Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 328

Show 328 – March 30, 2020

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael



Our Aussie Apple Ramblings

We would like to congratulate the governments of Australia and the States and Territories during these challenging times.  Whether or not your a ScoMo fan he is holding press meetings early morning afternoons and late nights.  And I congratulate the opposition for working and not squabbling!

Story 1

Apple releases new COVID-19 app and website based on CDC guidance

Tools Offer Up-to-Date Guidance and Information for People Across the US

Apple today released a new screening tool and set of resources to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to protect their health during the spread of COVID-19, based on the latest CDC guidance. The new COVID-19 website, and COVID-19 app available on the App Store, were created in partnership with the CDC,1 the White House Coronavirus Task Force and FEMA to make it easy for people across the country to get trusted information and guidance at a time when the US is feeling the heavy burden of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 app and website allow users to answer a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure and symptoms for themselves or a loved one. In turn, they will receive CDC recommendations on next steps, including guidance on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, whether or not a test is recommended at this time, and when to contact a medical provider. This new screening tool is designed to be a resource for individuals and does not replace instructions from healthcare providers or guidance from state and local health authorities.

The app and website also offer access to resources to help people stay informed and get the support they need. Users will receive answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19, including who is most at risk and how to recognise symptoms. In addition, they will learn the most up-to-date information from the CDC like best practices for washing hands, disinfecting surfaces and monitoring symptoms.

Along with the new COVID-19 app and website, customers across the US may also ask Siri, “How do I know if I have coronavirus?” to access guidance and resources from the CDC and a curated collection of telehealth apps available on the App Store. This week, travellers landing at select international airports throughout the US started receiving notifications on their iPhone to remind them of current CDC guidance to stay home and monitor their health. 

Consistent with Apple’s strong dedication to user privacy, the COVID-19 app and website were built to keep all user data private and secure. The tools do not require a sign-in or association with a user’s Apple ID, and users’ individual responses will not be sent to Apple or any government organisation.

Anyone in the US who is 18 years or older can access the screening tool and resources today by downloading the COVID-19 app on the App Store or visiting

MS We have tested this from Australia


Story 2

ACSC issues warning around coronavirus-themed malicious cyber activity

ZDNet reports ~ Acting head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre has said cyber criminals are being very opportunistic, with an increase in malicious activity in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has issued a new threat update, seeking to raise awareness around coronavirus-themed malicious cyber activity. 

“Cyber criminals are very opportunistic and we are seeing an increased targeting of Australians through COVID-19 themed malicious activities,” acting head of the ACSC Karl Hanmore said.

The ACSC’s advice says COVID-19 related scams and phishing emails are likely to increase in frequency and severity over the coming weeks and months, due, in part, to the ease in which existing scam emails and texts can be modified with a COVID-19 theme.

“We’re seeing some upticks in the COVID space, it’s most likely the same cybercriminals just trying to go about their normal day job of stealing from us all,” Hanmore said, speaking on ABC Radio on Friday morning.

“They’re coalescing under COVID-19 as the one thing they know we’re all interested in right now.”

Since early March 2020, there has been a significant increase in COVID-19 themed malicious cyber activity across Australia, the ACSC said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch has received more than 100 reports of scams about COVID-19 in the last three months.

ACSC said between March 10 and 26, it received over 45 cybercrime and cybersecurity incident reports from individuals and businesses, all related to COVID-19 themed scam and phishing activity.

However, the true extent of this malicious activity is likely to be much higher, as these numbers only represent those cases reported to the ACSC and ACCC.

Reported scams have included those pretending to be Australia Post, international health organisations, and programs offering financial assistance.

The Australian government on Wednesday began its text message campaign, telling nearly 36 million mobile numbers how to navigate the health of individuals and the broader community.

“As the spread of the coronavirus increases, it’s vital every Australian understands the practical action they must take to look after themselves and help us protect those most at risk,” a statement from Minister for Health Greg Hunt, Australian Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy, and Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher said.

