How To Hack iPhone’s Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor

Brad Reed with the obvious.

While we’ve been reading about elaborate hacks of Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint identification system for more than a year now, one clever 7-year-old boy has figured out the simplest way to bypass the system without knowing one line of code… Harrison Green, the 7-year-old son of Johns Hopkins University professor Matthew Green, smartly snuck into his father’s room while he was asleep and pressed his dad’s fingerprint against the Touch ID scanner on his iPhone 6 Plus. Voila — instant “hack.”

FXXK

That’s the designation for the new Ferrari model you can’t afford. It’s not a supercar. It’s not a hypercard. Relax News:

If you thought the Ferrari LaFerrari was fast or exclusive, think again. This special, hardcore track-only limited edition is bigger, more powerful and rarer in every way… Ferrari describes the car as “completely uncompromising” and promises that those lucky few that get to own one will get an “unprecedented driving experience.”

How much? If you have to ask you can’t afford it.

Ferrari

Yes, red is faster.

Free: What Graphic Designers Can Never Have Too Much Of (hint: more fonts)

Way back in the day, back when the Mac was an infant and laser printer prices touched the $7,000 mark, fonts were in either short supply, or enormously expensive. Those of us in the graphic design business had little choice but to fire up Fontographer and create our own high quality fonts from inexpensive bit-mapped fonts (of which many existed for the Mac in pre-Windows days). Creating your own font was and remains a laborious process.

Today, fonts are a dime a dozen and sometimes less. Good quality fonts for the Mac still have healthy price tags but it doesn’t take much effort or money to increase your collection, including a stash of free fonts for commercial use.

My latest find is 350 free fonts, quickly and easily downloaded from Apple’s Mac App Store.

You won’t be wowed by the overall quality of these OpenType fonts, but, hey, free is free, and as every graphic designer who’s been around since PageMaker was alive already knows, you can never have too many fonts.

Free Fonts #1

The fonts in this package are OpenType, naturally, and that makes them cross platform, but they’re also licensed for commercial use.

The package contains a variety of classic, display, handwritten, gothic, block, and cursive fonts that work well when dropped into any graphic design which does not require fonts of the highest quality (where Adobe’s font collections excel).

Unlike most apps from the Mac App Store, Free Fonts won’t automatically install the fonts into your Mac’s fonts folder. You’ll have to open the Free Fonts app and click to copy the fonts you want.

Free Fonts #2

There’s also a font preview app so you can view the fonts before installation.

If you’re on a budget and prefer bulk over quality, the Mac App Store has an extensive collection of very affordable font packages for the Mac; plenty of handwriting and calligraphic fonts, plus designer collections, and nearly 1,500 free fonts with commercial licensing.

Remember, you can never have too many fonts.

A Bad Comparison

Kate Mackenzie with a look at Windows vs. Mac, Microsoft vs. Apple:

The Surface Pro is decent; it runs Windows 8.1, has good specs, above average performance, and it’s priced as if Microsoft wants to be a player the premium end. But as a tablet, Surface Pro sucks pond scum on a hot July afternoon in the backwater of Natchez, MS. It’s too heavy, too expensive, doesn’t run tablet optimized applications, and that might explain why Microsoft has less trouble advertising the product against Apple’s Mac and iPad than it does selling Surface Pro to people who are smart enough to know better.

A Surface Pro is not merely Microsoft’s tablet, and much like comparing Windows to the Mac, or Android to the iPhone, it should not be compared to Apple’s iPad Air 2 or even to a MacBook Air.

75 Crazy Tattoos

It’s a link bait day when you get 75 pages of crazy tattoos. From Guff.

My favorite:

Sneakers Tattoo

11 Biggest Vehicles

List of amazingly huge vehicles from planes to cranes. From Odometer, my favorite:

This larger than life dump truck is the biggest in the world. It has two engines pumping out a total of 4600 horsepower. It may not be efficient, but it works.

It’s a dump truck the size of a house.

Free: The Ultimate Single Use, Single Purpose Mac App

As Mac users, all of us have a utility or two or three that we seldom use, but when we need it, it’s got to work just right. Most of these little tools don’t cost much, and often they only do one thing. In the case of HideSwitch, that same ‘one thing’ can be found in half a dozen other Mac utility apps but each of those has dozens and dozens of options I seldom use, and mostly don’t need.

What does HideSwitch do?

