Archive for September 19, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Minor 10.9.4 OS Update Breaks LabelWriter

Ted Landau:

The end result is that a functioning printer is headed for the garbage heap (or perhaps to a Windows user) because Dymo is unable or unwilling to fix a software incompatibility. And it cost me $100 to replace a printer that ought to still be usable.

My LabelWriter 330 used to Just Work. Now it sort of “works” with 10.9.5. It can indeed still print, but lately it’s been unreliable. Often, the job queue will pause itself right after I print. Manually resuming it causes half the label to be printed, thus ruining the label. Usually it will thereafter work for a bunch of labels in a row.

Update (2016-11-18): It works if I connect it directly to the Mac rather than via a USB hub.

Facts and Thinking

Brent Simmons:

The point of school is to teach us how to think, after all.

But that always sounds to me like people arguing that you could learn the rules of English grammar without learning any of the actual words. The facts — and, especially, the stories — of the world are its words. That’s our vocabulary. That’s what we think with and about.


To “de-emphasize memorization” sounds like a thing everybody can agree on — except that I suspect it really means “we’ve made it so you don’t have to know what actually happened, which makes it easier for you to do well on the test, which makes us look good.”

iOS 8 Removes Camera Roll

Serenity Caldwell:

The Camera Roll has disappeared, and in its place is the Recently Added smart album, which collects images you’ve recently taken or added to your device. It joins app-specific and content-specific albums on the Albums page, along with the new Favorites album (more below). Sadly, Apple continues to decline to make a Screenshots smart album (to my own personal disappointment).

Keith Murphy:

Not a HUGE fan of what they did in getting rid of Camera Roll and Photostream! To save free space in iOS 7, I would take pictures and then delete them from my Camera Roll once they synced into Photostream. With the changes in iOS 8, I can no longer tell what’s been synced and what is still on my phone...

This is really confusing. I used to be able to view the Camera Roll from the Camera app, so it was easy to go access recent shots and then go back to taking photos. Now, the Camera app just lets you open the Photos app, showing the recent photos full-sized. If you want to see thumbnails of the recent photos, you have to tap All Photos. But then you are in the Photos app for real, and there’s no button to get back to the camera.

It’s always been necessary to prune the locally stored photos now and then; otherwise they will consume all the space on your phone. Now, there is seemingly no way to see, from the phone, which photos I should be pruning. And there’s still no way to delete a large number of photos without individually tapping them. The Image Capture app on the Mac is needed now more than ever.

Update (2014-09-19): Allyson Kazmucha:

The bottom line is this — the Camera Roll has been nixed in favor of using the Photos tab. Recently Added on the other hand is simply a collection of all your recently taken photos across all your devices. So just think of Recently Added as replacing your personal Photo Stream.

I find it bizarre that there is no way to tell (a) which photos are only stored on the device, (b) which photos were taken with this device, or (c) which photos are on Apple’s server.

Update (2014-09-20): Lukas Mathis:

While this is incredibly annoying to people who know what they’re doing and want to have the ability to manage photos manually, a lot of iPhone owners — perhaps most of them — do not manually manage the photos on their phones, and would not do so if they had the option.

With the current combination of too-low storage capacities and a cloud solution that isn’t there yet, I think having manual controls is the least bad option.

Update (2014-09-22): Ole Begemann:

When you enable iCloud Photo Library on iOS 8, it is no longer possible to delete images from an iPhone using Image Capture on the Mac.

Thoughts on Music Formats

Marco Arment:

So I can see why people in the music business might think it’s important to make and sell interactive, multimedia music formats (what decade is this?) to compete, but I don’t think they stand a chance. Every trend in music is going in the opposite direction.


In 2007, Steve Jobs wrote an essay called “Thoughts on Music” to attempt to pressure the big record labels into agreeing to DRM-free music sales. […] I’m sure it’s a coincidence, but I’m having a hard time finding “Thoughts on Music” on Apple’s site anymore. Here’s the Internet Archive’s copy — the only live copy I found is in the Korean Hot News archive.

See also: Thoughts on Music.

iOS 8 Encrypts More Data With Passcode


On devices running iOS 8, your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode. Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.

Chris Welch:

But has everything changed with iOS 8? This document on iOS 8 security measures suggests that’s the case, showing that Apple has extended deep encryption protections to more of its own apps. “Key system apps, such as Messages, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and Photos use Data Protection by default, and third-party apps installed on iOS 7 or later receive this protection automatically,” it reads.

Jonathan Zdziarski:

It’s important to take a minute, however, to note that this does not mean that the police can’t get to your data. What Apple has done here is create for themselves plausible deniability in what they will do for law enforcement. If we take this statement at face value, what has likely happened in iOS 8 is that photos, messages, and other sensitive data, which was previously only encrypted with hardware-based keys, is now being encrypted with keys derived from a PIN or passcode. No doubt this does improve security for everyone, by marrying encryption to the PIN (something they ought to have been doing all along). While it’s technically possible to brute force a PIN code, that doesn’t mean it’s technically feasible, and thus lets Apple off the hook in terms of legal obligation. Add a complex passcode into the mix, and it gets even uglier, having to choose any of a number of dictionary style attacks to get into your encrypted data. By redesigning the file system in this fashion (if this is the case), Apple has afforded themselves the ability to say, “the phone’s data is encrypted with a PIN or passphrase, and so we’re not legally required to hack it for you guys, so go pound sand”. I am quite impressed, Mr. Cook! That took courage… but it does not mean that your data is beyond law enforcement’s reach.

For example, if they have access to your Mac:

While your photos and messages might indeed now be encrypted with a key derived from your PIN, the pairing records stored on your desktop have a “backup copy” of your keybag keys (the escrow bag), which can be used to unlock the encryption on your phone – without a PIN. Again, this was added so that iTunes could talk to your phone while it is still locked.


Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take to ensure your privacy. One small trick is to shut down your iPhone whenever you go through airport security or customs. Why? Because Apple has included a kill switch that prevents your pairing records from being able to unlock your iPhone if it’s been shut down. The pairing record vulnerability only works if you’ve used your phone since it was last rebooted. Secondly, make sure you’re using strong encryption on your desktop / laptops, and make sure your computers are all shut down when not in use… especially when going through airport security. There are a number of forensics tools capable of dumping the memory (and therefore, encryption keys) of your encrypted disk if you’ve left your computer asleep or in hibernate mode. Shut it down.