The government said it would continue to use text messages as one of its communication methods.

Hanmore’s message is that Australians should be alert to scams based around COVID-19 and avoid being lured into clicking on any links or attachments in emails or messaging apps.

“A key concern for the Australian Cyber Security Centre is cyber criminals looking to prey on businesses as they transition to an increasingly remote workforce,” he added.

“Now is a good time for businesses to be more aggressive in blocking potentially malicious emails and websites from their network gateway. Now more than ever, it is critical that businesses have their software patched and up to date.”

Looking at cybercrime activity more broadly, Hanmore said the ACSC is experiencing people self-reporting about 145 cybercrime incidents a day, with self-reported losses just under AU$1 million a day.

Esri Australia COVID-19 Map

The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University earlier this year launched an online dashboard that is tracking the spread of COVID-19.

The live dashboard pulls data from the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the likes of the centres for disease control and prevention from the United States, Europe, and China.

It shows all confirmed and suspected cases of coronavirus, along with recovered patients and deaths. The data is visualised through a real-time graphic information system (GIS) powered by Esri.

To help closely monitor the situation in Australia, Esri has developed a local version, which includes national and state statistics on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths, recoveries and tests, as well as charts showing the timeline of confirmed cases over time.


Suggest a Product for Stuck at Home


AirFly: Beyond the Plane

AirFly lets you use your AirPods and wireless headphones with headphone jacks and AUX-IN ports. AirFly originally gained popularity for its use with Airplane Entertainment Systems, but the NEW AirFly Duo + AirFly Pro have MANY more tricks up their sleeves. From making your favourite older HiFi Speakers wireless, to letting any two pairs of wireless headphones share a movie or a workout, AirFly has more uses on the ground than it does in the air! Shop AirFly Now.

Here are six handy uses for AirFly… at home!



Butter Royale 

I really like this game so much fun!!! OMG!!! 

Great graphics,

Well thought out,

Very happy theme even if it is a shoot em up. 

5 Apples to of 5



The Bankers on Apple TV+

My wife and I enjoyed this movie on 2 Negros, chosen for a reason, and how they helped make some of America a better place for all!

Certainly worth a watch.



Timewasters new season Starts this week on ABC Comedy

A BBC series on a group of black friends who travel back in time.  They are also a Jazz Group.

No spoilers, but it is a good laugh.


How To 1

iOS 13.4: How to share iCloud Drive folders from iPhone and iPad

Thanks to 9to5Mac ~ Improved collaboration for iCloud Drive arrives with iOS 13.4, iPadOS 13.4, and macOS Catalina 10.15.4. Follow along for how to share iCloud Drive folders from iPhone and iPad in the latest software releases.

Shared folders has been a long-requested feature from iCloud Drive users and the latest iPhone, iPad, and Mac software offers up an easy way to share with others, including multiple folders at a time. There are also some handy permission options that come along with the new feature.

If you remember seeing this feature last year, that’s because it debuted with the iOS 13 betas back in June but was then removed from later betas as well as the public release of the software in the fall. In any case, it’s great to see this valuable functionality arrive!

How to share iCloud Drive folders from iPhone and iPad

          1. 1.Make sure you’re running iOS 13.4/iPadOS 13.4
          2. 2.Open the Files app and navigate to iCloud Drive
          3. 3.Long press on a folder then tap Share
          4. 4.To share multiple folders, tap Select
          5. 5.Choose multiple folders, tap the Share icon (square with up arrow)

Here’s a more detailed look at the process on iPhone:

To quickly share one folder, long press and use the share option toward the bottom of the list.

You can also swipe up on the share sheet as shown below and choose Add People. This will allow you to share the same folder with multiple people.

At the bottom of the screen, you can dial in sharing permissions like who can view the folders and if they can make changes. The default is set as “Only people you invite” can access the folders, and “Can make changes” for permission.


