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Desktops (Apple)

Apple Announces Event On September 7: iPhone 7, Apple Watch 2 Expected 87

New iPhones are coming, Apple hinted today. The Cupertino-based giant announced on Monday that it will host an event on September 7. The rumor mill suggests that the company would announce as many as three iPhones -- the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and the iPhone 6 SE. Recent reports suggest that Apple may also announce the second-generation of Apple Watch. No new iPads are expected. The company is widely rumored to refresh its Mac lineup -- though they are likely to be launched at a later point. The biggest talk point around the iPhone 7 has been the headphone jack -- or its lack thereof.
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: What's The Best Way To Backup Large Amounts Of Personal Data? (foxdeploy.com) 338

An anonymous Slashdot reader has "approximately two terabytes of photos, currently sitting on two 4-terabyte 'Intel Rapid Storage' RAID 1 disks." But now they're considering three alternatives after moving to a new PC: a) Keep these exactly as they are... The current configuration is OK, but it's a pain if a RAID re-sync is needed as it takes a long time to check four terabytes.

b) Move to "Storage Spaces". I've not used Storage Spaces before, but reports seem to show it's good... It's a Good Thing that the disks are 100% identical and removable and readable separately. Downside? Unknown territory.

c) Break the RAID, and set up the second disk as a file-copied backup... [This] would lose a (small) amount of resilience, but wouldn't suffer from the RAID-sync issues, ideally a Mac-like "TimeMachine" backup would handle file histories.

Any recommendations?

This is also a good time to share your experiences with Storage Spaces, so leave your answers in the comments. What's the best way to backup large amounts of personal data?
Desktops (Apple)

Apple Under Tim Cook: More Socially Responsible, Less Visionary (cnn.com) 152

Let's talk about Apple, unarguably one of the most remarkable companies on the face of the earth. (Remarkable doesn't necessarily mean great -- it just means that the company is something worth making a remark). You can like it, or hate it, but you can simply not ignore Apple. But what's the occasion, you ask? It's been five years since Tim Cook took over as Apple CEO. (Editor's note: auto-playing video ahead, which may annoy you) Under his leadership, Apple has grown to become the world's most successful company, doubling the stock price and registering a staggering 84 percent growth in its net worth. Media outlets are abuzz with articles, analysis, and over-analysis of Tim Cook's Apple today. Some excerpts from a CNN article: Apple's culture has changed noticeably, both for the better and the worse. [...] If Jobs put a dent in the universe through Apple's coveted products, Cook is making his mark by highlighting the importance of social efforts: LGBT rights, philanthropy, corporate diversity, renewable energy and improving manufacturing conditions abroad. Under Cook's leadership, Apple finally began matching charitable contributions from employees, which had long been a sore spot for staff. Apple had 110,000 full-time employees as of the end of September 2015, nearly doubling from the 60,400 employees it reported having in September 2011, shortly after Cook took over, according to annual filings with the SEC. [...] There's now a feeling among some Apple insiders that the company is just running the same product playbook that Jobs created in his final years at the helm. "For four or five years, the playbook is the same that's been done," says Amit Sharma, a former Apple exec on the online store team. But, he adds, "just because everybody is looking for new doesn't mean it's not working."
Chrome

Google Will Kill Chrome Apps For Windows, Mac, and Linux In Early 2018 (venturebeat.com) 102

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google today announced plans to kill off Chrome apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux in early 2018. Chrome extensions and themes will not be affected, while Chrome apps will continue to live on in Chrome OS. Here's the deprecation timeline:

Late 2016: Newly published Chrome apps will not be available to Windows, Mac, and Linux users (when developers submit apps to the Chrome Web Store, they will only show up for Chrome OS). Existing Chrome apps will remain available as they are today and developers can continue to update them.
Second half of 2017: The Chrome Web Store will no longer show Chrome apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Early 2018: Chrome apps will not load on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
There appears to be two main reasons why Google is killing Chrome apps off now. First, as Google explains in a blog post: "For a while there were certain experiences the web couldn't provide, such as working offline, sending notifications, and connecting to hardware. We launched Chrome apps three years ago to bridge this gap. Since then, we've worked with the web standards community to enable an increasing number of these use cases on the web. Developers can use powerful new APIs such as service worker and web push to build robust Progressive Web Apps that work across multiple browsers." Secondly, Chrome apps aren't very popular: "Today, approximately 1 percent of users on Windows, Mac and Linux actively use Chrome packaged apps, and most hosted apps are already implemented as regular web apps. Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux will therefore be removing support for packaged and hosted apps over the next two years."
Open Source

