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Apple March 2019 announcements

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Urghh, what a start to the day. I arrived to find our 2012 Yosemite Mac Mini web server had restarted itself for no apparent reason, and our MySQL database was corrupt. Our daily Carbon Copy Clone had also failed due to a 'hardware error'. Fortunately, we have a couple of clones, and I'm confident one is good. It's been a good machine and we've got our money's worth from it.

The issue is replacing the server. I can buy a new server, but Mojave 'Server' doesn't have any of the web services we need.

I can't boot from our clone, because in Apple's wisdom, you can't boot a new machine from an older system.

Our clones are Thunderbolt 2, which the new machines don't have.

So right now I'm hunting around the office to find a little used machine which can boot from a clone, just to buy me a few days breathing space.

I then start the task of deciding what direction to take, be it Apple, Linux or Hackintosh.

I'm still not entirely sold on Linux. I installed LAMP on Mint, but it didn't work properly. I then uninstalled it, and it broke the entire system.

Life was so much easier when Apple weren't so keen to kill off features and rush out meaningless OS updates.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here are some updates on Apple News+
New York Post said:
Apple to shutter Texture for News+ app, leave Android users out of luck
After paying at least $485 million, Apple said it will shut down Texture, its online magazine subscription service, on May 28 now that it’s being replaced with the newly unveiled Apple News Plus. And if you’re part of the 30% who used Texture to get your favorite magazines digitally on Android or Windows devices, you will soon be out of luck.
Digiday said:
‘Basically playing favorites’: Apple News+ gets off to a rocky start for some publishers
According to several publishers, Apple News+ is off to a rough start.
Five participating publishers Digiday spoke to detailed a series of early headaches, including struggles with Apple News+ article formatting, confusion about user experience and design, worries about jeopardizing big digital ad campaigns, and a gripe that Apple is favoring large publishers at the expense of smaller ones.

Early hiccups are to be expected — Apple News+ is less than a month old — but multiple publishing sources said the product’s flaws do not bode well for its long-term future unless Apple adapts its approach. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Questions about Apple innovation and leadership after Steve Jobs:
VentureBeat said:
From Macintosh to Granny Smith: The rise and fall of Apple
The iPod turns 18 this year — holy you-know-what! Apple’s first foray into truly disruptive technology since the PC wars is basically old enough to drink. And it was followed by a string of lucrative successes with the iPhone, the App Store, and Apple Watch. In the early 2000s Apple was the standard of innovation and design. Every other company was forced to keep up or die.

The 2019 version of Apple couldn’t be further from that reality. At a two-hour “special event” two weeks ago, Tim Cook took to the stage to announce a series of also-ran services: Apple TV+, the company’s tentative foray into original streaming content, Apple Arcade, a gaming service, and Apple News+, a subscription news service.

... Nadella knew that with more users and more devices running Windows, developers — who had shunned and consequently killed Microsoft’s mobile OS precisely for a lack of users — would be incentivized to enrich Microsoft’s ecosystem, a win-win-win for Microsoft, customers, and the all-important developer community.

By contrast, Apple’s product strategy seems to hinge on nickel-and-diming its customers. Each new phone or laptop that requires new accessories to function properly might pad Apple’s bottom line, but the proliferation of dongles drives even their most loyal customers crazy. A cynic might observe that adding a credit card to your product portfolio is the oldest trick in the book for adding a revenue stream.
 


I then start the task of deciding what direction to take, be it Apple, Linux or Hackintosh.
I'm still not entirely sold on Linux. I installed LAMP on Mint, but it didn't work properly. I then uninstalled it, and it broke the entire system.
I've still only run NethServer as a test, but it still looks good to me as a replacement for macOS Server. You'll need a copy of VirtualBox running on your Mac, I found the entire installation process easy, and there are friendly people at the NethServer community if you need help.

If you decide on a new Mac, Apple make a Thunderbolt adaptor so you can continue using your Thunderbolt 2 clones.
 


Urghh, what a start to the day. I arrived to find our 2012 Yosemite Mac Mini web server had restarted itself for no apparent reason, and our MySQL database was corrupt. Our daily Carbon Copy Clone had also failed due to a 'hardware error'. Fortunately, we have a couple of clones, and I'm confident one is good. It's been a good machine and we've got our money's worth from it.

The issue is replacing the server. I can buy a new server, but Mojave 'Server' doesn't have any of the web services we need.

I can't boot from our clone, because in Apple's wisdom, you can't boot a new machine from an older system.

Our clones are Thunderbolt 2, which the new machines don't have.

So right now I'm hunting around the office to find a little used machine which can boot from a clone, just to buy me a few days breathing space.

I then start the task of deciding what direction to take, be it Apple, Linux or Hackintosh.

