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Russian Invasion of Ukraine Impacts Apple World

I won’t pretend to be an expert on international affairs, but it doesn’t take expertise to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Whatever Vladimir Putin’s trumped-up excuse may be, setting the mighty machines of war in motion is inexcusable, especially in today’s modern, interconnected world. If nothing else, the COVD-19 pandemic has shown just how dependent we all are on one another.

Nothing I can say or do will have any impact on the actual conflict, but I wanted to remind readers that this is not just some tempest in a teapot on the other side of the world. Ukraine has a flourishing Apple development community that’s home to MacPaw (Setapp, Clean My Mac X, Gemini, and more), BeLight Software (Live Home 3D, Swift Publisher, and more), Readdle (PDF Expert, Spark, and more), CS Odessa (ConceptDraw), and Skylum (Luminar), among others. I’ve corresponded with all of these companies over the years, and several have sponsored TidBITS at various times. More personally, I hung out with Julia Petryk and Oleksandr Kosovan at the Jamf Nation User Conference in November 2019, I’ve enjoyed chatting with Irene Stepanovska and others from BeLight at several Macworld Expos, and way back in 2004, folks from BeLight gave me some Ukrainian gifts (see “BeLight Software Sponsoring TidBITS,” 29 November 2010):

Despite their far-off location in Ukraine, I had the pleasure of meeting a few of the BeLight folks at Macworld Boston in 2004; we had corresponded previously and they kindly brought me a few small presents to remember them by, including some excellent Ukrainian vodka and a tiny statue of the Duc de Richelieu, a French nobleman who is considered one of the founding fathers of Odessa and subsequently became Prime Minister of France. He still stands on my desk, reminding me of just how small the world has become.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but these are real people, and I’m worried about them and their families. Their companies are working to protect them and maintain continuity for their customers—MacPaw and Readdle have issued statements, and BeLight has posted a short note on Twitter. And Julia Petryk, who has been staying in a bomb shelter, pointed us to the Help Ukraine Win page, which collects various ways to help Ukrainians. I wish them all the best and fervently hope that they can return to their regular lives soon.

The Russian invasion has caused other ripples in the Apple pond. Frank Blome, CEO of ProjectWizards, has announced that his company is stopping all business with Russia and is calling on other developers to do the same. Given that Merlin Project could be used by Russia in managing the invasion effort and the fact that ProjectWizards likely knows who their clients are, it’s not hard to see what might have triggered Blome’s statement.

On an even wider stage, the economic sanctions imposed by the US, UK, European Union, and Australia have resulted in those governments freezing the assets of Russian banks. That has resulted in the suspension of Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other digital wallets in Russia. Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov has called on Tim Cook to stop selling Apple products to Russia and block Russian access to the App Store. Apple hasn’t responded to that request, though Tim Cook has posted on Twitter, calling for peace and saying that Apple is supporting humanitarian efforts.

One thing you can do is remain vigilant for Russian cyberattacks. The US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has published Shields Up, a page offering cybersecurity guidance for organizations and recommendations for corporate leaders. As usual, its advice is probably more urgent for Windows-focused organizations, but particularly with the prevalence of the iPhone and Pegasus-like hacking software out there, Apple users can’t afford to be complacent.

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Comments About Russian Invasion of Ukraine Impacts Apple World

Notable Replies

  1. Very useful post. The only way Ukraine (and us) can win is by sticking together and getting all the help they (we) can. Same with Taiwan.

  2. We’re doing all we can for our teams there

    Well dear Tim Cook, stopping all hardware, software, and service sales in Russia would certainly help the “team”. IMHO we here in the western world should start putting our money where our mouth is.

    We donated this morning to one of the organizations on that list you linked to, @ace. Thank you for that. Let’s hope this nightmare comes to a swift end before many more get hurt.

  3. I don’t envy Tim Cook at all. There have to be so many variables in play for a company the size of Apple, not the least of which would be the safety of any Apple employees in Russia if Apple were to make more extreme moves. I have to assume that Apple is working on a variety of contingency plans for different situations.

  4. Though it might not help those in Russia who are trying to resist and oppose Putin’s dictatorship. I don’t know the details, but I’m not sure indiscriminate impact on a whole population is the right course of action here. This is not to excuse any actions of Putin and the Russian government.

  5. I’m not an expert on everything that will help or not, but clearly we did not do enough to punish or reverse the takeover of Crimea. To some extent (and more-so than for the evil in China), Putin values some respect, apart from fear, to run his country. Apple’s products aren’t necessary for most people’s survival, so they should be on the table. The problem with sanctions, of course, is that they always hurt the wrong people too, sometimes just as much.

