Teamwork

25 01 2015

Apple is working hard on using Sapphire glass for the iPhone’s touch screen.

GT Advanced Technology, in a partnership with Apple since 2013, tried to increase capacities and reduce costs with the application of an Ion Accelerator, a smaller brother of a gigantic machine, working in Switzerland at CERN, deep in the earth. It’s the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.

CERN has accelerators for the smallest particles physicists ever discovered. Established in 1954 near Geneva, CERN operates a Large Hadron Collider located 100 m under the Earth’s surface and using a 27 km circular tunnel to let small objects fly nearly with the speed of light.

What the heck is the connection between GT Advanced, CERN, and Apple?

Well, here is the story …

The World Wide Web began as a CERN project called ENQUIRE, initiated by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. Berners-Lee, a British scientist working at CERN, used a NeXT computer as the first web server in history.
The image shows this computer with the important sticker ‘Do not power down.’.

IMG_3429.PNG

NeXT?
You heard about this company?

Well, the NeXT Computer was a computer developed, manufactured, and sold by NeXT Inc., Fremont, California, a company founded by Steve Jobs and several other veterans of the Macintosh and Lisa teams, from 1988 until 1990. It ran the Mach- and BSD-derived, Unix-based NeXTSTEP operating system, with a unique GUI using a Display PostScript-based back end. The motherboard is square and fit into one of four identical slots in the enclosure. The NeXT Computer enclosure consisted of a 1-foot (305 mm) die-cast magnesium cube-shaped, black case, which led to the machine being informally referred to as “The Cube”. It cost $6,500.

So connecting the dots in this case means to connect communication between scientists at CERN, Steve Jobs NeXT computer, the atom smasher in Switzerland, and the far smaller brother in Mesa, Arizona, at GT Advanced Inc. which hopefully delivers Sapphire glass touch screens for future iPhones.

This all is a shining example of human teamwork and a message to all the fanboys of both sides, Google and Apple, to always keep in mind that nobody can claim to be the only one inventing things. Invention and innovation is always closely connected with a long history of preceding scintillations. It’s the task of businesses like Apple or others to use the results of research activities for developing products which delight people and enrich their lives.

The GT Advanced Technology story …

I wrote this article in September 2013 not knowing what happened with GTAT. So here is the story beginning in October 2013.

TUAW Oct 10, 2014

Re/Code is reporting that GT Advanced Technologies, the company Apple tapped to begin looking into making device screens from synthetic sapphire, is requesting court permission to close its plant in Arizona.
This comes days after the surprise announcement that GT had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In its filing, GT noted that it had not been able to meet certain manufacturing operation and quality control metrics, causing Apple to withhold a US$139 million loan installment coming due in October.
A total of $578 million had been floated by Apple to help GT build the new plant, and the stalled payment put the company into a untenable financial situation.
Apple spokespersons have reiterated that the company will do all it can to save jobs in Arizona. Whether this means Apple will bail out GT or even purchase the plant itself is unknown.

Related links …

Reducing Costs of Sapphire Glass

Going Apple

Thanks for surfing by.





About Privacy

18 01 2015

If you are an Apple fan and can’t take a joke just skip this post and accept my sincere apology.

2015/01/img_3898.png

In reality you can be sure that Apple takes care of your privacy.

About  Pay …

If you are not familiar with Apple’s payment system, here is what the company publishes on

This is what Apple publishes on its website …

Your wallet.
Without the wallet.
Paying in stores or within apps has never been easier. Gone are the days of searching for your wallet. The wasted moments finding the right card. Now payments happen with a single touch.

Apple Pay will change how you pay with breakthrough contactless payment technology and unique security features built right into the devices you have with you every day. So you can use your iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad to pay in a simple, secure, and private way.

Related links …

Security Made by Apple

Tim Cook about Privacy

Apple Pay with iPhone 6

Thanks for being sympathetic.





Family Sharing

15 01 2015

With iOS 8 Apple introduced Family Sharing and this is what we can read about this new feature …

A new way to bring harmony to your family’s digital life.
Family Sharing makes it easy for up to six people in your family to share each other’s iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases without sharing accounts. Pay for family purchases with the same credit card and approve kids’ spending right from a parent’s device. And share photos, a family calendar, and more to help keep everyone connected.