I'm still not entirely sold on Linux. I installed LAMP on Mint, but it didn't work properly. I then uninstalled it, and it broke the entire system.

Life was so much easier when Apple weren't so keen to kill off features and rush out meaningless OS updates.
If I were you, I would consider buying a used/refurbished 2012 Mac Mini, then you can just clone back to it from your backup.

There are many places to find some good systems. i.e. eBay, MacSales.com, Amazon, etc.

I like the older systems - speed is not that much different, they can run older OS's and cost is sometimes half the cost of new.

I like to look for base systems and then buy new SSD's and make sure to max out the RAM.
 


Thanks for all the suggestions for alternatives. We have also looked at hosted solutions, but we require our users to have direct access to the databases, and hosting companies aren't keen to allow the sort of access we need.

For those following along, we (somewhat reluctantly) bought a new Mac Mini yesterday, running Mojave. Interestingly, I had to borrow a wireless keybooard from someone to even start the setup procedure, as it stubbornly refused to recognise the wired Apple keyboard and mouse I'd plugged in. I switched off Bluetooth, and then it could see them - I have no idea what I'd have done if I didn't have a pool of machines to loot.

I installed MAMP Pro and WordPress and have everything up and running. The MAMP people don't recommend running it on a production machine, so I'm curious to hear if anyone knows the reason, as it seems perfectly competent. Alternatively, it will be finding the necessary installers for Apache, PHP, MySQL and Wordpress and starting from scratch.

Just a little observation whilst going through the system prefs: When did all the forced advertising start? I have no choice whether to receive ads on my machine. It appears I've paid a significant amount of money for a device which doubles as an advertising platform for Apple. I'd love to know through which ports these ads are pushed, because I'll be blocking at the firewall if possible.

One wonders what the next step will be - perhaps compulsory Apple tattoos with each iPhone or naming rights over your first born. Good grief, Apple, what have you become?
 


I installed MAMP Pro and WordPress and have everything up and running. The MAMP people don't recommend running it on a production machine, so I'm curious to hear if anyone knows the reason, as it seems perfectly competent.
I think what they are referring to here is not to run MAMP on a computer that is being used as a normal "production" workstation e.g. Office, Creative Cloud, etc. They recommend running it as a stand-alone server, which it appears you are doing anyway.
Alternatively, it will be finding the necessary installers for Apache, PHP, MySQL and Wordpress and starting from scratch.
Apache and PHP (7) are still included in macOS (10.14) - you don't need separate installers, but the GUI interface to manage them has been removed. MySQL is dead easy to install and run on macOS. I have no experience of WordPress, sorry.

For reference:
Just a little observation whilst going through the system prefs: When did all the forced advertising start? I have no choice whether to receive ads on my machine.
To start with the basics, you might like my macOS / OS X Privacy Settings article. Then, as you say you have a pool of computers to loot, grab a Mac, set up a clean macOS 10.14 install, (buy and) install Little Snitch - make a note of telemetry/ports that ping up from Apple, and use that info to help configure your firewall.

But it has indeed got very silly with Apple (I will personally never forgive them for what they did to their server product) - this episode of South Park is always worth a watch to help get through the dark hours. ;-)
 


Just a little observation whilst going through the system prefs: When did all the forced advertising start? I have no choice whether to receive ads on my machine. It appears I've paid a significant amount of money for a device which doubles as an advertising platform for Apple. I'd love to know through which ports these ads are pushed, because I'll be blocking at the firewall if possible.

One wonders what the next step will be - perhaps compulsory Apple tattoos with each iPhone or naming rights over your first born. Good grief, Apple, what have you become?
I’d love to hear more about exactly what advertising is being pushed. Is it unrelated to the annoying nagging about Safari and OS upgrades that cropped up a while back? That was bad enough, but there were ways to kill that stuff.
 


Just a little observation whilst going through the system prefs: When did all the forced advertising start? I have no choice whether to receive ads on my machine.
Which advertising? Where? In System Preferences? I do not see any advertising there. Can you tell more about what you see?
 


I think what they are referring to here is not to run MAMP on a computer that is being used as a normal "production" workstation e.g. Office, Creative Cloud, etc. They recommend running it as a stand-alone server, which it appears you are doing anyway.
Thanks, Graham - unfortunately, no, I explicitly asked, and they said they don't recommend or support it as a live server - purely for testing. I decided to go the longer route and have turned on Apache, PHP and manually installed MySQL and WordPress.

On the Apple advertising, we do use Little Snitch, so we'll be keeping an eye on it.
I’d love to hear more about exactly what advertising is being pushed. Is it unrelated to the annoying nagging about Safari and OS upgrades that cropped up a while back? That was bad enough, but there were ways to kill that stuff.
They're pushing ads to the iOSified apps - News, Stocks and the App Store. You'd think it's a fait accompli - it will find its way into more in the future. Head to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy, and scroll to the bottom of the left-hand pane. Neatly tucked away, hidden from view is Advertising.

