ldstephens

Back in May 2021, I wrote that I had one wish for iPadOS 15 “I would like to see the Files app become a true Finder equivalent. I want the ability to view a file’s extension and to be able to change it.”

Well, we didn't get file extensions in iPadOS 15 but we did get them this year in iPadOS 16 and iOS 16. It's not talked about much, so many of you may not realize this exists.

Here's how to enable file extensions in iPadOS 16 and iOS 16:

Open files > Go to any folder or directory with files in it, then choose the List/Icon sort menu > Find the submenu for View Options, and under that choose Show All Extensions

The post appeared first on ldstephens.medium.com.

If you’re considering setting up a Mastodon account or already have you’re going to want to take a few minutes to read Dan Goodin’s article about the security of Mastodon and Mastodon instances.

This substantial increase raises important questions about the security of this new platform, and for good reason. Unlike the centralized model of Twitter and virtually every other social media platform, Mastodon is built on a federated model of independent servers, known as instances. In this respect, it’s more akin to email or Internet Relay Chat (IRC), where security depends on the ability and attention of the admin who configured it and maintains each individual server.

The past month has seen the number of instances mushroom from about 11,000 to more than 17,000. The people running these instances are volunteers who may or may not be versed in the nuances of security. The difficulty of configuring and maintaining instances leaves plenty of room for mistakes that can put user passwords, email addresses, and IP addresses at risk of being revealed (more about that later). Twitter security left much to be desired, but at least it had a dedicated staff with a deep background in security.

[…]

The lack of an audit and years of robust security testing by outsiders means that serious security weaknesses are almost surely present.

To that point, a separate researcher this month discovered a server that had somehow managed to scrape the data of more than 150,000 users from a misconfigured server. Fortunately, the data was limited to account names, display names, profile pictures, following count, follower count, and last status update. A third vulnerability discovered this month on one instance made it possible to steal users' plaintext passwords by injecting specially crafted HTML into the site.

Dan points out that “those who follow his guidelines aren’t likely to assume any more risk than they do if they continue to use Twitter under Musk’s leadership, and they very likely will assume less.”

The Guidelines

  • Protect your account with a long, unique, randomly generated password and turn on 2FA, preferably using a security key instead of an authentication app.
  • Consider using an email privacy protection service such as those from DuckDuckGo or Apple and using that when registering an account.
  • Don’t put anything confidential in your account. This includes direct messages.
  • When deciding which instance to join, make sure it’s running the most recent version of the Mastodon software. Instances running out-of-date versions indicate the admin doesn’t have good security hygiene. The version number appears at the bottom left of a server page, and the most recent version available can be found here. If possible, also find out if the admin regularly backs up data. Consider, too, the experience of the person administering. Seasoned security professionals are likely more careful than hobbyists with little training.
  • Verify your account using Mastodon’s link verification feature. This will make it harder for someone to impersonate you. Remember, the blue check mark in someone’s profile means nothing. Verified Mastodon accounts are indicated by a green box with a check mark.
  • While avoiding direct messages is a good policy, be aware that if your DM to Person A includes the Mastodon handle of Person B, Person B will automatically get pulled into the conversation. This could make things awkward if you didn’t intend for Person B to read your message.
  • Read the privacy policy of the instance you're considering to ensure your data doesn't get passed on to third parties. It's likely to differ from one to the other.

Source: Ars Technica

The post appeared first on ldstephens.medium.com.

Baratunde Thurston

There’s no single social media space to which Twitter refugees are fleeing. There are blockchain-based protocols that promise user ownership of their social graph like Lens and the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (disclosure: DSNP is a project associated with Project Liberty, whose Unfinished conference I regularly host). There’s Tribel which promises to be a “kinder, smarter social network.” Through Kara Swisher, I learned about Post, a news-focused platform she advises which was founded by former Waze C.E.O. Noam Bardin. Mostly, though, I hear about Mastodon.

Look, I have a different take on this whole thing you know people fleeing Twitter for other social media platforms.

​I recently wrote, “I'm on Twitter with a very narrow use case. I use it to market my blog and posts. I follow app developers of apps that I use to keep up with the latest information about their apps. And last for breaking news. That’s it!”

As you read above, You'll notice that I don't follow individuals on Twitter. Instead, I follow their blog via the RSS feed. I don't need to follow them on a social media platform. I'm not interested in all the fucking chatter there. The important things that they have to say are posted on their blog.

So for all the individuals that you follow on Twitter, you might want to check their profile and see if they have a blog. If they do follow it. It probably has an RSS feed. You can get NetNewsWire a free RSS feed reader to follow all the individual blogs you're interested in. That way you get their most important stuff and none of the chatter.