Family Sharing works across iOS devices (and Macs) and is aimed at people who own more than one iOS device in their household.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/522/41175131/files/2015/01/img_3732.png

If you’ve got them all signed in with the same Apple ID, so you can share your apps, music and movies between devices without having to buy them over and over again for different devices. But this configuration isn’t what a smartphone or a tablet is designed for. Both kind of devices are personal devices and sharing apps and content should be an option. To be part of a powerful ecosystem shouldn’t mean that all your iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches ring when you get a call.

With Family Sharing there is no need to use a common Apple ID.
So everybody’s genetic exceptionalism can be kept.

The Apple ID …

If you purchase an iOS device an Apple ID is required to register it. It’s an E-Mail address and a related password. With an Apple ID you are able to use all services provided by Apple with this one and only one ID.

These are

  • iCloud

    getting 5 GB free storage
    backing up and restoring your device
    syncing data from Apple’s apps
    Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, iWork
    finding, locking or deleting your device if it was stolen
    determining the location of one of your devices if you cannot find it
    finding friends

  • iMessage
    Apple’s free messaging system for text and media messages via internet without using special services of your carrier
  • Facetime
    Apple’s free video call between Apple devices
  • Apple Store
    purchasing devices and accessories
  • Apple iBooks
    purchasing eBooks and downloading free documents about different topics, e.g. manuals for the devices, for iWork products, the filesystem or the UI Guidelines
  • iTunes
    purchasing media
  • Apple hardware and Apple Care Protection Plan
    for extension of warranty and hard- and software support
  • Concierge (for Genius Bar appointments)
    needed to make a reservation at the Apple Genius Bar. Apple Genius Bar is a tech support service that is offered inside every Apple Retail Store.
  • iTunes U
    accessing and downloading teaching and learning aids
  • Apple Support Community
    engaging in discussions and asking questions

Since the release of iOS 8 things changed.

Purchases are still made with an Apple ID but can be shared with others using a different Apple ID.
And it’s not only purchases but also photos, calendar entries, and locations of family members which can be shared across the ‘Apple family’.

And there is much room for improvements, e.g. sending an iMessage to all family members, initiating a communication via FaceTime, or some options for members what they want to share with other family members.

Family Sharing …

To get started, one adult in your household, the family organizer, sets up Family Sharing, invites up to five additional family members, and agrees to pay for any iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases they initiate while part of the family group. Once family members join, the features of Family Sharing are set up on everyone’s devices automatically.

IMG_3522.PNG

All your family’s purchases, on all your family’s devices.

Once you’ve set up Family Sharing, all the songs, albums, movies, TV shows, books, and apps ever purchased by family members are immediately available to everyone else in the group. And, of course, so are new purchases. The content appears automatically in the Purchased tab in iTunes, iBooks, or the App Store for each family member. Just select the family member whose collection you’d like to browse, then download or play the content you choose. Other family members can access your collection in the same way. If you want to keep some purchases private, you can choose to hide individual items.

Making purchases is easy. So is setting limits by the organizer.

All new iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases initiated by family members will be billed to the family organizer’s account. But the organizer can still call the shots. Just turn onAsk to Buy for children in the family. When a child initiates a purchase, an alert is sent to the organizer, who can review the item and approve or decline it right from the organizer’s device. This applies to both purchases and free downloads.

An overview …

Essentials of Apple’s new Family Sharing are summarized in this mind map.

IMG_3523.PNG

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts for iOS (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. The DOCX file format is suggested for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool. The file contains the image as well as a detailed outline of all topics.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Stop Family Sharing …

If Family Sharing should ever be disabled by the organizer, each member of the family can still keep the content purchased by another member in their family group. Apple said in-app purchases from an app originally purchased by someone else must be re-bought however.

Parental controls …

If you already started the hard work to teach your children how and how long to use electronic devices you might want them to have their own Apple ID.

Here are the steps which can be done by the organizer of Family Sharing.

IMG_3525-0.PNG

IMG_3526.PNG

Family Sharing supports parental controls. It allows family members to approve purchases and downloads initiated by children via an “Ask to buy” option. It’s not only the Organizer who set up Family Sharing to use this option but also members whose role is set to ‘Parent/Guardian’.