  6. This is the problem with any action taken against Russia - the people who will suffer the most are the repressed citizens who are probably against what Putin’s doing. The billionaire oligarchs will be sitting in their ivory towers not caring about the average Russian who’s losing access to their meagre wage.

    Any action needs to selectively target those in the leadership and this appears to be where the sanctions are aimed.

    It’s a terribly sad situation and I have heartfelt sympathy for the entire nation of Ukraine and for the Russian citizens taking a stand against the invasion.

  7. Getting the Russian citizenry angry at their government because of their government’s actions is clearly a strategy. Of course sanctions against the oligarchs will also help. I guess we’ll see if it makes any difference. Perhaps not for Ukraine but perhaps it will make Putin think twice before he does something similar in the Baltic countries, Moldova, etc.

  8. Considering what iPhones and Macs cost in Russia, stopping their sales is going to affect oligarchs and Putin brown noses a whole lot more than the average Joe. The average Joe in Russia makes $1400 a month. My MBP costs more than twice that.

    I like the point made above by @Gary_J. We obviously reacted wrong in 2014 when it was Crimea and actually, probably already in 2008 when it was Georgia. Maybe if we had properly isolated Putin back then, this would not have happened. And sure, maybe it still would have. But we should at least have had the balls to try to uphold basic values of decency.

    I am absolutely certain sanctions will hit regular Joes in Russia, including those who oppose Putin. And there is no arguing away that that just sucks. But considering there are dead civilians in Ukraine right now, I have a hard time justifying anything but the gravest of sanctions. Will innocent Russians pay? Sure. Will it end up costing us? Absolutely. Is it still the right thing to do? I believe yes.

  9. I wrote to Tim Cook encouraging him to take action against Russia.

  10. I’ll bet that the intelligence services of NATO countries and other friendly nations are doing their best to communicate with Ukrainian defenders about what support is needed, and where, when and how they can help. And I’ll bet there are Ukrainian supporters and resistance efforts in Russia, and they need to communicate directly with the utmost security to Ukrainian patriots as well. And, I’ll also bet the intelligence services of NATO countries have agents on the ground in Ukraine, Russia, etc. that also need communications services and devices, and it’s highly likely that they use, or could use, some highly secure Apple stuff.

    Apple only sells consumer products in Russia. AFAIK, Apple is not involved in development or sales of weapons. Their not so secret automotive testing has not involved armored vehicles to date, and Apple has not offered any hints about ever considering or wanting to do so.

    And there are Ukrainians with family, friends and business associates in Russia and territories including Crimea, etc., that will need mobile communications devices and services, as well as desktops. Some US carriers that are suspending the cost of mobile calling services to Ukraine due to the invasion:

    And with all the Ukrainian and Russian digital product development talent, I suspect that there are some potentially sympathetic hackers, as well as legitimate developers that might be inspired to do some hacking. They might be thinking about disrupting some Russian communications and services…maybe even hitting Putin’s Russian oligarch buddies, and adding on additional aggravation caused by the US messing with them, as well as with Russian banks. Apple stuff can be instrumental with this.

    I think all this could negatively affect Russia a whole lot more than what would happen if Apple stopping selling consumer goods there.

  11. We may know reasonably soon if there are “sympathetic hackers, as well as legitimate developers that might be inspired to do some hacking.” Doing so from inside Russia is a serious risk. As for mobile phones, Russia can get them and an awful lot of stuff from China, so they’ll still have access. The idea is to make things difficult and unpleasant although if Apple’s technology is critical to the opposition inside Russia, you have a good argument. Almost any sanction comes with a considerable downside. What are sure fire sanctions if mass sanctions are not the way to go?

  12. I’m not sure how accurate it is but there’s been reports here in Australia that Anonymous had taken down (cracked) some Russian services.

  13. The point of all the official sanctions is that they target individuals with power, and some responsibility for Putin’s actions. They don’t target innocent Russians. Many Russians are opposing the invasion, and turning off the App Store would seriously impact their ability to organise by denying them security updates, or even access to secure messaging platforms like Signal. It’s a really bad idea.

  14. I’ve always thought that putting sanctions on individuals was the least effective type of sanction.

  15. My cousin’s sister-in-law is hiding in the basement of her apartment complex with her kids. Words fail me here thinking of them.

    I’ve come to think we should have listened to our Eastern European neighbors earlier, this needed addressing at an earlier point with Georgia and Crimea. Now our response has to be commensurate with his level of audacity, which is beyond any public appetite. The SWIFT block will have the biggest impact on Putin and his cronies but he’s clearly decided he doesn’t care, given that his money is hidden away somewhere out of sight.

