Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

Apple Releases List of iCloud Contributors

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple has released a list of the third-party software that it has used to make and run iCloud.

The software itself ranges from fonts used in the service to functions such as Javascript libraries, including Google’s Closure Library and the jQuery Foundation’s separate one. While Apple does not disclose which precise elements it uses from these libraries, Google’s one is intended for functions ranging from animation and user interface controls to server communication and text editing.

Facebook Marketing Agency xSocialMedia Leaks Medical Data

· Andrew Orr · Link

Data Leak

xSocialMedia, a marketing agency on Facebook that runs campaigns for medical malpractice lawsuits, has leaked medical and other data for about 150,000 people.

vpnMentor notes that xSocialMedia might not be subject to HIPAA compliance because patients are free to disclose their health information to the parties of their choice – in this case, by inputting it into a form on one of the advertising firm’s sites.

vpnMentor says it discovered the leak on 2 June. xSocialMedia responded on 11 June and closed the database up on the same day.

What a nice bit of information to wake up to.

Swift Creator Chris Lattner Does Podcast Interview

· Andrew Orr · Link

Chris Lattner, creator of Apple’s Swift programming language, does a podcast interview with John Sundell.

Chris Lattner, creator of Swift, joins John on this 50th episode of the show — to discuss the current state of Swift and how it came to be, as well as to speculate about what the future of the language and its ecosystem might look like.

Niantic Surprises Us: Harry Potter Wizards Unite Available NOW

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Niantic has decided to surprise us. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is available to download now, with the original launch date being tomorrow, June 21. I’ve spent a couple of minutes playing and reached level 2. Certain aspects of the game are slow, like UI-wise, like when you level up. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is set in J.K. Rowling’s fictional universe where players help protect the wizarding world from exposure to muggles. Players will use their smartphones to capture magical creatures running loose, hunt potion ingredients, and use portkeys to travel to popular locations in the wizarding world. Download it hereApp Store: Free

YouTube Under Federal Investigation Over Children’s Privacy

· Andrew Orr · Link

The U.S. government is investigating YouTube for allegedly violating children’s privacy.

The complaints contended that YouTube, which is owned by Google, failed to protect kids who used the streaming-video service and improperly collected their data in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a 1998 law known as COPPA that forbids the tracking and targeting of users younger than age 13.

Apple Card Testing Program Expands to Retail Employees

· Andrew Orr · Link

The Apple Card testing program has now expanded to include Apple’s retail employees. Although they can’t talk about the card but they can use it publicly to make purchases.

Many of the rank-and-file employees have already applied. The digital version via Apple Pay on the iPhone is usable immediately, while workers are told to expect the arrival of physical versions within two to three weeks. The employees are being offered the same APR range that Apple advertised to consumers: 13.24% to 24.24%, the people said.

I look forward to getting the Apple Card.

Serif Launches Affinity Publisher for Mac and Windows

· Andrew Orr · Link

Serif, the creators of Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo, have today launched Affinity Publisher. It will let people create designs for magazines, books, brochures, posters, reports, stationary, and more.

Affinity is planning to release the new Publisher app for iPad in the future but for now, both Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo iOS users will have functionality with Affinity Publisher documents.

While Publisher itself will come to iPad later, owners of Affinity Designer and Photo on iPad will be able to open, edit and export Publisher documents, on the move, from today.

watchOS 6 Lets You Delete Built-In Watch Apps

· Andrew Orr · Product News

Similar to how Apple let people remove built-in iOS apps with iOS 10, Apple will let people delete built-in watch apps with watchOS 6.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Launches July 21

· Andrew Orr · Cool Stuff Found

Harry Potter Wizards Unite

Niantic announced that its upcoming augmented reality game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, will launch this Friday, June 21. In a press conference outside Universal Studio’s Wizarding World in Florida, Niantic said it would hold Wizards Unite events similar to its Pokémon GO Fests. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is set in J.K. Rowling’s fictional universe where players help protect the wizarding world from exposure to muggles. Players will use their smartphones to capture magical creatures running loose, hunt potion ingredients, and use portkeys to travel to popular locations in the wizarding world.

Openly Operated Wants to Improve Privacy Policies

· Andrew Orr · Link

Openly Operated is a certification for apps and services. The certification process ensures that they live up to their privacy and security claims with an audit.

An OO-certified app or site must meet three criteria. First, it needs to demonstrate “a basic level of transparency” by making its code and infrastructure — among other things — public and fully documented. Second, it needs to lay out its policy in the form of “claims with proof,” establishing what user data is collected, who can access it, and how it’s being protected. Third, those claims must be evaluated by an OO-certified auditor who then makes the audit results public.

I’ve complained about privacy policies before, and this sounds like a great idea. I hope it gets traction.

What if Plants Could Be Smart Home Devices?

· Andrew Orr · Link

What if plants could be smart home devices? That’s the idea of Harpreet Sareen and Pattie Maes in their cyborg botany research.

These experiments led the researchers to possible future applications that include sending notifications—the plant might jiggle to alert you when your package is delivered, for instance—or as a motion sensor, which could help you keep track of your pet or be applied to security systems.

Cool idea. When most people talk about “invisible interfaces” they usually mean things like smart clothing or using your voice like with a HomePod. Now if only trees transmitted Wi-Fi…

Updates Tied to iPhone in watchOS 6 Beta 1

· Andrew Orr · News

Although Apple introduced an over-the-air (OTA) mechanism in watchOS beta 1, software updates still require an iPhone. But it is still a beta, after all.

What Finder Sync on macOS Catalina Looks Like

· Andrew Orr · Link

In macOS Catalina, you won’t sync your iDevices in iTunes. Instead, you’ll have Finder sync. Stephen Hackett gives us an idea of what it will look like and how it works.

When you plug in an iPod to a Mac running Catalina, the device appears in the Finder sidebar,and clicking it reveals a wide range of syncing options, organized in a much nicer fashion that what is found in iTunes 12…

As you would imagine, each section in this interface surfaces content across various apps on the system. For example, Finder sees the local files I have in the new Music app…

Critically, most of the UI is pretty much the same.