Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 281

Show 281 – Apr 15, 2019

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael


Aussie Tech Heads podcasting


Our Aussie Apple Ramblings

Story 1

HomeKit issue after update

This occurred to me and others after the last iOS update.

My Automations stop running, ie at Sunset turn on these lights or at this time turn on this switch for an hour

The answer was to go in and change each Automation by say a minute (turn on charge switch at 10:59), or change the brightness (turn on main light to 51% at Sunset) and click Done.

Another issue after a recent Mac OS Mojave update.  Pop-ups are automatically blocked in Safari. But it does not always tell you.  An example is the “I am not a Robot” button on MANY web sites these days, it just fails as a missed log in.


We are thinking about having a live call in period in the show.

We will give you a number to call and that will put you in a room where you can still hear the show and then we get you to ask your question, make comments etc.  We just have to work out the delay button!


Story 2

Apple adds new ‘Confirm Subscription’ step for in-app subscription signups on iOS

9TO5Mac informs us ~ Seemingly in an effort to combat the ongoing problem of accidental App Store subscriptions, Apple has added an extra step to the subscription process in the App Store. Apple will now present users with a “Confirm Subscription” popup before finalising the details.

This change was first noted by developer David Barnard on Twitter. Starting sometime in the last week, Apple has added an additional step to the subscription process. After you authenticate via Touch ID or Face ID, you’ll see a pop-up asking you to confirm your subscription:

Confirm Subscription

The subscription will continue unless canceled in Settings at least one day before a subscription period ends.

Accidental subscription signups have been a major problem, especially for users with Touch ID iPhones. Essentially, users would see a subscription popup and immediately press the Home button to try and exit the app. When they placed their finger on the Home button, Touch ID would instead authenticate – signing users up for a subscription.

Apple has taken several steps to counteract problems with hidden and devious subscriptions in iOS apps. Earlier this year, the company revamped documentation for app subscriptions, explaining that developers must clearly present the subscription price and other details.


Story 3

iPhone Assembler Foxconn and Other Suppliers Pledge to Use 100% Renewable Energy for Apple Production

MacRumors informs us ~ Apple this week announced it has nearly doubled the number of suppliers that have committed to run their Apple-specific production on 100 percent renewable energy, bringing the total number to 44.

The list of newly committed suppliers includes, among others, Gorilla Glass maker Corning, Face ID module provider Finisar, A-series chipmaker TSMC, Apple Watch manufacturer Quanta Computer, AirPods assembler Luxshare, and iPhone assemblers Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron.

Apple now expects to add five gigawatts of renewable energy to its supply chain by 2020, exceeding its goal of four gigawatts in that timeframe.

Apple says that manufacturing makes up 74 percent of its carbon footprint. To address this, Apple and its suppliers have invested in or procured a mix of clean energy technology, including wind and solar. Apple has also further expanded its supplier education and support initiatives.

Apple also announced that it has allocated all of its $2.5 billion in green bonds, the largest amount of any U.S. corporation. Through this, the company says it has contributed to 40 environmental initiatives around the world, including projects Apple has created to cover its entire electricity load.

Apple’s Green Bonds also support environmental research and innovation. Projects include solar rooftops in Japan, an aquifer to conserve water in Oregon, and the creation of a custom alloy made of 100 percent recycled aluminum that is now found in the latest MacBook Air and Mac mini.

A year ago, Apple announced that its global facilities, including retail stores, offices, and data centres, are now powered with 100 percent renewable energy.


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Story 4

Thousands of Amazon Employees Listen to Alexa Requests for Improvement Purposes

Amazon has thousands of employees around the world that listen to voice recordings captured in the homes of Amazon Echo owners, reports Bloomberg.

Voice recordings are captured when the Alexa wake word is spoken and then a subset of those recordings are listened to, transcribed, annotated, and added back into the software as part of Amazon’s effort to help Alexa better respond to voice commands. Amazon has facilities for Alexa improvement in places that range from Boston to Costa Rica, India, and Romania.

Seven people familiar with Amazon’s review process spoke to Bloomberg and revealed some insider details on the program that may be concerning to Echo users.

While much of the work has been described as “mundane,” employees have sometimes come across more private recordings, such as a woman singing off key in the shower or a child screaming for help. Amazon employees have internal chat rooms where they share files when help is needed parsing a word or, more concerning, when an “amusing recording” is found.

Two workers told Bloomberg that they’ve heard recordings that are upsetting or potentially criminal, and while Amazon claims to have procedures in place for such occurrences, some employees have been told it’s not the company’s job to interfere.

Alexa users have the option to disable the use of their voice recordings for improvements to the service, but some may not know that these options exist. Amazon also does not make it clear that actual people are listening to the recordings.

According to Bloomberg, recordings sent to employees who work on Alexa don’t include a user’s full name or address, but an account number, first name, and the device’s serial number are associated with the recording.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Amazon said that an “extremely small” number of Alexa voice recordings are annotated and that there are measures in place to protect user identity.