    As Apple users we can help perhaps best by supporting the businesses we can, and excellent choices we have for sure.

  16. It’s nice that the Ukrainian government thinks Apple can fix the issue…but that is just wishful thinking. As soon as we took US…and by extension NATO since they won’t do it without us most likely…military options off the table the die was cast. Putin is a bad guy…he’s former KGB…and he wants to reassemble the Soviet Union.

    I don’t think he’s stupid enough to go after Poland or any of the Baltic states since they’re NATO members…and even the sorry excuse we have for an administration would not be able to ignore that…at least I think they’re not that stupid, but they’re still politicians and we all know that you have to pretty much check your brain and common sense at the door to be elected to anything.

    The Ukrainian President had it right…he needs ammunition and not a ride. From the spirited resistance the Ukrainian armed forces are apparently putting up…even if the Russians “win” which may be if-y given the apparent lack of training, morale, and ammunition the invading forces have been displaying…I think there would be a longstanding resistance a la their previous foray into Afghanistan and we know how that turned out. Apparently they’ve forgotten the lesson.

  17. It will be interesting to see this war from the point of view of technology in the hands of users in general, reports of tank movements as massive traffic jams on Google Maps for one. Social media showing things that no one should see. I remember having to drop Twitter after the outrages Ghadaffi inflicted on his own people were being shared. Just too much.

  18. I was hoping we could stay on the topic of Ukraine from the viewpoint of the Apple world. I’ve trimmed the stuff about US domestic politics and will continue to do so in the future, so please save yourself (and me) the time and effort and don’t post such things.

    I’ve now heard of two more Ukrainian Apple developers:

  19. Thanks, Adam!

    On another note, one of the interesting military aspects is the way that smart phones like iPhones have pushed communications abilities down to the individual level. Previous wars have almost always been marked by the challenges that commanders have in staying in touch with their troops (imagine trying to stretch telephone line across the battlefield! Welcome to WWI). Now, the ubiquitousness of smart phones may reduce that challenge substantially.*

    *this requires a functioning cell network, of course.

  20. Many millions of Russian speakers live outside Russia but have to see the Russian flag on their Mac when they use the Apple Russian language keyboards. For anyone wishing to avoid that I have put up an alternative set of Apple layouts with a different icon here.

  21. I imagine there are some really interesting technical issues in play here. For instance, can Ukrainian cellular providers prevent Russian phones from accessing their network? And I wonder if both militaries might be employing COWs (cell-on-wheels) to relay communications. (I still remember the first time I saw one of those at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, since the cellular traffic from the conference was overwhelming the local cellular infrastructure.)

  22. The US has already imposed sanctions on Russia that prevent a list of US companies from selling there, and Apple is not on that list. Other mobile and desktop manufacturers also are not on the list either. Apple Pay is affected because banking services are. And Apple has never sold hardware or services to the Russian military or government.

    I personally think the President of Ukraine should have stuck to standup comedy. Though I think he is a very inspiring leader, communicator and modernizer whose heart is definitely in the right place, an effective commander in chief or a military strategist he is not. And he’s up against a former KGB officer and leader with a strong military background and longstanding military connections, a hugely bigger army, Air Force, Navy, etc. Banning Apple in Russia isn’t going to help Ukraine turn the tide, especially since Apple has never supplied any products or services to the Russian military or government. They only sell to consumers in Russia. The only result of an Apple ban that I can foresee is that Russians who already own Apple devices won’t have access to violent video games in which they can blow up virtual tanks, blast missiles from the virtual sky, unleash virtual nuclear weapons, etc.

  23. Another issue…what about misinformation that’s running rampant on social media? And also ads that are actually faked content and don’t appear to be ads, as well as unmarked sponsored content?

  24. For anyone fretting about repercussions from Russia, I have published a guide to preparing for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I actually published it before it happened, but I’ve been updating it as the situation develops. I hope you find it helpful.

  25. That maybe the only way to get the Russian populace to remove Putin and the rest of his Communist clique from power. Their eventual aim is restore the Soviet Union to the way it was under Stalin.

  26. Bravo, Neil!

    The Soviet Union lied to the SU populace and hid the number of casualties during their incursion in Afghanistan and the communist Putin regime will do the same. As for going after Poland, the Baltics, Moldova, and other countries that were subservient to the SU, the so far non-action by NATO led by these United States will only encourage the regime. That these United States refuse to totally impose economic sanctions and sets Putin reap billions for oil and gas sales, is unfathomable. Unfortunately I think only being possibly sanctioned by the CIA might have an effect, but I doubt that too.