How To 2

How to customise the mouse cursor on iPad: tracking speed, animations, colour, more

Again 9to5Mac ~ With the iPadOS 13.4 update, you can now use a mouse or trackpad with your iPad as a complement to the touch experience. Apple is naturally promoting the Magic Keyboard accessory for iPad Pro, but you can use any USB or Bluetooth input device like the Magic Trackpad or Magic Mouse, too.

You can use the cursor to do pretty much everything you can do with your finger, like press buttons, switch apps, and edit text. It is similar but not identical to a PC experience. Here’s how you can customise the cursor input on your iPad to make it suit you.

First off, this is a new feature that requires the latest iPad software. To get started, you need to update to iPadOS 13.4. The software update is available now. Go to Settings -> General Software Update and get the update to ensure you are on iPadOS 13.4 or later.

iPadOS 13.4 is compatible with the following devices:

          • iPad Pro
          • iPad mini (4th-generation and later)
          • iPad Air (2nd-generation 2 and later)
          • iPad (5th-generation and later) 

To use the cursor, you will need an external mouse or trackpad. You can pair any Bluetooth mouse, such as pretty much any PC mouse you can find online or one you already own lying around the house.

To try out mouse pointer on iPad using a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad you have already paired to a Mac, remove it completely from the Mac’s Bluetooth list. The accessory will go into pairing mode and should then appear in the iPad Bluetooth settings. Tap on it to pair.

There are also several iPad cases coming on the market that integrate a trackpad. Obviously, you have the Apple Magic Keyboard with trackpad, which is compatible with the new iPad Pro and is going on sale in May. Logitech has also announced plans to release keyboard-trackpad cases that work with other types of iPad. Expect more soon.


Story 3 

Average iPhone user spending in App Store rockets to $100 in 2019

Last year, iPhone users in the U.S. spent an average of $100 on in-app purchases and premium apps for the first time, according to data published Wednesday by app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

This figure was up $21 on the $79 average spent in 2018. It does not cover payments made using retail apps like Amazon, ride-sharing apps such as Uber, or any other payments that aren’t processed via Apple and the App Store.

Sensor Tower‘s data shows in-app spending grew 27% last year. That’s slightly down from the 36% it grew between 2017 and 2018. However, it’s still an impressive upward trend from the $33 average reported in 2015.

Mobile games represent around 54% of average spending per device, equivalent to $53.80. While it’s a much smaller figure, Photo & Video apps actually made the biggest year-on-year growth, increasing 75% from $3.60 in 2018 to $6.30 or 6.3% in 2019.

Lifestyle apps, which includes the likes of Tinder, also increased 46% from $3.90 in 2018 to $5.70 last year. Health & Fitness apps grew an average of 48% to an average of $4 per device. Sensor Tower places credit with the growth of meditation apps like Calm.

The report notes that the most popular money-generating strategy is subscription services. These provide recurring revenue for app-makers, rather than having to charge for incremental updates in the form of in-app purchases.

Average App Store spending on iPhone in 2019

The 2019 increase in average spending per iPhone in the App Store is good news for Apple. While the App Store reflects just one source of income for Apple, in the past few years it has represented an increasingly important one. iPhone unit sales peaked in 2015, after which the numbers have declined.

To continually top its record-breaking earnings, Apple has focused on finding ways to extract more money from a slightly smaller base of customers. The fact that these app spending numbers are going up suggests that strategy is working.

The 2020 figures are going to be particularly interesting to see. On the one hand, COVID-19-induced economic challenges could shrink the number of people buying iPhones and splashing their cash in the App Store.

On the other, the current lockdown situation may prompt more time spent in the App Store than ever. Which of these two forces will win out? We’ve probably got about a year to wait to find out!


Story 4 

You Can Ride the Universal Studios “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” Ride From Your Couch

The video even takes you through the line for added authenticity.