IMG_3527.PNG

If your kid tries to buy a $49.99 app, for instance, you will get a notification about that attempt on your own device. You must give permission through this notification before your child can actually purchase anything from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and the App Store.

Ask to Buy is enabled by default for children under 13. That said, children under 13 can participate in Family Sharing and even have their own Apple ID (though a parent must create it on the child’s behalf).

Parents will also be able to limit the content their children can access via the Restrictions setting on an iOS device.

Summary …

Family Sharing massively adds value to purchased devices because of saving a lot of money for a group of people.

Related links …

Apple Support: Family Sharing

The Apple ID

Thanks for surfing by.





iOS 8 Security

5 01 2015

When government comes knocking …

Here is what The Washington Post published on September 18, 2014, shortly after Apple’s Keynote on September 9, the day Tim Cook introduced the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and the updated operating system iOS 8 for mobile devices.

IMG_3471.PNG

Apple said Wednesday night that it is making it impossible for the company to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police — even when they have a search warrant — taking a hard new line as tech companies attempt to blunt allegations that they have too readily participated in government efforts to collect user information.

The key is the encryption that Apple mobile devices automatically put in place when a user selects a passcode, making it difficult for anyone who lacks that passcode to access the information within, including photos, e-mails and recordings. Apple once maintained the ability to unlock some content on devices for legally binding police requests but will no longer do so for iOS 8, it said in the new privacy policy.

Please read the full article here …

About iOS 8 Security

Beside 2-Step Verification also available for iCloud in many countries this is a further step to more security for Apple’s customers. It should be mentioned that the so-called fragmentation is kept low for Apple’s devices.

See this concept map which shows the iOS versions in relation to all iPhone models on which they can be installed. The map includes what’s published about iOS 8 on Apple’s website after the WWDC event on June 2, 2014 in San Francisco.

IMG_3425.PNG

Just look at the iOS version and count the number of outgoing arrows.

It starts with compatibility to 2 models. Since iOS 6 the installation on the actual model and 3 predecessors is supported. With iOS 7 and 8 Apple’s mobile OS is ready to install on 5 models.

It needs enormous efforts to bring hardware and software engineers together to look into the future and design hardware components usable also for future versions of an OS.

Competitors show us that the alternative way is to build devices regardless what happens with newer versions of the OS.

According to a scary graphic for Android users published by Business Insider in Aug 2014 there are 18,796 unique devices running the Android OS. That fragmentation is tough on developers. It’s too difficult to make sure that an app runs well on each device. It’s one of the reasons why Android has severe disadvantages for customers using their device over years. The issue gets thornier if you look at the OS versions Android devices are running today. Many of them are still running Gingerbread (2.3), a version launched 4 years ago!
In contrast to Android about 91% of iOS devices are running the latest version (7.x) and it’s most likely that a significant percentage of devices will be updated to iOS 8 on the first day of its launch.

It’s a vicious circle to always buy a new (subsidized) device to get the latest OS version. Fragmentation is what developers and customers don’t like because it hampers a unique user experience and needs additional efforts. This might be one of the reasons why iOS is still the preferred platform for developing powerful apps.

Apple wants a perfect user experience for most of it’s loyal customers and developers are supported by the iOS feature ‘Size Classes’ with which Apple said Goodbye to an increasing complexity of code needed to support sizes like 3.5″ (iPhone 4), 4.0″ (iPhone 5), 4.7″ and 5.5″ (iPhone 6), 7.9″ (iPad Mini), and 9.7″ (iPad). Google with its Android OS is still faced with a lot of different form factors and it seems to be an impossible task for developers to ensure a perfect user interface and user experience on all devices.

Summary …

Security isn’t what Apple is just talking about like many other companies.
Today security is strongly related to updated applications and operating systems.

Apple reported that nearly half of the users installed the latest version of the mobile operating system less than a week after its introduction on Sept 17, 2014. The company said 46 percent are using iOS 8 as of Monday, with slightly more (49 percent) using the previous generation of software.

This is an adoption process happening nearly with the speed of light if you compare it with the competitors.

