Wednesday Morning News

A variant of the Fruitfly malware that was blocked by Apple after its initial discovery earlier this year has been seen in the wild, and infects at least 400 Macs worldwide. According to Ars Technica, a security researcher was investigating the Fruitfly variant and discovered some hard-coded domains which hadn’t been registered — when the researcher registered the domains, almost 400 Macs connected, meaning that there may be many more out there which could be then used to spy on their users, capable of capturing screenshots, and recording keystrokes and webcam images. What’s even scarier is that the method of infection is currently unknown, as is the malware’s original purpose.

Like clockwork, Apple has released the third open beta release of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra. You can grab the update now via Software Update on your iOS device, or via the Mac App Store if you’re on a Mac. In particular, iOS 11 appears to fix things that were broken in the previous release while breaking entirely new things, making it hard for developers to know what to fix.

MacRumors highlights some of the user-facing changes in the third open beta of iOS 11. But there’s new icons (also broken), Notification Centre improvements to allow better interaction with notifications, a setting that allows you to change your AirDrop privacy, and very minor visual changes elsewhere. The new icons for Reminders, Notes, and Contacts improve on their previous beta counterparts.

A change is being made to the way iOS 11 devices connect to Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi networks with poor network connectivity won’t be automatically joined by your device, which hopefully means that open networks which require you to bypass some kind of captive portal before granting you internet access will no longer cut the mustard.

Apple has added several new services to the Apple TV’s Single-Sign-On providers in the past few weeks, with some of those making the jump to the TV app and Universal Search. For once, the changes aren’t all US-centric; Australian Apple TV users now get access to AnimeLab and DocPlay within Universal Search.

US President Donald Trump claims Apple will be building three manufacturing plants in the US. A Wall Street Journal claims Trump was speaking about business-tax reform and business investment when he shared the news, although there was no timeline given or any further details about Apple’s plans for manufacturing in the US.

Adobe has announced the sunsetting of Flash technology, with the company ceasing the distribution and updating of Flash at the end of 2020. Adobe encourages companies to embrace new open formats, but those won’t be including Flash moving forward.

The latest update to Google Chrome on the Mac adds support for the Touch Bar found in new MacBook Pros. Version 60 of Chrome provides basic navigation functionality within the Touch Bar (i.e. back/forward, reload), as well as being able to focus the Omnibox, add a bookmark, and create a new tab.

The Verge tells us how to pick between Apple’s two base-model Mac laptops. While they’re not the $1,299 that they are in the US, the base model MacBook and touch-less 13-inch MacBook Pro are both extremely capable machines that have few flaw, but none that are particularly deal-breaking. Each has their pros and cons.

Wired gives us the advice to turn off all your push notifications. Things that require your immediate attention can be left on, but besides phone calls and text messages, turn everything else off and marvel at how much more productive you can be.

Notable Replies

  1. It’s been an interesting evolution of notifications being implemented only to become a blight on smartphones. Did you know that “Do Not Disturb” was implemented in iOS 6 (2012)? For me that was a godsend, I could leave all my “stuff” turned on but not have the phone lighting up all night long (or buzzing). For that reason, I probably never noticed just how bad notifications had gotten since I mostly just ignored them (although cleared them constantly).

    Fast forward to 2015 when I got my Apple Watch and quickly came to realise just how annoying notifications can be. When it was my wrist tapping me all day long I very quickly got bored of that and started looking more closely at exactly which notifications I had turned on. Now I have left extra notifications turned on on the phone, but have been very harsh when it comes to the watch. If it’s not a meeting notification, a direct message or a phone call it doesn’t make it through to the watch.
    The iPhone itself also gets email notifications but even that I’m looking at if I really need or not. Actually, I tell a lie, there is a shit load of other things turned on too, mostly things like my bank, EmergencyAUS, Centrelink etc etc but these get notifications so infrequently (and when they do it’s relevant and important) that having them on isn’t a problem. Even email is banners and badges only. I don’t need a sound or a vibration but it is handy to see a list of emails showing. Plenty of other things have badges only and don’t show on the lock screen.

    I will say there is one feature missing that I think would be great, although I grant maybe a step of configuration too far for the average user and that’s the ability to set notifications on a per application level to a schedule. For example. the Metro Notify app tells me when there are issues on the train line (and maybe this is more an issue with the train service than the app :stuck_out_tongue: ) but it’s so frequent that my phone was flashing at me (because I turned off the sounds since the buzzing was driving me nuts) all day long as things broke on my train line (#melbournetrainssuck). I was recently on leave for a couple of weeks and turned the notifications off since I didn’t care and figured that it was time to turn off the distraction anyway… fast forward 1.5 weeks back at work and I’ve already been caught out a couple of times not knowing that something was broken on the lines because I didn’t think to look until I got the train station. It would be ideal if I could set “active hours” or something like that allowing those notifications to come through evening and morning on weekdays only, while I would be traveling.
    Similarily, being able to set email notifications for the work email app (if you have them in a different box that your personal email) would be handy when you don’t want to get those notifications after hours.

    Am I unique (as usual) or is this something people would find useful?

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