Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 341

Show 341 – June 29, 2020

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael                    


Our Aussie Apple Ramblings 

Story 1 ~ 

Warning—Apple Suddenly Catches TikTok Secretly Spying On Millions Of iPhone Users

Forbes reports ~ Apple has fixed a serious problem with iOS 14, due in the fall, where apps can secretly access the clipboard on users’ devices. Once the new OS is released, users will be warned whenever an app reads the last thing copied to the clipboard. As I warned earlier this year, this is more than a theoretical risk for users, with countless apps already caught abusing their privacy in this way.

As I reported on June 23, Apple has fixed a serious problem, in iOS 14 due in the fall, where apps can secretly access the clipboard on users’ devices. Once the new OS is released, users will be warned whenever an app reads the last thing copied to the clipboard. As I warned earlier this year, this is more than a theoretical risk for users, with countless apps already caught abusing their privacy in this way.


Story 2 ~ 

Google announces major new privacy improvements

Talkandroid is saying ~ Earlier last week, the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, announced changes being made to the way Google handles your privacy—mainly, how long they will keep your information, and what you can do about it. Pichai says, “…we focus on three important principles: keeping your information safe, treating it responsibly, and putting you in control.”

The changes Google is making will do exactly that, and today, we’ll explain the details and show you how to review your account settings.

Google Privacy Improvements

Essentially, Google has made it easier for location history, voice history, and web activity to be deleted. It used to be that as a Google user, you would need to go into your account and delete any history manually to keep them from storing your data. Google has now set the default for new accounts (as well as those who enable Location History and Web Activity for the first time) to auto-delete your information after 18 months. 

Pichai informed users that if they already had Location History and Web & App Activity turned on, Google wouldn’t be changing those in your account. Instead, they will take extra measures with emails and reminder notifications to keep you informed on your new options.

While the new default will be 18 months, it doesn’t have to stay that way. If you’d like to continue receiving really relevant ads and suggestions based on your web or location activity, you can actually turn this off entirely. Or, if you want Google to store your data for even less time, you can set your data to auto-delete at 3 months.

MS ~ While we Apple people accept we borrowed a lot from the Android OS in last weeks iOS14 announcements, like Widgets on the home screen.  It is good to see Android users getting some control / privacy in there life as well! 

Google announces major new privacy improvements


Gaming #1 ~ 

Apple is getting serious about iPad gaming with better gamepad and keyboard support

A lot of gaming-focused features are coming to iPads and the Apple TV.

THE VERGE tells us ~ Apple is greatly improving its gaming support in iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS. The biggest additions are support for controller button remapping, haptics, rumble, motion, and even the ability to properly use a keyboard and mouse for iPad gaming.

Game developers and players have long been asking for zone-based rumble and haptics support, and it’s finally coming later this year. Developers will be able to program feedback into their games, so players can feel specific things like the recoil from guns or explosions.

Apple is also planning to support some controllers with motion inputs, like Sony’s DualShock 4 controller. This includes support for the Lightbar, allowing Apple developers to change the colour of the light on the controller when a health bar decreases for example. The touchpad surface on the DualShock 4 will also be available to game developers, with two-finger tracking as well as support for the touchpad’s button.


Gaming #2 ~ 

Beyond A Steel Sky Launches In Apple Arcade With PC On The Way

Revolution Software has finally released Beyond A Steel Sky for Apple Arcade this week, as the game will be coming to PC in July. If you’re not familiar with the game, this is a trip back in time for a lot of ’90s comic book fans as you get to step back inside Union City for the first time in a long time. Since the dystopian cyberpunk adventure Beneath A Steel Sky was released back in 1994. The company worked with creator Dave Gibbons on bringing the comic to life and continuing the story in this new 3D adventure title. Complete with some of the same characters, locations, and humour from the original publication. You can play it on Apple Arcade right now, with a Steam release coming in July. You can check out a trailer and a couple of comments from the company CEO and Gibbons himself below.



