The Northern Spy: A busy month for Apple watchers
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

The Northern Spy: A busy month for Apple watchers

By Rick Sutcliffe

Cupertino handed us a flurry of products this month, and more are on the horizon, hopefully software updates to the software updates.

First up and of greatest interest to the most people are two new versions of the iPhone--the 8 and the X (pronounced "10"). The Spy understands that the numbering is intended to be celebratory of the tenth anniversary of the iPhone's introduction, but skipping a number in the sequence seems strange. What comes next? The 9 or the XI?

And why two models at once--the one a fairly pedestrian (some would say boring) upgrade from the 7, the other a substantial change with many new features?

The more important question is who will buy these? The 8 might be of interest to first time iPhone purchasers and/or those on a slightly limited budget. At a grand US$, the X will appeal to the "upgrade at all costs" crowd--perhaps the more-so than if it were less money. Whether Apple can make sufficient to meet demand, given the problems they are having with the face recognition camera remains to be seen. OTOH, some will be put off by the price so...

The Spy will pass on both and keep his 6+ until Apple terminates its support--maybe longer.

Meanwhile, High Sierra (10.13) is now available. The nominal compatibility list is the same as for Sierra (10.12). However, this upgrade introduces a new file system (APFS), which means that any programs or utilities tied to the old file system, such as disk and file utilities, may not (probably will not) work with the new OS. Among other things, APFS does not support formatting Fusion drives with the new file system, and does support only Macs with all-flash drives built in (which it will covert from HFS+ to APFS format automatically). Beta testers having fusion drives will have to convert them back--no small task. Additional support may be added at a later date, but this should not be thought of as guaranteed. However, APFS is claimed to be faster and more secure.

Likewise, Apple pushed out iOS 11.0.1 to repair problems with 11.0. Unfortunately, widespread reports of instabilities and new problems have surfaced, though the Spy has yet to experience any. Caveat upgrader.

New scams seem to flood the techverse lately. Hardly a day goes by without an email from someone purporting to be the Spy's email provider and threatening to cancel one or more of his accounts if he does not click on a provided link and "sign on". Ditto Yahoo,, Google, Facebook, and other accounts. These are all phishing attempts to steal usernames and passwords.

So are the web pages that freeze on a message (purportedly from Apple or Microsoft) informing the user that their computer has problems that can only be fixed by calling them, providing the means to log on remotely and letting tem do the "necessary" maintenance. The fee may only be $300 for the first year, but rises to over $3000 the second year (bargainable down to $1000.) The services that appear to be performed (checked with a virtual machine) are routine and could be done by anyone, but the risk is that serious malware might be installed. Otherwise this appears to be mainly a money grab with no value. Just quit the browser and run it again, but don't return to the infected website.

The telephone versions "You have not upgraded your free Google account" and "Your Windows computer needs servicing" are getting old, but the Spy receives at least one of each per day. Another daily (sometimes several per) are the ones offering to sell a domain "with a name similar to one of yours". Since the scammer rarely actually owns the domain, you can almost always buy it cheaper from a reputable domain seller.

Recent technology buys continue to perform yoemen's work. Last year's major purchase was a John Deere X380 lawn tractor. Now finishing its second season and over the 50-hour mark, all systems are tickety-boo. The Spy's only caveat is that the the automatic bagging system is none too robust and seems unlikely to see ten years without needing replacing.

Ditto this year's purchase of a new 2017 Subaru Forester, which is already approaching the 14000Km mark. Other than the somewhat sloppily programmed adaptive cruise control (too aggressive) the Spy cannot fault this machine, and plans to keep it until gas engines and steering wheels are outlawed (or he is).

Most recent buy however was merely a replacement for his computer bag, which had begun to split along the seam where the handle tab was sewn. Too much pressure on a seam that couldn't take it. Mind, this bag was a gift from Apple at WWDC 2003, so it hasn't died an early death.
After checking out local retail outlets and a major online bag distributer whose people couldn't be bothered answering their email, the Spy settled on the Samsonite Columbian leather business bag (model 49535-1139) in brown (also available in black) with five zippered compartments (the larger two both divided into three) from the local Bentley store. He notes Samsonite also has a larger case with wheels, but that was overkill for his needs. This one has rectangular tabs on the ends of the handles that are sewn all around into the body of the bag. This and the leather construction ought to prevent tearing, as the seams are not stressed.