Microsoft PowerShell Goes Open Source and Lands On Linux and Mac (pcworld.com) 400

Microsoft announced on Thursday that it is open sourcing PowerShell, its system administration, scripting, and configuration management tool that has been a default part of Windows for several years. The company says it will soon release PowerShell on Mac and Linux platforms. PCWorld reports: The company is also releasing alpha versions of PowerShell for Linux (specifically Ubuntu, Centos and Redhat) and Mac OS X. A new PowerShell GitHub page gives people the ability to download binaries of the software, as well as access to the app's source code. PowerShell on Linux and Mac will let people who have already built proficiency with Microsoft's scripting language take those skills and bring them to new platforms. Meanwhile, people who are used to working on those platforms will have access to a new and very powerful tool for getting work done. It's part of Microsoft's ongoing moves to open up products that the company has previously kept locked to platforms that it owned. The company's open sourcing of its .NET programming frameworks in 2014 paved the way for this launch, by making the building blocks of PowerShell available on Linux and OS X. By making PowerShell available on Linux, Microsoft has taken the skills of Windows administrators who are already used to the software, and made them more marketable. It has also made it possible for hardcore Linux users to get access to an additional set of tools that they can use to manage a variety of systems.
Desktops (Apple)

Apple Said To Plan First Pro Laptop Overhaul in Four Years (bloomberg.com) 304

It's been a while since Apple upgraded most of its computer lineups. It has come to a point, where it's being advised that the Cupertino-based company should stop selling the dated inventories. But the wait will be over later this year, says Mark Gurman, the reporter with the best track record in Apple's ecosystem. Reporting for Bloomberg, Gurman says that the company will be overhauling its MacBook Pro laptop line for the first time in over four years, packing it with a range of interesting features. From the report: The updated notebooks will be thinner, include a touch screen strip for function keys, and will be offered with more powerful and efficient graphics processors for expert users such as video gamers, said the people, who asked not to be named. The most significant addition to the new MacBook Pro is a secondary display above the keyboard that replaces the standard function key row. Instead of physical keys, a strip-like screen will present functions on an as-needed basis that fit the current task or application. The smaller display will use Organic Light-Emitting Diodes, a thinner, lighter and sharper screen technology, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this year. Apple's goal with the dedicated function display is to simplify keyboard shortcuts traditionally used by experienced users. The panel will theoretically display media playback controls when iTunes is open, while it could display editing commands like cut and paste during word processing tasks, the people said. The display also allows Apple to add new buttons via software updates rather than through more expensive, slower hardware refreshes. [...] Apple is using one of AMD's "Polaris" graphics chips because the design offers the power efficiency and thinness necessary to fit inside the slimmer Apple notebook, the person said.
Microsoft

Microsoft Swaps Toy Gun Emoji For Revolver -- Days After Apple Does the Opposite (arstechnica.co.uk) 331

The pistol emoji has become a heated topic of debate among people. Apple's decision to replace the gun with a toy pistol is getting a mixed response. Amid all this, Microsoft has announced it is replacing the toy gun emoji with a symbol for a real revolver. ArsTechnica reports: This emoji change is part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which is rolling out now. The move has surprised some, as Microsoft and Apple had been seen as allies in an effort to dial down violence in emoji generally. In June it emerged that the two had successfully lobbied to have a sports rifle removed from the latest collection of emoji, as it was felt that two firearm symbols would be too many.Microsoft says it is only trying "to align with the global Unicode standard." The issue is that despite Apple's thought on the matter, when an iPhone (or iPad or a Mac) user sends a water pistol emoji, people with devices running non-Apple OS are only going to see a regular pistol. The article adds: Analysts had been worried that without standardisation between platforms, intent for violent emoji could be misunderstood. For instance, if someone sent an acquaintance a message using their iPhone offering to come around with some friends and some waterguns, that acquaintance might well misunderstand the thrust of the message if they were using an Android phone and saw a series of pistols.Emojipedia, an emoji reference website has a good suggestion: Apple: Don't change the pistol emoji. At least not today. Hide it. Unicode does not depreciate emojis, but there is no requirement to show all approved emojis on the keyboard. The pistol emoji could be removed from the iOS emoji keyboard without causing any cross platform compatibility issues.
Portables (Apple)