Read the 'About Advertising and Privacy', and you'll see where they'll serve the ads, and there is no escaping it. You can 'opt out' of location- or relevance-based ads, but you still get served the same amount of ads! This is on Mojave - it's definitely not on Sierra, but I'm unsure about High Sierra.
 


I don't use News or Stocks (on macOS or iOS), but don't see anything I'd call an ad in these or the App Store... other than the normal 'featured' apps and suggested stories. Have you got an example of these ads?
 


I don't use News or Stocks (on macOS or iOS), but don't see anything I'd call an ad in these or the App Store... other than the normal 'featured' apps and suggested stories. Have you got an example of these ads?
I've only had Mojave for two days and haven't started News, Stocks or the App Store - I just read the lengthy description of how they would serve ads and that there was no option to turn them off.

As I don't use these apps at present it's not going to be a big deal now. I do, however, have concerns about the future given how mercenary Apple have become in the Cook era.
 


Has Mojave made it impossible to get rid of these apps? In theory, it isn’t possible to dump Chess and Photo Booth in earlier OS versions, but we know that there are ways to expunge them.
 


So here's a rather annoying, and perhaps disturbing, thing about Apple News:

I'm in Canada, and (as usual) we didn't have Apple News until iOS 12.2 shipped, at which point it was thrust upon us by being installed automatically (evidently, Tim & Co. learned nothing from the U2 album fiasco).

Not wanting any news being delivered to me by only one entity that controls its flow, I promptly deemed the app unnecessary and decided to move it to my "Stock" iOS Springboard folder where other apps I don't use go to rest (believing that, since it "rode in on" the update, it would be un-removable). In the process of attempting to move it, I inadvertently launched in, but only that once.

Fast-forward to last week, where I suddenly get a notification from Apple News (about some semi-local-but-not-really news) on my home screen.

Now this is the disturbing part: I never, ever allow notifications from any app when they request it (I always decide later if I want to enable notifications on an app), let alone from any apps I don't want (i.. Apple News), and, let me be clear on this, I never, ever had the option to enable such notifications for Apple News that one time it ran. So this means that Apple (arrogantly) enabled notifications for Apple News without request.

Given this behaviour, I promptly deleted Apple News from my device (having now realized it's deletable).

Fast-forward a couple more days... I'm reading tweets on the excellent Tweetbot and run into a post with a link to a news article that uses the "apple.news" link ("Urgh!" I know, right?). These links always used to work just fine prior to that release of iOS (it would launch in Safari, showing the final link location after being jumped through Apple's link redirections), but now when I click on those types of links, I get this.

Notice how there's absolutely no option to continue - the only options are to get Apple News again, or forget it. Apple just assumes (arrogantly), that because I'm following an "apple.news" link that I therefore must want to use Apple News, right? (Well, no; some poor soul that doesn't know any better just happened to use such a link in their post - not my choice.)

I guess I really shouldn't be surprised of this from a company that thinks of removing ports as "courageous."
 


I've only had Mojave for two days and haven't started News, Stocks or the App Store - I just read the lengthy description of how they would serve ads and that there was no option to turn them off. As I don't use these apps at present it's not going to be a big deal now. I do, however, have concerns about the future given how mercenary Apple have become in the Cook era.
I get annoyed every time I'm in iTunes and accidentally click on "Browse," "For You," or "Radio," all of which take me to Apple Music, a product I have zero intention of ever using. I assume that Apple's eventual Marzipan-flavored iTunes replacement will make this sort of pushy behavior even worse.
 


I have to say, services like Apple News(+) are lost on me. I can't see why anyone other than the mythical busy exec who would otherwise have to pay (you know, educated) people to read reliable news sources and highlight articles of interest would ever let AI algorithms written by unworldly introverts do the selection... particularly when, as in my case, a leisurely stroll through a library periodicals room (as I did when I was a teenager) or scanning a number of websites (now) produces the same result. Apple's more than welcome to aggregate me into "segments" of at least 5000 individuals for purposes of trying to send me ads I'll never see, because I use adblockers, and I never use apps that transmit ads.

There are some websites I read regularly, and since I believe in the value of the effort behind publishing those sites, I'm willing to donate/subscribe to read those sites ad-free. What does irk me (though only marginally) is those news sites that happily take your $20/four weeks and then pester you to allow ads. If I bought the dead tree version of the publication, I'd ignore the advertising anyway — conveniently located for ignoring below the fold starting on page three, for instance — so why should I have to be pestered with ads in the electronic version? I still remember my late dad yanking advertising sections out of Newsweek and the NY Times Sunday Magazine so he could read in peace. Good times.
 



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