Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 244

Show 244 – July 02, 2018
Run Sheet ~ Zarn,
Matt & Michael

This week sponsors


Our Aussie Apple Ramblings

Story 1
Apple Maps being rebuilt from the ground up!

Maps is still not where it needs to be to be considered a world-class service.

Maps needs fixing.

Apple, it turns out, is aware of this, so it’s re-building the maps part of Maps.

It’s doing this by using first-party data gathered by iPhones with a privacy-first methodology and its own fleet of cars packed with sensors and cameras. The new product will launch in San Francisco and the Bay Area with the next iOS 12 beta and will cover Northern California by fall.

Every version of iOS will get the updated maps eventually, and they will be more responsive to changes in roadways and construction, more visually rich depending on the specific context they’re viewed in and feature more detailed ground cover, foliage, pools, pedestrian pathways and more.

This is nothing less than a full re-set of Maps and it’s been four years in the making, which is when Apple began to develop its new data-gathering systems. Eventually, Apple will no longer rely on third-party data to provide the basis for its maps, which has been one of its major pitfalls from the beginning.

Eddy Cue,  who now owns Maps, in an interview last week. “When we launched, a lot of it was all about directions and getting to a certain place. Finding the place and getting directions to that place. We’ve done a huge investment of making millions of changes, adding millions of locations, updating the map and changing the map more frequently. All of those things over the past six years.”

But, Cue says, Apple has room to improve on the quality of Maps, something that most users would agree on, even with recent advancements.

“We wanted to take this to the next level,” says Cue. “We have been working on trying to create what we hope is going to be the best map app in the world, taking it to the next step. That is building all of our own map data from the ground up.”

Story 2
Clever solves the identity management problem for K-12

One of the trends I’m noticing in K–12 is the move to services. Instead of companies trying to sell you Chromebook or iPad accessories, they are selling you subscription access to curriculum and services that work on iPad, Chromebooks, and desktop.

From a business perspective, this makes a lot of sense for companies. They get recurring revenue from schools instead of relying on individual purchases. For schools, it begins to make a lot of sense as well. Recurring payments for something you rely on works. Instead of making an initial upfront purchase for an app, you can pay a little each month or year. By making regular payments for apps and services, those companies have a vested interest in maintaining the products.

This onslaught of services has created a problem for IT administrators everywhere. At my school, we rely on about five services every single school year. We’re generally pretty happy with them and how they perform. I don’t even mind the price we pay each year.

Onboarding for new users is a challenge. About a month at the beginning of each year is spent  downloading CSV, tinkering with the format, creating usernames, making up passwords the students can remember, and then uploading them elsewhere. It’s a tedious process, it causes us to use insecure passwords, and creates a tech support nightmare as students struggle to remember all of their passwords.

What K–12 needs is a universal login system. This feature would allow us to create one identity for students that follow them across their email, student information system, and all of the apps we use.

A solution that looks promising is Clever. Clever is a single sign-on service for K–12. Here’s the interesting pitch: it’s free for schools to use. Clever makes money by charging the applications that want to integrate with it. It’s a pretty simple pitch:

Schools who use Clever get a free SSO (single sign-on) service that is geared towards education.

Applications that integrate with Clever can promote ease of deployment to potential customers.

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Story 3
With the Public Beta release of macOS Mojave, which we announced on Apple News, Aussie Mac Zone channel, lots of people are commenting on their favourite changes.
Here are 4 ~

Safari Favicons
Prior to macOS Mojave, Safari didn’t display favicons in browser tabs, making those tabs more difficult to identify at a glance. With Safari 12 in macOS Mojave, Favicon support in tabs is finally a thing.

I try hard to keep my desktop clutter free, but when I’m knee deep in work it tends to happen. Stacks, a new feature in macOS Mojave, aims to help users stay more organised with just a few mouse clicks.

Dark Mode
It wouldn’t be a valid top feature list without including Dark Mode, which is arguably the flagship new enhancement found in macOS Mojave. As a regular user of pro apps like Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, and Motion 5 — apps that feature dark themes by default — dark mode on macOS Mojave seems natural to me.

Mac App Store refresh
The Mac App Store gets shown some much-needed love in macOS Mojave. Not only does it come with a complete visual overall with iOS App Store-like editorial content and video previews, it’s getting some major new app support as well.

One of the big news items surrounding the refresh is that Microsoft will bring Office 365 to the Mac App Store for the very first time; Adobe will add apps from its Creative Cloud suite aswell, though complete details are still unclear.

Story 4
Drake’s Scorpion on Apple Music crushes Spotify in streaming

Scorpion, Drake’s fifth album, has smashed through his own single-day streaming record on Apple Music with more than 170 million streams in its first 24 hours. Spotify reportedly only reached about 76 percent of that traffic, despite claiming 120 million more users.

Story 5

U.K. regulatory board backs Apple iPhone X claim of ‘studio quality’ portraits

The British Advertising Standards Authority has overruled objections to an iPhone X television commercial. The spots, which began airing in March, focused on “radically new cameras with Portrait Lighting” and highlighted “Studio-quality portraits. Without the studio.”


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Story 6

Eve – formerly Elgato all in on HomeKit

Elgato makes a lot of great HomeKit hardware and smart home accessories — and now that’s going to be Elgato’s only focus as it tightens up and rebrands.

Elgato Systems is changing its name to Eve Systems and going all-in on HomeKit as it shifts its focus totally to its extensive Eve live of smart home products.

Eve makes loads of HomeKit compatible hardware including sensors, plugs, switches, and most recently sprinkler controllers.

As part of the new focus on smart home tech, Eve has sold its gaming division to gaming peripheral firm Corsair. Elgato Gaming will continue as a separate brand.

Hopefully we will get their light switches for example out here.

Again it is the voltage problem!

Story 7

Hundreds of iOS apps leaking data due to misconfigured Firebase backends, report says

According to a new report from the mobile app security firm Appthority, called the Q2 2018 Enterprise Mobile Threat Report, the issue is caused by a new variant of what is dubbed the “HospitalGown vulnerability.” HospitalGown, cheekily named because it deals with data “leaking through backend data stores,” was first pinpointed by the Appthority Mobile Threat Team in 2017.

Now, Appthority reports that the problem is occurring when app developers opt not to require authentication for Google Firebase cloud databases, something that is not done by default when developers use the popular development tool.

Appthority found that of the 1,275 iOS apps using a Firebase database, 600 were vulnerable. Overall, more than 3,000 apps were leaking data from 2,271 misconfigured databases. And among the data leaked are 2.6 million plain text passwords and user IDs, more than 4 million Protected Health Information records, and 50,000 financial records.

“To secure data properly, developers need to specifically implement user authentication on all database tables and rows, which rarely happens in practice,” Appthority writes in the report. “Moreover, it takes little effort for attackers to find open Firebase app databases and gain access to millions of private mobile data app records.

Thanks to apple insider for the 3 previous articles

A couple of others stories – briefly
Samsung and Apple Settle Long-Running Design Patent Dispute
Apple hardware, smart clothing could guide the blind and deaf
Facebook patents system that can use your phone’s mic to monitor TV habits
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