The Brick-Devices-Via-WiFi Edition Wednesday, April 13, 2016

New Threat Can Auto-Brick Apple Devices, by KerbsOnSecurity

The researchers said they discovered they could build a hostile Wi-Fi network that would force Apple devices to download time and date updates from their own (evil) NTP time server: And to set their internal clocks to one infernal date and time in particular: January 1, 1970.

The result? The iPads that were brought within range of the test (evil) network rebooted, and began to slowly self-destruct. It’s not clear why they do this, but here’s one possible explanation: Most applications on an iPad are configured to use security certificates that encrypt data transmitted to and from the user’s device. Those encryption certificates stop working correctly if the system time and date on the user’s mobile is set to a year that predates the certificate’s issuance.

At The Newsstand

Can The New Yorker Attract Digital Subscribers With Its New Smartphone App?, by Benjamin Mullin, Poynter

The New Yorker on Tuesday launched The New Yorker Today, a smartphone app that gives the weekly magazine an up-to-the-minute digital jumpstart in a bid to attract new digital subscribers.

The app, which is available exclusively for iPhone, is being billed by The New Yorker as a "fast, simple way to get everything that The New Yorker produces—the magazine, the Web site, the videos, and the podcasts." In a post heralding the app's release, The New Yorker positioned The New Yorker Today as the latest step on the weekly magazine's road to digital revolution.


Apple Did Not Invent Emoji, by Fuzzy Notepad

I love emoji. I love Unicode in general. I love seeing plain text become more expressive and more universal.

But, Internet, I’ve noticed a worrying trend. Both popular media and a lot of tech circles tend to assume that “emoji” de facto means Apple’s particular font.

I have some objections.

Infinite Loop

Why Are America’s Most Innovative Companies Still Stuck In 1950s Suburbia?, by Hunter Oatman-Stanford, Collector's Weekly

When Apple finishes its new $5 billion headquarters in Cupertino, California, the technorati will ooh and ahh over its otherworldly architecture, patting themselves on the back for yet another example of “innovation.” Countless employees, tech bloggers, and design fanatics are already lauding the “futuristic” building and its many “groundbreaking” features. But few are aware that Apple’s monumental project is already outdated, mimicking a half-century of stagnant suburban corporate campuses that isolated themselves—by design—from the communities their products were supposed to impact.

Security Matters

FBI Paid Professional Hackers One-time Fee To Crack San Bernardino iPhone, by Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post

The FBI cracked a San Bernardino terrorist’s phone with the help of professional hackers who discovered and brought to the bureau at least one previously unknown software flaw, according to people familiar with the matter. The new information was then used to create a piece of hardware that helped the FBI to crack the iPhone’s four-digit personal identification number without triggering a security feature that would have erased all the data, the individuals said.

FBI Director Comey Calls 'Emotion' Surrounding Apple Case Unproductive, Says Encryption Needs Legislative Resolution, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Moving forward, Comey said the encryption issues brought into play as a result of the court action cannot be resolved by the court system, suggesting a legislative course of action is needed. Comey is now in apparent agreement with Apple CEO Tim Cook, who in February said the complex issue needs to be debated in Congress.

How A Japanese Pinball Maker Helped The FBI Crack The San Bernardino iPhone, by Monami Yui, Bloomberg

“Demand will never go away,” Yamaguchi, 67, said from the company’s headquarters in Aichi prefecture southwest of Tokyo. “Extracting mobile phone data is the fastest way to solve crimes nowadays.”


Arq 5 Brings Significant New Features And A Major Licensing Improvement, by TJ Luoma, MacStories

One significant change that I want to highlight right up front is this: Arq v5 moves from a per computer license to a per user license.

Past TextExpander Customers Get Lifetime Subscription Discount Following Backlash, by Dan Throp-Lancaster, iMore

The developer now says that that discount will be extended indefinitely for Life Hacker (individual plan) customers.


Don’t Start A Business Until People Are Asking You To, by Derek Sivers

Then, as late as possible, you officially start your business.

High-Level Events, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

The thing Cocoa is missing — and what the reactive-programming folks get — is the notion of high-level events.


Petition Seeks An Apple Watch For Cookie Monster, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

At one point, Cookie Monster glances at his wrist, only to intone "Me no have watch". Well, that's got to change, and that's why someone has started a petition to have Apple buy Cookie Monster an Apple Watch.

The HTC 10 Is The First Android Device To Ship With Native AirPlay Audio Streaming Support, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

HTC Connect allows users to seamlessly stream to a variety of devices across a litany of protocols. It just so happens that the latest protocol to be supported is AirPlay.

Software Safeguards Coming To Protect Against Potentially Dangerous USB-C Cables, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Retina MacBook already has safeguards built in to protect it from non-compliant cables, but the new USB Type-C Authentication feature will offer another layer of protection should Apple choose to implement it.

Facebook Is Playing A Dangerous Game With Apple, by Mat Weinberger, Yahoo!

Too much chatbot hype, and Apple might suddenly have cold feet about continuing to promote Facebook, in the App Store and through its integrations with iOS. But keeping it low-key means that people can come to it in their own time. And maybe the revolution will come before Apple even fully realizes it's happening.

Bottom of the Page

Why isn't there an accessibility option in iOS that changes all gray text back to black color? (And automatically send a bug report to all offending apps.) (And curse the designers to have failing eyes even before they turn 40.)


Come on, Apple, there gotta be an Apple Watch face featuring Cookie Monster.


If you are in Detroit, you have until the end of this month to go see a real life Apple 1.


Thanks for reading.