Before Apple Weather transitioning to WeatherKit, I used both Apple Weather and Dark Sky. I used Apple Weather for long range 10-day forecasts because the Weather Channel (Apple’s weather source) is the most accurate for my area. I used Dark Sky for its hyper-local weather that offered accurate next-hour precipitation warnings, notifications for snow accumulation, alerts for high winds and severe weather, and custom notifications. Since Dark Sky App support ends December 31, 2022, and Dark Sky API support ends March 31, 2023, I have been searching for a replacement for this combo.

I’ve tried Apple’s new Weather app with Dark Sky forecast data, and it just isn’t in the same league as the Dark Sky before Apple’s acquisition. Apple Weather is no Dark Sky. I miss Dark Sky’s expanding daily detail, notifications, alerts, and hyper-local weather accuracy.

For now, I’m using Carrot Weather. What I like about it is that I can choose from multiple weather sources. What I don’t like about it is that the notifications and alerts aren’t as good as Dark Sky.

Apple should have renamed Dark Sky Apple Weather and let it be the standard weather app. But no, they’re trashing Dark Sky and giving us Weather app instead.

The post appeared first on ldstephens.medium.com.

In the last few weeks I've written rants here and here about Apples advertising plans. In reporting by MacRumors “Developers, customers, and critics of Apple have all voiced disapproval of the company's plans to expand its ads footprint in the App Store. Reports also suggest Apple plans to introduce ads in Apple Maps and Apple TV+.”

“A new report has revealed internal disagreement within Apple, causing some employees who work on the company's ads business to raise concerns that showing more ads to iPhone users ruins the premium experience that's been long offered to its customers.”

Koni17: “These revenue driven decisions are slowly destroying the differentiators that made iOS competitive in comparison to Android. What used to be a deciding factor for going with iOS (fewer ads and tracking, more security, etc.) is becoming a moot point. The Apple employees can only voice their concerns for so long until revenue hungry management overrules them. Sad to see Apple going in this direction.”

#Apple #iPhone #News #Opinion

Nicolas Magand

Two years ago, I switched from iA Writer to Drafts. I stopped using Drafts a couple of months ago, but I still love Drafts. My workflow doesn’t call for all its features anymore. Blame Brett Terpstra’s excellent Markdown service tools, Blot simple and efficient file structure, and TextEdit for being more than adequate to write and edit the few blog posts I manage to publish each year.

In a quest for a minimalistic setup, I wanted to find the app that was good enough to either replace or complete TextEdit in my writing workflow.

[…]​

In this list you will not find apps built with Electron — hence the absence of a well-loved app like Obsidian — because not only I might as well list web apps like StackEdit, but I am a firm believer and aficionado of Mac-assed Mac apps.

[…]

To help me decide, I’ve read once again one of my favourite blog posts of the last couple of years, which comes from Craig Mod. In his article Fast Software, the BestSoftware, he writes: “Speedy software is the difference between an application smoothly integrating into your life, and one called upon with great reluctance.”

Nicolas's post got me thinking about the app(s) I use for writing blog posts. It's been inconsistent lately. One day I use Drafts, the next Ulysses, and another iA Writer. That's kinda fucked up.

This site is hosted on write.as. Posts are written using markdown in the built-in editor or by pasting markdown from an external editor. That said Ulysses and iA Writer are overkill when all I need is a minimalistic markdown editor.

The app that I would like to use is Byword. It's a simple markdown editor with word and character count and not a lot more. That's all I need. I don't use it though because it doesn't have a sidebar library which is a must-have for me.

One of the apps in Nicolas’ post caught my attention because it sounded a lot like Byword. I'd never heard of uFocus before so I thought I would give it a try. It's like Byword with a sidebar library. I'm writing this post in uFocus, which may be exactly what I'm looking for.

If you like writing in a simple distraction-free text editor this may be an option for you. The app is free to use with an option to support the developer with a donation.

Nicolas, thank you for the blog post.

#Mac #Apps

Casey Newton, on Platformer Musk discusses putting all of Twitter behind a paywall

But all of that could be a prelude to the biggest change of all: charging most or all users a subscription fee to use Twitter.

The other day, I wrote that “I’m not a big fan of social media platforms. I’ve only had one account. Twitter! And Over the years my relationship with the platform has been on again off again. Today I'm on Twitter with a very narrow use case. I use it to market my blog and posts. I follow app developers of apps that I use to keep up with the latest information about their apps. And last for breaking news. That’s it! So, how will Twitter change for me? Probably not that much, but we’ll see?”

So, after saying all that, would I pay a subscription for Twitter? If the subscription is 99 cents, I'm in. If the subscription is $1.99, maybe. Anything over that, no. Of course, that's assuming the platform doesn't totally go to shit.

#Rumor #Opinion #News

A few days ago I went off on a rant about Apple showing more ads in the App Store. In reporting by MacRumors Apple plans to expand live tv advertising for the Major League Soccer deal.

Apple is now talking with advertising partners and MLS sponsors about ads that will air during the soccer games and related shows.

All three streaming tiers will have ads, including the dedicated package, paid TV+ subscriptions, and the free TV app.