  27. Saw on the news tonight that Elon Musk has activated Starlink over Ukraine and has shipped a bunch of the ground hardware to use it to Ukraine.

  28. Based on the long table I saw on the news tonight with him at one end and all the advisors 20 feet away at the other end…plus the general dissatisfaction some of them are hinting at…maybe they’ll get rid of him on their own. If they end up encircling Kiev in the next couple of days…which isn’t for sure since they are apparently having fuel and supplies issues as the invasion isn’t proceeding as planned…then the Ukrainian President can either surrender the city and accept no longer having a free country or he can make them reduce the city to rubble with thousands dead. At that point…I think he will force the issue…which means Putin will have to stop or destroy the city…and the latter will drastically increase the resistance forces and result in the long bloody repeat of Afghanistan.

    Trying not to be political and get the post removed…but a US and NATO enforced no fly zone over the country is a good idea despite the administration refusing to do so. Putin isn’t stupid to get into a war with any NATO country since that will result in all NATO countries including the US being involved…and just like he can crush Ukraine if he really wants to…NATO has vastly more competent and well armed military forces than he does…and that war would result in the end of Russia. Despite his megalomania…that’s not a choice he is likely to make. Alternatively…a few Marines on the border would likely have prevented the invasion because he won’t do anything to kill Americans. That would have us with troops there for awhile…but we had major units in Germany during the Cold War and a lot of them are still there…so having troops deployed to a friendly country that would become a NATO member isn’t out of line.

    We are getting far from the original topic though…and to get back Apple can do nothing here except theater. Anything they do will hurt the Russian people and not Putin and cronies…and from what I see most Russians don’t approve of Putin or the invasion. The man only understands strength and thinks he can bully the world to get what he wants. If they succeed and the war is over…he will want the sanctions removed because there is peace now…and most countries will likely relax and eventually remove them.

  29. A logistics and production take on the invasion and resulting sanctions - more of a collection of links and some comments which I hope is useful to everyone as they are to me. (I am not knowledgeable in any of these areas.)

    Apple Suppliers
    Apple does not seem to have any direct suppliers in Russia and Ukraine.

    Raw Materials and Manufacturing Equipment
    Neon gas is used in semiconductor manufacturing, and Ukraine is a major supplier of neon gas.

    Russia produces 40% of the world’s palladium, alongside South Africa. This might also hit the automotive industry hard because palladium is used in catalytic converters.

    Russia has been increasing its production capacity of rare earths which is used in such things as strong magnets in Apple devices. I guess most of the rare earths used in Apple devices are sourced from elsewhere though (Australia/Congo?).

    Transportation and Delivery
    High-value goods like semiconductor chips are usually shipped by air, so re-routing air traffic and avoiding the conflict zones would cause further transportation disruption.

  30. Software MacKiev has a page with links to support Ukraine: Ways to Support Ukraine

    Hopefully they’ll change the spelling of their company name to “MacKyiv” since “Keiv” is the Russian name of the city.

  31. I tried to donate to several of the organizations on the page Adam linked to:

    Unfortunately, my credit card was repeatedly declined on all the links I tried. I don’t know if the problem is my credit card issuer’s fraud detection or something else.

    Yesterday I attended this webinar sponsored by my alma mater:

    One of the participants on the panel, Tymofiy Mylovanov (President of the Kyiv School of Economics and Advisor to Ukraine’s presidential administration), said that all donations made through his school’s website would be used for humanitarian aid. I went to the site, my card was accepted; I received a receipt from the School and a thank-you email from him, so I assume that it is legitimate. Here is the link I used:

    https://urldefense.com/v3/__https:/kse.ua/donation/__;!!Dq0X2DkFhyF93HkjWTBQKhk!B4dlUcnlUX8vnEVaXAOKtgPpsVBbHeqFxizVJ6zLh0xxVs7w8Y2zoeUhSFAI9OzEyZY-72H4yRR2ng$

    Yup, that’s one funky link. Perhaps the Internet experts on this list can explain how this URL works, but it does.

    If you’d like to make a humanitarian donation directly to an organization in Kyiv and other links aren’t working for you, try this one.

  32. I think the urldefense.com prefix is the Proofpoint service/filter that prevents attacks like DDoS. The actual page is https:/kse.ua/donation/; I was able to access it without going through the filter.

  33. I presume that you simply click on the flag icon.

  34. I’m going to let all the current posts stay for now, but to keep this thread from devolving into everyone’s opinions about what has happened, is happening, and should happen, from this point on, I’m going to remove anything that doesn’t directly relate to our shared world of technology and specifically Apple. There are plenty of other places for the general discussions of world affairs.

