Yesterday was the annual Pwn2Own hacking contest, and also marks the contest’s 10th anniversary. Hackers compete in challenges to find security holes in popular software and mobile devices. This year, two Safari zero days were found by the white-hat hackers.
Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]
Google added Read Later to its iOS Chrome browser, a feature similar to Apple’s Reading List in Safari. As the name suggests, Read Later is a section where you can save articles and websites to read later. When you’re browsing in Chrome, you can tap the three dots icon on the upper right. Tap the share icon, then Read Later. Articles are saved offline, so you can read them wherever you are. So far this feature is only on the mobile version of Chrome, but it’s possible Google will add it to the desktop version in the future. The update is available now as part of Chrome version 57 on the App Store.
Apple recently hired a prominent iOS security researcher, Jonathan Zdziarski. Known as NerveGas in the jailbreaking community, Mr. Zdziarski is the author of several books about iPhone forensics and how to secure iOS apps. In light of recent events like the CIA Vault 7 leak, this move may improve Apple’s standing within security and privacy circles.
Google released a new video app called Uptime. The release is significant, in part, because it’s the result of the company’s 20 Percent Time program that allows some employees to spend 20 percent of their time on other projects. Released through Google’s internal incubator Area 120, the app is part social media platform and part video viewer with hooks to YouTube.
Capital One announced Friday an SMS chatbot for customers called Eno. The company claimed Eno is the first natural language SMS chatbot from a U.S. bank, allowing customers to ask questions using natural language. The ability to interact with artificial intelligences using natural language processing is something big companies like Apple, Amazon and Google are working on with their own virtual assistants.
Did you know it’s possible to create Apple Notes subfolders? Andrew didn’t, until he stumbled upon this by accident. Creating subfolders lets you organize your notes in more detailed ways that make sense to you. Here’s how to do it on macOS.
A new cartoon streaming service is coming this spring. It’s called Boomerang, and it will feature thousands of classic old cartoons like The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Smurfs, Scooby Doo and Tom & Jerry. It’s part of the Boomerang TV network, but this cartoon service will be separate from the network. At launch, Boomerang will be available for iOS, Android and the web, with more devices and platforms soon to follow. You can stream cartoons ad-free for US$4.99/month, or US$39.99/year, with a seven-day free trial. Boomerang will only be available in the U.S., and there’s no word on whether it will expand to other countries. The service will be kid-friendly, and every cartoon episode will be pre-screened for age appropriate content. You can sign up for email updates on the website so you can be notified when it launches.
On Tuesday, Wikileaks published a cache of leaked documents some argue is more damning than Edward Snowden’s NSA leak. Wikileaks called the CIA documents “Vault 7,” a trove of 7,818 pages and files disclosing cyber weapons and hacking tools. Among other revelations, the one making the biggest headlines is that the CIA worked extensively on iPhone hacks.
Adobe Lightroom Mobile now uses RAW files in a cool new HDR mode that greatly enhance the photos you take. Andrew Orr explains why iPhoneographers should care about this update.
Every year since 2014, NASA has published a software catalog, On Wednesday NASA released a software catalog with over 1,000 free code samples. The free code is divided into 15 categories like robotics, aeronautics, climate simulators, biological sensors and guidance systems. Although the code is free, some restrictions may apply. For some, any U.S. citizen can apply to use it. Others can only be used by other federal agencies. And there is even some open-source code in the catalog. Open-source code can be directly downloaded, but most others require you to create an account, or in some cases sign a government contract or a usage agreement. If you’re in the sciences or like to tinker at home, be sure to check out this year’s NASA catalog.
Apple updated its HomeKit page with a fresh, new look. It includes a brief video that shows the power of HomeKit automation with iOS 10. Examples in the video include lights, window shades, coffee makers, door locks and thermostats. Apple also has several sections that give details of different areas of the Home app.
A cool website called BookBub offers eBook recommendations. You can choose from a variety of book genres you’re interested in, including Mysteries, Thrillers and Action; Romance; Fiction; Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror; Teen and Young Readers; and Nonfiction. BookBub specifically suggests eBooks that are on sale. I’ve used BookBub for a couple of years, and I’ve gotten eBooks as low as US$0.99. It displays eBooks from Amazon, Google Play and iBooks. BookBub has an iOS app, but that version only shows iBooks offerings. If you sign up via the website, you’ll also see Amazon and Google offerings. After you select the genres you like, you can get a daily email with eBook deals.
A company called ProtectPax is crowdfunding a special liquid that can strengthen your iPhone screen. It’s a goo made with titanium nanoparticles, and ProtectPax says it can make your iPhone screen as “hard as sapphire or ruby.” Andrew Orr explains what the company is offering on Indiegogo.
When you’re browsing the web, it’s inevitable that you’ll accidentally close a tab. Even if on purpose, you may still want to re-visit the page you were looking at. Instead of going into your Safari History, there is a quicker way to restore Safari tabs. Andrew shows us how he saves time when using Safari.
A scary piece from Motherboard brings to attention a tool for iOS 10 spying. A company called Mobistealth sells a special monitoring tool that can pull data from iCloud backups. And the device doesn’t need to be jailbroken to work.
Whenever Apple’s online services go down, the company provides basic information on its System Status page. In the past it just gave information on which service was down, with a brief timeline of the outage. Now, Apple updated the page to replace the timeline with something better.
You might not know it, but Safari has some hidden shortcuts tucked behind some of the icons. This will let you perform certain actions a little faster. Safari shortcuts will save you plenty of time. Andrew tells us how he discovered these shortcuts by accident.
Apple recently decided iPhone screen repairs by third-parties don’t fully void your warranty anymore. Affected iPhone will also qualify for warranty coverage as long as the repair isn’t related to the third-party display itself. Before, iPhones with third-party displays weren’t eligible for authorized repair under warranty from an Apple Authorized Service Provider.
Every time you use Facebook’s new Reaction emoji, you’re providing the company with a greater insight into your emotions. With this addition to Facebook’s data collection, advertisers can build a better profile to target you with ads. Facebook could even carry out more emotional manipulation experiments. But there is a new way to defeat this kind of surveillance with a browser extension called Go Rando by Benjamin Grosser. When you react to a post, it randomly chooses one of the six reactions. Over time, you’ll appear to have perfectly balanced views to Facebook’s algorithms. Benjamin has even open-sourced the extension, and you can install it for most popular browsers. You can find instructions on Benjamin’s blog.
The latest patent filing (via RedmondPie) that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office granted Apple is centered around digital avatars. It mentions how an editing environment could let people create a “representation of their alter ego.” It sounds like Apple has bigger ideas though. Andrew Orr dives in and gives us his speculations.