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  • FBI warns public to reboot Wi-Fi routers to counter 'VPNFilter' malware

    I thought it was us Brits who were supposed to see the black cloud around every silver lining!

    There is a world-wide malware threat to WiFi routers so the FBI puts out a warning and some easily understood, easily actioned advice to US citizens. Isn't that their job? Isn't that a good thing?

    If you follow the Symantec link in the article, you'll find that the FBI's advice is effective; not 100% effective but nonetheless helpful. Part of the issue here is that people never changed their routers' passwords, with that audience the FBI needed to keep it simple. The bigger fix involves firmware updates and basic security hygiene and the FBI notice goes on to describe this; it may be simple to the audience here but not so much to the world at large.
    gatorguygatorguybonobobavon b7jony0mknelsonbshanklarryacornchipGeorgeBMac
  • Apple removes Siri team lead as part of AI strategy shift

    I played with Alexa the other day on a friend's Sonos: I was impressed and amused. I have never been impressed by Siri. The actual speech parsing is good but the reaction to so many enquiries is just to display a web page on the display; this defeats the object in many cases. A rethink is overdue if Apple intends to compete in this area.
  • How do a pair of HomePods compare to a $180 soundbar?

    When comparing audio systems, it is essential to equalise the sound levels of the systems. At all reasonable levels, a louder playback will gain a quality advantage; this is down to the extra detail revealed by boosting the volume of the quieter parts. This is a common problem when trying to compare sound quality, be it of different systems or different versions (eg remastered CD vs original CD - it may not be a coincidence that remasters are usually louder than their predecessors).

    While they were playing at a lower level, the HomePods were disadvantaged (I think the story acknowledges that but it's a bit subtle in saying so).
  • Apple updates iWork apps for Mac & iOS with new shape libraries, other enhancements

    Well this is a turn up for the books! I had given up hope.

    I am one of the hold-outs still using the 'old' Pages. There are two big reasons for that and one is the ability to link text boxes so that text flows between them...and it's just been reinstated and, at a quick look, it seems like it works. Well done Apple.

    The other reason I'm a hold-out has not, sadly, been addressed. Pages 6.2 continues not to be able to cope with double-page spreads for which, IMHO, two related features are essential. The first is the need for reflected margins on alternate pages, so the binding edge of the page can have a wider margin than the edge you actually turn. The second is the need for a double page (facing page) view, so the designer can understand the two page combination that the reader will see when the 'book' is open. These are arguably only needed for documents that will end up as hard-copy but that remains quite important in many workflows.

    Still, I am encouraged by the text box linking and the new shapes are useful too so it remains great news.
    dysamoriamacky the mackytenthousandthingswatto_cobrabshank
  • 2018 iPhone SE predicted to be a minor upgrade, if it happens at all

    Mr. Kuo, the SE 2 will have an A11, hd retina, stereo speakers, and better camera system. 

    I have no sources, but it is true.
    I hope your non-sources are correct.  :D

    I value my SE for its size (though you won't find me complaining that it's also the lowest priced iPhone), my only regret is that 128GB wasn't available at launch. An updated processor, camera and TouchID would be enough to make me buy. Better sound and HD Retina would be very nice; 3D Touch and FaceID I wouldn't expect. Wireless charging does not excite me.

    I think I'm really saying that I liked the original formula: take the key elements from the then-current 6S and put as many as fit into a classic-sized case.
    entropysJWSCuktechiearthurba[Deleted User]designrpscooter63lolliver
  • Rumor claims 2019 iPhone will get 10MP TrueDepth camera, stick to Lightning

    command_f said:
    I think the Lightning connector is physically superior to USB-C (having used an all-USB-C MBP since late 2016). I do see the need for USB-3 speeds, especially when setting-up a new phone or pad, but I continue to believe that Apple could engineer that into Lightning in a backwards-compatible fashion.

    Putting USB-C on the other end of the cable seems more important to me. With my MBP 2 years old and Apple's apparent drive for USB-C, I couldn't believe that my new iPhone XS needed a dongle to connect to my MBP. So let's have a brave drive for the future at the charger/host end of the cable first.
    You do not require a ”dongle” to plug the XS into your MBP, you simply need a cable. 
    You are technically correct of course. The point is that what comes in the box is not interoperable: a MacBook Pro and iPhone XS, out of their respective boxes, cannot be connected using the cable supplied. I said dongle because, living in the real world with a laptop, I have found essential, and bought, a USB-A dongle (well, two actually). I have also now bought a USB-C to Lightning cable.

    If Apple believes that USB-C is the future (and the MBP, plus statements at its launch, suggest that they do) then why does the iPhone, two generations later, not come with a USB-C charger and cable? Or with a USB-C cable in addition to the USB-A one (which would be analogous to the inclusion of a headphone dongle with previous generation iPhones).

    It's not the cost at issue, it's the lack of system thinking and integrated ecosystem that used to be a hallmark of Apple kit (the "it just works" bit)  Transitions are always difficult but Apple doesn't seem to be consistent on this one.
  • Apple confirms iOS 12's 'USB Restricted Mode' will thwart police, criminal access [u]

    I prefer to think of this as keeping out the bad guys. In my book, in the UK, that doesn't include the security agencies. YMMV.

    However, it's a Good Thing that Apple is doing this, the agencies should have (be given) different and better methods. Interestingly, the ex-head of GCHQ (UK's equivalent of NSA) is on record as opposing backdoors: he says they're technically difficult and and open to abuse ( About what has been said here in the past.

    BTW The original story is here (but it may not be accessible outside the UK):https//
  • Apple taking Maps 'to the next level' in iOS 12

    Apart from improving its still somewhat hit and miss accuracy, I see lack of a Streetview-style facility as Apple Maps' biggest drawback. This story hints that it might be coming which would be very good news. I hope Apple is dedicated to maintaining all its first-party data too or its value will fade away again.

    I do, however, remain sceptical that Apple will be able to match Google maps's search content and relevance without its own search engine. The coupling of the two is really powerful when it comes to returning relevant mapping suggestions. I can still sit here in the UK, search for a partial business or whatever name and get my second or third response as an address in the US. Much as I like the US, I don't expect to pop over the pond for such trivial needs  ;).
    repressthisirelandnetmagewatto_cobra[Deleted User]
  • Former Apple engineer claims idea for Qualcomm patent, does not seek inventor status

    maestro64 said:
    Just as I thought this engineer's boss took his idea and never told him he plan to apply for the patent. QCOM had and environment of you must patent or you would not go anywhere in the company. When you walk in their front door they have all their patent on display and who invented them.
    I think the point is that QC took his idea and patented it whilst Apple and QC were working together. The engineer in question was working for Apple.
  • Google is downplaying Android to focus its future on Chrome OS

    Thoughtful article, thank you.

    Google's appropriation of Java does seem to me to be morally, even if not legally, wrong and I respect Oracle for pursuing the case. That said, I'm not sure that (hypothetically) abandoning Android would be an adequate strategy for avoiding any ultimate verdict in Oracle's favour. Any such settlement would likely allow for continuing use of Android through licensing (or whatever) for huge numbers of existing and updatable devices. Unless Google just abandoned the entire user base, which seems unlikely.