Bloomberg says that ads for live TV are part of Apple’s aggressive push into advertising. Apple recently added new ads to the App Store Today tab and to individual app pages, a move that has been unpopular with developers due to some of the ad types Apple has opted to show. ​ […]

Apple is also working on a plan to add search ads to the Apple Maps app on iPhone starting next year, with these ads showing up alongside user searches for things like “gas” or “coffee.” Bloomberg says that Apple is also exploring ads for other apps and services.

MacRumors, last week, also reported that the Weather App will have an Apple News Section in iOS 16.2. This is nothing more than an ad for Apple News.

With the iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates, Apple is enhancing the Weather app through the integration of an Apple News section. Located below the 10-day forecast on iPhone, the ‌Apple News‌ module surfaces relevant regional news stories.

What the fuck! I specifically bought into Apple's ecosystem because it was a company that wasn't driven by ads. It was all about privacy and quality. Soon Apple will be no better than Google and Android. Just saying.​

Apple Is an Ad Company Now – Wired

Cusumano of MIT says Apple’s greatest challenge may be balancing its previous reputation for privacy against the data grab that digital ad businesses create. “Apple is a carefully manicured walled garden, not this advertisement-intense ecosystem like Google,” he says. Preserving that distinction while also growing ad revenue could be tricky. “Apple users are very loyal and forgiving,” says Kesler. “But if they push this to match their forecasts, I’ll be wondering whether users can overlook it.”

#Apple #iPhone #News #Opinion

I have been considering a new MacBook for several months but since I have a base model M1 iMac I have been putting it off. I missed having a laptop. I was getting tired of being tied down to my desk to use my Mac. I like to be able to move around the house. I knew what I was missing because I used to have a 2015 MacBook Pro.

So, last Friday I finally caved in and went to my local Apple Store and picked up a new base model M1 MacBook Air. I'm typing this article on my new Air while watching TV in my comfy chair in the living room.

Coincidentally Lee Peterson posted an update on using his M1 MacBook Air today. It reinforced the idea that I had made the right decision in buying the M1 MacBook Air. Lee Peterson, M1 MacBook Air: 500 days later

I’ve realised today that I’ve been using my base model M1 MacBook Air (8GB RAM) for just over 16 months and wanted to reflect on how it’s been as my main machine over that time.

​[…]

After this 16 months my battery is at 93% of its maximum capacity, I have no idea if this is good or not but it still gets me through several days no problem.

​[…]

I wasn’t sure on the 8GB RAM on my model but in hindsight for me it was the right choice.

​[…]

If you are like me and using it for writing, email, listening to music, productivity and to be honest most of what most users do then don’t even think you’ll be missing out, get the 8GB RAM model

This is exactly how I use a computer.

Would I still recommend an M1 MacBook Air in 2022? Yes, it’s still the best value in computing in my opinion. The M2 MacBook Air looks amazing but in terms of performance it’s not a massive jump from this M1 for most people and you’ll save yourself £400 at the same time.

What am I going to do with my iMac?

I'm not sure yet, but I think I will probably sell it. I checked its value on Apple trade-in and SellYourMac, which is where I sold my 2015, and the quote I got was $515.00. If anyone is interested in buying it please reach out to me via my contact page.​

#Apple #Mac #Hardware

It’s a done deal. Elon the shit-poster is now the owner of Twitter.

I’m not a big fan of social media platforms. I’ve only had one account. Twitter! And Over the years my relationship with the platform has been on again off again. Today I'm on Twitter with a very narrow use case. I use it to market my blog and posts. I follow app developers of apps that I use to keep with the latest information about their apps. And last for breaking news. That’s it! So, how will Twitter change for me? Probably not that much, but we’ll see?

Nick Heer “Unlikeable as I find Musk’s public personality, weasel words, and many of his projects, I am cautiously hopeful private ownership will permit the company to right itself. Given the track record of its new owner, I am not expecting many of his proposed massive changes to materialized.” It appears that Elon won’t want to fuck it up too much in light of the financial pressure that he is under.

The New York Times

But he will face pressure from the banks that lent him $12.5 billion for the deal to begin repaying his debt. The cost of repaying those loans could run as high as $1 billion a year, financial analysts said.

“He has less public pressure, but he has a lot of private pressure from the banks to make the payments,” Mr. Quinn said of Mr. Musk. “Like almost every other private-equity take-private, he’s going to need a manager who is very focused on operations, being lean and being able to pay the bills on a day-to-day basis.”

Mr. Musk also took about $7.1 billion from equity investors to push the deal through. He may also face pressure from those investors, who might expect him to take Twitter public again at some point so that they can recoup their investment.

Elon Musk said in a note Thursday that Twitter must be “warm and welcoming to all” and not a “free-for-all hellscape” in order for it to reach its full potential.

Well, welcome to hell, Elon.

#News #Opinion

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