Updated discussions include the following topics:
NeoFinder is a “fast and efficient disk cataloger and archiver” from Norbert M. Doerner (West-Forest-Systems), billed as an “Affinity Photo DAM”, and it may serve to substitute for features of Apple’s abandoned Aperture product or the recently-abandoned iView Media Pro (which bounced among multiple owners over the years).
NeoFinder features include catalogging of many types of storage (hard disk, data folder, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, Blu-ray, HD-DVD, iPod, server volume, audio CD, USB stick, FTP server, and more); the ability to handle large amounts of data; previews (text, photo, movie); checksumming; metadata support (including geotagging); AppleScript, Spotlight and QuickLook support; catalog import and export; searching; custom fields; support for Adobe XMP (IPTC) metadata, XMP keyword editing, ratings, audio previews, grouping, geotag place name lookup, and more. Version 7.5 was a big update
NeoFinder 7.5.1 is priced starting at $39.99 for OS X 10.8 and up, with a free demo and various discounts available, while a 2-user business license with full features is $149.90. (Older downloads are available for even earlier Macs). The latest version brings additional improvements on top of the major Version 7.5 update, which brought face recognition, macOS Catalina support and more.
NeoFinder 2.0.1 is priced at $4.99 for iOS 8 and up, providing a means of searching and viewing catalogs on a portable device after transferring them from a Mac (e.g. via Dropbox or iTunes).
Keyboard Maestro is a full-featured Mac app from Stairways Software (Peter N Lewis) that lets you create or record “macros” that you can trigger from the keyboard or in response to other events. Features include switching among programs, windows and clipboards; groups (folders) for organizing macros; sync between Macs via file-sharing or Dropbox, etc.; macro recording; and macro triggering via a great variety of events and actions (e.g. keyboard, text string, menu, MIDI, Cron; file/folder changes; gestures; idle; login; periodic; sleep; remote; USB devices; iPhone/iPad; AppleScripts and more). Resulting actions include application controls; clipboard actions; file operations; web browser actions (e.g. filling in forms), Mac user interface actions; iTunes actions; sleep/restart/shutdown; calculations; clipboard operations; control flow (loop, test, step, variables, calculations, etc.); and much more. The software includes a built-in editor, a debugger, and an “assistance system.” etc. (including remotely); (See user manual for more details.)
Keyboard Maestro 9.0.5 is priced at $36 (5-computer individual license) for OS X 10.11 and later (and older versions are available for earlier Mac systems). The latest version brings some fixes and improvements following a major update in Version 9.
Lockdown is an open-source firewall app for macOS and iOS from ex-Apple engineer Johnny Lin (Confirmed Inc.) “that blocks tracking, ads, badware and more” with the following features listed:
- Block any domain / service
- Works for all apps, not just the browser
- Useful preconfigured defaults
- See what’s being blocked
- Optional VPN for additional privacy
In addition, “everything Lockdown does stays on your device,” according to the company.
Lockdown Apps 0.3.1 is a free download for iOS 11 and later (with optional VPN services priced starting at $7.99/mo.).
Lockdown Apps 0.1.1 is a free download for macOS 10.15 Catalina only.
(See “Here’s What The “Do Not Sell My Personal Data” Button Does” for Johnny’s detailed and revealing look at modern Internet privacy problems.)
uBlock Origin is a configurable, “wide-spectrum blocker” plug-in for web browsers from Raymond Hill (“gorhill”), who writes that it “happens to be able to function as a mere ‘ad blocker’, but it can also be used in a manner similar to NoScript (to block scripts) and/or RequestPolicy (to block all 3rd-party servers by default), using a click-and-point user interface.
EasyList, Peter Lowe’s Adservers, EasyPrivacy and Malware blocklists are enabled by default, but can be turned off, while other lists “are readily available to block trackers, analytics, and more. Hosts files are also supported.”
A uBlock extension widget in the web browser provides access to a lot of information and configuration options when you click on various areas and icons (which aren’t always obvious) in a pop-up window. (See the uBlock Origin wiki for more details.)
- The user decides what web content is acceptable or not in their browser.
The uBlock project does not support Adblock Plus’ “Acceptable Ads Manifesto”, because the “Acceptable Ads” marketing campaign is really the business plan of a for-profit entity.
Users are best placed to know what is or is not acceptable to them. uBlock’s sole purpose is to give users the means to enforce their own choices.
Bitwarden is a cross-platform password management system from 8bit Solutions LLC that uses cloud storage to hold your encrypted password vault, either the Bitwarden service or your own self-hosted server. Features include end-to-end encryption, two-step login (2FA), a password/passphrase generator, data export, URI match-detection options, password checking (weak, exposed, reused, etc.), folders, file attachments, organization support, and more. Four types of items are available: login, card (e.g. credit card), identity, and secure note, and you can add custom fields to an item. (See Bitwarden Help Center for more information.)
Bitwarden, which requires creation of a free user account and vault master password, can be downloaded and used free of charge for OS X 10.10 and later, iOS 10 and later, Linux, Windows, Android, and web browsers. Free accounts are limited to two users and two “collections“, while additional users and features (e.g. file storage, vault “health reports”, self-hosting, audit logs, 2FA, etc.) are priced starting at $10 per user per year.
