eXtensions - Thursday 2 April 2020
Thursday Diversion: 10 years of iPad; Fear, Security and Work Problems in Current Times
By Graham K. Rogers
Apple took a bottom up approach and there was already a wide range of apps that would work on the iPad. A couple of things caught everyone by surprise, including Apple (Phil Schiller mentioned this a couple of years back). Experiments with delivery systems, like Murdoch's iPad-only news app showed confidence in one area, but that particular attempt failed, in my opinion, because the app was US-only (international news for Heaven's sake) and the editorial team treated it like a real newspaper.
Several newspapers have failed in recent years because the web presence they knew they needed was just a transfered paper format. Others saw the potential of the iPad for more fluid news delivery and a number of much slicker news delivery apps appeared.
Apple iPad Pro - Image courtesy of Apple
I am far more likely to grab the iPad Pro for work, even when the MacBook Pro is available, because it is so nimble and much of the content I work on synchronises between the devices I use. The iPad does almost everything I want although (as I have mentioned before) there are 3 or 4 specific tasks that must be done on the Mac: camera tethering (though Hasselblad now have this - I have written to Nikon); scanning with a flatbed scanner; RSS newsfeed management; and FTP (although I have an FTP app on the iPad and iPhone, it is just easier to use the ones I have on the Mac).
I was caught a little off guard earlier this week when late in the evening I saw an email that purported to come from the Thai Police, clearly addressed to me, using one of my email accounts, but with no English content. I put the text through the Google Translate mincer but it did not seem to make much sense, apart from "medical" and 3 April. Having seen pictures of the crowds at Immigration because the authorities here, unlike many other countries, refuses to ease visa regulations, I was dreading a trip to that office. I am self-isolating for safety and I am fine, thank you very much.
Not an email summoning me to Police HQ
I looked at the raw source and the IP number was traced to a Hungarian provider, which certainly not used by the Thai Police. My address was marked as an "envelope" while the original recipient was a Thai businessman: the CEO of a large company, so unlikely to have sent this. I guess there are three possibilities: someone in the businessman's company used the email (or a copy) to create the message (unlikely); someone in the Police acting unofficially used the email or a copy to do this (remotely possible); or someone else used a copy and did the job, which is more likely.
The use of the email was another pointer as I only use this for emails sent by anyone using my website, so this could even be a bot working at random, or reacting to something I wrote: the keyword being Coronovirus or Covid-19. Be wary of emails or messages that arrive unexpectedly: some people intend to do damage however they can.
Although I put the start up chime back on my Mac mini at the office it took me a while before I was able to do this on the MacBook Pro. This is mainly because I work almost entirely in a user account. With some spare time, like a lot of people, I shut down the Mac one morning and when I restarted decided to include the start up tone. I entered the admin account, and then in terminal typed in the command entering the password that SUDO requires. I restarted the Mac and for the first time in a while, heard that soothing tone.
A Tweet from MacRumors told me (as expected) that there were also iWork updates for iPadOS adding support for trackpad and mouse. Unfortunately it did nothing to improve the way the trackpad has been under-performing on my iPad Pro. As well as this update, Pixelmator Pro (for the Mac) was updated to version 1.6, Magenta which has several new features and performance improvements. Over on iOS, Darkroom was one of several apps updated this week.
The one feature I need most is the ability to save to Files and it will not do that. I could send myself email, but that sort of defeat the object. Instead, I have to work in Facebook on the Mac, which opens in a browser page of course. From there, saving drops the file into Downloads and I can handle it easily from there and can complete the markup on the iPad. Then comes sending it back as, although there is an option in Files for exporting to Messenger, it always reports, that it was unable to load data.
Files and Messenger do not work happily together. So, I reverse the process and as the file is (usually) already in iCloud Files, open the folder in Finder on the Mac and drop the file onto the Messenger window. What a waste of time. In the light of several reports that the Zoom conferencing app has several security shortcomings (end-to-end encryption apparently is not end to end), reports in some sources have been pushing for an Android version of Apple's FaceTime. That would put the cat among the pigeons
I was writing an article on disposable and reusable cameras from Ilford this week and checked the price of one of the devices on CameraFilmPhoto, who are in Hong Kong. While I was looking at the site, I also checked availability of Ilford's most recent film: Ortho. I had seen it on other sites, but they did not ship here, while this site showed the film as out of stock. I was in luck, so placed an order for 5 rolls and added 5 rolls of Bergger Pancro 400 which I have good results from. When this arrives, I have no idea, although normal deliveries are made within 3-4 days. I am still waiting for 10 rolls of Kosmo Foto Mono 100 that I ordered from the UK just as everything was sitting down. I still have a few rolls of film in the fridge; not that the shops I use for developing are open; so I also have a growing collection of exposed film in the fridge.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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