Apple Smart Battery Case defect

Apple has acknowledged defects in one of its iPhone accessories.

Smart Battery Case Replacement Program for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR
Apple has determined that some Smart Battery Cases made for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR may experience charging issues. An affected Smart Battery Case may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:

  • Battery case will not charge or charges intermittently when plugged into power
  • Battery case does not charge the iPhone or charges it intermittently

Affected units were manufactured between January 2019 and October 2019. This is not a safety issue and Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will replace eligible battery cases, free of charge. … The program covers affected Smart Battery Case for 2 years after the first retail sale of the unit.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi

AmpliFi is a set of Wi-Fi mesh networking products from Ubiquiti Networks Inc. that can replace Apple’s abandoned AirPort products with better-than-Apple design and details. Features include an elegant iOS app for management, stylish design, streamlined setup, and a high-performance mesh architecture that integrates a base router with peripheral “MeshPoint” extenders to effectively cover a greater area than a single router can alone with maximum performance and reliability.

AmpliFi Alien is a brand-new router featuring Wi-Fi 6 technology with 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi 6 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi 5 radios, promising double the coverage and far greater capacity vs. the company’s previous model. Other features include a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port and switch for four LAN ports, a 274×1268 color touchscreen with haptics, internal power supply, a “high-performance custom antenna array” and “MU-MIMO and OFDMA for communication across twelve Wi-Fi 6 spatial streams”, plus easy setup and management via iOS or Android apps. Multiple AmpliFi Alien devices can be combined in a mesh for added range and capacity.

AmpliFi HD, an earlier model, includes a base router with four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a Gigabit WAN Ethernet port, plus two MeshPoint devices that plug into 3-prong A/C jacks with an adjustable magnetic mount attaching an antenna unit with signal strength/status metering (but no Ethernet port). Alternatively, you can purchase the router alone, or multiple routers that you combine wirelessly or via Ethernet “back-haul.” (See AmpliFi documentation for many more details.)

AmpliFi Instant is a compact, lower-priced package with just one Ethernet LAN port (plus the WAN port) on the main router, while an Ethernet port has been added to its AirPort Express-like MeshPoint extender.

AmpliFi Alien is priced at $379, or at $699 in a bundle with an AmpliFi Alien MashPoint.

AmpliFi HD [Amazon] is list-priced at $340 for the router with two MeshPoint extenders.

AmpliFi Instant [Amazon] is priced at $179 for the base router and a single MeshPoint extender.

AmpliFi WiFi 1.12.4 is a free wireless system management app for iOS 9 and later (and it’s also available for Android).

AmpliFi Teleport 1.1.0 is a free app for iOS 12 and later that lets you make a remote secure connection to your home network (like a VPN) with a Google, Facebook, or Ubiquiti login account.

Ubiquiti WiFiman 0.7.1 is a free app for iOS 10 and up that can scan your local network for device and port details, as well as doing a network speed test.

Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0

Rocket Nvme PCIe 4.0 [Amazon link] is an NVMe M.2 SSD from Sabrent that uses the new PCIe 4.0 standard for ultra-high performance, promising read/write speeds up to 5000/4400 MB/s with computer motherboards that support PCIe 4.0.

Note: In order to take advantage of these speeds, a PCIe Gen4 motherboard is REQUIRED. Otherwise it will be at pcie gen 3 speed at max of 3500MB/s. When installing any NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD directly onto a PCIe Gen4 Motherboard a Heatsink is required to dissipate the heat generated by the drives extreme speed levels to avoid thermal throttling and maximize performance.

The Sabrent 1TB Rocket Nvme PCIe 4.0 M.2 2280 Internal SSD is backward compatible with PCIe 3.0. Using a Gen 3 PCIe motherboard will enable the user to reach speeds of up to 3400 MB/s (read) and 3000 MB/s (write).

Other features include SMART and Trim support, upgradable firmware, power management support (“APST / ASPM / L1.2”), and support for ONFi 2.3, ONFi 3.0, ONFi 3.2 and ONFi 4.0 interfaces.

Rocket Nvme PCIe 4.0 is sold via resellers in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities ($119.98 to $369.99 when checked at Amazon).