A Google Chrome security flaw has an exploit available “in the wild”, and Google issued an update that should be applied immediately. The Chromium browser is also affected and also needs the update (see FreeSMUG and SourceForge). The patches are not available yet for iOS, Android or Chromebooks, and other browsers may also be affected (e.g. Microsoft Edge, Brave, etc.).
Chrome Releases, Monday, February 24, 2020
The stable channel has been updated to 80.0.3987.122 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, which will roll out over the coming days/weeks. … This update includes 3 security fixes. … Google is aware of reports that an exploit for CVE-2020-6418 exists in the wild.
Install Latest Chrome Update to Patch 0-Day Bug Under Active Attacks
… The Integer Overflow vulnerability was disclosed by André Bargull privately to Google last month, earning him $5,000 in rewards, while the other two vulnerabilities — CVE-2020-6407 and CVE-2020-6418 — were identified by experts from the Google security team. … A successful exploitation of the integer overflow or out-of-bounds write flaws could allow a remote attacker to compromise a vulnerable system by tricking the user into visiting a specially crafted web page that takes advantage of the exploit to execute arbitrary code on the target system.
Google patches Chrome zero-day under active attacks
… Patches for this zero-day have been released part of Chrome version 80.0.3987.122. The update is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux users, but not Chrome OS, iOS, and Android.
Google patches holes in Chrome – exploit already out there for one of them after duo spot code fix
… Kurucsai and Rao developed proof-of-concept exploit code for CVE-2020-6418 after spotting the fix buried in the source tree, and before Google could emit an official binary release. The duo have now shared their exploit code which can be used by white and black hats to target those slow to patch.
Discussions touch on the following topics (among others):
- Apple issues – developers on knife’s edge
- Apple security – invisible updates; Curl, clipboard, etc.
- Displays – Apple Pro Display XDR details
- iTunes/App Store – book/movie phone home issues
- Networking – DNS server issues (and Pi-Hole)
- PDF issues – Adobe LiveCycle forms
- Printing – network issues sorted out
HomeBridge is software from Nick Farina that “allows you to integrate with smart home devices that do not support the HomeKit protocol.”
It supports Plugins, which are community-contributed modules that provide a basic bridge from HomeKit to various 3rd-party APIs provided by manufacturers of “smart home” devices. Since Siri supports devices added through HomeKit, this means that with Homebridge you can ask Siri to control devices that don’t have any support for HomeKit at all.
SimplyFortran is a “modern Fortran development environment” from Approximatrix LLC. Features include “the GNU Fortran compiler, an advanced development environment including project management, and an integrated debugger for fast and easy installation”, along with “impeccable” support for the FORTRAN 77 standard.
SimplyFortran 3.9 is priced at $99 for an individual license for macOS 10.15, Windows or Linux, with a 30-day trial period, or $159 for an individual license covering all three platforms. Older versions are available for earlier systems with Version 2.41 working on Macs back to Mac OS X 10.6. The latest version “includes improvements to the development environment and important bug fixes on all platforms.”
Hex Fiend is a fast and powerful hex data viewer and editor from Peter Ammon that can modify any file, even one hundreds of gigabytes in size. Features include the ability to insert, delete and rearrange data, and to interpret data in various ways (“integer or floating point, signed or unsigned, big or little endian…”) with the help of templates; a binary “diff” utility to show differences between two files; a choice of file encodings; bookmarks; a Find feature; smart saving (writing only the changed portions of a file); smooth, fast scrolling, a small memory footprint and a license that lets you embed the software in your own app. The app can open a file, a “path” or a drive (and shows invisible partitions, such as Recovery HD and EFI).
Hex Fiend 2.12.0 is freely downloadable open-source software for OS X 10.9 and up with older versions available to support Macs as early as PowerPC models running Mac OS X 10.4, and there are brand-new beta versions also available. The latest standard release brings template improvements, support for 2-byte floats, and support for “extended attributes” in Mac file systems:
Added basic extended attributes support. The open file dialog will now list the extended attributes for the selected file. This allows opening classic metadata such as resource forks (“com.apple.ResourceFork”) and Finder Info (“com.apple.FinderInfo”), and other data (for example “com.apple.quarantine”). Currently extended attributes are read-only and cannot be modified.
iCab is a web browser from Alexander Clauss for iOS devices and Macs, offering quick performance and a rich set of features not all found in other browsers, including kiosk mode, portable web archives, HTML validation, ad blocking, detection of phishing and malware sites, a cache browser, a simple RSS reader, support for alternate style sheets, tags and smart folders for bookmarks, and much more. An extensive set of preferences helps manage security and privacy, as well as performance factors and appearance.
iCab Pro 5.9.1 is priced at just $10 for OS X 10.9 and up and is fully functional in its trial mode (with an “annoying” reminder alert). The latest release fixes some macOS Catalina problems. Older downloads are available for Macs even all the way back to classic Mac OS 7.5!
iCab Mobile is a richly-featured alternative to Apple’s default Safari browser, offering many more features and avoiding some problems, while still supporting Apple technologies, such as Force Touch, AirPrint and the Apple Watch. Highlights include customizable filters to block ads and other problematic content; support for multiple user accounts with separate settings, filters and passwords; extensive privacy protections; a download manager with file transfers to other apps on the device or other computers, plus Dropbox support; a bookmark manager that can save pages offline; the ability to choose the UserAgent (browser) name and quite a bit more.
iCab Mobile 9.14.7 is priced at $1.99 for iOS 8 and up.
Recent discussions include the following topics: