Security Update 2020-003 for Mojave brings back the Catalina update reminder

This morning I ran Mojave Security Update 2020-03 released yesterday on my MacBook Pro. After updating to my surprise the Catalina update was back.

This pissed me off because I never planned on upgrading to Catalina. That’s why I had previously hidden it using the terminal command (sudo softwareupdate –ignore “macOS Catalina”).

Now in 10.14, you can no longer use softwareupdate —ignore to hide/block a major Update like macOS Catalina after installing the 2020-003 Security Update. I tried and this is what I got:

“Ignored updates:
(
“macOS Catalina”
)

Ignoring software updates is deprecated.
The ability to ignore individual updates will be removed in a future release of macOS.”

Users Beware! This feels like Apple trying to trick/force us on to Catalina.

I found this Mr. Macintosh article that explains what’s happening in more detail.

Weight management

Over the last few months, I’ve put on a few extra pounds. I’m not happy about that so last Wednesday I decided to do something about it.

Back in the day when I was racing bicycles competitively I always paid very close attention to my weight so that I would be at my optimum race weight. So to get my weight under control now I’m going to use the same strategy that I used when I was racing.

Weight management is calories in and calories out. Eat more calories than you burn and you gain weight. Burn more calories than you eat and you lose weight.

I only want to lose 5 pounds. You might say that’s hardly worth worrying about. For most people that might be true. But for me that 5 pounds makes a difference in how my clothes fit and hence how I feel.

To get started I calculated my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) so that I have my baseline calorie requirements. To manage my calorie intake I’m using the iOS app Fat Secret and for calorie burn, I’m using the Apple Watch and the Activity app.

I’ve lost 2 pounds so far so I know my strategy is working.

Going iPad first

For the past few weeks, I’ve been using my iPad as my main computing device. This has been possible thanks to iPadOS 13.4 advanced mouse and trackpad support. I’m using my 9.7” 5th generation iPad, Magic Trackpad 2, and Logi Slim Folio keyboard. For the most part, this setup has worked out great.

I like the way M.G. Siegler wrote about using the iPad in a recent post on 500ish. It describes exactly how I’m feeling about the iPad now.

For some people, depending on their workflows, they will absolutely need a desktop OS to be as productive as possible. I am not one of those people. For me, it’s more just getting used to doing everything that I used to do on macOS on iOS. And with the new keyboard + trackpad, I think I can now get there. Again, it will just take some time and retraining my brain on certain things. If I can do that, I actually think the iPad will be far preferable for me to do everything I do right now on a Mac.

With that in mind, I’m looking forward to getting a new iPad. Interestingly, a few days ago, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that Apple will introduce a new cheaper iPad at the end of the year with a 10.8-inch screen, larger than the 10.2-inch iPad and 10.5-inch iPad Air we know today. I’m guessing that this iPad would work out nicely for me.

My thoughts on Apple & Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing

From what I’ve read Apple and Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing seems like a good idea and one that I’ll most likely use. It appears to be the best technological solution to date for governmental authorities to partially lift the lockdown orders that are currently in place. That said I do have privacy concerns.

According to the Verge, this is how we’ll use the tracking tool. “Google and Apple are using Bluetooth LE signals for contact tracing. When two people are near each other, their phones can exchange an anonymous identification key, recording that they’ve had close contact. If one person is later diagnosed with COVID-19, they can share that information through an app. The system will notify other users they’ve been close to, so those people can self-quarantine if necessary. Ideally, this means you won’t have to reveal your name, location, or other personal data.”

Apple and Google stress that “user privacy and security is central to the design”. So here’s the best explanation as to how privacy will be protected that I’ve found.

Ars Technica

But while mobile-based contact tracing may be more effective, it also poses a serious threat to individual privacy, since it opens the door to central databases that track the movements and social interactions of potentially millions, and possibly billions, of people. The platform Apple and Google are developing uses an innovative cryptographic scheme that aims to allow the contact tracing to work as scale without posing a risk to the privacy of those who opt into the system.

Privacy advocates—with at least one notable exception—mostly gave the system a qualified approval, saying that while the scheme removed some of the most immediate threats, it may still be open to abuse.

“To their credit, Apple and Google have announced an approach that appears to mitigate the worst privacy and centralization risks, but there is still room for improvement,” Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote in a statement. “We will remain vigilant moving forward to make sure any contact tracing app remains voluntary and decentralized, and used only for public health purposes and only for the duration of this pandemic.”

Unlike traditional contact tracing, the phone platform doesn’t collect names, locations, or other identifying information. Instead, when two or more users opting into the system come into physical contact, their phones use BLE to swap anonymous identifier beacons. The identifiers—which in technical jargon are known as rolling proximity identifiers—change roughly every 15 minutes to prevent wireless tracking of a device.

As the users move about and come into proximity with others, their phones continue to exchange these anonymous identifiers. Periodically, the users’ devices will also download broadcast beacon identifiers of anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been in the same local region.

In the event someone reports to the system that she has tested positive, her phone will contact a central server and upload identifiers of all the users she has come into contact with over the last 14 days. The server then pushes a notification to the affected users.

The realities of COVID-19 in my own backyard

The COVID-19 death numbers for New York City are beyond comprehension. When you hear them it feels more like a nightmare than reality. But unfortunately, they are real. As of this morning (April 03, 2020), there are 57,159 cases including 1,562 deaths. In my state of New Jersey there are 25,590 cases with 539 deaths. The sad part of all this is it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Let’s all do our part: Stay the hell home!

Apple is concerned over the COVID-19 situation and the possibility of lower consumer demand to upgrade their iPhones

This Business Insider story from a couple of days ago got my interest. It suggests that Apple is reportedly worried about the financial impact of COVID-19 and that people won’t have the money to buy new iPhones this year. That would seem to be a legitimate concern given the current state of the economy and the number of people out of work.

But, beyond people’s financial ability to buy Apple products I think there are other reasons as well. I’ll give you an example. As I mentioned in a previous story I’m interested in a new iPad. As much as I would like to order one I’m pressing the pause button for now.

Here’s why. No one knows how their body will respond to COVD-19? If I were to get it I might be one of the unfortunate ones to not survive. Since that is a possibility I don’t want to have just spent a bunch of money on a new iPad and accessories. I’m sure I’m not the only one holding off on a new Apple device purchase for the very same reason.

How Rob lost control of his bank accounts to a phone scammer

I’ve been following Rob’s blog for several years. I enjoy reading what he writes about. He is also the developer of a couple of Mac apps that I use.

I felt bad for Rob after reading his blog post about how he had recently lost control of his bank accounts to a phone scammer. His story is well worth reading. It may save you from falling for the same or similar phone scams.

How I lost control of our bank accounts to a phone scammer | The Robservatory