Archive for October 3, 2018

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Wi-Fi Alliance Introduces Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi Alliance (Hacker News):

Wi-Fi 6 is part of a new naming approach by Wi-Fi Alliance that provides users with an easy-to-understand designation for both the Wi-Fi technology supported by their device and used in a connection the device makes with a Wi-Fi network.

The new naming system identifies Wi-Fi generations by a numerical sequence which correspond to major advancements in Wi-Fi. The generation names can be used by product vendors to identify the latest Wi-Fi technology a device supports, by OS vendors to identify the generation of Wi-Fi connection between a device and network, and by service providers to identify the capabilities of a Wi-Fi network to their customers. The generational terminology may also be used to designate previous Wi-Fi generations, such as 802.11n or 802.11ac.

Jacob Kastrenakes:

It’ll probably make more sense this way, starting with the first version of Wi-Fi, 802.11b:

Wi-Fi 1: 802.11b (1999)
Wi-Fi 2: 802.11a (1999)
Wi-Fi 3: 802.11g (2003)
Wi-Fi 4: 802.11n (2009)
Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ac (2014)

Jason Snell:

Much as I’ll miss the esoteric letters, this will be a heck of a lot easier to explain to non-techie family and friends. We’re all accustomed to version numbers these days.

The one downside (for users) is that it probably will end up making some people feel like they need to upgrade when their setup is still probably fine—the limiting factor to your Internet speeds isn’t usually your Wi-Fi setup. (Still on Wi-Fi 4 here, friends!)

Update (2018-10-09): Glenn Fleishman:

The Wi-Fi Alliance’s new numbering system focuses on generations of speed improvements but looks back only to 802.11n, which is a decade old. Given that 802.11a and 802.11b were approved at the same time, implicitly calling them Wi-Fi 1 and Wi-Fi 2, and extending Wi-Fi 3 to 802.11g, isn’t quite right. But we anticipate people will do it anyway.

Still in macOS 10.14 Mojave

Uluroo (tweet):

Finding the hidden gems of macOS is like paleontology — the old gets buried by the new, but what you can find if you dig is pretty great. At the same time that macOS has changed, aged, and buried its past, it’s left fossils behind. Not all of the old stuff is still around, but the bits that have lasted are the bits worth knowing about. You can find them if you just start digging.


⌘⇧Y: send selected text to a new Stickies note on the desktop. Uluroo is astonished that he had never known this shortcut until yesterday. Apple has let Stickies fade into the background of macOS, but at least it hasn’t killed the app completely.


⌥⇧ while changing volume and brightness: adjust those in quarter increments. This gives similar precision to that offered by the brightness and volume sliders in iOS.


Many of Dashboard’s built-in widgets have a refreshingly retro, though inconsistent, aesthetic: Stocks, Dictionary, Weather, Calculator, Calendar, and more all look like they’ve gone untouched since the days of Scott Forstall. The World Clock widget’s second hand moves in the same way as a real clock, rather than moving in a smooth, uninterrupted motion like in iOS and watchOS.


.textclipping. You can literally drag text to the desktop as a .textclipping file and AirDrop it.

Previously: Removed in macOS 10.14 Mojave.

Microsoft Is Embracing Android As the Mobile Version of Windows

Tom Warren (Hacker News):

The Android app mirroring will be part of Microsoft’s new Your Phone app for Windows 10. This app debuts this week as part of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, but the app mirroring part won’t likely appear until next year. Microsoft briefly demonstrated how it will work, though; You’ll be able to simply mirror your phone screen straight onto Windows 10 through the Your Phone app, which will have a list of your Android apps. You can tap to access them and have them appear in the remote session of your phone.


Microsoft’s best mobile work is debuting on Android right now, and if you’re a Windows user then Google’s operating system has always felt like the natural companion anyway. As Microsoft can’t replicate a lot of Your Phone functionality on iPhones, Android now feels like the only choice if you want a close mobile connection to a Windows PC.

Previously: Microsoft Suspends Development of Touch-friendly UWP Office Apps.

Vice News Interviews Tim Cook About Privacy

Vice News:

Reeve: But haven’t they moved to China? Meaning: it’s much easier for the Chinese government to get to them.

Cook: Now, I wouldn’t get caught up in where’s the location of it?. I mean, we have servers located in many different countries in the world. They’re not easier to get data from being in one country versus the next. The key question is [sic]: how does the encryption process work? and who owns the keys, if anyone?. In most cases, for us, you and the receiver own the keys.

Via Nick Heer:

So it’s noticeable — and notable — when any Apple executive is cagey, as is the case here.


I don’t think it’s fair to say that Chinese users’ privacy is not subject to compromise. The actual method of encryption may not be any different or weaker than in other countries, but the requirement to store keys in the country behind weaker legal protections for users makes it, in practice, less strong.

See also: Apple Removes Infowars From Podcast Directory.

How App Launching Has Changed in Mojave

Howard Oakley:

This article draws comparison between what is written to the log when you open a regular developer-signed app in Sierra and Mojave, and how a new ‘notarized’ app works too. In each case, I added a quarantine extended attribute to the app before opening it, to simulate what happens when the app has been freshly downloaded from the internet. This drives macOS to perform its fullest assessment of the app before it allows it to run.


Once again, an early action is to translocate the app to a special folder, where XProtect performs its security assessment before running a malware scan on it. This initial security assessment takes just over 0.5 seconds, during which its signature is checked. As this is a first run in quarantine, this should include a deep check of the signature against blacklists.

When those are complete, LaunchServices is allowed to proceed with launching the app, but TCC, concerned with privacy protection, then runs its own assessment. Significantly, this includes checking which version of the SDK it was built against, which determines whether TCC’s strict new policies are applicable.

Previously: Mojave’s New Security and Privacy Protections Face Usability Challenges, Gatekeeper Path Randomization.

Why Apple Chooses Thin Devices

Danilo Campos:

So why is Apple making things thinner, rather than expanding battery life? Why are they sacrificing headphone ports to push their designs into thinner and thinner dimensions?

The answer is that anyone can make bulky tech with massive battery capacity.

But no one can build devices that are as miniaturized as Apple’s.

Through miniaturization, Apple creates products whose subjective experience of niceness cannot be matched.

However, there are diminishing returns and increasing tradeoffs for thinness.

Previously: Unreliable MacBook Pro Keyboards, The Impossible Dream of USB-C, Removing the iPhone’s Headphone Jack.