Aussie Mac Zone – Episode 174

Show 174 – Jan 16, 2017

Run Sheet ~ Garth & Michael & Karen

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Our Aussie Apple Ramblings
Story 1

None

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Story 2

4K YouTube video issue with Safari codec change

A recent discussion on Reddit has brought to light the news that YouTube no longer has the 4K video playback option when using Safari. The change may have come after a long ago announcement that YouTube began encoding uploaded videos into VP9. The change seems to affect recently uploaded videos, and thus so far only seen on the main YouTube site and not within embeds.

After a reddit user began wondering why he was no longer seeing a 4K option under Safari, other users began chiming in with different ideas on why that might be happening. Recently, /u/themcfly helped point out some specific changes as to what was happening:

Upon further inspection, I discovered that Youtube stores different kinds of video on their servers, encoded either in VP9 or the older H264 codec. Safari has no VP9 support…so it gets automatically served a H264 version from Youtube

For some context, Chrome enabled VP9 video codec support back in 2013, while Safari still hasn’t. In April of 2015, YouTube posted an update to their Engineering and Developers Blog explaining the advances the VP9 video codec would be bringing. According to the post, “VP9 is the most efficient video compression codec in widespread use today.” YouTube seemed to be imminently announcing the launch of VP9 as their default 4K playback codec.

The necessary support of the VP9 video codec for 4K playback today seems to currently apply to videos being watched directly on YouTube’s site. A quick way to check is to launch an uploaded 4K video on YouTube, and attempt to change the resolution. Recently uploaded videos only show HD options up to 1440p in Safari. Interestingly, if these very videos are embedded on an external page, then 4K video playback is still an option.

YouTube․com no longer supports 4K video playback in Safari

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Story 3

Apple losing key employees

Apple is suffering from a brain drain as its top engineering talent jumps ship.

It is not clear why Apple suffered such an exit of staff last year, We always suspected it was a terrible place to work and was held together using the Jim Jones management model. But it could be a sign that all is not well with the fruity tax-dodging cargo-cult.

This week Tesla poached Chris Lattner as its new Vice President of Autopilot Software. Lattner has been at Apple for 11 years and was its senior director of developer tools. The Swift programming language, which Apple launched back in 2014, and which the company has been encouraging its app developers to build Mac and iOS apps in was Lattner’s creation along with Xcode.

He is a big name but he is not the only top engineer to clean out his desk and head for Tesla. Matt Casebolt, who was a director of product design at Apple, left the company in December. His exit was telling he was the guy behind the Mac Pro, the MacBook Pro with Force Touch trackpad, MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Retina MacBook Pro, and the MacBook Air.

He had been at Apple for more than nine years and his name is on a shedload of patents. He was one of Jony Ive’s close-knit team of designers and engineers who are legendary for their low turnover. But Casebolt was the second to go that year. Danny Coster, a core member of Apple’s design team under Ive for over 20 years, left to join GoPro. Costerwas the lead designer on the first iMac.

Another bloke heading to Tesla was Timothy Hatcher, who spent eleven years at Apple on the WebKit team.

While the Tame Apple Press has played down the moves saying that Apple is a big company and it is always going to lose a few. However, these were long term staffers who were not working on Apple’s car project and they are going to a car company.

But the Verge said that Apple is losing more than just engineers. Three members of Apple’s PR team have left for car companies in the last few months.

All this with news that Apple cut production of the iPhoneby ten percent for the first quarter of 2017 and a SEC filing last week showed Apple missing its internal profit goals for the first time suggests that there is something up.
Casebolt updated his LinkedIn profile Wednesday revealing his now Tesla’s Senior Director of Engineering for closure and mechanisms. During his time at Apple, Casebolt’s name appeared on 52 patents. He led the development of the new MacBook Pro with its controversial Touch Bar as well as the redesigned Mac Pro that debuted a few years ago.

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Story 4

On that story apple insider says, New Swift project head Ted Kremenek said to be running the show behind the scenes for some time

Apple senior manager Ted Kremenek has been named as the new lead of the Swift development project, and has apparently been operating in that capacity for some time behind the scenes, according to outgoing head Chris Lattner.

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Story 5

Again apple insider reports, WhatsApp backdoor defeats end-to-end encryption, potentially allows Facebook to read messages

The security of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp messaging service may not be as strong as previously believed, with a reported discovery of a backdoor that potentially allows Facebook see the contents of encrypted message.

WhatsApp has used end-to-end encryption on all communications between its users since April last year, with one-on-one messages encrypted by default since 2014. The app uses the Signal protocol from Open Whisper Systems to handle the encryption process, a protocol that Facebook’s own Messenger app also employs.

Usually, unique security keys are traded between the users to confirm the communications are secure before sending messages. University of California cryptography and security researcher Tobias Boelter told The Guardian WhatsApp is capable of forcing apps to create new encryption keys for offline users.

Once new keys are created, the sender’s app can be made to re-encrypt unreceived messages and resend them, allowing messages to be read once intercepted.

The users are not necessarily aware of the change in security keys, as the message sender would be notified if they had enabled encryption warnings in the app’s settings. Message recipients are not warned of the changed key by the app at all.

