Former Apple Engineering Director Don Melton - TMO Background Mode Interview

· · Background Mode Podcast

Don Melton on Background Mode

Don Melton is probably best known as the person who started the Safari and WebKit projects at Apple and his rise to Apple Engineering Director of Internet Technologies. These days he’s an aspiring writer, podcaster and recovering programmer.

Don walks us through his early career starting with his aspiration to become a comic strip or comic book artist. His artistic talent led to a newspaper job which led to information graphics which led to work with Macs. His tinkering with the Mac revealed that he had a special talent for programming, and that ultimately led to his job at Netscape developing the Navigator browser. Later, a relationship with Andy Hertzfeld and Bud Tribble led to his job at Apple in 2001, chartered by Scott Forstall, to write a web browser. Don tells a fascinating story about the development of Safari for Mac OS X and the race to replace Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

10 Features in macOS Catalina You Need to Know

· · Cool Stuff Found

MacMost has a good video on YouTube where he shares 10 macOS Catalina features. They’re smaller features that don’t get the same attention or shoutout by Apple, but they’re good to know. The first one he mentions is a feature that I noticed but was annoyed about. When you hover or long-click the green fullscreen button in Safari, it now brings up a menu window to enter full screen or tile the window to the left or right. While it makes this capability more obvious it also adds an extra step, when just dragging the window by the green button was faster. In any case the video is pretty helpful and you can watch it here.

iMessage and Safari Make iPhones Less Secure

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Andy Greenberg writes about security problems in iMessage and Safari, saying that these products make iPhone less secure.

“If you want to compromise an iPhone, these are the best ways to do it,” says independent security researcher Linus Henze of the two apps…He and other iOS researchers argue that when it comes to the security of both iMessage and WebKit—the browser engine that serves as the foundation not just of Safari but all iOS browsers—iOS suffers from Apple’s preference for its own code above that of other companies.

Apple is in a tough position. If a company isn’t great at security, they could get a third-party to audit its software. But that would create a huge target.

Google Privacy Sandbox Probably Won't Protect Your Privacy

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Advertising company Google wants to build a “Google privacy sandbox” as a way to improve personalized ads while attempting to remove the “personalized” part.

The goal of these proposals is to promote a dialog on ways browsers could advance user privacy, while still ensuring publishers can earn what they need to fund great content and user experiences, and advertisers can deliver relevant ads to the right people and measure their impact.

Or, if you want to support websites with ads while also protecting your privacy, stick to Safari.

News+: How to Stay Safe and Secure Online

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In the latest issue of Mac Format magazine, Adam Banks writes a guide on how to stay safe online. This is a PDF version and on page 66.

Using a Mac makes you safer than average when going online. That’s partly because of Apple’s efforts to secure the operating system; partly because the Mac App Store gives you somewhere to get most of your third-party software safely. It’s also partly because bad actors – in the security industry sense, not the Hollyoaks sense – tend to be less interested in targeting macOS. But that doesn’t mean either you or your Mac can’t get fooled. Know your way around the common risks and basic protections to keep yourself out of harm’s way.

This is part of Andrew’s News+ series, where he shares a magazine every Friday to help people discover good content in Apple News+.

AdGuard 3 Brings DNS Privacy, 250,000 Filter Rules, Premium Features

· · Cool Stuff Found

AdGuard is a content blocker for iOS that lets people block trackers and ads in Safari. Its AdGuard Pro app eventually got pulled from the App Store because of new VPN rules. AdGuard 3 brings some of those Pro features to the regular app, and some of them are locked behind a premium subscription. But Pro users can get a free 6-month license key. AdGuard 3 fixes a key issue with Safari. Safari’s maximum limit for content blockers is 50,000 rules. AdGuard now works around this by combining five blocks into one, each separately enabled in Settings and each with 50,000 rules. It also supports DNS-over-TLS and DNS-over-HTTPS. You can read more in the blog post. App Store: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)

AdGuard 3 Brings DNS Privacy, 250,000 Filter Rules, Premium Features

Apple Thwarts Sensor Fingerprinting With iOS 12.2

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A study called “SensorID: Sensor Calibration Fingerprinting for Smartphones” examined sensor fingerprinting techniques against smartphones. It found that Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) are inaccurate in small ways that make them unique. But Apple thwarted this technique in iOS 12.2 and used the researchers’ suggestion to add random noise to the analog-to-digital converter output and removing default access to motion sensors in Safari.

We demonstrate that our approach is very likely to produce globally unique fingerprints for iOS devices, with an estimated 67 bits of entropy in the fingerprint for iPhone 6S devices. In addition, we find that the accelerometer of Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 devices can also be fingerprinted by our approach.