Your Mac has many tens of thousands of files, most of which you can view within the Finder. Many system files cannot be viewed and that’s the way Apple wants it to be. But there are times when being able to view an invisible file has benefits.

Mac users can choose from nearly a dozen utility apps which unlock hidden features, including the one to make visible all those invisible or hidden files.

Or, you can enter a Terminal.app command and toggle back and forth between file visibility and invisibility.

Or, just use the HideSwitch to do just exactly the same thing, but easier, faster, and with less visual clutter. HideSwitch is a toggle app, so it toggles appropriately between file visibility and invisibility.

HideSwitch

Click and you’ll see all the invisible or hidden files on your Mac. Click again and those same files become invisible again. They’re still on your Mac, still in the same place, but just not visible from the Mac’s Finder.

HideSwitch is much easier to use than a more complicated utility with more features than you’ll ever use, and faster than switching over to Terminal.app to perform the same task the command line way.

It just works and it’s free.

The only caveat is that HideSwitch isn’t on the Mac App Store and doesn’t use a developer certificate to overcome OS X’s built-in security. To allow it to work, open System Preferences, select the Security & Privacy pane, and click to Allow Apps Downloaded From Anywhere.

Allow Apps

HideSwitch doesn’t do anything more than allow you to view invisible or hidden files and then hide them again, but Preferences give you options to check for updates, and to work with TotalFinder or ExtraFinder on your Mac.

The World’s First Computer

From Wired:

ENIAC was conceived in the thick of World War II, as a tool to help artillerymen calculate the trajectories of shells. Though construction began a year before D-Day, the computer wasn’t activated until November 1945, by which time the U.S. Army’s guns had fallen silent. But the military still found plenty of use for ENIAC as the Cold War began—the machine’s 17,468 vacuum tubes were put to work by the developers of the first hydrogen bomb, who needed a way to test the feasibility of their early designs. The scientists at Los Alamos later declared that they could never have achieved success without ENIAC’s awesome computing might: the machine could execute 5,000 instructions per second, a capability that made it a thousand times faster than the electromechanical calculators of the day. (An iPhone 6, by contrast, can zip through 25 billion instructions per second.)

We’ve come a long way.

5 Best Looking Collectible Cars Under $15,000

Interesting list from Rob Sass.

Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons was fond of the phrase “it doesn’t cost any more to make it pretty.” In the collector car world, however, pretty usually costs a bundle.

Spoiler Alert!

  • BMW 6 Series (1976-1989)
  • Buick Rivera (1963-1965)
  • Jaguar XK8 (1996-2003)
  • Mercury Cougar (1967-1968)
  • Oldsmobile Toronado (1966-1967)

My favorite has to be the Riviera.

The Most Beautiful Island In The World

Spoiler Alert! It’s not Maui. It’s Palawan.

Palawan, a hidden piece of paradise that was recently named “The Top Island in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards.

There, beautiful blue water mixes with emerald green, jungle-filled mountains that appear to rise up from the ocean, and small fishing villages dot the island. Together with its neighboring islands, it creates the Palawan province, aka paradise.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (says everyone who lives in North Dakota).

Palawan

Sometimes A Simple Mac Backup Is Best

Every Mac user should have a comprehensive backup plan. If you do not, then you’re courting disaster. Sooner or later your Mac will fail, all your files will be gone. It does not happen often, but it happens, and usually without any warning. Most Mac backup plans have a couple of holes. There are mine and what I did to plug them.

My home network of Macs have what I thought to be a rather comprehensive backup plan involving multiple external storage units, multiple Macs, Time Machine, ChronoSync, and SuperDuper! Time Machine ensures that files changed on each Mac get backed up every hour. That leaves a hole of up to an hour. SuperDuper! clones each Mac to an external disk drive but the backup is only as good when it’s backed up frequently. ChronoSync copies critical files from one Mac to another for multiple backups, but still awaits a schedule, hence another hole. Finally, all the Macs and external disk drives are in my home office. Theft, hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, fire, or water damage could render every Mac and every backup useless.

Here’s how I plugged the holes.

The first hole was plugged by backing up critical files online, away from the home office. For that I used Amazon S3 and a Mac utility called Arq which does the backups in the background according to a schedule. There are many online backup services, but few do a good job of managing Mac files appropriately, though the major backup services will function just fine. The main idea is to get critical files copied nearby, but also copied elsewhere.