Apple Should Stop Selling Four-Year-Old Computers (theverge.com) 472

It's been a while since Apple upgraded its MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Pro models. Four years, one month, and twenty-four days, to be exact, in case of the MacBook Pro. Apple is inexplicably still selling the exact same models for its Mac line that it introduced in 2012. Pretty much every Windows OEM has had an Intel Skylake-powered processor in its laptops for more than a year now, but Apple's computing lineup is still shipping with the three-to-four years old processor, and graphics card. Things have gotten so bad, that MacRumors' Buying Guide, which is considered to be an "online institution" among Apple nerds, has flagged all of Apple laptops as "Don't Buy" In a column, The Verge's Sam Byford says that Apple should stop selling the old laptops. He writes: Apple iterates quickly and consistently in mobile because the rate of technological progress is so much more dramatic in that arena. The company does amazing work to keep its iPhones and iPads ahead of competitors, performance-wise. Simple Intel processor upgrades are less important to laptops these days, however, and I'm finding this 2012 MacBook Pro fine to work from right now -- faster than my 2015 MacBook, at least, which is enough for my needs. But that doesn't mean it isn't unconscionable for Apple to continue to sell outdated products to people who may not know any better. Is the company really saving that much money by using 2012 processors and 4GB of RAM as standard? Even an update to Intel's Haswell chips from 2013 would have brought huge battery life improvements. Apple is bound by the whims of its suppliers to a certain extent, and it may not always make sense for the company to upgrade its products with every single new chip or GPU that comes out. But there's a certain point at which it just starts to look like absent-mindedness, and many Mac computers are well past that point now. [...] If Apple doesn't want to keep its products reasonably current, that's its prerogative. But if that truly is the case, maybe it shouldn't sell them at all.It's also ironic, coming from a company whose executive not long ago made fun of people who had five years old computer. Folks at Accidental Tech Podcast also discussed the same recently.
Operating Systems

LibreOffice 5.2 Officially Released (softpedia.com) 103

prisoninmate writes from a report via Softpedia: LibreOffice 5.2 is finally here, after it has been in development for the past four months, during which the development team behind one of the best free office suites have managed to implement dozens of new features and improvements to most of the application's components. Key features include more UI refinements to make it flexible for anyone, standards-based document classification, forecasting functions in Calc, the spreadsheet editor, as well as lots of Writer and Impress enhancements. A series of videos are provided to see what landed in the LibreOffice 5.2 office suite, which is now available for download for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.
Cloud

Office 365 Gets New Word, PowerPoint and Outlook Features (networkworld.com) 99

New submitter Miche67 writes: As part of the July 2016 update to Office 365, Microsoft is adding several features across the board to Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. Word, however, is getting the biggest new features -- Researcher and Editor -- to improve your writing. "As its name implies, Researcher is designed to help the user find reliable sources of information by using the Bing Knowledge Graph to search for sources, and it will properly cite them in the Word document," reports Network World. "[Editor] builds on the already-existing spellchecker and thesaurus to offer suggestions on how to improve your overall writing. In addition to the wavy red line under a misspelled word and the wavy blue line under bad grammar, there will be a gold line for writing style." The new features are expected to be available later this year. In addition to the two new features added to PowerPoint last year -- Designer and Morph, Microsoft is offering Zoom, a feature that lets you easily create "interactive, non-linear presentations." "Instead of the 1-2-3-4 linear method of presenting slides, forcing you to place them all in the order you wish to display, presenters will be able to show their slides in any order they want at any time," reports Network World. "This way you can change your presentation order as needed without having to stop PowerPoint or interrupt the display." As for Outlook, Focused Inbox is coming to Office 365. Focused Inbox separates your inbox into two tabs. The "Focused" tab is where all of your high-priority emails will be found, while everything else will be in the "Other" tab. Outlook will learn from your behavior over time and sort your mail accordingly. In addition, @mentions are coming to Outlook 365 and Outlook for PC and Mac, "making it easy to identify emails that need your attention, as well as flag actions for others."
Businesses

Apple's Electric Car Project To Be Led By Bob Mansfield (techcrunch.com) 143

An anonymous reader writes: Long-time Apple executive Bob Mansfield will lead Apple's electric car project, according to the Wall Street Journal. TechCrunch reports: "Mansfield stepped down from the Apple executive board in 2013, yet stayed around the company to work on, what Apple called, special projects. In this role he was reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. One of Mansfield's projects turned out to be the Apple Watch. Now it seems he will head-up Apple's car ambitions -- a project Apple has yet to publicly confirm. During Mansfield's tenure he lead the engineering teams responsible for numerous products including the MacBook Air, iMac, and the iPad."
Chrome

Google Gets Rid Of App Launcher In Chrome 52, Browser's Mac Client Gets Material Design (9to5mac.com) 68