Yes, it could have been bought for somewhat less online, but not before the old bag tore itself completely apart on the top seam. Brick and mortar stores are still useful at times. Wonder when they too will disappear?

--The Northern Spy

Opinions expressed here are entirely the author's own, and no endorsement is implied by any community or organization to which he may be attached. Rick Sutcliffe, (a. k. a. The Northern Spy) is professor of Computing Science and Mathematics at Canada's Trinity Western University. He has been involved as a member of or consultant with the boards of several organizations, and participated in developing industry standards at the national and international level. He is a co-author of the Modula-2 programming language R10 dialect. He is a long time technology author and has written two textbooks and ten alternate history SF novels, one named best ePublished SF novel for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers (paper and online), and he's a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of B.C. since 1972.

Want to discuss this and other Northern Spy columns or Rick's SF? Check out the Arjay blog at http://www.arjay.bc.ca/blog/

URLs for Rick Sutcliffe's Arjay Enterprises:
The Northern Spy Home Page: http: //www. TheNorthernSpy. com
opundo : http: //opundo. com
Sheaves Christian Resources : http: //sheaves. org
WebNameHost : http: //www. WebNameHost. net
WebNameSource : http: //www. WebNameSource. net
nameman : http: //nameman. net

General URLs for Rick Sutcliffe's Books:
Author Site: http: //www. arjay. ca
Publisher's Site: http: //www. writers-exchange. com/Richard-Sutcliffe. html
The Fourth Civilization--Ethics, Society, and Technology (4th 2003 ed. ): http: //www. arjay. bc. ca/EthTech/Text/index. html

URLs for resources mentioned in this column
Prairie Coast Equipment (John Deere Dealer in Langley BC): http://www.prairiecoastequipment.com/custompage.asp?pg=langley
Samsonite Bag: http://shop.samsonite.com/business/samsonite-colombian-leather-zip-toplo...