WhatsApp responded to the allegations with the following statement:

“WhatsApp does not give governments a ‘backdoor’ into its systems and would fight any government request to create a backdoor. The design decision referenced in the Guardian story prevents millions of messages from being lost, and WhatsApp offers people security notifications to alert them to potential security risks. WhatsApp published a technical white paper on its encryption design, and has been transparent about the government requests it receives, publishing data about those requests in the Facebook Government Requests Report.”

Boelter informed Facebook of the backdoor vulnerability in April 2016, with Facebook replying that it was aware of the issue, it was “expected behavior” for the app, and it wasn’t being worked on by the social network. The report has verified the backdoor continues to exist in the most recent releases of the app.

A spokesperson for WhatsApp responded to the report, noting the security notifications options in the settings menu, by suggesting it is there as a matter of convenience.

“We know the most common reasons this happens are because someone has switched phones or reinstalled WhatsApp,” the representative claims. “This is because in many parts of the world, people frequently change devices and SIM cards. In these situations, we want to make sure people’s messages are delivered, not lost in transit.”

Apple’s iMessage uses end-to-end encryption to protect messages, preventing it from reading the content at all. Apple has however acknowledged it periodically uploads metadata for a message, including phone numbers, dates, and times, with law enforcement able to subpoena the company for access to that information.

Full reply & story:
http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/01/13/whatsapp-backdoor-defeats-end-to-end-encryption-potentially-allows-facebook-to-read-messages
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Story 6

US Consumer Reports (similar to Australia Choice Magazine) changes course and now recommends new 2016 MacBook Pro

Consumer Reports has published new results for their MacBook Pro battery testing today after having previously given the system a Do Not Recommend rating. CR has officially changed their recommendations and can now recommend the new 2016 MacBook Pros. The new tests come after Apple and CR worked together to decide what went wrong during the original testing. After becoming aware of a Safari bug that may have impacted results, CR recently started retesting on a newer build of macOS Sierra in which the bug was supposedly fixed.

With the updated software, the three MacBook Pros in our labs all performed well, with one model running 18.75 hours on a charge. We tested each model multiple times using the new software, following the same protocol we apply to hundreds of laptops every year.

Now that we’ve factored in the new battery-life measurements, the laptops’ overall scores have risen, and all three machines now fall well within the recommended range in Consumer Reports ratings.

Consumer Reports changes course and now recommends new 2016 MacBook Pro

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Story 7

Apple plans to build computers in the US, but they won’t be for consumers

Apple is planning a new initiative to build new computers in the United States — but they won’t be Macs. Instead, as reported by Business Insider, the company is aiming to use its existing facility in Mesa, Arizona, to produce servers and data centres to be used in its other US facilities.

The company’s plans were referenced in a filing, made by the city of Mesa to the US government, and published in the Federal Register on Monday. The filing shows Mesa sought approval from the US Foreign-Trade Zones Board for Apple to create “finished products,” including “finished server assembly cabinets.” Apple already has authority to produce components for consumer electronics within the Mesa special zone, but if granted, the new approval would let it import parts needed for data centres without customs duty payments.

Business Insider reports that Apple is aiming to use the Mesa centre to produce servers for its other data centres across the United States, including facilities in Oregon and North Carolina. This would be a consolidation process, as according to a person familiar with Apple’s data plans, the other US centres currently produce their own servers.

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Story 8

We had several listeners contact us last week about there iPhone 1 experiences, heres one:

I bought my first iPhone on a shop in Adelaide before Apple actually released it in Australia. It had to be jail broken to work, and of course when I went on to iTunes and played with trying to update the software it was reset and asked to be hooked up to a US provider.

So I took the phone back to the shop and had it jail broken again.

Later I rang Apple with an enquiry about the phone and was told the phone wouldn’t work yet. And there I was taking to them on their phone that shouldn’t work. The lass I was talking to was a bit miffed.

There was also some videos of different iPhones that Apple could have released, including one with a click wheel. Have a search on YouTube and be thankful.
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How To 1

Using Quicktime to do a screen recoding

As can be seen in the video ad for ATH Web Hosting this week.

I used Quicktime to record part of a web page, trimmed it to the length I wanted, and then added the video file to our broadcast. SimpleS!

1/ Launch QuickTime Player and choose File, New Screen Recording (the keyboard shortcut is Control, Command, N).

2/ Press the Record button.

3/ A screen with additional instructions will appear, asking to choose a part of the screen or full screen AND a Record Button

4/ When you’re finished, click on Stop Recording on the Menu Bar. A little black dot on the right side of the Menu Bar.
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How To 2

Reminder, create a PDF without using Adobe software

1/ open your document

2/ from the File Menu choose Print

3/ Click the PDF button in the bottom left corner

4/ you can now save as a PDF or send the document as a PDF attachment in an eMail
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How To 3

Combing PDFs

Lets say we have 3 PDFs we would like in 1 file:

1/ select all, then open with Preview

2/ drag item 2 in the left column onto item 1, then drag item 3 onto item 1

3/ you can change the order of items above the line and delete items below the line

4/ now Save
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Garth’s Roundup of the things Michael missed or forgot

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