  35. It has started.

    Tim Cook quote contained in first link.

  36. Better late than never. :wink:

  37. I’m glad to see the conversation moving back to Apple’s role and actions in all this. I really don’t like deleting posts, so I’ve been just sitting on the ones that have been marked as off-topic (and thus require another click to view) by various members of the community. In part that’s because I don’t mind an occasional off-topic comment as long as it doesn’t take the entire conversation down an off-topic path. If we can stay on topic, I’ll restore those hidden posts for posterity. If not, I’ll sweep through and delete ruthlessly.

  38. Apple’s response is appropriate and good. Great to see.

  39. I wonder how flights will be diverted in the coming days - not only around Ukraine but across the Pacific - a lot (or virtually all?) of Apple shipments to the US originated from China.

    Screenshot of Flightradar24:

    • Most of Apple products are assembled in factories in Guangdong.
    • TSMC fabs are in Taiwan, and in particular Fab 18 (its 5nm facilities) is in Tainan.
    • Some components are manufactured in Southeast Asia (primarily Malaysia and Singapore), but flights to these areas should not be affected.
    • Shanghai and Incheon are major freight air hubs.
    • Kamchatka Peninsula is Russian territory and hosts a number of military facilities, including a submarine base.
    • Many freighter flights make a stop at Anchorage, AK en route to Lower 48.
  40. China - USA which is what most of our Apple products do will likely not be much affected.

    But cargo between Asia and Europe is being affected big time. LH Cargo for example is seriously considering re-routing their freighters from FRA to Japan/Korea/China through ANC. That’s a massive 8,100 nm vs. what presently is 5,800 nm. A huge blow to their bottom line in a market already reeling from the high cost of Jet-A1. They could also circumnavigate via the Middle East, DBX or DOH for example. But it’s a similar detour, only slightly less at about an extra 2,200 nm.

    It’s all been done before. During the cold war routes from Europe to Japan or Korea were much longer than they are/were until just last week. Perhaps we’ll now see returns to those routings of the 1980s and before.

    I read that Finnair is taking a really hard hit. They made a good business out or their East Asia routes since HEL is pretty much exactly on the great circle between most wealthy Western European cities and Japan/Korea. But now that they have to somehow fly around Russia they lose both their time and cost advantage. They just canceled all their flights to NRT, KIX, PVG, and INC through at least next week. Yikes.

    I also just read a piece on Russian jets. Apparently, 80% of the commercial jet fleet in Russia is leased and a lot of the lessors are now asking for their kit back since Russia will have a hard time paying for them. Problem is, it’s not trivial getting jets out of Russia anymore. There’s an Aeroflot A320 blocked in GVA right now. Even though the Swiss left their air space open to Russia longer than the rest of the EU, GVA is surrounded by EU states. No way to fly that little 'bus back to Russia. I wonder what GVA charges for ramp storage these days. That’s going to be a pretty penny for an airline that has exceedingly zero access to USD. Oh well, the Swiss can always impound and sell off that jet to pay off its storage fees. :laughing:

  41. I think it’s all but certain that Putin will be gone, eventually. As everything Russia plays out, a bigger focus will have to be on China. Apple, like so many international companies, is smack in the middle of this and it did the right thing concerning Russia. I do not believe Tim Cook felt he had a choice in suspending business with Russia. China will be massively tougher for Apple and us. All should be preparing for far more trouble from China, and lowering critical business (dependence) is the first thing we need to do. So far, be it governments, businesses, and us, we are too slow to act.

  42. I agree with that. China is much harder to isolate. When they can shut down Apple’s factories and freeze Apple’s assets in country, that’s a massive threat. Considering the trajectory China has been on, especially under Xi, I’m still amazed not more companies like Apple are divesting at a faster rate, or at least building up alternate capacity. I mean, they certainly are but considering the severity of the threat, I guess I’m surprised they’re not doing it faster.

    Here in the US people have been quick to point to Germany and accuse them of being too soft on Putin because of 50% of their natural gas imported from Russia etc. Well, if it were us and China, we’d be talking about potentially jeopardizing the production of American mega businesses like Apple, I’m all but certain we’d be no less timid than Germany was now. In fact, possibly hardly noticed here in the States, Germany basically redefined its entire foreign and defense policy that it’s been following since after WW2 within essentially 3 days. When that day comes with China, I doubt we in the US will be that quick to react. I’d hope we’d be, but looking at all our quibbling and bickering in DC and the farce that is our two-party zero-sum game system, I highly doubt it. As always, I hope to be wrong and proven too pessimistic by unfolding reality. :wink:

  43. Absolutely – one of the challenges though, is that you don’t want to be a piece of equipment on the battlefield emitting radiation too obviously as that’s a super easy way to target something.

