said AT&T needs to spend $5 billion to bring their network up to where it needs to be to cope with iPhone traffic, that ain't gonna happen.
thewayne: (Default)
I just got one to use as a PDA, and I think it'll work out pretty good overall. But one thing that I haven't found yet: a good notepad program. Any suggestions? I've got to dig up some of the iSoftware review sites and see what I can find there. I specifically want something that will let me organize notes in to folders, will back up to my Mac, and preferably will also have an encryption/password function.

BTW, if you're interested in an iPod Touch, you can get an 8 gig refurb from the Apple Store for $192 (at NM tax level) with free shipping. MSRP is $230ish.

I'm pretty impressed with the unit. I'm not planning on loading any music on it, I've got a 20 gig iPod for that, though I am loading photos and might load audio books/podcasts on it for our forthcoming drive to Ohio.

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