The second hole was plugged by an inexpensive Mac utility called SyncTime. While it has plenty of features to sync files between Macs, remote computers, and attached storage devices, what I wanted was a way to copy changed files automatically. No schedule. No waiting an hour for Time Machine. When I make a change to a file the file then gets copied to a couple of different locations; another Mac, external USB disk drive; that kind of thing.

SyncTime uses the time honored Source and Destination backup method. Select the source file or folders, select the location for them to be backed up, click to backup.

SyncTime

Wait! What? ‘Click’ to backup. The idea is to automate the process, not add on more steps that can be forgotten.

Fortunately, SyncTime does the one thing very well that I need done. It backups up files in the background, unattended. How? By monitoring the folders of files you want backed up. Whenever a file in that folder is changed, added, or deleted, SyncTime makes the changes on the other backup folders automatically.

Other features are included, and for many Mac users they’ll be worthwhile. Files can be excluded, files can synced in multiple directions, and so on, but what I wanted and need is the ‘Once Synced, Keep Synced’ which works in the background.

More SyncTime

SyncTime is simple, elegant, but has enough additional functionality to be useful in many situations. ChronoSync, which I use and recommend, can backup on a schedule and is loaded with more features, but is more expensive, and has a learning curve.

If what you want is to automate the file and folder monitoring process to create instant backups of files (before Time Machine gets around to it, before SuperDuper! does the clone thing), SyncTime is a sweet solution for a low price.

Science Says: Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution Is Wrong

From Epoch Times:

In school we learned that dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago, and small mammals survived and evolved into other mammals and at some point around 250,000 years ago an apelike mammal evolved into what is now the modern human, right? Wrong. Newly discovered artifacts prove that humanity has been around much longer than originally thought, and that humans did not always live in a primitive society.

The only problem I see with the ‘theories’ of evolution is that they keep changing. If it’s science, wouldn’t it be fact?

Why Asians Wear Surgical Masks In Public

From Quartz, the answer to a question asked tens of thousands of times in California, where the tourists roam (here in Hawaii we already know why Asians wear surgical masks).

The custom of facemask-wearing began in Japan during the early years of the 20th century, when a massive pandemic of influenza killed between 20 and 40 million people around the world—more than died in World War I. There were outbreaks of the disease on every inhabited continent, including Asia (where it devastated India, leading to the deaths of a full 0.5% of the population). Covering the face with scarves, veils and masks became a prevalent (if ineffective) means of warding off the disease in many parts of the world, until the epidemic finally faded at the end of 1919.

Are the Japanese keeping germs in? Or, keeping germs out?

700 Abandoned Dodges

From Autos:

There are salvage yards, and then there’s this place in Anderson, Alabama, which has over 700 Dodge vehicles, mostly Chargers, sitting in an expansive yard and slowly rusting into nothing.

I owned a Dodge. Once. Worst. Car. Ever.

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Better Way To Rename Files On Your Mac

What’s the easiest way to rename a file on your Mac? Even though it’s a time honored process that everyone follows, let me walk you through the steps because there is on problem. From the Finder, select the file or folder whose name you want to change. Press the Return key on the keyboard. Type in the file’s new name. Done.

What could be easier? Not much. Unless you have to change the name of, let’s say, a dozen or so file or folder names. The simplicity of changing a file’s name just became tedious and a bit time consuming, but not enough to make you run out and buy a specialized utility. Now, what if you change file or folder names by the dozens and you do it frequently. The simplicity became tedium which quickly translates into a chore which cries out to you, “There must be a better way!”

There is. It’s called A Better Finder Rename, a Mac app which automates file and folder renaming. I’ve used it since the last century and nothing is better at changing file names by the hundreds or thousands. Drag and drop a folder of files to change. Adjust the drop down boxes accordingly. Check it all in Preview mode. Click Perform Renames.

A Better Finder Rename

The renaming process is simple. Drag and drop files to rename. Select the prefix, suffix, renumbering and sorting processes from the dropdown menus. View the changes instantly in Preview mode. Click to rename the whole batch.

The ability to rename files by the thousands makes A Better Finder Rename popular with photographers. It can extract EXIF data from photos and use that in sequence numbers or date information, and it handles all major RAW formats, including JPEG, CRW, CR2, THM, NEF, TIFF, RAJ, ORF , MRW, DNG, PEF, SRF and more, but anyone with a large music collection will appreciate the built-in options to change ID3 metadata tags in music files.