Related links …

Security made by Apple

2-Step Verification

Android Fragmentation

Interested in creating mind maps and concept maps?
See an app review of the app Inspiration here

Inspiration

Thanks for flying with iNotes4You.





About Encryption

29 12 2014

Would you like to be able to use QR-Codes in order to let people quickly get some sensitive information, but also want to be able to restrict the number of people with access to the data? And what about iWork documents containing personal data? Is there a way to securely manage them?

IMG_3645-2.PNG

If you use an app like Qrafter by Kerem Erkan you may have the idea to use password-protected QR-Codes for sending sensitive data e.g. via mail or a messaging app like iMessage.

IMG_3322.PNG

The idea seems to be fascinating but let’s face the facts with an answer of the developer Kerem I got via E-Mail:

The encryption is 48-bit, meaning it is weak for any sensitive information. More secure encryption methods take too much data and QR Codes do not have such capacity. You should not use QR Code encryption for anything sensitive.

For the sake of security, it’s hard to beat the old-school, in-person hand off. It’s not the most sexy of options in the digital age, but surely there’s something titillating about a top-secret document hand off. Bring your briefcase and make it like a spy movie. Or don’t.

Don’t send your sensitive documents over email. It may seem private, but even if you’re using an email account that uploads attachments over a more secure HTTPS connection, like GMail, you have no control over your recipient’s server, and they may download your attachment from an unencrypted HTTP connection. Now say they did that from a public Wi-Fi network. Things just got very un-secure.

Some basics …

If you want your data to be NSA-resistant all files must be encrypted on your device before being transferred to the cloud. Your password should never be stored on your device or, if it’s stored there should never leave it. So no unauthorized user, not even employees of your provider, could ever access your data. Client-side encryption is the keyword.

Since encryption occurs before files leave your device it effectively wraps a protective wall around your data in the cloud. Employees then have very limited access to your data. They can only see how many files you have stored and how much storage space they occupy. The files themselves, as well as all metadata (folder names, file names, comments, preview images, etc.), are encrypted. The following chart illustrates three typical encryption schemes. The scheme in the middle is what is used by most cloud storage providers.

IMG_3323.PNG

What matters most when encrypting data is not the particular encryption algorithm (e.g. AES), but how it is used. Basically, there are three encryption schemes:

  • 1 None
    No encryption is used. Your data is sent to the storage in plain view, visible to anyone who has access to your network connection as well as to the storage provider. This is a little bit like sending someone a postcard: everyone involved in handling the postcard can read it.
  • 2 Encrypted connection (e.g. SSL)
    In this scheme, a secure channel is established between your computer and the storage provider before data is uploaded. That way, no one can eavesdrop on the transfer. However, the provider sees all your data. Often storage providers implement additional measures like creating corporate policies that disallow their employees to view your data. Another additional measure is using encrypted disks to store your data, so someone breaking into the data center and stealing the hard drives won’t be able to read it. However, it is still visible to the provider and its employees. This approach has the advantage that the provider can process your data for you, such as for creating a search index. Also, it is technically easy to make the data available in the web browser or through an API. The problem with this approach is that your privacy is limited. The storage provider can, for example, be forced to provide your data to a government agency. What’s more, employees will be able to read your data even if prohibited by company policies. It is also much more likely that bugs or other errors could result in data leaks. This is the most widespread approach implemented by cloud storage providers.
  • 3 Client-side encryption
    This approach is inherently more secure than the others. Apart from Box and Wuala, there are only a few other cloud storage providers following this scheme, mostly backup services. All data is encrypted locally on your device before it is uploaded. No one not explicitly authorized by you can see your data. Since not even the storage provider can see your data, they cannot be forced to hand it over to government agencies. The employees are also not able to read your data. As a side effect, it is impossible to recover your password in case you forget it. You can test your cloud storage provider’s security by checking whether they offer password recovery or password reset. If yes, then it does not employ client-side encryption. With client-side encryption, security is embedded deeply in the design of the storage.

    One of the main challenges with client-side encryption is key management. If you only want to back up, a single master key is enough. However, if you want to be able to share data selectively, your cloud storage must feature a sophisticated key management scheme.

