eXtensions - Friday 21 May 2021
Friday Review: Updates, Ordering and Shipping - Professionals and Amateurs; Command Line Internet
By Graham K. Rogers
This may be related in part to the shipping of the new iMacs and iPad Pro devices. Several sources noted recently that shipping times had slipped, and I saw that my own order had extended from 21 May, when US deliveries are expected to start, to 25 May - 6 June. However, on Wednesday morning I saw that the status of my order had been updated from Processing, to Preparing to Ship.
iPad Pro with M1 chip - Image courtesy of Apple
AirTags - Image courtesy of Apple
AirTag keyrings and loops - Image courtesy of Apple
Like many, I have shifted much of my buying to online sources. As soon as the Apple Store went online here, and in English after much pressure, I was quite happy to buy direct from Apple those goods that previously I would have bought from retail stores here. There were differences. As I always wanted non-basic items, like extra memory, that could be added when making the purchase online, but with the stores, it could take up to a couple of weeks. In addition, the concrete store purchases were pick up and carry home, while the free delivery from Apple meant I could have the items (hardware and when disks were used, software) sent to my office.
I do buy some accessories in the stores as needed, and that MacBook Air last year because I wanted it right away and the second store I went to had it available: bought right away.
On Windows there is a specific keystroke which of course did not work. On my Macs, I always sent up Command + space for this which goes back to pre-OS X days. That is now used for Spotlight. On the M1 Mac the Fn key also has a globe symbol like on the iPad Pro magic keyboard (and just below the iPhone keyboard). This can also be used to change languages and there is a setting for this in System Preferences > Keyboard. I cannot remember if the Fn key on the MacBook Air can do this. There is no globe symbol.
After giving a number of hints and suggestions, his next plan was to watch some videos on YouTube (I expect in Thai) that would explain things visually and orally.
His argument seems to be that with the openness of the Mac platform, even with the protections we provide (updates XProtect, et al) there are still attacks getting through. What would it be like for the wide range of users of iPhones and iPads, if we did not take a hand in controlling what can be done?
I teach about malware in my ethics classes and tease the students with the statement that, There are no viruses for the Mac. There is of course much malware these days in the way of Trojans, spyware, and other nasties. Apple sends out frequent updates to its protections (there have been 9 updates to its XProtect files this year). Although there are restrictions on the ways users can download files, with the limits being App Store and identified developers, users cn easily override these built-in restrictions. I do it myself.
Most of the attacks are invited in by the user: usually innocently; and often by trickery, such as phishing emails. I have had several in the last month from a bank, the Thai Post Office and True (a telecommunications company here). When I check the content (use View menu and Message) I usually see that it was sent to an email address I use specifically to filter such attacks. Then I look at sender information. An address ending in .br or .ru has not come from. Thai bank or the Post Office. I confirm with the IP number that might give me a source in Vladivostok or California or somewhere equally wrong. Most times I dump the email. Sometimes I inform the alleged source (Bank) and I may also keep a couple for teaching purposes. Most of my computer engineering students have never seen UNIX which makes me shake my head. When I first went online, the only way to make things work on the limited (pre-WWW) was at the command line.
The most recent logistics problem was this week. As I had things to do during the day, I selected a delivery time between 10:00 and 11:00 and paid extra for the Express Service, hoping that I could deal with this, collect a camera from my office, then visit a store for a bedding purchase and be back in time for lunch. At 10:12 the phone rang (good I thought). Instead of a delivery time, I was told that the delivery could not be made. Instead I was offered a slot of 16:00 to 17:00.
As there was a lot in the order and this saved me carrying a load, I shrugged my shoulders. To add insult to injury, a couple of hours later, a message (SMS) was sent at 11:28 - Order HSxxxxxxxxxxxx is confirmed. To be delivered on 2021-05-21,10:00 - 11:00. A case of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing.
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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