I'm Lance Somoza, a professional IT Consultant with over 15 years of industry experience and an obsession for technology. This is my tech soapbox.

If you’re just joining us, I started an Apple-centric personal tech blog earlier this year called Gaddgict. I have since changed the site’s name to One-Tech Mind, which I feel better exemplifies myself and my aspirations. I also started Fatherboard, the official podcast for One-Tech Mind with my Dad (also technically-minded). We actually have a new episode coming out today, so it’s a perfect time to subscribe.

Approaching the end of the year, I wanted to share with you a few of my top posts, along with a little giveaway to celebrate.

Top Posts

Giveaway

Anker PowerCore 1300
Anker PowerCore 1300

Now for the good part! I’m giving away a really fantastic way to keep your iPhone (and other devices) charged on the go: (1) Anker Powercore 13000. Make sure you enter for a chance to win.

Rules

  • Winner: Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.

  • Requirements for participation:

    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia.
    • Follow @OneTechMind on twitter. And hey, if you don’t like my stuff, no hard feelings if you unfollow me later!
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Thanks for reading and good luck!


Kate Conger for Gizmodo:

Mozilla sneaked a browser plugin that promotes Mr. Robot into Firefox—and managed to piss off a bunch of its privacy-conscious users in the process.

The extension, called Looking Glass, is intended to promote an augmented reality game to “further your immersion into the Mr. Robot universe,” according to Mozilla. It was automatically added to Firefox users’ browsers this week with no explanation except the cryptic message, “MY REALITY IS JUST DIFFERENT THAN YOURS,” prompting users to worry on Reddit that they’d been hit with spyware.

Mozilla’a defense of the plugin:

Mozilla justified its decision to include the extension because Mr. Robot promotes user privacy. “The Mr. Robot series centers around the theme of online privacy and security,” the company said in an explanation of the mysterious extension. “One of the 10 guiding principles of Mozilla’s mission is that individuals’ security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional. The more people know about what information they are sharing online, the more they can protect their privacy.”

What. The. Actual. Fuck?

This is incredibly wrong on so many levels, all for what I can imagine is a nice paycheck. Mozilla’s cited guiding principle completely contradicts the nature in which this plugin was installed. I can’t fathom how they can be so insanely obtuse. Mozilla, typical bastion of privacy, security, and general do-goodedness, has taken a terribly misguided step here. Asking fans of the show to download the plugin would have been the most sensible way to play this, instead of hiding behind the guise of the alternate reality game itself.

How do companies pull crap like this and think they can get away with it? Internet backlash is swift and damning. I was going to say I’d expect this more from Google than Mozilla, but I don’t think even Google would be so reckless as to try something like this.

Due to the blowback, Mozilla has pledged to move the plugin to its rightful place in the extension store (hey, imagine that). Regardless, they should be embarrassed by this nonsense.


Matthew Panzarino for TechCrunch:

The iMac Pro exists because it turns out that there is a lot of air underneath the aging Mac Pro and above the incredibly popular MacBook Pro. A single-digit percentage of Mac customers buy the Mac Pro and, in recent years, Apple had been seeing a major rise in “pro” customers of all shades purchasing iMacs because of their incredible screens, all-in-one form factor and overall ease of deployment.

Ports-a-plenty:

The rear ports are definitely different, of course. You have 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, which run on two separate controllers, 2 ports each. So you should get blazing speeds on those whether they’re used for e-GPUs or storage or displays. There are 4 USB 3.0 A ports and SD slot and, for the first time ever, a 10 Gigabit ethernet port right on the back.

Configurations:

Not every configuration of the iMac Pro will be available to order today online and in stores next week. You’ll be able to get the 8 and 10-core Intel Xeon W versions of the machine with any other memory, graphics or storage options you like, but the 14 and 18-core editions are just orderable now for delivery in January. Those new core configurations are previously unannounced options. Each has 1MB of L2 and 1.365MB of L3 cache.

This thing sounds incredible. I’d love to have one, but it’s way beyond me. It should be a nice stopgap while developers seeking even more power (or a purely standalone Mac) await the completely-redesigned Mac Pro. I bet the space grey accessories will go for a pretty penny on eBay since you can’t buy them separately.


Ingrid Lunden and Katie Roof for TechCrunch:

As Spotify continues to inch towards a public listing, Apple is making a move of its own to step up its game in music services. Sources tell us that the company is close to acquiring Shazam, the popular app that lets people identify any song, TV show, film or advert in seconds, by listening to an audio clip or (in the case of, say, an ad) a visual fragment, and then takes you to content relevant to that search.

