Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 283

Show 283 – Apr 29, 2019

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael


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Our Aussie Apple Ramblings

Story 1

Even Apple can’t save America’s dying malls

Cult of Mac reports ~ U.S. shopping malls are losing customers at an alarming rate and there appears to be little Apple can do to help save them.

Apple stores are usually viewed as an anchor store for malls because of their high sales volumes and foot traffic they bring in. But a new study found that experimental tenants like Apple aren’t drawing in extra traffic.

Nearly 6,000 store closures have been announced already in 2018 while only 2,641 stores are set to open, according to tracking done by Coresight Research. To put that in perspective, 2018 saw only 5,864 stores close throughout the entire year. Store closures could hit a whopping 12,000 by the end of the year if this pace keeps up.

Another report from Thasos found that ‘experimental tenants’ like Apple and Tesla that aren’t focused on just selling products haven’t brought in more traffic. Indoor shopping malls with experimental tenants didn’t benefit from greater shopper traffic on a year-over-year basis compared to indoor malls without such tenants.


Story 2

Apple warns iPad Pro users of bizarre interference issue between Apple Pencil and car key fobs

9TO5Mac tells us ~ Apple has recently updated its Apple Pencil support document to note of a bizarre issue some users have experienced. According to the updated document, if you’re charging your second-generation Apple Pencil with your iPad Pro, you might experience problems unlocking your car via a key fob.

This is a bizarre case of interference to say the least. Apple explains that signal interference between your Apple Pencil + iPad Pro and your car’s keyless entry device might prevent you from unlocking your car with the fob (via iGeneration).

The most likely scenario where this would be an issue is if you were carrying your Apple Pencil and iPad Pro with you while headed to your car, or if you had the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro in a backpack while trying to unlock your car. Apple notes that this is only an issue if the Apple Pencil is actively charging. If the Apple Pencil is magnetically attached but fully charged, the interference shouldn’t be a problem.

Apple’s solution to the problem is to simply remove the Apple Pencil from your iPad, or to move your iPad Pro away from the key fob. Here’s how Apple explains the issue on its support page:

If you’re charging your Apple Pencil (2nd generation) with your iPad Pro and your car’s keyless entry device (key fob) is nearby, signal interference might prevent you from unlocking your car with your key fob. If this happens, you can simply move your iPad Pro away from the key fob or remove your Apple Pencil from your iPad Pro and store it separately. When Apple Pencil is finished charging, any resulting signal interference will cease.

This is certainly a rather bizarre (and somewhat humorous) issue, and one that is likely not affecting many people.


Story 3

Switch from Apple to Samsung? AT&T said don’t do it

ZDNet reports ~ Can you leave Apple’s ecosystem behind and embrace something new and equally simple? Not according to this AT&T store.

Things had become tense.

I’d already spent some time going to various retail establishments in order to discover how they’d recommend dumping Apple.

A Microsoft store told me I didn’t even have to buy any of the company’s hardware.

It didn’t even recommend that I should, which was odd given that the store was full of Redmond’s laptops and tablets. All I had to do, says the Microsoft saleswoman, was sign up for a Microsoft account and goodbye, Cupertino.

Next, I went to Best Buy, where I was offered an array of non-Apple products that would, allegedly, be just as simple to combine as my current Apple configuration. It didn’t seem so simple to me.

It remained, therefore, to go to a phone store, just to learn one more perspective.

I chose AT&T, as I’ve been a customer for many years. I went to an AT&T store I’d never visited to see exactly what they’d say. I was (almost) excited.

I should add that I did this the day after the Golden State Warriors’ abject abdication of team spirit in a Game 5 NBA Playoffs loss to the Steve Ballmer-owned Los Angeles Clippers.

My wife had previously said I’ll have to give up my Apple ecosystem if the Warriors don’t win the whole thing. She has a very sharp sense of humour. She also always enforces her bets.

I explained my dilemma to the AT&T salesman. Could he recommend switching to, say, a Samsung phone and then pairing it with other non-Apple devices, such as a laptop and a tablet?

His first words weren’t hopeful.

“Don’t do it,” he said.

“Wait, but you sell Samsung phones here. You wouldn’t recommend any of them?”

“No. I tried Samsung myself once and I hated it,” he insisted.


“It was too complicated. With my MacBook and my iPad, I can easily back up anything, and when I had Samsung it was just a mess.”