    The other part of this is that it’s an asymmetric advantage for the Ukrainians. The Russian army is likely to already have extensive comms network, down to the squad level. The UKR army may not, and having that capability levels things a bit with the Russians.

  44. There’s a service/app called Flightradar24 that shows this sort of thing in real time. @peternlewis turned me on to it when we were in London several years ago for a wedding—it’s fascinating to be able to identify the planes overhead. But you can also zoom around the world to see where planes are—and aren’t—flying. Ukraine is conspicuously empty of civilian air traffic and has been since the start.

  45. I just read that Ukraine is allowing Russian POWs to call their families back in Russia. I don’t know if it is via Ukraine’s cellular network or landline nor, if the former, using the POW’s own phones. Smart move on Ukraine’s part.

  46. There’s no technical reason why not. Every mobile device’s SIM card contains many different identifiers that can be used to identify the network(s) that own its account. An operator could easily (if allowed by law, of course) configure a network to refuse connections by cards that identify as Russian (or any other undesirable country).

    But it may not be desirable to do so. People often have SIM cards whose provisioning doesn’t always correspond to their home country. A mistake here could lock out people you definitely don’t want to cut off from the network.

    For example, go a a page like this one and type in the number printed on your SIM card (the “ICCID” - Integrated Circuit Card Identifier), it will tell you information about the card. And it may not be what you thought.

    In my case, when entered the number on the card from my Verizon iPhone 4s (CDMA, with a SIM for roaming onto GSM networks), the card identified itself as Vodafone, Netherlands. This makes sense, because the SIM isn’t used in the US and Vodafone is (or at least was, at the time) a part of Verizon. But someone trying to identify my country of origin from that number would get incorrect information.

    Similarly, if I enter the number on the card from my old Verizon iPhone 6+ (or the one on my new iPhone 13), it decodes to four networks in three countries: SSi Connexions in Canada, Choice Phone in Guam, Choice Wireless/AmeriLink in the US and Verizon Wireless in the US.

    It would not surprise me if at least some Ukranian operators issue SIM cards that identify with multiple operators, possibly including a Russian one, depending on what kind of partnership agreements the operators had established with each other.

  47. That’s where @chengengaun’s screen shot was from. He mentioned it in his post actually.

  48. For happier occasions when I ordered items online, sometimes I used Flightradar24 and Flightaware coupled with tracking status to guess which flight the shipments were on. Always amazed me how UPS/FedEx/DHL coordinate their flights, and I can travel vicariously during the pandemic - it’s surprising to see some of the routes.

  49. How so? That article requires humane care and treatment of wounded and sick POWs. Allowing the POWs to contact their families back in Russia sounds like humane care of them. Unless they are not allowed to use iPhones; only Android phones - THAT would definitely be inhumane! :wink:

  50. Russian iOS users would be less affected if there was a alternative App Store, or a sideloading option.

  51. It’s getting increasingly harder for anyone, in any capacity, not to sanction or boycott Russia. Whoever doesn’t is going to get the worst possible publicity. I’ve seen that Russian-owned pro-cycling teams have been banished from competition everywhere although individual Russian cyclists on other teams can race. In looking at the current professional women’s tennis (WTA) tournament in France, I see the two Russian players are now without a country listed. I cannot see international events of any kind taking place in Russia as long as Putin is in power.

  52. Please try to keep all comments on the topic of technology and ideally the connection to the Apple world. I understand the desire to share other things—it feels like something we can do in a situation where we otherwise feel powerless—but madness that way lies.

    To hold myself to the standard, here’s an update on our friend Julia Petryk of MacPaw, who was featured in an article in an Icelandic site. If you click the link below, you’ll get English via Google Translate:

    I also saw that Readdle has announced it will no longer accept or support customers from Russia, and it has pulled its apps from the Russian App Store and Google Play store.

    I started thinking about whether TidBITS should be providing services to Russia as well, but when I looked at our subscription list, I could find only about five or six subscribers with a .ru address who weren’t already bouncing. They could be actual people, though Sendy reports when there’s activity on a message, and none of them have any activity recorded at all. The vast majority of .ru subscribers I’ve seen in the past three years have been bot-created spam accounts that I delete on a weekly basis.

