Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 344

Show 344 – July 20, 2020

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael



Our Aussie Apple Ramblings 

Story 1 ~ 

AustCyber says digital trust required to boost Aussie economy

ZDNet reports ~ A globally competitive Australian cybersecurity sector will ultimately underpin the future success of every industry in the national economy, the non-profit’s CEO has said.

Fresh from Prime Minister Scott Morrison telling Australians the country was under attack from an unnamed state actor and pledging AU$1.35 billion to boost local cybersecurity capabilities, AustCyber has touted the importance of digital trust in securing the nation’s economy.

AustCyber is a non-profit organisation charged with growing a local cybersecurity ecosystem and facilitating its global expansion.

“Australia’s digital infrastructure and the data it carries are core to the value and growth of the nation’s economy,” AustCyber CEO Michelle Price said in Australia’s Digital Trust Report 2020.

“The growing economic dependency on the digital domain has an intrinsic relationship with the trust users and consumers have in it and therefore the security, privacy, and resilience of the infrastructure and data.”

According to Price, a globally competitive Australian cybersecurity sector will ultimately underpin the future success of every industry in the national economy.

The report [PDF], released on Monday, explains digital trust as the level of confidence users have in the ability of technology to “enable a high functioning cyber-physical world”. AustCyber said it is earned by providing secure, private, safe, and reliable access to technology, as well as the ways in which technology has been designed, constructed, and delivered.

It said cybersecurity is a foundational pillar of digital trust in the economy.

AustCyber said digital activity currently contributes AU$426 billion to the Australian economy, and generates AU$1 trillion in gross economic output.

It also said a four-week digital interruption to Australia’s economy, such as a widespread cyber attack, would cost the Australian economy up to AU$30 billion or 1.5% of Australia’s GDP, and over 163,000 jobs.



Story 2 ~ 

Apple now offer Extended AppleCare+ monthly plans in Australia, Canada, and Japan

Extend your AppleCare+ coverage

If you paid upfront for 24 or 36 months of coverage, you can continue coverage on a monthly basis after the 24 or 36 months is over.

In the United States, Australia, Canada, and Japan, when you purchase AppleCare+ coverage for your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, you can choose to pay monthly or pay upfront for 24 months of coverage. (For Apple Watch Edition and Hermes, you can pay upfront for 36 months.) If you paid upfront, you can go to to continue coverage* on a monthly basis after the 24 or 36 months is over.

Monthly plans automatically renew until canceled.


Gaming #1 ~ pic


Developed by MORE8BIT

This is a cool blast from the past, it reminds me of Atari games I played as a young kid. It was the first console I ever played on. 

There are some really fun levels monsters. Game play on both AppleTV and the iPhone are great ( AppleTV is a little better ) 

So this dark 8bit story got me right in the 8 year old feels. 

I absolutely loved it. 

Thank you MORE8BIT for taking me back to my childhood if only for a few hours.


I’m giving this 3.7 apples. 



Gaming #2 ~

Zarns thoughts on Mythic Quest on the episodes he has seen so far



Entertainment #1 ~ pic

Apple expands original film slate with “Palmer,” starring Justin Timberlake

Apple is expanding its slate of sought-after original films with “Palmer,” starring Justin Timberlake and directed by Fisher Stevens, from SK Global.

Written by Cheryl Guerriero, “Palmer” follows a former college football phenomenon named Eddie Palmer (played by Timberlake) who, after a stint in prison, returns to his hometown to get his life back on track.

There, he faces not only lingering conflicts from his past but also a much more surprising challenge as he finds himself suddenly in charge of a unique young boy who has been abandoned by his wayward mother.

Along with Timberlake, “Palmer” stars Juno Temple, Academy Award nominee June Squibb, Alisha Wainright, and introduces Ryder Allen.


Entertainment #2 –

Academy Award winner Mark Boal’s international thriller ‘Echo 3’ greenlit by Apple TV+

Apple has given a straight-to-series order for “Echo 3,” a new action-thriller written by Academy Award-winning producer and writer Mark Boal (“The Hurt Locker,” “Zero Dark Thirty”) that will be produced by Apple and Keshet Studios. Set in South America, the 10-part series is the latest project to join a growing lineup of premium international series set to make their global debut on Apple TV+.

In “Echo 3”, Amber Chesborough, a brilliant young scientist, is the emotional centre of a small American family. When she goes missing along the Colombia-Venezuela border, her brother and her husband – two men with deep military experience and complicated pasts – struggle to find her in a layered personal drama, set against the explosive backdrop of a secret war.

Based on the award-winning Keshet Broadcasting series “When Heroes Fly,” created by Omri Givon and inspired by the novel by Amir Gutfreund, “Echo 3” will be shot with English and Spanish dialogue.


Things coming in new OS’ ~ 

iOS 14: How to allow or block iPhone apps from tracking you

9to5Mac ~ iOS 14 comes with a number of new security and privacy features, and one of those is forcing apps to request permission before they can track you across the web and other apps. Along with that, you can totally block iPhone app tracking.

Some apps won’t function properly without the ability to use trackers but here’s how to allow or block apps from tracking you.

