Archive for January 13, 2020

Monday, January 13, 2020

macOS Filename Homoglyphs Revisited

Adam Chester (tweet):

Last year I posted a few tricks to help when targeting MacOS users, and included a technique useful for spoofing file extensions with the aim of taking advantage of Finder’s removal of the .app extension from certain filenames.

A few weeks ago I was about to use this on an engagement and found that Apple had patched the tricks presented previously. While this was frustrating for me as an attacker, it did provide an opportunity to dig into the fix, understand just how filenames are now being sanitised by MacOS Catalina, and see if I could bypass this again.

See also: Howard Oakley.

Lambda the Ultimate Pattern Factory

thma (via Heath Matlock):

One of my earliest findings was that several of the GoF-Patterns had a stark resemblance of structures that are built into in functional languages: for instance the strategy pattern corresponds to higher order functions in fp[…]

Recently, while re-reading through the Typeclassopedia I thought it would be a good exercise to map the structure of software design-patterns to the concepts found in the Haskell type class library and in functional programming in general.

iPod and Other History via Tony Fadell

Tony Fadell:

It took 4+ yrs to ship Magic Cap v1.0 - our leaders wanted to avoid making the same mistakes they had made with MacOS v1.0 We all learned how important it is to stick to a schedule. The “new” internet crushed GM. Real artists ship - fast & iterate fast!

Tony Fadell:

The real reason why iPod & iPhone were successful was based on the market timing & the complete ground up design (HW+SW) That said, I pushed to ship the 1st iPod in <10 months. Long timelines are the death of daring projects inside (struggling) companies. We even surprised SJ!

Tony Fadell:

[The small Toshiba hard drive] was a critical component no doubt. But even more important was the “exclusive supply” agreement I/we negotiated to enable us to get the hdd for 3+ years before any of our competitors could… Toshiba didn’t think MP3 players were a big market - they thought it was laptops.

Benedict Evans:

At 3GSM in 2005 a Motorola exec explained to me how hard they were working to put an HDD into a phone to compete with you. Six months later the Nano came out...

Tony Fadell:

I bet the whole product & business on a processor from a tiny unknown startup who had failed once to deliver. Most big companies would NEVER do such a risky thing.

Tony Fadell:

Design + HW + SW + App (then later + Content)

But even more importantly - continually introducing new products at lower price points while adding new features at the high end. That was the way iPod locked up the market with consumers.

Tony Fadell:

Many sleepless nights worrying about Sony. It was one of my biggest questions I asked Steve during the first pitch “Sony owns every audio market category.…”

MSFT - no worries - they weren’t a SW+HW innovator like they are today. I would worry about them now however.

Tony Fadell:

I was at the starting point of first 18 gens of iPod that shipped (& a few generations that didn’t ship). Was a team effort, but mainly technology driven since we could only deliver what we could push the tech to do.

You are defined by what you do & also by what you don’t do.

Tony Fadell:

I remember the day when Steve called me to the Board Room to personally sign a $4B purchase order for Samsung Flash for the Nano. “Are you sure we are ordering the right stuff? It’s going to work, right?” It was the biggest single order Apple had ever placed at the time.

Tony Fadell:

iPod Nano, yet-to-be-launched, was about to use >40% of the world’s flash. Samsung would build new factories to support our, what we hoped, incredible sales volume.

Tony Fadell:

Sony Corp was too concerned about the declining CD music sales in the Sony Music Entertainment business. They didn’t want to appear to embrace MP3s - since that implied the music was stolen. Corporate politics. Reminds me of Kodak who invented the digital camera…

Tony Fadell:

Luckily our good friend @waltmossberg helped us (or should I say “convinced the non-believer, Steve”) make the (highly religious) decision ship the iPod for PC!

Walt Mossberg:

Just to be clear: I had no agenda, owned no Apple or Microsoft stock and took no money or goods from either. As I recall, Jobs and I were in the middle of a long chat, and he asked what I thought of putting iTunes on Windows. I asked if he was considering it. He said yes.

I merely said two true things: (a) some readers had been emailing me to ask if this was going to happen and (b) there was a low upper limit to Mac owners. I wasn’t trying to “convince” him and left thinking only that I’d learned, off the record, that he was considering it.

Steve Jarrett:

We started working on Windows sync earlier, right after xpod. There even was a secret iPod Windows Connectivity SDK for any app to sync. MusicMatch used that. Steve changed his mind, killed the SDK, and decided instead to port iTunes to Windows. Fateful.

Walt Mossberg:

I recall him actually asking me if MusicMatch was a good Windows app. I said yes and pointed out that I had given it favorable reviews in my column. I had the impression he was going to sort of designate it as the Windows software for the iPod.

Tony Fadell:

This was the exact conversation I referred to & that @waltmossberg didn’t know about. Afterwards we committed to shipping iPod on the PC… the rest is history.

This was Steve’s way of settling this highly contentious decision. He didn’t want to say YES to us & we wouldn’t take NO from him. So SJ said, well let’s get someone external, who we trust, to help us get to the right answer…


What do you get when the creators of the Macintosh, iPod, Android, Ebay, Linked In, Nest, Flash, and the future CTO of the United States try to invent the iPhone a decade before its time? General Magic was a spin-off of Apple tasked with creating the ultimate personal digital assistant. It failed. Filmmakers Matt Maude and Sarah Kerruish join Leo Laporte to talk about their new documentary, General Magic, which chronicles the rise and fall of the greatest failed company in Silicon Valley.

See also: Tony Fadell on The Tim Ferriss Show (tweet).