Entertainment #1 ~ 

Blackpink breaks YouTube’s 24-hour viewing record

Engadget reports ~ BTS’ YouTube viewership record has been broken over a year later — although it might not surprise you to hear who managed the feat. Variety reports that K-pop band Blackpink managed to break the record for the most views in 24 hours, racking up 82.4 million views for its new “How You Like That” music video versus BTS’ 74.6 million for “Boy With Luv.” It might also be the fastest to 100 million views, having obtained 94 million in 30 hours (it was at nearly 104 million as of this writing).

fyi ~ BTS is a Korean Boy Band


Entertainment #2 –

Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery

On this weeks episode she is taking Atlassian, now a big player in enterprise software, co-founder Scott Farquhar around his old haunts.

ABC Wednesday 8pm


Entertainment #3 ~ 

Dads ~ on AppleTV+


Story 3 ~ 

Australia’s Much-hyped contact-tracing app a terrible failure reports ~ When Australia’s $2 million COVIDSafe tracing app was launched just over two months ago, it was met with some trepidation over privacy but also enthusiasm. Within days of its release, millions of people downloaded it onto their smartphones.

It promised to identify users who had been in close proximity with one another for an extended period of time to help in contact tracing, the labour-intensive process of finding every person who may have been exposed to an infected person. The app could save time and possibly lives.

While it initially got the backing from some of Australia’s leading technology experts for protection of private data, some obvious technical shortcomings were also identified. The app did not work very effectively running in the background or if a phone was locked.

Testing data provided to the Senate revealed that its effectiveness, particularly on Apple iPhones, was an ongoing issue. In late May, it worked only 25 to 50 per cent of the time in locked iPhone-to-iPhone testing, while on Android phones, there were major problems sharing data with iPhones.

These technical issues are not just glitches. As reported in The Sun-Herald, despite it having been downloaded by more than 6 million people, the app has not identified one close contact of a person infected with COVID-19 who had not already been found through manual contact tracing. By any measure, that is a terrible failure.

There are promising developments. In a combined effort, Apple and Google have released tracing technology that vows to work more seamlessly on Androids and iPhones. The Australian government has said it is looking at whether it could be used locally.

The recent surge of infections in Victoria has starkly demonstrated that large outbreaks can never be ruled out until a vaccine is discovered. In months ahead, an effective tracing app could make a real difference in combating those outbreaks. At the moment, Australia does not have that. It’s time the government owned up to that and set a path forward to doing everything it can to rectify the problem.


Story 4 ~

17-year-old Aussie app developer joins call with Apple executives Tim Cook and Lisa Jackson

One of the features of Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) is the student scholarship program which sees hundreds of young aspiring app developers win a trip to the event in California.

Despite the event moving to an online-only format in 2020, the student competition was conducted again with thousands of aspiring developers around the world submitting app ideas to the judges.

Ten young Australians, ranging in age from from 13 to 19, were chosen as winners. Each of them will take part in various sessions during this week learning new skills relating to their interest areas within the Apple ecosystem.

Prior to the opening keynote yesterday morning, one young Aussie was chosen as one of just 14 developers from around the world to join a virtual gathering with Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson.

During the video call, 17-year-old Euan Traynor presented the first major app he’d completed and shared his desire to be an Apple software engineer.

“I can’t imagine a future where I am not building apps for Apple devices,” Euan, from Adelaide, told the group.


Story 5 ~ 

iPadOS 14

Michael ~ I personally have been using the iPadOS 14 Beta on my iPad without any issues.

It appears to be super stable and the new Scribble feature for the pen is really accurate. Even with my crapy handwriting.

All my software still works, even some older stuff.

This got me excited and I was about to put the Beta of macOS on my main Mac until I read Apples list of current issues!  So I will probably wait until the Public Beta some time next month.


Story 6 ~ 

Australia hit by state-based cyberattacks

Reuters ~ Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a “sophisticated state-based actor” had spent months trying to hack all levels of the government, political bodies, essential service providers and operators of critical infrastructure and education.

“We know it is a sophisticated state-based cyber actor because of the scale and nature of the targeting,” Morrison told reporters but declined to say who Australia believed was responsible.

Australian intelligence has flagged similarities between the recent attacks and a cyber attack on parliament and the three largest political parties in March 2019.

For users and businesses the Australian cyber intelligence agency recommends activating systems like 2 Factor Authentication everywhere.

MS ~ We know these slow us down a little but compared to shutting us down altogether it is a small price to pay.


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