Apple Should Own The Term “Warrant Proof”

It is not only well within Apple’s rights to produce a product that happens to be warrant-proof, but it’s actually Apple’s responsibility to create a product that’s capable of enforcing the highest level of security permitted by our country’s laws… not the lowest. Apple is well within not only their rights, but in practices that support and place appropriate locks consistent with the levels of privacy our country recognizes. These products protect everyone – diplomats, doctors, journalists, as well as all of us. Of course they should be this secure.

Jonathan Zdziarski: Apple Should Own The Term “Warrant Proof”

What those weather icons mean

Seems like more and more lately I’ve been seeing symbols in the iPhone’s weather app that I can’t immediately interpret. Here’s a handy chart to help with that. (Click to enlarge!)
iOS Weather Icons

new Apple privacy statement

Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.

This is a strong, direct statement from Apple on privacy which I don’t think any of its competitors could make honestly. I’ve been looking for Apple to be more outspoken about their great stand on customer privacy. A lot of my clients have concerns about privacy but don’t feel qualified to judge any one product or service provider against another — from this perspective, picking a phone, an email provider, or an operating system is a Hobson’s choice. This new Privacy section of Apple’s site includes a lot of details about how Apple uses, doesn’t use, and protects your data, all explained in direct, unambiguous, extremely readable language. Hopefully this starts to illuminate the issue for consumers and puts pressure on Apple’s competitors to clarify their own use of our personal information.

Apple restricts use of consumer health data

With added language to the developer license agreement, Apples guidelines now state that a developer “must not sell an end-users health information collected through the HealthKit APIs to advertising platforms, data brokers, or information resellers.” Developers are also banned from even accessing the information in HealthKit unless it is absolutely crucial to the functioning of the app itself.

Apple tells developers not to sell consumer health data | TUAW: Apple news, reviews and how-tos since 2004. It continues to astonish me that Apple’s aggressive pro-privacy moves go completely unremarked in the age of the Snowden revelations.

Integrating women into the Apple community

Next year at WWDC, I want to see at least one woman in a public speaking role during the WWDC keynote. There are many bright, smart, well-spoken female Apple engineers; let’s put them on stage and be role models for their peers and our daughters. Or Apple’s Angela Ahrendts, who may not be a developer, but her business savvy and presentation skills seem like they would be well-utilized at next years keynote. And I want to see more women and minorities at WWDC next year. We’re a small crowd, but we do exist, and having more of us at the conference will emphasize this.

Brianna Wu: Eve wasnt invited: Integrating women into the Apple community | Macworld.

Power User Tools & Tips

On Saturday I gave a talk at the Main Line Mac Users Group (MLMUG) meeting in Paoli, PA. The title was “Power User Tools and Tips” and I talked about some of my favorite apps which I suspect aren’t widely known. I also talked about some features of OS X that I find are overlooked or underused by my clients. I use all these things every day. I rely on them to make my computing more efficient or just more enjoyable. I found most of this stuff by relentlessly applying two guiding principles: “there must be a quicker way” and “computers are supposed to be good at stuff like this”. Basically, I figured this stuff out by being lazy and impatient.

Here’s a summary of what I talked about, with handy links to more info and downloads. After the summary, I also answer a few questions that I got on Saturday.

Knock

Knock is a pair of apps that let you unlock your Mac simply by tapping on your phone. It’s quite like magic. I love showing it to people because they can’t contain their surprise.
10.8+, $3.99, knocktounlock.com,  

Spirited Away

Spirited Away hides all the windows of apps that are sitting idle in the background. I don’t always set up my environment in a way that encourages focus, and this helps me do that automatically.
10.6+, free, download

Cinch

Cinch is a simple and fantastically useful window management tool that lets you instantly put two windows side by side. I do this dozens of times a day.
10.6+, $7,  

Hazel

Hazel automatically organizes your files. Create rules using dozens of built-in conditions and actions. I use it to label my downloads by age, to organize my photos into YYYY/YYYY-MM folders, and to file some monthly paperwork.
10.6+, $28, Noodlesoft

DiskInventory X

DiskInventory X lets you visualize what’s taking up space on your hard drive. There are lots of apps which do this, but DiskInventory X is free.
10.6+, free, DiskInventory X

Jumpcut

Jumpcut gives your clipboard a memory. You can copy multiple things and then paste multiple things. Use a menu or a key combination to choose. This one is dear to me because a friend wrote it, and I’m mentioned in the credits.
10.6+, free, Jumpcut

FormatMatch

A companion to Jumpcut, FormatMatch strips the formatting (font size, color, style) from whatever you copy so that when you paste it it’s just text and it looks normal in the context you’re pasting to.
10.6+, free,  

f.lux

Flux reduces the blue light coming from your screen starting at sunset, and into the night, to cue your brain that the day is ending. This is thought to protect against issues with circadian rhythms and sleep.  I’m persuaded that this is an evolutionarily appropriate technology, and I expect it will be built in to future operating systems. Until then, I run f.lux.
10.6+, free, justgetflux.com

Caffeine

If the sleeping problem belongs to your computer, Caffeine puts a cute coffee cup in your menu bar. Click it to fill the cup with coffee and prevent your computer from starting a screensaver, dimming the screen, or going to sleep.
10.6+, free, Lighthead,  

 

That’s it for the apps. Here are the built-in features of OS X that I use to help me maintain focus and flow.

Quick Look – Take a look at the contents of a file by hitting space bar — no need to wait for an application to launch.

Spotlight menu – Find files, but also do calculations, preview file contents, preview web pages, and look up words in the dictionary.

Keyboard shortcuts

  • Command-Tab to switch between running applications
  • Command-~ to switch between windows in an app
  • Control-Tab to cycle through tabs in Safari
  • Command-1 through Command-9 to go to the first 9 bookmarks in Safari’s bookmarks bar
  • and MANY MORE

Text Expansion: – Set up abbreviations & expansions to quickly type common words, phrases, even paragraphs. How to set up in 10.6, How to set up in 10.7+

Emoji panel – Quick access to special characters and even Emoji in OS X.

Questions

Q: Can you recommend a good app to find (and delete) duplicate files?

A: I’ve tried out a handful of apps for this, and found one that worked so well that I stopped looking. It’s made by Rocky Sand Studio and called “The Duplicate Finder”.  As I was looking up the details, I noticed it’s on sale on the Mac App Store, so if you think you might use this, it’s a good time to buy.
10.7+, $2.99, Rocky Sand Studio,  

Q: Can I use the Spotlight menu and just search for files? I don’t always want all the other kinds of results (contacts, applications, web pages, etc.)

A: Yes! Learn a bit of special syntax and you can use the system-wide Spotlight menu to search just by filename, limit the search to just images, etc. You can also use words like AND and NOT to refine the results. Here is some documentation to get you started:

Q: How large is the Spotlight index? Do I need to worry about how much space it takes up?

A: Great question! I don’t have a lot of info about how big a “normal” index should be. I checked my computers and external drives and found that on my boot drives, the size of the index is right around 1% of the total size of the data on the drive. On my non-boot drives, it’s much smaller, and I don’t have a good guess why that is. My biggest index is 4.5 gigabytes.

I hope you find this helpful! If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, or email me, adam@adamrice.org.