Google has finally removed App Launcher that it bundles with the Chrome browser for Windows and Mac with the release of Chrome v52. The Mac client, in addition, now embraces Google's Material Design approach, and comes with new icons and flatter and transparent interface. 9to5Mac documents more changes on Chrome for Mac and Windows: Besides a new flatter, sharper, and transparent design, Material is also a "huge engineering feat," especially for Chrome OS and Windows. Chrome is "now rendered fully programmatically including iconography, effectively removing the ~1200 png assets we were maintaining before," Google noted. "It also allows us to deliver a better rendering for a wide range of PPI configuration."
Television

Apple Launching Reality TV Show Called 'Planet of the Apps' (venturebeat.com) 62

theodp writes: The Verge reports Apple is making good on an earlier threat to create a reality TV show about app developers. An open casting call has been issued for "Planet of the Apps," with the goal of finding "100 of the world's most talented app creators" -- news which VentureBeat suggests must be making Steve Jobs' ghost weep. Apple has teamed up with Propagate, a new production company created by the producer of "The Biggest Loser." The description of the show says: "Join us on the search for the next great app in a new original series. Those selected will have the chance to receive hands-on guidance from some of the most influential experts in the tech community, featured placement on the App Store, and funding from top-tier VCs." The show is expected to be released in 2017.
Encryption

FBI Agent: Decrypting Data 'Fundamentally Alters' Evidence (vice.com) 89

Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: An FBI agent has brought up an interesting question about the nature of digital evidence: Does decrypting encrypted data "fundamentally alter" it, therefore contaminating it as forensic evidence? According to a hearing transcript filed last week, FBI Special Agent Daniel Alfin suggested just that. The hearing was related to the agency's investigation into dark web child pornography site Playpen. In February 2015, the FBI briefly assumed control of Playpen and delivered its users a network investigative technique (NIT) -- or a piece of malware -- in an attempt to identify the site's visitors. [...] According to experts called by the defense in the affected case, the fact that the data was unencrypted means there is a chance that sensitive, identifying information of people who had not been convicted of a crime was being sent over the internet, and could have been manipulated. (Alfin paints this scenario as unlikely, saying that an attacker would have to know the IP address the FBI was using, have some sort of physical access to the suspect's computer to learn his MAC address, and other variables.)
Games

PC Gaming Is Still Way Too Hard (vice.com) 729

Motherboard has an article in which it argues that PC gaming is still way too hard. The author of the article claims that for one to build a gaming PC, they need an "unreasonable" amount of disposable income, and also have an unreasonable amount of time to "research, shop around, and assemble parts" for their computer. The author adds that a person looking into making one such gear also needs to always have to keep investing time and money in as long as they want to stay at the cutting edge or recommended specifications range for new PC games. The author has shared the experience he had building his own gaming PC. An excerpt from it: The process of physically building a PC is filled with little frustrations, and mistakes can be costly and time consuming. I have big, dumb, sausage fingers, so mounting the motherboard into the case, and screwing in nine (!) tiny screws to keep it in place in a cramped space, in weird angles, where dropping the screwdriver can easily break something expensive -- it's just not what I'd call "consumer-friendly." This is why people buy from Apple. It designs everything from the trackpad to the box the computer comes in, which unfolds neatly to reveal everything you need. Apple reduces friction to the point where even my mom could upgrade the RAM on her iMac, and it can do this because it controls everything that goes in that box.That's accurate. But it also means -- at least as of today -- that the current Apple computer -- MacBook Air, MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini you purchase packs in at least three-year-old components.
Security

Apple Devices Held For Ransom, Rumors Claim 40M iCloud Accounts Hacked; Apple-Related Forums Compromised (csoonline.com) 73

Steve Ragan, reporting for CSOOnline: Since February, a number of Apple users have reported locked devices displaying ransom demands written in Russian. Earlier this week, a security professional posted a message to a private email group requesting information related a possible compromise of at least 40 million iCloud accounts. Salted Hash started digging around on this story after the email came to our attention. In it, a list member questioned the others about a rumor concerning "rumblings of a massive (40 million) data breach at Apple." The message goes on to state that the alleged breach was conducted by a Russian actor, and vector "seems to be via iCloud to the 'locate device' feature, and is then locking the device and asking for money."In a separate report, the publication reports that three websites owned by Penton Technology -- MacForums.com, HotScripts.com, and WebHostingTalk.com -- have been compromised and their databases are now being sold on the Darknet. While nothing is confirmed, there is a possibility that some of the rumored 40M compromised Apple ID credentials may have come from these forums, or from LinkedIn's recent hack.
Desktops (Apple)

EasyDoc Malware Adds Tor Backdoor To Macs For Botnet Control (theregister.co.uk) 68

