Archive for August 9, 2019

Friday, August 9, 2019

Guardian Firewall 1.0

Sudo Security Group (via Will Strafach, Wired):

Guardian Firewall will be available [in] July. The cost is $9.99/month (or $99.99 per year) for VPN + Firewall capabilities. VPN-only service will be available at no cost.


Thousands of hours and a 5 month back-and-forth with Apple’s App Review team later, this mission has resulted in our creation of the first real firewall for iOS devices. Managed by a unique dataset that is the result of our continuous and exhaustive in-house research, Guardian Firewall updates instantaneously as we discover new threats to ensure that you don’t have to do any work at all.


The initial 1.0 release of Guardian Firewall primarily does one thing, and it does it well: Block those trying to track you, and tell you who they are as well as what types of data they likely tried to collect.


In order to effectively keep track of all known trackers being used on iOS, we periodically scan the App Store and use custom automated tooling to decompile, disassemble, and index the contents of iOS apps.


The Guardian Firewall app has been designed to simply act as a client for remotely hosted VPN servers running custom fully-featured firewall software[…]


“Mastered for iTunes” Becomes “Apple Digital Masters”

Nick Heer:

The way this is written makes it sound like Apple Digital Masters is equivalent to the lossless files offered by other platforms, but it is not. It is a rebranding of the Mastered for iTunes spec — probably because Apple is no longer using the soiled “iTunes” branding to refer to their music products, with the exception of the iTunes Store. This spec is important because it helps labels deliver music that is mastered specifically for a compressed audio format, not just a conversion from the CD or vinyl master. This is great.

It still uses 256kbps AAC files.

Bye-Bye iPad

Jeff Perry:

I simply don’t use an iPad anymore for my work.

No, this isn’t a “you can’t get real work done on an iPad” article. I have gotten real work done on an iPad for years and loved it, but due to some changes in my life the iPad isn’t the best tool for the job anymore.


If I am being totally honest, it isn’t just the editing that makes me want to use my Mac over the iPad. I’m not sure if it is me not always happy with certain limitations on iOS or if I am just used to the Mac, but something about the Mac allows me to work with less friction.


Launching the SwiftPM Library

Dave Verwer:

Introducing, the SwiftPM Library! It’s a Swift Package Manager search engine. There’s more information here but it should be fairly obvious what it does and how to use it.

Picking the right dependencies to add to your project is hard, and that’s what the SwiftPM Library aims to help with. There’s much more to do on that side of things, but I’m already analysing the Package.swift file, any relevant Xcode project files inside the library and the git history for each package to make sure that the search results recommend the best quality libraries first. I want to make it easy for you to make great decisions about what dependencies to use.

Apple Maps in iOS 13

Ryan Christoffel:

Timed with the spread of its first-party mapping data, Apple is giving the Maps app a big upgrade in iOS 13 that represents the company’s biggest push yet to overtake Google Maps as the world’s most trusted, go-to mapping service.


The hallmark feature of iOS 13's Maps is Look Around, which serves as a direct competitor to Google's popular Street View. It enables viewing and moving through a 3D representation of the world from the perspective of a car on the road. Google launched Street View over 12 years ago, so Apple is laughingly late to the game with Look Around, but it aims to atone for its delay by offering a more modern, elegant experience than Google.

Outside of Look Around, some of the biggest changes in the new Maps app reside in an improved navigation panel. Favorites have been revamped and made more accessible, while a new Collections feature makes it easy to save groups of locations for revisiting later.

What I really want to know: how is the basic map data?

Clark Goble:

Regarding rural driving - people not used to driving in open areas don’t quite understand the problem. Most places don’t have addresses so turn by turn is useless or highly inaccurate. So directions refer to roads but when zoomed out you can’t see any of the roads.

This isn’t a problem in the city, but I wish both Apple and Google would just have an option to display secondary roads. Both also confuse paved secondary roads, dirt roads, and OHV dirt roads.


Update (2019-08-13): Craig Grannell:

I’ve used the new Apple Maps quite a bit, and it is an improvement. Apple’s Street View rip-off, ‘Look Around’, not only sounds like a terrible 1970s BBC family TV show, but it’s smoother and more useful (what with inline POIs) than Google’s equivalent. Also, Apple now gives you shareable collections, and still actually knows what colour roads are supposed to be on maps in the UK. (Hint, Google: motorways are BLUE; A roads are GREEN.)

But the wheels come off unless you’re living in a big US city, and armed with as much data as your phone can eat – on a connection that never dies. Head beyond a handful of US cities and Look Around vanishes entirely. The lack of a map download option means Apple Maps is effectively useless unless you’re online.