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Parallels Desktop 13.3.0 - Run Windows a...
Parallels allows you to run Windows and Mac applications side by side. Choose your view to make Windows invisible while still using its applications, or keep the familiar Windows background and... Read more
Bookends 13.0.6 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more
macOS 10.13.3 Supplemental Update 1.0 -...
macOS High Sierra Supplemental Update includes security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of Spectre. Version 1.0: Update fixes an issue where using certain character... Read more
Chromium 64.0.3282.167 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 64.0.3282.167: [806388] High CVE-2018-6056:... Read more
Chromium 64.0.3282.167 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 64.0.3282.167: [806388] High CVE-2018-6056:... Read more
Parallels Desktop 13.3.0 - Run Windows a...
Parallels allows you to run Windows and Mac applications side by side. Choose your view to make Windows invisible while still using its applications, or keep the familiar Windows background and... Read more
Bookends 13.0.6 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more
macOS 10.13.3 Supplemental Update 1.0 -...
macOS High Sierra Supplemental Update includes security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of Spectre. Version 1.0: Update fixes an issue where using certain character... Read more
ffWorks 1.0.6 - Convert multimedia files...
ffWorks (was iFFmpeg), focused on simplicity, brings a fresh approach to the use of FFmpeg, allowing you to create ultra-high-quality movies without the need to write a single line of code on the... Read more
Adobe Acrobat 18.011.20035 - Powerful PD...
Acrobat DC is available only as a part of Adobe Creative Cloud, and can only be installed and/or updated through Adobe's Creative Cloud app. Adobe Acrobat DC with Adobe Document Cloud services is... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Alto's Odyssey (Games)
Alto's Odyssey 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Just beyond the horizon sits a majestic desert, vast and unexplored. Join Alto and his friends and set off on an endless... | Read more »
Check out these 5 games that are a lot l...
So you're in love with Minecraft, but you're looking for something else to play as well? You've come to the right place then, because this list is all about games that are a bit like Minecraft. Some of them, more than others. [Read more] | Read more »
Our top 5 characters from casual RPG Cre...
Creature Quest definitely lives up to its name with a host of collectible creatures based on fantasy tales and world mythologies. To celebrate Creature Quest’s first birthday, we’re going to lay out what we think are the five best characters in the... | Read more »
Around the Empire: What have you missed...
Did you know that Steel Media has a whole swathe of other sites dedicated to all aspects of mobile gaming? Sure you'll get the very best iPhone news, reviews, and opinions right here at 148Apps, but we don't want you missing out on a single piece... | Read more »
All the best games on sale for iPhone an...
Oh hi there, and welcome to our round-up of the best games that are currently on sale for iPhone and iPad. You thought I didn't see you there, did you, skulking behind the bushes? Trust me though, the bushes aren't where the best deals are. The... | Read more »
The Battle of Polytopia Guide - How to H...
A new update just released for The Battle of Polytopia (formerly Super Tribes), which introduces online multiplayer. For all the fans of Midjiwan’s lite take on Civilization, this is certainly welcome news, but playing online isn’t as easy and... | Read more »
Here are the very best mobile games to p...
It's Valentine's Day! Did you get loads of cards and chocolates and other tacky, simple expressions of human affection? Did you send out tat because you find it almost impossible to express emotion unless there's a section dedicated to it at your... | Read more »
Florence (Games)
Florence 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Florence is an interactive storybook from the award-winning lead designer of Monument Valley about the heart-racing highs and... | Read more »
Purrfect Date (Games)
Purrfect Date 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cats are a lil’ like marmite. Either you absolutely head-over-heels love’ em, or… nahhh, who are we kidding?! Everyone... | Read more »
More monsters to collect and evolve in C...
A laid-back mix of RPG and TCG, Creature Quest is all about building your deck, evolving your creatures and winning in battle. It’s the creation of VC Mobile, set up by Might and Magic producer Jon Van Caneghem. There are elements of that classic... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished Mac minis in stock again st...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished Mac minis starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: – 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP – 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Tuesday MacBook Deals: $250 off 15″ 2.9GHz Ma...
Adorama has the Silver 15″ 2.9GHz Apple MacBook Pro on sale today for $250 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax for residents in NY & NJ only: – 15″ 2.9GHz Silver MacBook Pro... Read more
Save up to $350 with these Apple Certified Re...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $350 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: – 27... Read more
B&H offers $200 discount on Silver 15″ Ma...
B&H Photo has Silver 15″ Apple MacBook Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 15″ 2.8GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Silver (... Read more
12″ Apple iPad Pro Sale of the Year! Models u...
B&H Photo has 12″ #iPad Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 12″ 64GB WiFi iPad Pro: $719 $80 off MSRP – 12″ 256GB WiFi... Read more
Deals on 32GB 9″ iPads: Up to $50 off MSRP, s...
B&H Photo has 2017 9.7″ 32GB iPads on sale for $299 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $30 off MSRP, and it’s currently the lowest price available for these... Read more
15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro available for o...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1699. That’s $300 off MSRP for this model, and it’s the lowest price available for a 15″ MacBook Pro currently offered by... Read more
13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro...
Amazon has the Silver 13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MPXX2LL/A) on sale for $1649.99 including free shipping. Their price is $150 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a new 13″... Read more
Saturday Sale: Amazon offers 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.8GHz/256B Apple MacBook Air on sale today for $250 off MSRP including free shipping: – 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A): $949.99, $250 off MSRP Their price is the lowest... Read more
Roundup of Apple Certified Refurbished 12″ Ma...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 12″ Retina MacBooks available for $200-$240 off the cost of new models. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Strategist, *Apple* Media Products, Content...
# Strategist, Apple Media Products, Content and Marketing Job Number: 113399632 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 20-Feb-2018 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Read more
*Apple* Store Leader - Retail District Manag...
Job Description:Job SummaryAs more and more people discover Apple , they visit our retail stores seeking ways to incorporate our products into their lives. It's your Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.