Story 5


Zarn’s thoughts on new gaming coming


Story 6

Disney CEO says Disney+ likely coming to Apple TV, intends to stay on Apple board

Appleinsider reports ~ Iger revealed the launch strategy in an interview with Bloomberg shortly after he and other Disney executives revealed plans for Disney+ during an investor event at the company’s California headquarters.

At the keynote, Disney specifically mentioned deals with Roku and Sony that will deliver Disney+ to set-top boxes, smart TVs and PlayStation devices, but failed to present an exhaustive list of platforms that will support the Disney+ app. Iger clarified the issue in the interview.

“The app will in all likelihood be available through traditional app distributors, Apple being one of them,” Iger said. “So I’m fairly certain that if people want to buy the app — sorry, subscribe to the app is probably a better way to put it — they’ll be able to do so through Apple and the iTunes Store.”

While not an explicit admission that Disney+ will be made available on Apple TV as a tvOS app, the statement suggests Disney has no issue with marketing the service on Apple’s branded set-top box. Doing so would subject Disney to Apple’s customary 30% revenue sharing scheme (15% for subscriptions lasting longer than a year) and put it on a platform owned by a market competitor. Apple plans to launch its own Apple TV+ service this fall.

MS Disneys service is launching in November @ US$6.99/M.  That is expected to be after Apples TV+ release

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Story 7

Foxconn’s assembly of iPhone X in India to start in July

Again from Appleinsider ~ Foxconn will be commencing commercial production of the iPhone X in India from July, according to a report, with manufacturing of the high-specification model following the iPhone SE, iPhone 6S, and iPhone 7 in being assembled for the local market to save on import fees.

While the iPhone X would be the newest device in terms of Apple releases to be made in India, the effort may not just stop there. An anonymous official claims “the plans are to step up production capacity and diversify to even higher models going forward.”


Story 8


UKs Independent paper reports ~ Amazon has brought Apple Music to Alexa smart speakers for the first time in the UK.

The feature was already available in the US but is slowly rolling out across the world.

It means that people are no longer limited to only Amazon Music and Spotify as ways for Alexa to play music. Apple Music will work like those same services, allowing people to ask for a song or radio station and have it play from Apple Music.

The decision to allow Alexa to access Apple Music marks a major change in strategy from Apple, which once fiercely protected the fact that generally only its own products could access its online services. In recent times, however, the company has become more open as it has focused on generating service revenue as a new strategy.

Though it has been available on other platforms such as Android, and even other smart speakers like Sonos systems, the tie-up with Alexa makes it the first time that Apple Music songs can be requested using a voice assistant that isn’t Siri.

Just remember they might be listening!!!


Story 9

Optus Announces eSIM Support for iPhone

Optus has (rather quietly) officially announced eSIM support for iPhone. Making them the first telco carrier in Australia to do so. Allowing existing, new, or re-contracting Postpaid mobile customers with an eligible iPhone to sign up to a plan using eSIM technology.

As Optus points out on their website, this will enable you to make and receive calls from two different mobile numbers. All without the need to swap SIMs or iPhones. Possible because the newest iPhones, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR support dual SIM with an eSIM. In other words, they have a slot for a physical SIM card and have an embedded SIM inside (eSIM).

At the time of writing, Optus is supporting eSIM with Postpaid (SIM only) plans only, with no support for pre-paid at this stage.

How to activate Optus eSIM

To sign up you will need to get an eSIM QR card to activate the eSIM and an eligible iPhone model running iOS 12.2 or newer. Optus states these are only available in stores. Selected stores will start to stock the QR cards from March 27, 2019. All stores will then receive stock by April 12, 2019.

Once you have the QR card, follow the below steps on your iPhone:

Go to Settings

        1. Tap either Cellular or Mobile Data
        2. Tap Add Cellular Plan
        3. Use the iPhone to scan the QR code


Lastly Gizmodo reports ~ Aussie Finds Way To Get Free McDonald’s Burgers – this may be resolved by now

In perhaps one of the most Australian things to ever happen, some blokes have worked out how to get free Macca’s hamburgers.

The trick involves exploiting a bug in McDonald’s self-ordering system that makes $1 hamburgers drop down to -$0.10.

Those who have successfully tried this are doing it by adding the hamburger to an order and then customising it to remove the meat patty. This subsequently drops the price down.

The posts have appeared in the r/australia subreddit and include video of the perpetrators pulling off the scam.

For anyone wondering what the point of a patty-less Macca’s burger is, one Redditor took things a step further.

As you can see in the below video, this bloke and his mates added ten $1 hamburgers to their order and customised all of them with the above hack, which brought the total to -$1.

They then added a separate $1 hamburger to the order (without customising), which brought the total up to $0.00. Boom, free burger.

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