Archive for April 24, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

Risky Business

David Sparks:

At the end of this process I found myself repeatedly coming back to my hypothetical death bed. If I was laying somewhere right now facing down the reaper, what would I regret more? It then became crystal clear to me.

If I let MacSparky and the Field Guides linger and wither, I would never forgive myself.

With that realization, a long tortuous decision process found clarity and purpose. I realized that if I ever had my ladder leaning against the wall of being a hot-shot partner in a big law firm, it had long since moved. I love being a small, crafty country doctor lawyer. The small business David that uses his Mac to sling rocks at big firm Goliaths.


I’m doing it the way any self-respecting geek would. I’m pulling pieces of technology together to make me look like superman in both the MacSparky and legal world. I’m having a lot of fun developing new workflows and, yes, I’ll be writing and screencasting about that here.

iOS 8.3 Blocks File Managers and Transfer Utilities

Joe Rossignol (via Josh Centers):

Apple has changed security settings in iOS 8.3 that prevent file managers and transfer utilities such as iFunBox, iTools, iExplorer, iBackupBot and PhoneView from gaining access to app directories on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The change breaks current versions of transfer utilities for OS X and Windows, forcing many developers to release new versions of their software with workarounds that restore at least partial sandbox access.

The new versions can only access files from apps that have iTunes file sharing enabled, and then only from the shared folders. This is a major loss because file access is important for backing up and salvaging files, and for selectively restoring them. (iCloud and iTunes backups are more opaque, incomplete, and all-or-nothing.) I’ve also found file access essential when communicating with app developers to troubleshoot misbehaving apps. I can just look in PhoneView to send a log file or folder listing.

Apple’s intent with the change seems to be to protect users from malicious Mac (and Windows) apps that were installing files onto people’s iPhones, or perhaps surreptitiously reading private app data. If that’s the case, it would make sense to offer an “unlock” feature for when the user wants to grant access.

Mentioning Pebble in the App Store

Steve (Hacker News):

We have just had the latest version of our SeaNav US iOS app rejected by Apple because we support the Pebble Smartwatch and say so in the app description and meta-data (we also state in the review notes that “This application was approved for use with the Pebble MFI Accessory in the Product Plan xxxxxx-yyyy (Pebble Smartwatch)”.  See copy of rejection reason below.

SeaNav US has previously been approved by Apple with no problem, we have had Pebble support in SeaNav for nearly 2 years and there are no changes to our support for the Pebble in this version.


The problem appears to be that Apple has reclassified smart watches as a “mobile platform” whereas they did not before. So suddenly having an app so much as mention a smart watch brand is tantamount to mentioning, say, Android.


According to other posts in the linked discussion, other apps are being rejected under the same rationale and for the same reasons, and attempts to appeal those rejections aren’t going through (Apple’s reviewers are continuing to reject new versions of these apps until they remove any/all mention of “Pebble” in their metadata).

So apparently this is now Apple policy, rather than a reviewer’s mistake. This is certainly bad for iPhone users, since almost any accessory could potentially be considered a “mobile platform.” What’s next? Rejecting Fitbit’s app? I can’t see how this policy helps anyone, even Apple. Pebble support doesn’t diminish Apple Watch; the two watches are not even in direct competition. Rather, it increases the value of the iPhone platform to have all these devices working with iOS. Past App Store rejections have made Apple look petty, or perhaps evil. This one just makes it look stupid.