  53. Not sure if you’re referring to my post but for those who watch and know about the Met, they are big on technology starting with their Live in HD series at movie theaters and computer subscriptions as well. During the early part of the pandemic, there were daily free operas able to view and these were available all over the world. So technology is a big part of their organization and losing one of their “stars” who is a big draw for them is relevant. I realize that opera is still not as popular as other genres. I wonder if the Met will drop her content from their web site or block Russia from access.

  54. Yeah, that was the latest example. I’m sure the Met has lots of tech involved, but it’s unrelated to the Ukraine situation or them dropping the Russian singer. I’m just trying to keep this discussion from encompassing everything that could conceivably be connected to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

  55. I hadn’t known that the founders of Grammarly were Ukrainian. It’s now headquartered in San Francisco but still has offices in Kyiv. And now the company has suspended access in Russia and Belarus.

    I wonder if other cloud-based services will cut off usage for Russia? I looked around and discovered that Adobe and Microsoft have both stopped sales of products in Russia.

    And from a week ago, another statement from Microsoft.

  56. Ben Thompson has an interesting piece in Stratechery about some of the tech-related issues involved in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

  57. And Unclutter is now doing a fundraiser where you can pay whatever you want for their app and all proceeds will go to support Ukraine.

  58. The Tech and War blog is a very good read as it provides relevant information and it helped fill me in on some details about motivations regarding semiconductors. Most of the world is stuck in short term thinking with regards to products we use and create and pay minimal attention to the immense control we relinquish to actors who too often lack in integrity and decency. Those actors can be technology companies and countries, and notably China. To our detriment, China and Russia have been operating with longer range thinking than most of the rest of us. I can’t help but believe that China desires to build “economic and technical systems that are independent of the West” and this includes semiconductors (choices were outlined in the blog). While China will play both sides, ultimately, it will make moves to achieve its goals regardless of the pain it inflicts on its population. The United States, Europe, rather all free countries and their technology companies need to get their acts together. Can Apple think bigger and untangle itself? The pleas to the world on how an international event affects everyone, spoken from a country and a leader under attack, this time in Kyiv, may sound desperate, but they are real.

  59. Launching Calendars 5 from Readdle today. A notice pops up mentions that team members are under fire. This is not just companies facing a challenge.

  60. At the Apple Event on Tuesday, there was no oral statement or slide on the situation in Ukraine. However, Apple telegraphed its position visually: Tim Cook was wearing a blue sweater with a yellow band for his Apple Watch.

  61. Interesting they chose a ‘subtle nod’ over more visible/audible statements.

    I read just the other day that CEOs although they like to present as bold leaders, when it comes to action often are very cautious to expose themselves and stray from the pack, IOW they like to play it safe and stick with what their peers (in this case their competitors) are doing. As long as Apple’s main competitors aren’t more vocal, Apple can hold back.

    But once an entire industry starts moving, many more companies will move too. The question just becomes who wants to go down as a leader, and who wants to follow. It took Starbucks about 30 min yesterday to follow once McD had announced they’re shutting down in Russia.

  62. I wonder if he had the Ukrainian colors as his watch face. This turns out to be quite easy to do via the iPhone Watch app > Face Gallery > Stripes.

  63. I didn’t think he did. I remembering noticing at one point and it looked like he was using the California watch face.

    I just started watching and captured the screen. It was California.I think you can see it here. (The stripes watch face has no numbers or indicators, just color and three hands.)

    Screen Shot 2022-03-09 at 2.56.05 PM

  64. Here’s a variation on a Ukrainian Flag watch face:

    Ukranian Watch Face

  65. The two stripe option defaults to the Ukrainian Blue and Yellow.

  66. Russian App Store and iTunes Store payments have been shut down. And it’s not just debit/credit cards. Apparently gift cards no longer work either. So effectively the Russian stores are now off.

  67. I’ve been amazed at the speed at which Readdle responds to my customer support filings, mostly about suggested features.

  68. I’m not sure exactly what else they could have done, pre-war.

  69. “Blinked.” Should Apple and Google really have left the app available and put their employees in Russia at risk of prison?

  70. Simple. Comply with the order to buy time. Then close all operations in country. Fly out any foreign staff (if they wish). Stop sales of all hardware and software. Shut down the iTunes ad App stores. Basically, they could have done exactly what they did now, just years ago.

    This is not just Apple. All of us, the entire West, should have reacted much more harshly back in 2014 when Putin waged war in Crimea and annexed an entire part of a sovereign state. Heck, we should probably have already cut Russia off 2008 when they declared war on Georgia. Bummer most people around here to this day couldn’t even find Georgia on a map (at least not the one that doesn’t have Atlanta).

