Breaking: Third-Party Twitter-Apps in June August

Once again Twitter is about to do what we’ve come to expect from the company. From Apps of a Feather:

Third-party apps open a network connection to Twitter and receive a continuous stream of updates (hence the name). For push notifications, this connection is done on the developer’s server and used to generate messages that are sent to your devices. For timeline updates, the stream is opened directly on your mobile device or desktop computer.

This streaming connection is being replaced by an Account Activity API. This new infrastructure is based on “webhooks” that Twitter uses to contact your server when there’s activity for an account. But there are problems for app developers…

This change, currently poised to happen after June 19th August 16th, 2018, means two main things: push notifications will no longer arrive and timelines won’t refresh automatically anymore. Currently there’s no way for third-party developers to fix these things. Twitter has yet to give third-party developers access to the new Account Activity API. But even if they should get access in time to fix their applications, things like push notifications will be inherently limited, essentially rendering them useless:

With access we might be able to implement some push notifications, but they would be limited at the standard level to 35 Twitter accounts – our products must deliver notifications to hundreds of thousands of customers.

Terminal for iOS: A local terminal for your iPhone and iPad

There have been plenty of apps for iPhone and iPad that allow you to connect to a remote server, via ssh for example. I use a mix of Termius and Prompt for these. But now there’s a new, if simple, app in town that gives you a local shell on your iOS device.

The simple yet properly named app called Terminal by Louis D’hauwe currently only includes some basic commands, so you won’t (yet?) find your whole collection of tools. In it’s current status it feels like a great start with hopefully many more features to come in future updates, mostly the mentioned toolbox you can find on most Linux/Unix machines.

Terminal is a free download on the App Store. You can also find the source on GitHub which gives me even more hope that new features will be added quickly.

Apple delays HomePod until Early 2018

Apple just released a statement about the upcoming HomePod:

We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers. We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.

Originally scheduled for December this means Apple will miss the upcoming holidays. The question is why did Apple announce it so early, in June 2017, even with a supposed launch in December. Did they run into issues with the production, the hardware or software itself?

watchOS 4.0.1 fixes Apple Watch Wi-Fi (and LTE) issues

When the first reviews of the new Apple Watch Series 3 came out there were a couple of reviewers that ran into issues with their watches trying to use previously saved Wi-Fi networks that use so-called captive portals. You may have seen these portals when using public Wi-Fi hotspots at Starbucks or using in-flight service on your favorite airline. They usually require you to accept their Terms of Service or something similar, which isn’t an issue on a normal device.

If you connected to one of those, say on your iPhone or Mac, they’ll be saved on your other devices as well, to make it easier when you try to connect with them as well later on. The problem is, these Wi-Fi networks are – or were – being synced to watchOS as well. Since the Apple Watch has no interface for you to agree to any ToS, you weren’t able to successfully connect to them. This resulted in the Watch getting stuck half way without a network connection.

For the Apple Watch Series 3 with Cellular this also meant that it wouldn’t let go of it and use LTE to get a connection, resulting in zero service – even though LTE might have been available where you were.

watchOS 4.0.1 which was publicly released today fixes this bug. So if you own an Apple Watch you might want to go to your Watch app on your iPhone and look for software updates and install it. Make sure to connect your Watch to the charging puck and not take it off before it’s done updating.

Apple is sorry about your iCloud spam, and working on a fix

Apple’s statement about the recent increase of iCloud calendar spam to Rene Ritchie:

We are sorry that some of our users are receiving spam calendar invitations. We are actively working to address this issue by identifying and blocking suspicious senders and spam in the invites being sent.

Not sure “identifying and blocking suspicious senders and spam in the invites” is enough to get rid of this problem. The whole idea of being able to freely send calendar invites to anyone with an email address – or abuse Apples iCloud Photo Sharing – is frightening. I’m actually surprised it took the spammers this long to finally find this opening.

San Francisco Subway Hackers Now Threaten to Publicly Dump Data

Joseph Cox for Motherboard:

Over the weekend, riders of San Francisco’s municipal transit system (Muni) were allowed to travel for free because hackers had infected subway computers with ransomware. According to CSO Online, the attackers have demanded some $73,000 worth of bitcoin.

Now, the hackers have made a new threat: the release of 30GB of databases and documents belonging to the San Francisco Muni, including contracts and employee data, if they don’t receive payment.

https://twitter.com/josephfcox/status/803356374398857216

Update: According to SF Gate Muni fixed their systems and are back up running without even communicating with the attackers.

Sal Soghoian leaves Apple

The macOS Automation Sites:

Q. I hear you no longer work for Apple; is that true?

A. Correct. I joined Apple in January of 1997, almost twenty years ago, because of my profound belief that “the power of the computer should reside in the hands of the one using it.” That credo remains my truth to this day. Recently, I was informed that my position as Product Manager of Automation Technologies was eliminated for business reasons. Consequently, I am no longer employed by Apple Inc. But, I still believe my credo to be as true today as ever.

Q. What are you going to do?

A. Effective December 1, I will be considering opportunities and available for consulting. In the meantime, sign up to receive User Automation news, and I will keep you posted.

A sad day.

About that developer angle at WWDC

On yesterday’s Upgrade podcast with Jason Snell and Mike Hurley they talked about products that would only be introduced at WWDC if they had a developer angle1.

Seeing that it boils down to almost guaranteed updates for iOS and OS X – with a possible introduction of a new Apple TV we could see a couple of news that would have this angle. These news might further tie in into the streaming services, that are rumoured to be announced in early June to be launched later that month.

Apple Watch on the other hand may be largely absent from the show, with Apple just saying “We’ll get back to you later this year” when they are ready to show a WatchOS beta that brings a native Watch SDK. Continue reading “About that developer angle at WWDC”