Cosmopolitan reports ~ Everyone is pretty much experiencing life through their devices at the moment. We 100% feel you on that. And if you’re one of those people who had to cancel a Universal Studios trip and were particularly ecstatic about experiencing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, don’t fret!! You can do more than daydream about it. In the meantime, you can virtually go on a ride through Hogwarts castle from the comfort of your couch.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the must-experience ride inside of Hogwarts castle at Universal Studios. A video from takes you through the entire experience–even waiting in line, which is arguably one of the best parts. In line, you get to check out the halls of Hogwarts where you can listen to paintings talk and visit Dumbledore in his office. Before hopping on the ride, you also get to wander through the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Room of Requirement, and the herbology classroom.

Once you’re strapped in, you take a magical broomstick ride around Hogwarts as you’re met with fire-breathing dragons, friendly faces (Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid, of course), and spiders in the Forbidden Forest. You finish the ride with a warm praise from Dumbledore and students in the Great Hall.

As Dumbledore once said: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” This virtual ride is the light. It’s a true pick-me-up that all Harry Potter lovers deserve right now.

and the ride ~


Story 5 

Telstra tells iOS users to stay home

Network identification changed to #StayHome for users of iOS devices.

ZDNet tells us ~ Australian incumbent telco Telstra is telling users of iOS devices to stay inside and not come out.

“We’ve changed our network name on iOS to the best thing anyone who isn’t providing an essential service can do: #StayHome. If you can, you should,” Telstra said in a tweet on Friday afternoon.

The telco pointed out that, ironically, it would take a switch of which tower a user is connected to, to see the new banner. ZDNet would add that entering and exiting airplane mode would prevent someone from needing to exit a premises to see the new network name.

As the coronavirus pandemic has broken out, Telstra has undertaken a number of measures in response.

Last week, the telco said it would pause job cuts for the next six months — under the telco’s T22 plan, it had previously ended the employment of thousands of workers — and would recruit an extra 1,000 temporary call centre workers in Australia due to its Filipino call centre being shut down due to measures taken by Manilla.

The company is also shifting AU$500 million of capital expenditure slated for the second half of the next fiscal year into the calendar 2020 year.

“This capital will be deployed to increase capacity in our network, including further accelerating the rollout of 5G and injecting much needed investment into the economy at this time,” Telstra said.

Telstra is also suspending late payment fees and disconnections until the end of April, which is when the decision will be re-examined, and the company has also committed to re-signing any sponsorship agreements it already has for another year.

“COVID-19 is having a profound impact on business across the country. At Telstra we already have more than 25,000 people successfully working from home, and we are supporting many of our customers as they grapple with shifting to working and studying from home,” Telstra CEO Andy Penn said.

“It is at times like these that big business can show leadership and make a contribution to the national response and that is what we at Telstra are doing.”

At the beginning of last week, Telstra handed all of its home broadband customers unlimited data until the end of April. The data boost covers customers on the National Broadband Network, ADSL, and cable customers.


Story 6 

Apple launches education website to help students and teachers learn remotely

Cult of Mac explains ~ Schools across the globe are closing due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Apple is ready to help educators with a new site that shows teachers how to enable remote learnings for all students using Apple products.

The Apple Education Learning Series website features a collection of videos that are geared to students and educators of all ages. There are only two videos on the site currently, but Apple says the site will continue to add more.

COVID-19’s spread has forced schools in every single state of the U.S. to shut down for as long as a month. Students from kindergarten to college are now having to adjust to remote learning but are having to make do with whatever devices they have at home to get their educational fix.

Apple’s first two educational videos focus solely on using the iPad’s built-in features. The first video, titled Prepare Resources For Remote learning covers how to use the iPad camera to scan documents and stay organised. It also shows how Markup can be used to annotate materials, how to use Voice Memos and a few other features.

The other video, Create and Share Presentations and Demos, covers how compelling ways to have face-to-face conversations when you can’t actually meet face-to-face. It includes Group FaceTime tips as well as different ways to make presentations using Keynote. The video teaches educators how to record content to create a demo that can then be sent to students for viewing.

Apple says its next video will focus on its iOS app Clips. Students will learn how to create and share fun videos. It will also encourage educators to use Clips to make instructional videos to explore new skills and ideas.


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