MacBook Butterfly keyboard suit gets class action status

“Apple customers unhappy with the butterfly keyboards used in MacBook models from 2015 on will be able to proceed with a lawsuit against the Cupertino company, as the judge overseeing the case has given it class action status. The suit covers anyone who purchased a MacBook with a butterfly keyboard in California, New York, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington, and Michigan.” Juli Clover for MacRumors

This lawsuit will include those who bought a MacBook between 2015 and 2017, a MacBook Pro between 2016 and 2019, or a MacBook Air between 2018 and 2019. We have a 2019 MacBook Air but so far have not had a problem with the keyboard. We also live in New Jersey so it sounds like if we do have an issue at a later date we will be included in the suit.

4 New things I learned today about my Mac’s Dock

I was catching up on some reading today and one of the articles that I read was Get to Know Your Mac’s Dock by Kirk McElhern. I’m not a Mac newbie but even as an experienced Mac user (sometimes considered a power user) I still learn new things all the time.

“One of the key elements you use to interact with your Mac is the Dock. You can use the Dock in many ways: you can open apps, you can open files by dragging them on icons in the Dock, you can open folders that you’ve stored in the Dock, and more.”

In Kirk’s article you will discover the many configuration options available for the Dock, and the best way to turn the Dock into a high-powered productivity booster.

The 4 things that I learned

  1. Magnification

In the early days, the Dock’s magnification was on by default; these days, now it’s off by default. When you select this setting, the Dock icons increase in size when you hover your cursor over them. This has the advantage of providing a bigger target when you drag a file to the Dock, but you may, like me, find it a distraction.

  1. Animation

The Dock preferences have a few settings for the way things animate in the Dock, or when you minimize windows by clicking the yellow button at the top left of a window or by double-clicking a window’s title bar.

  1. Add files and folders

You can also add files and folders to the right (or bottom) section of the Dock; just drag them there, to the left of the Trash icon.

  1. Click and hold menu

You’ll notice other settings in the menu that displays when you click and hold an app icon: you can have it launch at login, you can show it in the Finder, and, if you use Spaces, you can assign it to a specific desktop.

The changes I made

Previously I had the Dock on the bottom with Hide on and a smaller size than the default. Now I have the Dock on the left with Magnification on, and Genie effect Animation, and the same smaller size. I also removed a few apps that I rarely use. I’m liking my new Dock setup.

You can transfer your iCloud Photos to Google Photos

Apple has launched a service for transferring iCloud Photos and Videos to Google Photos. Easy data export to a competitor? Hm! “As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple’s privacy website and sign in to see the “Transfer a copy of your data” option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your ‌iCloud‌ photos and videos to Google ‌Photos‌.”

“Transferring photos and videos from iCloud Photos does not remove the content you have stored with Apple, but it provides a backup method and stores a copy of the content on Google ‌Photos‌.” Not sure if this is something that I would use. 🤨

On another subject All of Apple’s 270 U.S. retail stores are open again in some capacity for the first time since closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic began nearly a year ago. 👏👏👏

Those of who you have been following me for a while know that I’m a fan of Fastmail. Here’s one of the reasons I use Fastmail. “Recently, “spy pixels” have been in the news, with the BBC running a story about this marketing industry practice. Fastmail has blocked spy pixels by default for years. Your information is safe with us.”

“Fastmail protects you from spy pixels and other remote images. As the world’s oldest independent email provider, we’ve been defending your privacy for over 20 years.” Take a look at the Fastmail 30 day Free trial.

Oh yeah, I got my first of two Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations last Saturday. What a relief.

Many of Apple’s privacy labels are false

I have to say this is disappointing to read. According to a Washington Post article, Apple’s big privacy product is built on a shaky foundation: the honor system. In tiny print on the detail page of each app label, Apple says, “This information has not been verified by Apple.”

Shame on the developers for lying, and double shame on Apple for not verifying.

I checked Apple’s new privacy ‘nutrition labels.’ Many were false.

You can trust Apple … right?

You go to your iPhone’s App Store to download a game. Under a new “App Privacy” label added last month, there’s a blue check mark, signaling that the app won’t share a lick of your data. It says: “Data not collected.”

Not necessarily. I downloaded a de-stressing app called the Satisfying Slime Simulator that gets the App Store’s highest-level label for privacy. It turned out to be the wrong kind of slimy, covertly sending information — including a way to track my iPhone — to Facebook, Google and other companies. Behind the scenes, apps can be data vampires, probing our phones to help target ads or sell information about us to data firms and even governments.

Firefox 85 adds supercookie protection. What about Safari?

In technology news today Mozilla announced that it has added built-in protection from supercookies to Firefox 85. “Firefox now protects you from supercookies, a type of tracker that can stay hidden in your browser and track you online, even after you clear cookies,” Mozilla explains in a blog post. “By isolating supercookies, Firefox prevents them from tracking your web browsing from one site to the next.”

With Safari being my main browser and Firefox being secondary I wondered if Safari might have the same protection from supercookie tracking? To my surprise, it does and has since 2018.

“Quietly and without fanfare Apple has rolled out a change to its Safari browser that munches one of the web’s most advanced “super cookies” into crumbs.” Apple burns the HSTS super cookie WebKit blog: Protecting Against HSTS Abuse

My 2021 Essential iOS Apps

Every year towards the end of December I evaluate the apps that I’ve been using and what I will use for the next year. I find that writing this out helps me better evaluate the apps that best fit my workflows. Once I complete my evaluation, I summarize it in a post on this blog.

Another reason for this post is that visitors are always asking me which apps I use for specific tasks. To keep from repeating myself over and over, here’s the list of apps that I use.

