Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

Amazon Prime Video Will Return to the App Store Soon

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Amazon Prime Video was removed from the App Store today due to some kind of technical issue. But it will return soon.

Amazon Prime Video is currently unavailable in the App Store across iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Amazon had updated the iOS version of the app shortly before it was removed from the App Store, but it is unclear why the app was pulled or whether this is a temporary move.

Update: MacRumors has been informed this was a technical issue and the app should be back up shortly.

Private Social Network MeWe Reaches 6 Million Members

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Private social network MeWe has reached six million members in 2019 and was named the Best Entrepreneurial Company for this year.

MeWe expects over 100 million members by the end of 2020, having achieved 405% growth in 2018 and growing twice as fast on a daily basis in 2019. 60% of MeWe’s traffic is international and 35% of members are active—exceeding industry standards.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t used MeWe since I reviewed it. But I’ll gladly promote alternatives to Facebook, especially if privacy is the number one focus.

Microsoft says Iranian 'Phosphorus' Group Tried to Hack U.S. Presidential Campaign

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In a blog post today Microsoft says that Iranian hackers attacked a U.S. presidential campaign, current and former U.S. government officials, journalists covering global politics and prominent Iranians living outside Iran.

Four accounts were compromised as a result of these attempts; these four accounts were not associated with the U.S. presidential campaign or current and former U.S. government officials. Microsoft has notified the customers related to these investigations and threats and has worked as requested with those whose accounts were compromised to secure them.

No word yet on what time President Trump asked Iran to interfere with our elections.

One Year Later: Bloomberg Hasn't Retracted its iCloud Spy Chip Story

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This story doesn’t need me piling on, but I think it’s astounding that a media organization with integrity, gravitas, etc. etc. still hasn’t retracted its debunked theory one year later. And the journalists who wrote the story are now in charge of Bloomberg‘s cybersecurity division. If by some miracle we learn that there really are spy chips I will most certainly apologize. But with zero evidence, I think that probability is low.

There’s been a lot of smoke, but no firings. Quite the opposite. It’s been a year since Bloomberg Businessweek published an extensively debunked story claiming that companies including Apple and Amazon had been hacked. Yet since then, all of Bloomberg‘s few responses and actions have only doubled down on how this publication lacks credibility on the topic.

IMF Calls on Policymakers to Address Digital Currencies

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Economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are calling on policymakers around the world to address the “notable risks” of privately-issued digital currencies, otherwise known as stablecoins. Facebook’s Libra is one such example. Should central banks issue their own digital currencies?

The two economists suggest that stablecoins could undermine financial stability, and that stablecoin users risk losing their money: “Whether stablecoins are indeed stable is questionable.” It depends on the safety and availability of the underlying assets, and whether they are “protected from other creditors if the stablecoin provider goes bankrupt.”

One of the worries is that technology companies don’t have the same consumer protection rules as banks do. I look forward to seeing how this will play out. I certainly trust banks more than I do Facebook.

The iPhone 11 Glows Thanks to its Glass Back

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Someone noticed that their iPhone 11 glows when you turn on the flashlight. The latest models have a special matte glass material on the back. While the iPhone 8 and later have had a glass back, it wasn’t matte and so didn’t produce this effect (Or at least, this is the first time I’ve seen this).

When you turn the flash light on, the iPhone 11 glass back glows. Not sure if the iPhone XR did this too, but I thought the effect was pretty cool.

You can watch it in action on YouTube here.

32BitAppCheck Helps You Transition to macOS Catalina

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32BitAppCheck is an app that scans for 32-bit apps on your Mac. It can help you prepare for macOS Catalina because this release will end support for 32-bit apps. It takes about 30 seconds to scan your computer (longer if you have hard drives plugged in). Once it’s finished it will present a list of all the 32-bit apps it found, which you can save as an .RTF file.

Information then collected in the app’s window begins with a list of 32-bit applications, followed by 32-bit preference panes found in System preferences. Then, you will see 32-bit system extensions, and 32-bit system frameworks. These software will include both Apple and 3rd-party software. You can then edit the information, changing fonts, and adding notes. Click Save to save the information in an RTF file. The most recent information with you edits is also saved within the app.

You can download the app here. As this is an app outside of the Mac App Store, I scanned it for malware using VirusTotal, and it appears to be clean. For an additional resource I’ve also written about Go64, which does the same thing and the UI is a bit more friendly.

DuckDuckGo Survey Shows People Taking Action on Privacy

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A recent survey (n=1,114) by DuckDuckGo found that 79.2% of U.S. adults had taken privacy measures in the past year, like adjusting privacy settings on social media or just using social media less.

43.1% (± 2.9) removed personal information or posts that they didn’t want the network or others to see.

35.0% (± 2.8)made their profile completely private.

34.8% (± 2.8) stopped adding location tags to their posts.

38.2% (± 2.8) changed which data they allow the network to collect and share about them.

I think it’s great to see more people paying attention to their privacy. For most people, privacy is something that you don’t notice often until you start losing it.

How Motorola Helps Enable Government Surveillance

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Since 2017 Motorola Solutions has invested US$1.7 billion to support or buy companies that build police body cameras, train the cameras with facial recognition, find suspects in videos, and track vehicle movement via license plates.

The company provided a statement that described its plan to add artificial intelligence products, including object detection and “unusual motion detection,” to a package it sells to public safety agencies. The systems can help flag a potential trespasser or the appearance of smoke, the company said. The company emphasized that the new tools are not meant to make automatic policing decisions but to help officers decide how to act.

Apple Files Amicus Brief in Support of DACA

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Apple has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy.

Apple has filed many briefs before the Court, but this is the first time that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and Vice President of Retail and People Deirdre O’Brien are named too.

In its brief, Apple notes that it employs 443 Dreamers who come from more than 25 different countries spanning four continents. Dreamers at Apple run the gamut of roles within the company, including hardware engineering, software engineering, retail, customer support, and operations across 36 states.