I was surprised. I expected at least an attempt to sell me on something Samsung. After all, the Korean company’s phones were all there on a large display.


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Story 4

Scammers Like to Target Retirees. Here Are Some Ways to Protect Yourself.

From Barrons c/- Apple News ~

Even among healthy older adults, age-related changes in the brain can make people more susceptible to financial exploitations, according to research.

A few months after she retired, “M” got a call from the tech support service she had subscribed to after buying a new computer. The company was going out of business and refunding customers, the caller explained, but he accidentally credited M’s account for $6,000. She checked her bank account, and there it was—a $6,000 deposit. “If you don’t write a check and deposit it to this account number today, I’ll lose my job,” the caller implored.

Fortunately, M didn’t take the bait. Instead she went to her bank to report the fraud and change all of her accounts. What was most alarming, she said, was that the huckster was able to weave seemingly unrelated information into a pretty compelling story.

“There’s a reason that scam artists are the only criminals who are called artists,” says Steven Weisman, a professor at Bentley College in Massachusetts, who teaches a course on white-collar crime and chronicles various scams on his website Scamicide.

Meanwhile, hucksters love to target older adults. For one thing, many seniors are vulnerable to Medicare and Social Security scams because they are so reliant on them, says Weisman. Even among healthy older adults, age-related changes in the brain can make people more susceptible to financial exploitations, according to research led by a Cornell University scientist

Technology can also be a weak spot. Recent data from the Federal Trade Commission found that people age 60 and over were about 5 times more likely than younger people to lose money on tech-support scams—based on complaints filed—even though they were less likely to lose money in many other types of scams.

Never give personal information in a phone call that you did not initiate. If the call seems legitimate, hang up and call back using a number you know to be legitimate, such as one on the back of your credit card or on a bank statement. Just be sure you dial the number correctly, Weisman cautions. Some criminals buy numbers that are nearly identical to the legitimate lines but one digit off.


Story 5

Wife-tracking apps are one sign of Saudi Arabia’s vile regime. Others include crucifixion…

The Guardian reports ~ Credit where it’s due. The Saudi Absher app, just described as “inhuman” by two clearly terrified Saudi refugees, also has some fabulous user reviews on its supplier websites, Apple and Google Play.

To read the surge of five-star tributes placed after the app’s invaluable contribution to human enslavement was widely exposed earlier in the year is to understand that, aside from adding value to Apple and Google, Absher is a boon to harassed owners of subordinate women, at a time when more and more of this human property is, reportedly, becoming fractious.

How, even with support from the religious police and fellow patriarchs, did busy men ever juggle endless personal admin with the nonstop supervision of potentially difficult wives, sisters, daughters and servants? Now, with surveillance at their fingertips, it’s goodbye to disobedience.

“Nobody outside Saudi Arabia could imagine where we were before Absher!” writes one reviewer, awarding five stars

The Absher app has a section where men can, it appears with minimal effort, award or withdraw permission for their women or workers to travel abroad, cancel their tickets and register for SMS updates if unauthorised escape is attempted. “It gives men control over women,” protests Wafa al-Subaie. “They [Google and Apple] have to remove it.”


Story 6

Apple earns first place in laptop customer support ranking with 91/100 score, 6 minute avg. call time

9TO5Mac thru Apple News ~ Apple has earned another first place ranking for its laptop customer service when compared to other tech companies. Laptop Mag today released its 2019 study that found Apple far ahead of competition like Samsung, Microsoft, HP, and more when it comes to both phone and web support for computers.


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Story 7

Apple is working to speed up repairs of its bad MacBook keyboards

The Verge thru Apple News ~ Apple is now conducting repairs of MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro keyboards on-site at its stores, and it’s promising a next-day turnaround for pickup in many cases, according to MacRumors. The company previously sent machines out to its repair depot, but it’s now telling its Genius Bar employees to handle “most” keyboard-related repairs at the store “until further notice.” The company wrote in a service memo that “additional service parts have been shipped to stores to support the increased volume.”

Apple’s attempt to expedite the keyboard repair process is just the latest development in the ongoing saga of the much-maligned butterfly keyboards that are found on all modern Mac laptops. The keys are vulnerable to sudden failure and unpredictable behaviour if dust or outside debris makes its way into the mechanism.


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