My setup:

  • MacBook Pro early–2015 13” (soon to be replaced with a MacBook Air M1/8gb)
  • iPhone 11
  • iPad 5th Generation (which I rarely use these days)
  • Apple Watch 44 mm Series 4

Table of Contents

Web

Safari – Safari is my browser of choice. I use Wipr with Safari to block ads, trackers, cryptocurrency miners, and other annoyances.

Communication

Fastmail – I’ve been using Fastmail for email ever since I left Gmail over 6 years. I also use it for calendar, and contacts.

Fastmail has an iOS app, that I use.

Messages – Messages is how I communicate with family and friends.

Calendar and Tasks

Fantastical 3 – Fantastical is my calendar and task app. It integrates perfectly with my Fastmail calendar appointments and events and Apple Reminders tasks.

Due – Due is where I keep all my reminders. What I love about Due is that it repeatedly notifies you of overdue reminders until I mark them complete or reschedule them.

Reading

Reeder – Reeder is what I use for my Feedly RSS feeds. Anything that I want to read I save to Instapaper for reading later.

Twitter – Twitter is for news and the feeds for apps that I use.

Writing

Drafts 5 – I’ve been using Drafts for several years. Drafts is a launching-off point for text – use the actions to copy it, share it, or deep link into other apps and services.

1Writer – I don’t write on iOS but I do some proofreading and editing and for that I use 1Writer.

Apple Notes – Notes that I want to keep long-term go in the Notes app.

Day One Journal – I keep a lifelog in Day One.

Utilities / Productivity

Bitwarden – Gotta have a password manager.

Scanner Pro – Scanner Pro is also part of my paperless workflow. I use it to scan paper documents into PDFs with OCR that look clean and professional.

TunnelBear VPN – TunnelBear is my VPN for security on public WiFi and web browsing privacy.

PCalc – PCalc is my stock calculator replacement. I use it for its additional features and customization.

Health and Fitness

Apple Fitness – I use the Workout and Fitness apps with my Apple Watch to track my daily activities.

To keep my mind occupied during workouts I listen to podcasts in Overcast.

My 2021 Essential Mac Apps

Back to a MacBook

I wrote a while back about going iPad first when iPadOS 13 was released with keyboard and trackpad support. I had turned my 2015 MacBook Pro (MBP) off and put in a drawer to never be turned on again hoping this would work out.

Well, it lasted about 60 days and then I got my MBP out of the drawer it had been sitting in, turned it back on and slowly started transitioning back to my it.

The trouble with iPad was that I spent more time fighting it than loving. It was just too hard to get things done as fast and efficiently as I can on my MBP. I have so many automations with Alfred, PopClip, Keyboard Maestro, and Hazel that make doing things on the Mac so fast and easy that just can’t be duplicated on the iPad. So, I gave it up.

In fact, I’m not sure that I even need or want an iPad. A couple of weeks ago I put it in the same drawer that I had put my MBP in and didn’t even miss it. I found that between my MBP and iPhone 11 I can do all that I need or want to do.

All that said, I just finished watching Apple’s One More Thing event where they introduced the new Apple Silicon 13” MacBook Air, 13” MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini with the new M1 chip. These devices are incredible and what I’ve been waiting for. I’ll be ordering a new MacBook Air as soon as I decided whether to get 8 or 16 GB of unified memory.

UPDATE: iOS 14 has Zuckerberg/Facebook running scared

I’ve been working on an article about the iOS 14 privacy feature that has Facebook and other advertisers running scared. Facebook acknowledged that Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 could lead to a more than 50% drop in its Audience Network advertising business. (Doesn’t that just break your heart)

Today to my disappointment, Apple is holding off on introducing the default feature until early next year to allow developers more time to make the necessary changes to their apps. I guess this makes everything I’ve written all for naught. Oh, well.

By the way, did you know that you can manually limit targeted advertising and reset your identifier? If you do this an app will still be able to access your IDFA but it makes it much harder to build a profile on you. I reset my identifier once a month.

The advertising identifier on an Apple device does not identify you personally, but it can be used by advertisers to create a profile about you. If it’s never reset, that profile increases in detail, allowing advertisers to target ads to you based on your Internet activity.

Getting to know John Gruber the writer

John Gruber is one of the leading experts blogging and podcasting about Apple. Recode referred to him this way “Apple obsessive John Gruber built Daring Fireball, the world’s most powerful one-man media company” If you’re into Apple you know who he is. John blogs at Daring Fireball and has a podcast The Talk Show. He’s also the creator of Markdown the popular plain text writing markup language that many of us use today.

I’m an enthusiastic follower of John’s blog and listener of his podcast. I find him to be knowledgeable about all things Apple thanks to his contacts at the highest levels of the company. What he writes is well written, always informative, and accurate.

I find it interesting to know what makes people like John tick and how they got to where they are. I’ve heard John talk about himself on his podcast but only bits and pieces never the full story from beginning to where he is now.

The other day John posted about being on Antony Johnston’s Writing and Breathing Podcast. If you would like to hear John’s full store in his words listen to this podcast. It’s excellent!

MONDAY, 10 AUGUST 2020

YOURS TRULY ON ANTONY JOHNSTON’S ‘WRITING AND BREATHING’ PODCAST

Antony Johnston — best known as the creator of the excellent and right-up-my-alley Atomic Blonde  — hosts a podcast devoted to writing, and he was kind enough to invite me on. I could talk about writing — what I do, how I do it — forever, even though, as I hope I made clear to Johnston, I don’t really fully understand how exactly I do what I do. The only thing I really understand about writing is that I need to do it.

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to talk about this. If that sounds interesting to you, I bet you’ll dig listening.