An anonymous reader writes: Security firm Bitdefender has issued an alert about a malicious app that hands over control of Macs to criminals via Tor. The software, called EasyDoc Converter.app, is supposed to be a file converter but doesn't do its advertised functions. Instead it drops complex malware onto the system that subverts the security of the system, allowing it to be used as part of a botnet or to spy on the owner. "This type of malware is particularly dangerous as it's hard to detect and offers the attacker full control of the compromised system," said Tiberius Axinte, Technical Leader, Bitdefender Antimalware Lab. "For instance, someone can lock you out of your laptop, threaten to blackmail you to restore your private files or transform your laptop into a botnet to attack other devices. The possibilities are endless." The malware, dubbed Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor, sets up a hidden Tor service and PHP-capable web server on the infected computer, generating a .onion domain that the attacker can use to connect to the Mac and control it. Once installed, the malware grants full access to the file system and can run scripts given to it by its masters.A report on AppleInsider says that malware can also control the FaceTime camera on a victim's computer. But thankfully, Apple's Gatekeeper security prevents the unsigned app from being installed.
Stats

Linux Grabs More Than 2% of Desktop Market Share (w3counter.com) 249

LichtSpektren writes: W3Counter's stats for June 2016 are in, and Linux desktop accounts for 2.48% of all web visits from tracked websites... (Android is counted separately from "Linux desktop.")
Meanwhile, NetMarketShare shows Linux with a 2.02% share of the desktop market. And StatCounter shows a more detailed breakdown of the top 7 operating systems, with Windows 7 at 42.02%, Windows 10 at 21.88%, OSX at 9.94%, Windows 8.1 at 8.66%, Windows XP at 6.5%, and another 4.06% for "Unknown" (which is roughly tied with "Other") -- beating Windows 8.0 at 3.52%. In May they also reported another thought-provoking statistic: that Firefox's browser usage had surpassed that of IE and Edge combined for the first time.
Portables (Apple)

Man Who Teaches People How To Repair Their MacBooks Alludes To Apple Lawsuit (gamerevolution.com) 150

New submitter alzoron writes: After the failure of New York's Fair Repair Act, independent third-party unauthorized Apple repair shops seem to be under attack. Louis Rossmann, owner of Rossman Repair Group, INC has uploaded a somewhat vague video alluding to his Youtube site, where he posts videos about repairing out of warranty repairs, possibly being shut down. Several sources (Reddit, Mac Kung Fu, 9to5Mac) have been speculating about this and whether or not Apple is behind this. Game Revolution reported on the video (Link is to cache version of the site since the report has since been removed), breaking down each section of the video. 6:52: Louis informs viewers that they can download YouTube videos. 7:41: Louis mentions that YouTube channels have a "finite lifespan," often because a large corporation has the power and money to shut them down. 8:42: Louis shares that he's happy when he's lived a difficult life so that he can be strong for the immense challenge that is ahead. 10:06: Louis shares that he is going to have to fight from his point onward. 11:22: Louis states that all his videos may soon be gone. 11:32: Louis mentions that his business may disappear. Given what Louis has mentioned, it's apparent that Louis has been threatened by Apple likely for condemning its policies to a growing subscriber base, but also for showing users how to repair its hardware without going through Apple support.

UPDATE 7/1/16: The headline has been updated to clarify that the lawsuit is unconfirmed. We'll continue to update the story as it develops.
Facebook

Facebook To Shred 'Paper' News-Reading App On July 29th (theverge.com) 23

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Facebook's Paper app for iOS is scheduled to shut down on July 29th. While the app impressed critics, it failed to impress the general public. The Verge reports: "The app transformed the core Facebook experience into a kind of newsreader, with customizable sections for politics, technology, food, and other subjects. When it was introduced in January 2014, Paper signaled the beginning of a design renaissance at Facebook. The look and feel of the app were orchestrated by Mike Matas, whose design firm Push Pop Press was acquired by Facebook in 2011. Paper was notable for the novel animations it used to guide you through the app -- tap on a link and it would unfold like a letter; pull down on the story and it would fold back up, returning you to the feed. But despite the enormous growth of Facebook, which surged to 1.09 billion daily users this year, Paper has not been among the 1,500 most-downloaded apps since December 2014, according to research firm App Annie. It never came to Android, and the iOS version was last updated in March 2015. Facebook says that ideas from Paper have made their way into other Facebook apps, most notably Instant Articles, the fast-loading story format that the company introduced last year. Instant Articles borrowed several design elements from Paper, including full-bleed images and custom designs for individual publishers' articles."

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