We have heard that the deal is being signed this week, and will be announced on Monday, although that could always change.

One source describes the deal as in the nine figures; another puts it at around £300 million ($401 million). We are still asking around. Notably, though, the numbers we’ve heard are lower than the $1.02 billion (according to PitchBook) post-money valuation the company had in its last funding round, in 2015.

Obvious Apple Music and Siri benefits aside, Apple must be really impressed with Shazam’s underlying technology to make this purchase. I’ve never seen anyone use Shazam on a TV show or in any capacity other than identifying music, but there could be some real benefits to tried and tested audio recognition down the line (e.g. AR, advanced Siri functions, HomePod).


Juli Clover for MacRumors:

Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive is once again taking over management of the design team at Apple according to changes made to Apple’s official “Apple Leadership” website.

The site was updated this morning to remove the profiles of Richard Howarth and Alan Dye, who were managing the day-to-day operations at Apple while Ive oversaw all of Apple’s design projects, and Bloomberg has confirmed that Ive is once again in direct control of the team as shared by Mark Gurman.

Ive first stepped back from day-to-day management of Apple’s design teams in 2015, when he took on the role of “Chief Design Officer.” Alan Dye and Richard Howarth were elevated to vice president positions at that time, with Howarth responsible for industrial design and Dye responsible for user interface design.

There is one of two stories here. Either Apple is executing a plan long in the making now that Jony is done with the new campus and retail makeover (most likely), or this is a reactive measure to something bigger.

In the case for something bigger: Apple makes polarizing decisions, but none have been more divisive than ones introduced in the past few years (largely dealing with MacBook), such as:

  1. MacBook Pro Touch Bar
  2. MacBook Pro butterfly keys 1
  3. MacBook: Lack of ports (only USB-C)
  4. iPhone X: the TrueDepth camera notch

Although Jony has no doubt been engaged with all these hardware and software design changes, his attention has absolutely been elsewhere. Also, let’s not get software design confused with software engineering — a sensitive area for Apple as of late with multiple widespread bugs. We can argue the software design of Apple’s systems all day, but the area needing more attention right now is hardware design.

Either way, I’m more interested to see what exactly has happened to Alan Dye and Richard Howarth.

Updated on 12/8 at 1:26 PM:

Bloomberg’s piece includes this predictable statement from Apple:

“With the completion of Apple Park, Apple’s design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design,” Amy Bessette, a company spokeswoman, said Friday in a statement.


  1. Finally took my 2016 MacBook Pro in to the Apple Store this past week for the ‘sticky’ keys problem. ↩︎


Updated 12/5 at 11:00 AM Pacific: Apple confirms Apple Pay Cash is officially available.

Updated 12/5 at 1:30 PM Pacific: watchOS 4.2 for Apple Watch is now available with Apple Pay Cash support.

Chaim Gartenberg for The Verge:

Apple was forced to release iOS 11.2 on Saturday, which was a little earlier than planned, due to a software bug. Now, Apple Pay Cash — one of the marquee features of the update — is being activated for users.

Apple Pay Cash lets users send and receive money directly though iMessages, similar to Venmo or Square Cash. Money that people send you will live on a digital Apple Pay Cash card in the Wallet app, which users can spend anywhere that Apple Pay is accepted, or send to other people. (The new feature is only available in the US for now, though.)

Nice to see this finally launch (if in a weird way), after being delayed from the original iOS 11 release.

The setting to activate Apple Pay Cash seems to be rolling out slowly, as mine didn’t appear until about 7pm Pacific. To check if it’s active for you, go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay. Once set up, you’ll find your Apple Pay Cash card inside the Wallet app (along with a cool shimmering animation when you tilt your phone). As you can see in the featured image above, you can send and receive cash in Messages via the Cash app in the app drawer. 1 My Dad … graciously helped me test this important new feature.

This really demonstrates what a trojan horse the Messages app has become (in a good way). Don’t underestimate how important iMessage is to Apple. It’s one of the main reasons people love iPhone, and it keeps them locked into the Apple ecosystem.

It won’t be too long before iOS users relegate Venmo/Square Cash/PayPal to payment methods only for cross-platform because of Apple Pay Cash being baked in.


  1. That was a mouthful. ↩︎


Summary

Dad and I discuss Apple’s multiple software bugs this past week, iOS 11.2 and Apple Pay Cash, HomePod delay, how Gaddgict became One-Tech Mind, and more! This episode (and all going forward) includes MP3 chapters thanks to Marco Arment’s Forecast tool. Thanks, Marco! To see them, listen to Fatherboard in Overcast.