1/ On your iPhone head to Settings

2/ Swipe down and tap Privacy

3/ Choose Tracking at the top

4/ The default setting is to allow apps to ask for permission to track you

5/ Toggle it off to block apps from being able to even ask to track you

6/ If / when you do give permission for an app to track you, you’ll see a list of them under the Privacy > Tracking setting


How To #1 ~ 

Skype iOS App Gets Background Blurring Feature

MacRumors again ~ Skype’s mobile app for iPhone and iPad has been updated with a new screen-blurring feature this week. Users of Microsoft’s video and voice calling service can now choose to blur the background on video calls if the scene behind them is something they’d rather not share.

The idea behind the feature is to save the user’s blushes because of the messy room they’re Skyping from, or too obscure a business plan on a whiteboard behind them, for example.

Background blur in Skype is similar to background blur in Microsoft Teams, according to the software giant. The results are somewhat akin to the “bokeh” effect most commonly seen in Portrait photos on ‌iPhone‌, but in this case it’s in a live video stream.

The feature has been available on the desktop version of Skype for a while, and like that app, it can be enabled in Skype’s settings or when in a call by using the “Blur my background” option.


Story 3 ~ 

Apple commits to replacing non-inclusive terms across its developer ecosystem

9to5Mac reports ~ Joining a wider industry shift, Apple announced that it is working to replace exclusionary language in its developer documentation and APIs with alternative terminology.

Renaming things takes time and effort as large parts of infrastructure have to migrate in response. For third-party developers in the App Store, Apple will be changing the names of APIs used in their code where appropriate, which will also necessitate engineering work to migrate.

Examples of exclusionary terminology include using a noun like ‘master’ to describe the primary code repository. Apple’s source control features in Xcode, starting with Xcode 12, now names the default branch ‘main’ by default. Github and other companies announced similar policy changes earlier this year.

Similarly, Apple is replacing the usage of ‘whitelist’ and ‘blacklist’ in its documentation with ‘allow list’ and ‘deny list’, to eradicate possible discriminatory connotations. These phrases have long-established technical definitions, but changing to alternative words removes any possibility of confusion or misinterpretation.


Story 4 ~

Federal Court rules Kogan online promotions were false and misleading

The online retailer had been accused of hiking prices prior to sales by the ACCC.

ZDNet again ~ Kogan has yet again been found guilty of inflating prices prior to its online retail sales, with the Australian Federal Court ruling on Friday morning that the company made false and misleading representations to consumers. 

The legal action, raised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last year, alleged that Kogan ran an online promotion where consumers could obtain a 10% discount on most of its products through the use of a discount code.

Kogan was previously fined AU$32,400 for using false or misleading representations for a Father’s Day promotion. At the time, the ACCC ruled the online retailer intentionally increased its prices before offering customers a discount.

“It is simply unacceptable for businesses to raise prices before applying a discount in order to give consumers the misleading impression that they are obtaining a larger percentage discount than is actually the case,” ACCC acting chair Michael Schaper said at the time.


Story 5 ~ 

macOS Catalina 10.15.6 Successfully Fixes USB 2.0 Issues Experienced by 2020 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air Users

MacRumors ~ macOS Catalina 10.15.6 successfully fixes a frustrating bug that prevented some USB 2.0 accessories from working properly with 2020 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models, according to MacRumors readers and users on Reddit.

Apple in the release notes for the macOS Catalina 10.15.6 update said that the update “resolves an issue where certain USB mouse and trackpads may lose connection,” and people who were experiencing that particular problem have confirmed that their accessories are now able to successfully connect.

The bug was first noticed earlier this year by ‌MacBook Air‌ and ‌MacBook Pro‌ users who purchased one of the new 2020 machines. The Mac notebooks were unable to properly work with USB 2.0 accessories connected to their machines through hubs or adapters.

Problems included lost connections, freezes, and a failure to work entirely, and those affected were unable to find any kind of fix with methods like SMC resets, safe mode, Disk Utility repairs, and more. The only suitable fix was using a more expensive Thunderbolt 3 hub instead of a USB-C hub.

Though Apple’s release notes mention mice and trackpads, the problem affected all kinds of devices, including keyboards and other accessories, though it appeared to be limited to USB 2.0 devices rather than USB 3.0 or 3.1 accessories.

There have been numerous reports from those who were experiencing the issue that confirm macOS 10.15.6 addresses the issue for all kinds of accessories. The fix doesn’t appear to have been implemented in macOS Big Sur, however, so some users may still run into USB issues on the newest update until Apple adds the fix to Big Sur as well.


Story 6 ~ 

US beat China on App Store downloads for first time since 2014, due to coronavirus impact

Tech Crunch reported ~ The U.S. App Store’s downloads have surpassed China’s downloads for the first time since 2014. According to data from Sensor Tower’s Q2 2020 report, out today, the U.S. App Store saw 27.4% year-over-year growth in the quarter, compared to the 2.1% growth for the China App Store. During the quarter, the U.S. App Store generated 2.22 billion new installs compared with China’s 2.06 billion downloads, to regain the top position. This then translated to the U.S. beating China on App Store consumer spend, as well.

Contributing to the shift was the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on both China and the U.S.

The U.S. surpassed China on installs beginning in April and lasting all the way through June, the firm found.

China in Q2, meanwhile, was coming down from its own abnormally high number of downloads in March and April, due to COVID-19. But as its download figures began to normalise, the pandemic was wreaking havoc in the U.S., where it hit slightly later.

This led to the U.S. to see a surge in downloads, as suddenly the population was forced to work from home, attend school from home and entertain themselves at home with apps, games and streaming services.


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