Sabrent Rocket Nano

Sabrent Rocket Nano [Amazon] is a compact SSD storage device that connects via 10Gbps USB-C and promises speeds up to 1,000 MB/s. Other features include upgradable firmware, Trim support, and an aluminum alloy shell, along with USB-C and USB 3 Type-A connecting cables.

Sabrent Rocket Nano is sold by resellers in 512MB, 1TB and 2TB capacities ($109.99, $159.99 and $289.99 when checked at Amazon).

USB 3.1 Aluminum Enclosure for M.2 NVMe SSD ($45.99 when checked) omits the SSD in a kit that lets you add an M.2 NVMe SSD of your choosing.

CPUSetter

CPUSetter is a little Mac utility from Bryan Christianson that lets you set the number of active physical and logical CPU cores, as well as disabling hyperthreading on certain CPUs (e.g. quad-core i7), for various purposes, such as security issues, bug workarounds, power reduction, software license requirements, and pure experimentation.

Other features include built-in help, plus controls over process priority and limiting, as well as some very useful real-time displays of system/resource details — processes, priorities, and resource usage for CPU, GPU, RAM, disk, network, etc.

CPUSetter 1.5.0 is donationware for OS X 10.10 and up. The latest release adds a power usage graph and fixes a memory leak.

Thunderbird: important security patch (68.4.1)

The new Thunderbird 68.4.1 release brings an important security fix with targeted attacks in the wild abusing this flaw”, but “these flaws cannot be exploited through email in the Thunderbird product because scripting is disabled when reading mail, but are potentially risks in browser or browser-like contexts.”

Thunderbird is Mozilla Corp.’s open-source, cross-platform email, chat, calendar, contacts and newsfeed (RSS) program, which features reliable email processing, smart folders, phishing protection and spam tools, special support for large-file transfers, quick filtering, Web searching, and plug-ins/add-ons for customization. See Thunderbird help topics for more information.

Thunderbird 68.4.1 is a free download for OS X 10.9 and up, as well as Linux and Windows. (Pre-release test versions are also available.)

 

Firefox: critical security patch (72.0.1)

Firefox 72.0.1 brings a critical security patch for “targeted attacks in the wild abusing this flaw.”

Version 72.0.0, the previous version released just a day earlier, also brought security fixes, plus additional privacy and security protections and feature updates:

Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection marks a major new milestone in our battle against cross-site tracking: we now block fingerprinting scripts by default for all users, taking a new bold step in the fight for our users’ privacy.

Firefox replaces annoying notification request pop-ups with a more delightful experience, by default for all users. The pop-ups no longer interrupt your browsing, in its place, a speech bubble will appear in the address bar when you interact with the site.

Picture-in-picture video is now also available in Firefox for Mac and Linux: Select the blue icon from the right edge of a video to pop open a floating window so you can keep watching while working in other tabs or apps.

Firefox is the free, cross-platform web browser from Mozilla, promising better privacy than Google’s Chrome and offering an appealing, open-source alternative to Apple’s Safari.

Firefox 72.0.1 is a free download for OS X 10.9 and up, plus Linux, and Windows.

Firefox ESR 68.4.1 (see security notes and downloads) adds the critical security fix to the Extended Support Release family for OS X 10.9 or later, Linux, or Windows. A Firefox FTP server includes all the various versions for downloading.

Firefox Quantum Developer Edition is an alternate version for desktop systems that incorporates tools such as editors, debuggers and responsive design views.

Firefox Quantum for Enterprise is a version that lets people set up policies (e.g. proxy, restrict features) with Group Policy on Windows and a JSON file on Mac and Linux.

Firefox for iOS 20.2 is a free mobile version for iOS 11 and up, with automatic search suggestions, a private browsing mode, tracking protection and Siri Shortcut support for iOS 12.

Discussions

MacInTouch Community discussions include the following current topics (among others):

  • 2019 Mac Pro – gaming and GPU issues
  • Apple security – invisible updates, Apple Pay charges
  • Audio – Sonos port blocking and DNS blackholing
  • Bluetooth – new standard and audio capabilities
  • Competition – Intel Ghost Canyon NUC; Ryzen 4000, Tiger Lake
  • Fonts – Adobe changes, Affinity support, conversion, OpenType
  • Input devices – Contour and Logitech mice
  • Linux – MacBook Pro graphics failure workarounds
  • macOS Catalina – protection problems, Users location/migration
  • Malware – North Korean Mac malware, ad blockers, nasty phishing trick
  • Migration – missing macOS installers
  • Misc. – new vs. old tractors/technology
  • Photography – web hosting options, experiences, etc.
  • Security – IoT, firewalls and Ring cameras
  • Tax software – prices, capabilities, compatibility, etc.

Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch

Portable SSD T7 Touch is a newly announced successor to Samsung’s popular Portable SSD T5 [Amazon] promising even higher performance, while adding a new fingerprint scanner and data encryption hardware. (A version without fingerprint reader – “Portable SSD T7” – is planned for later release.)

The new T7 SSDs feature read/write performance up to 1,050/1000 MB/s in a similar compact aluminum enclosure (58g.) with a 10Gbps USB-C port (USB 3.1 Gen 2). Both USB-C and USB Type-A cables are included.

Portable SSD T7 Touch is list-priced at $129.99, $229.99, and $399.99 for 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities, due this month, while the version without fingerprint reading/encryption is due by mid-2020.

Discussions

Linux discussion includes Chromebook conversion issues, better alternatives (new and used), issues with a new Dell Inspiron, and Linux workarounds with MacBook Pro graphics failures.

MacInTouch Community updates also discuss the following topics (among others):

Mercury Elite Pro Dock

Mercury Elite Pro Dock is an interesting new Thunderbolt 3 enclosure from OWC (macsales.com) that combines dual drive bays, a hardware RAID controller, and a number of connections – sort of a combination storage device and Thunderbolt 3 dock.

Connections include dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, DisplayPort 1.2 (supporting up to 4K), Gigabit Ethernet, a front-mounted SD 4.0 (UHS-II) card reader, and two 5Gbps USB 3 Type-A ports. Both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA drives are supported, and the RAID hardware handles RAID-0, RAID-1, JBOD/independent, or span.

Mercury Elite Pro Dock is priced from $299.99 sans drives to $1,299.99 with two 14TB hard drives.

Mercury Helios 3S

Mercury Helios 3S is a PCIe enclosure from OWC (macsales.com) that connects to a host computer via Thunderbolt 3 and accomodates a half-length, full-height, single or double-width PCIe 3.0 card at x4 bandwidth (“with x16 physical slot”). Features include dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, with 85W power delivery, plus DisplayPort 1.4, and an external power supply.

Mercury Helios 3S is priced at $229.99 for Thunderbolt-equipped computers running macOS 10.13 and later or Windows 10 and later. The company’s product specifications note some limitations for the new enclosure:

  • PCIe cards that utilize a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. PCIe cards that require a minimum of 8 or more PCIe lanes are not supported.
  • GPUs not supported
  • Cards that require more than 75W are not supported.
  • The DisplayPort does not support DP++
  • Full DisplayPort 1.4 capabilities including 8K resolution depends on host computer support of DisplayPort 1.4 specification through its Thunderbolt 3 connection, host computer GPU capabilities, and connecting cable capabilities.
  • You can use the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter from Apple to connect this device to a Thunderbolt 2 computer. Power Delivery is not supported in this configuration and bandwidth will be limited to ~ 1375 MB/s.

KeePassXC

KeePassXC is a cross-platform password manager that features AES/Twofish encryption with a 256-bit key, a password generator, auto-type, csv import and database merging, website favicon support, SSH agent integration, and more, including YubiKey challenge-response support, TOTP generation, DEP and ASLR hardening, browser support, and a command-line program. (See EFF article, plus the KeePassXC docs and FAQ for more details.)

KeePassXC 2.5.2 is freely downloadable, open-source donationware for macOS 10.12 and later, plus Linux and Windows. The latest release brings a few fixes, changes and improvements.

KeePassXC-Browser is a plug-in for Google Chrome, Chromium, Firefox and Vivaldi that connects to KeePassXC.

Discussions

Apple migration/software update discussion traces a bizarre update loop back to a BOM bug, describes a bad Time Machine migration fixed by migrating from a clone, and discusses issues involved in migrating from an old iMac to Catalina.

macOS Catalina notes touch on virtualization, sleep bugs, 32-bit software elimination, forced update fiascos, a vexing file-open problem, and more.

MacInTouch Community updates also include the following topics (among others):