Topics

  • Intro: House of Blues
  • Apple software bugs or “Bug Week”
    • I Am Root vulnerability
    • I Am Root patch caused another bug for some
    • December 2 notification bug
  • iOS 11.2 and Apple Pay Cash
  • E-Mail is a Necessary Evil
  • Mom’s MacBook Pro Update
  • HomePod delay & Future Siri
  • Trouble Paying iPhone Screen Replacement Fee
  • Gaddgict becomes One-Tech Mind
  • USC wins PAC-12 Championship (may include minor Stanford bashing).

Links

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Apple has released iOS 11.2 to address the nasty date and time bug discovered late last night. This is definitely an unprecedented action for them, but I suppose a good decision as long as iOS 11.2 doesn’t break anything else.

The full release notes are below, and include many other improvements/fixes. Despite the nature of the release, there is some pretty nice stuff listed here. NOTE: Apple Pay Cash is included, but it won’t be active until next week.

Full release notes for iOS 11.2:

  • iOS 11.2 introduces Apple Pay Cash to send, request and receive money from friends and family with Apple Pay. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website.
  • Other improvements and fixes:
  • Adds support for faster wireless charging on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X with compatible third-party accessories.
  • Introduces three new Live wallpapers for iPhone X.
  • Improves video camera stabilization.
  • Adds support in Podcasts to automatically advance to the next episode from the same show.
  • Adds support in HealthKit for downhill snow sports distance as a data type.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause Mail to appear to be checking for new messages even when a download is complete.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause cleared Mail notifications from Exchange accounts to reappear.
  • Improves stability in Calendar.
  • Resolves an issue where Settings could open to a blank screen.
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent swiping to Today View or Camera from the Lock Screen.
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent Music controls from displaying on the Lock Screen.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause app icons to be arranged incorrectly on the Home Screen.
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent users from deleting recent photos when iCloud storage is exceeded.
  • Addresses an issue where Find My iPhone sometimes wouldn’t display a map.
  • Fixes an issue in Messages where the keyboard could overlap the most recent message.
  • Fixes an issue in Calculator where typing numbers rapidly could lead to incorrect results.
  • Addressed an issue where the keyboard could respond slowly.
  • Adds support for real-time text (RTT) phone calls for the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Improves VoiceOver stability in Messages, Settings, App Store and Music.
  • Resolves an issue that prevented VoiceOver from announcing incoming Notifications.

Chance Miller for 9to5Mac:

Just days after the huge root security flaw on macOS earlier this week, a growing number of iPhone and iPad users are reporting serious reboot and respring issues. The problem, detailed in a growing Reddit thread and on Twitter, seems to stem from apps that use local notifications, such as reminder applications like Headspace and Calm…

One Reddit user claims to have spoken with a senior Apple representative who informed him that the company is working on a fix.

Just spoke to a senior Apple rep and they too suggested manually setting the date to 1 day before the problem started – this was 1 Dec for me and it worked (I’m on an iPhone X running iOS 11.1.2 (15B202)) – or resetting all settings to default.

They did mention that they’re presently being flooded with calls reporting the same issue and that their ‘Engineering team’ is working on it figuring out what the problem is.

Apple is currently recommending that affected users set their device’s date back by one day. […]

‘Respring’ refers to when iPhone shows a black screen and loading indicator before taking you back to the Lock screen (not an actual reboot). It’s named after SpringBoard, the iOS system that manages the Home screen and applications.

So … what the hell is going on in Cupertino?


Sebastiaan de With shared great insight on shooting in RAW mode with iPhone X on the Halide blog today — Halide being a really powerful camera app I highly recommend.

I have always found the task of shooting in RAW and subsequent editing a bit daunting. After reading Sebastiaan’s post, I feel more empowered than ever to give it a real go.

Sebastiaan:

I am the design half of the team that makes the iPhone app Halide, which is a camera app with manual controls and, most importantly, RAW capture.

RAW is a file format that holds an incredible amount of information. We’ll get into the details later, but first let’s show what you can do with it.

From Sebastiaan’s post. Left: a RAW image out of the iPhone X. Right: the image after editing.
From Sebastiaan’s post. Left: a RAW image out of the iPhone X. Right: the image after editing.

RAW affords you editing freedom. Absolute freedom to change the colors and white balance of a photo, or recover too-bright highlights and too-dark shadows.

However, as awesome as RAW is, it’s important to know RAW isn’t a magic “enhance” button. Some of our users sometimes reach out with confusion about their RAW images looking worse than a regular capture from the stock camera app.

Read his full post for a really accessible overview of how RAW files are put together, and what shooting in RAW really means, including important caveats.