    So now we pay for what we failed to do decades ago. That’s fine. We obviously needed the lesson. But the real suffering is by those 10s of thousands of Ukrainians now left to die in their soon to be demolished country while we watch from afar and say tough luck this is all we can do because… well, nukes and WW3 of course.

  71. It’s easy to see how this could degenerate into WW3 as Putin is crazy enough to go out in a ‘blaze of infamy’. The problem is a nuclear deterrent is only effective if you’re willing to actually use them and the West don’t seem willing to draw that line in the sand. Putin is probably just sabre rattling but it’s a big bluff to call.

    Ukraine can’t be left to burn with millions displaced, injured or killed. I’d like to think if my home (Australia) was being attacked there’d be some military assistance coming from our allies.

    Terrible situation.

  72. Great! You just cut the Russian population off from the world. Well done! Vladimir Putin thanks you.

    Because Russia didn’t have nuclear weapons in 2014? If, as you note, we’re stuck now because of nukes, we were stuck then.

  73. Alright folks, let’s stay on topic of what is happening, not what might have happened or could happen in the future.

  74. Softorino sent an email this morning. Nothing up on their site as of yet.

    The email said the following followed by the links we have seen widely shared by Ukrainians.


    Softorino was proudly founded in Ukraine, and our development team is based in Kyiv. We will resist. And you can help us.

    At 5 am on February 24, Russia began the full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. They are violently trying to steal our country. The Armed Forces of Ukraine, young and brave heroes, are fighting all over the country not only for Ukraine but for Peace and Clear Skies in Europe.

    Why are we writing this?

    As Softorino users, we ask you to declare your support for the people of Ukraine, who continue to resist the unprovoked Russian invasion.

    Spread the word about what’s really going on in Ukraine. The Russian media is telling a different story. They describe the situation as a “military operation” rather than a “war” or “invasion,” distorting what is happening on the ground here in our country. Russia is creating a disinformation campaign to “discourage and induce surrender.

    The Kremlin’s propaganda machine is running at full throttle but you can destroy it by telling the truth. Urge people from your country to speak up.

    #SaveUkraine #WorldForUkraine #StandWithUkraine
    Follow and use these hashtags on your social media to indicate your support and drive the world’s attention to the cause.️

    What does this situation mean for our users?

    With regards to the use of our products – nothing. No matter where we are, we continue doing our job – building great software products for our clients from all over the world.

    We stay strong, our spirit is not broken, we will resist. We urge you to stand with Ukraine as it is shielding freedom, common values, democracy, and security of Europe and the world.️

    How you can help?

    Now, at this difficult time for us, we are asking for help and support. We ask for whatever help you can offer, whether that is by peacefully protesting, speaking to your representatives, or donating money. Below are links to trustworthy organizations in need of funds to continue supporting and caring for the people of Ukraine.

  75. Speaking of technology and this war, recall when hackers managed to shut down a pipeline in the Southern US last year for ransom? I wonder if Ukrainian hackers could, using similar techniques, shut down the pipelines carrying oil and gas from Russia through Ukraine on to Poland and the rest of Europe. It’s clear that Germany and Italy who get ~ half their natural gas from Russia cannot presently commit to an embargo. But if Ukrainian hackers were to create a fait accompli through a cyberattack with sustained fallout, Russia would nevertheless be deprived of a massive source of revenue (naturally, Ukraine would also lose its transit fee revenue, but I’m assuming right now they’re not getting that money from Russia anyhow). This seems like such an obvious idea, I’m wondering why we haven’t heard anything similar yet. Is it very different hacking a pipeline through Ukraine compared to one in the Southern US?

  76. Pixelmator just posted on Twitter that one of their team, a coder in Kharkiv, came under fire. Quite an extraordinary amount of excellent apps for the Mac it seems have at least some toehold in Ukraine.

  77. To bring this back into what has happened, I was fascinated to see the Anonymous hacking group declare war on Russia and follow it up with some cyberattacks. This is more in the realm of harassment and counter-propaganda for the moment, but I have to assume that Anonymous would be looking for a wide variety of targets within Russia.

  78. It is really good to know that Anonymous is doing important work in the current situation but they do bad stuff too. I bet many of them look to Edward Snowden as a hero which is unfortunate.

    " only about two percent of the classified secrets that Snowden stole and released have ever been publicly disclosed. The other 98% that remained classified are now in the hands of the Russians and most assuredly, the Chinese as well."

    from https://thescif.org/snowden-shows-his-true-stripes-6167e2c70a80

  79. To follow up from this, Alex Navalny’s smart voting app is reportedly back on the App Store.

    Perhaps Apple has removed all of their employees and contractors from Russia so threats against them are no longer leverage.

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