More Finder Rename

File renaming by the hundreds or thousands can get tricky, and may involve multiple steps where you name a batch of files this way, and then name the resulting renamed files another way. A Better Finder Rename has that covered, too. Just setup multiple actions and then combine, order, and reorder the actions as needed for future renaming projects. That eliminates the multiple step tedium.

There are many Mac utilities which can rename files in batches, but none are faster or have more features than A Better Finder Rename. It’s a classic and well regarded in the Mac community. The Mac App Store version gets well over 100 five star reviews, with a handful of single-star reviews which appear to be written by competitors as their ‘issues’ do not mirror my 15 years of usage at all.

Buggiest iPhone Update Ever?

Wired says iOS 8.x is Apple’s buggiest iPhone and iPad update ever.

WIRED saw similar bugs on the iPhone 6 Plus. Other reviewers pronounced it Apple’s buggiest release yet, and Apple pundit John Gruber wrote “it seems like Apple’s software teams can’t keep up with the pace of the hardware teams” before talking more about getting stuck in an endless reboot cycle.

Is that an inherent danger is being an early adopter?

Data from app performance monitor Crittercism showed iOS 8’s crash rate was 60 percent higher than iOS 7 during their respective first months on handsets.

I waited a couple of months before getting an iPhone 6 Plus. iOS 8.x has never crashed, but a few older apps that had not been updated did. A recent flurry of app updates seems to have minimized it as an issue. Now it just works.

Below Freezing In All 50 States

From Weather.com– It doesn’t happen often, but it happens– even in Hawaii and Florida.

Freezing Weather Map

Here in Hawaii we can see snow on top of the Big Island’s two largest volcanoes.

29 License Plates That Got By The DMV

From Odometer, a list not as impressive as you might think, but some are clever if not inspirational.

License Plates

For Photographers Only: Re-name And Re-date Photos, Movies By The Batch On A Mac

Every now and again I run into a very useful Mac utility which just isn’t going to be used much by the great masses of Mac users who stuff every new photo into iPhoto and call it a day. Photographers have different requirements, and one is the need to batch re-name or re-date hundreds of photos or movies at a time.

That’s exactly what ShootShifter does.

Not only is it useful, fast, and accurate, ShootShifter couldn’t be much simpler to use. Drag and drop a folder full of photos or movie clips onto ShootShifter and you get a list of each one based on EXIF or filesystem dates displayed on chronological order.

Simply apply the changes using the built-in tools, and Voila! Done.

ShootShifter Screenshot

ShootShifter’s timeline visual approach makes it easy to change dates, even among several photos. It’s the perfect app to modify photos or videos from a camera that was set to the wrong date or wrong time.

You control both time and date stamp and the file name using simple renaming tools. ShootShifter can double up as an image or movie viewer, too, as it’s easy to get rid of photos or clips you don’t need. There’s even a built-in magnifying loupe to view photos in closeup mode.

ShootShifter

The preview mode lets you view file name changes and date changes before implementing them. Date changes are saved back to the EXIF tag so photos remain in the correct sequence when importing into iPhoto or Lightroom.

Shootshifter in iPhoto

While the basics of renaming or changing the file dates is easy enough, ShootShifter comes with other useful features, including keyboard shortcuts for power users, an ‘adjust separately’ mode for individual photo or movie clip editing, and more.

ShootShifter is priced right but, as it’s Mac App Store only, there’s no try-before-you-buy option. If you’re a bona fide card carrying photographer and need what ShootShifter does, the price tag is nominal, but a trial version would be useful.

Here Comes iPhone 8

Yes, the iPhone 6 models have been around only a few weeks. The iPhone 6s is expected this time next year and, if Apple follows tradition, should look much the same as this year’s model. Then, iPhone 7 and 7s. What about iPhone 8? Zach Epstein gushes over a concept iPhone.

Forget next year’s iPhone 6s. Forget the iPhone 7 expected in 2016 and its sequel, which will likely debut in 2018. A graphic designer who goes by “Steel Drake” took to Behance earlier this week to share his vision of the iPhone 8, a device that likely won’t debut until sometime in 2019.

And if Apple’s actual iPhone 8 looks anything like Drake’s vision, 2019 can’t get here soon enough.

Gimme a break.

iPhone 8 Concept

Sigh.