The High-Sierra Edition Tuesday, September 26, 2017

macOS 10.13 High Sierra: The Ars Technica Review, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

That's not because there's nothing here but because most of Apple's development work this time around went into under-the-hood additions and updates to foundational technologies. Changing filesystems, adding external graphics support, adding support for new image compression formats, and updating the graphics API to support VR are all important, and none of them are small tasks. But the UI doesn’t change, apps get only minor updates (when they get them at all), and multiple features continue to be more limited than their iOS counterparts. Updates like Mountain Lion and El Capitan have drawn comparisons to Snow Leopard for focusing on refinement rather than features, but High Sierra is the closest thing we've gotten to a "no new features" update in years. High Sierra is so similar to Sierra in so many ways that it’s honestly pretty hard to tell them apart.

It’s not like the constancy of macOS is a bad thing; while the Mac operating system has been trundling along in a comfortable groove, iOS has been working its way through an exciting-but-occasionally-awkward teenage phase, and Windows has swerved wildly from desktop OS to tablet OS and back again. On the other hand, it has been a while since I came away from a new macOS version thinking, "Yes, this software absolutely makes my computer indisputably better than it was before."

What’s here in High Sierra is fine. I just wish that there was more of it—or that what’s here felt even half as adventurous as what’s happening on the iPad.

macOS High Sierra: A Mostly Under-the-hood Update, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Let’s be realistic: In the end, you will need to update to High Sierra, because it will provide you with the latest security updates and features that your apps will demand. But in the short term, until developers better come to grips with the new filesystem and we’ve waited to see if there are bugs or security flaws that could bite this release, I think it’s wise for most users to keep their finger off the upgrade button for High Sierra.

Apple Starts Collecting Browsing Data In Safari Using Its Differential Privacy Tech, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

The company is using its newly implemented differential privacy technology to gather information from user habits that will help it identify problematic websites.

This form of data collection is the first of its kind for Safari, aimed at identifying sites that use excessive power and crash the browser by monopolizing too much memory. Apple is also documenting the popularity of these problematic domains, in order to prioritize which sites it addresses first.

Differential privacy is a method for collecting large swaths of information without grabbing any personally identifying data in the process, so none of the information can be traced back to the user. The concept dates back to academic research, algorithmically obscuring user data, while bulk collecting information, in order to identify larger trends.

Apple Switches From Bing To Google For Siri Web Search Results On iOS And Spotlight On Mac, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Apple is switching the default provider of its web searches from Siri, Search inside iOS (formerly called Spotlight) and Spotlight in Safari on the Mac. So, for instance, if Siri falls back to a web search on iOS when you ask it a question, you’re now going to get Google results instead of Bing.

Consistency is Apple’s main motivation given for switching the results from Microsoft’s Bing to Google in these cases. Safari on Mac and iOS already currently use Google search as the default provider, thanks to a deal worth billions to Google over the last decade. This change will now mirror those results when Siri, the iOS Search bar or Spotlight is used.

Apple's Craig Federighi Confirms APFS Coming To Fusion Drives In A Future macOS High Sierra Update, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

"Yes, we plan to add support in a future update," replied Federighi.

macOS High Sierra Vulnerability Allegedly Allows Malicious Third-Party Apps To Access Plaintext Keychain Data, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

macOS High Sierra, released to the public today, could be impacted by a major security flaw that could allow a hacker to steal the usernames and passwords of accounts stored in Keychain.

As it turns out, unsigned apps on macOS High Sierra (and potentially earlier versions of macOS) can allegedly access the Keychain info and display plaintext usernames and passwords without a user's master password.

Controling iOS

Control Center’s New Networking States: On, Off, And In Between, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

But what this new user interface hides is that toggling the Control Center buttons for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth no longer produces the same On/Off action you might expect, but it’s an improvement. Personal Hotspot appears to work in a similar fashion.

Instead of just On and Off for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the radios now have three states.


iBooks Author For Mac Updated With Wide Color Gamut Image Support, Improved Photo And Video Adding, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The new version introduces an improvement to working with photos and videos as well as wide color gamut support.

iStat Menus 6 Released, by John Voorhees, MacStories

People familiar with iStat Menus will be right at home with this new version. There are dozens of refinements and new features, but the mission of the app remains the same: to provide a wealth of information in a compact, cleanly-designed interface that keeps users informed.


Microsoft's Nadella Wants To Help Coders Take A Quantum Leap, by Tom Simonite, Wired

Forty-two years ago this summer a two-person company called Micro-Soft shipped its first product. It was a version of the programming language BASIC for the Altair 8800, one of the first successful personal computers. The company is now much larger, and un-hyphenated. And it’s reprising its original strategy in hopes of gaining an edge on another technological revolution—powerful computers that work on data using the quirks of quantum mechanics.

Practical quantum computers don’t yet exist, and Microsoft is behind rival tech giants Google and IBM in the race to develop quantum hardware. But at a conference in Orlando Monday for its corporate customers, the company announced the release of a new programming language for quantum computers. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the technology would "help us tackle some of the biggest challenges we face." He suggested quantum computers would allow breakthroughs in energy and medicine.

Bottom of the Page

The Good Place landed in the Singapore's version of Netflix over the past week. If you haven't watch it, go and watch it now. This is one of the most delightful, intelligent, and funny sitcom I've ever watched.

And, please, if you have not watch it before, please don't go googling for its plot, or read up on the show on IMDB. Just trust me, and just start watching it. Avoid all spoilers. You'll thank me later.


Thanks for reading.