With this in mind here is a more secure method to store sensitive data permanently or to exchange information with others.

Use a secure cloud storage, e.g. WUALA or BOX or an encryption software like BOXCRYPTOR and send the information as an encrypted file, a simple text message, a PDF file, or an iWork document.

Say you and your tech-savvy recipient set up a shared folder. Anything you put in that folder would travel encrypted from your folder to the provider’s servers to your recipient’s folder. That’s it.

Boxcryptor …

You use a cloud storage with standard, that means no, additional sevcurity?
Don’t worry. There is a solution for all well-known clouds including all other clouds which support the WebDAV protocol. It’s an application developed by the German company Secomba GmbH.

This video explains how Boxcryptor works.

(2:36 min)

Boxcryptor creates a virtual drive on your device that allows you to encrypt your files locally before uploading them to your cloud or clouds of choice. It encrypts individual files – and does not create containers.

IMG_3324.PNG

Any file dropped into an encrypted folder within the Boxcryptor drive will get automatically encrypted before it is synced to the cloud. To protect your files, Boxcryptor uses the AES-256 and RSA encryption algorithms.

Boxcryptor is free for one device and one cloud provider. You cannot use two iOS devices to manage encrypted files as long as both devices are linked to Boxcryptor. If you want to share encrypted files with others you can do that without a subscription.

A workaround …

You cannot turn off iCloud for individual iWork documents. So, creating a new document with sensitive data is a risk because the content automatically finds its way into iCloud.
Even if you turn off iCloud for documents but still use iCloud for backing up your device, your documents will be stored in iCloud and Apple has the key to decrypt them.

Here is a workaround which lets you manage encrypted iWork documents using Boxcryptor.

IMG_3325-0.PNG

This is definitely not a comfortable way but the only option to keep sensitive information away from unauthorized people. Even if government comes knocking there is no chance to decrypt your data regardless of the provider keeping your files. I would understand if you say “I hear the message well but lack faith’s constant trust.”.

Summary …

Sad to say that effective encryption is still not a standard feature of using cloud storages. Even Apple doesn’t use client-side encryption and so you should be careful when creating documents with sensitive data. Even if you deactivate syncing via iCloud your documents will find their way into the cloud when your iPad or iPhone initiates the next backup to iCloud.

Related links …

About QR-Codes

Mystic signs of progress

About encryption

Notes on encryption

About clouds

The cloudy iCloud

Risky free clouds

iOS cloud clients

Box for iOS

Thanks for flying with iNotes4You.





Merry Christmas

24 12 2014

May the message of Christmas fill your life with joy and peace. Best wishes to you and all your beloved family members.

IMG_3680.PNG

Christmas also can give an occasion to all non-Christian people to think about peace, social equity, human dignity, and happiness in their near and far surroundings.

All the best to you for the upcoming New Year 2015.

The New Year is the time of unfolding horizons and the realization of dreams, may you rediscover new strength and garner faith with you, and be able to rejoice in the simple pleasures that life has to offer and put a brave front for all the challenges that may come your way.

Stay hungry, Stay foolish, Think Differently

Mobiles can help to

Power on your brain.

To all the friendly people living in the home country of my wife …

สุขสันต์วันคริสต์มาส

Note
I created the mind map with iThoughts for iOS by toketaWare, UK. See an app review here …

iThoughts, Redesigned, Reengineered, Re-everythinged





Innovation takes time

17 12 2014

The mobile market is fiercely competitive. Customers expect ongoing innovation and many of the captious critics do not accept that real innovation takes time.

IMG_3232.JPG

In some way innovating today seems to be like car racing. There is a free practice, a qualifying, and the final showdown, aka race.
Some Asian companies are #1 in the qualifying but a well-known wisdom saying teaches us

to finish first you have to finish first
… your products!

Customers don’t like three iterations of a wearable device within one year.
I’m talking about the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch.

Innovation can be seen as added value given to every iteration of already existing products.

So

Don’t upset the Apple car!

It’s running steadily towards the chequered flag of the Grand Prix of Mobiles. Long-distance races are won by sophisticated technology based on simplicity.

Related links …

About Innovation

Thanks for surfing by.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 654 other followers

%d bloggers like this: