The Apple Developer Center has been offline since Thursday, 18 July 2013, and after days of silence and much speculation, Apple finally sent email to developers on Sunday, explaining that it had detected an intruder and shut down the developer Web site. Apple says that it is completely overhauling its developer systems, updating server software, and rebuilding the entire database, so it is uncertain when the system will be available again. In the meantime, developers can’t obtain identities, certificates, or provisioning profiles, making it impossible to distribute an app for testing or submit it to the App Store. Apple developer forums are also offline.
FTL is a challenging, yet short space game for the Mac where you never know what will happen next. Josh Centers describes what’s fun about FTL, and shares a few of his hard-won tips.
Josh Centers shares his home office setup — from the computer to the coffee — along with how to choose the best equipment at the best prices. His choices may not match what you would need, but his thinking is worth keeping in mind as you equip or update your own work environment.
Over at Macworld, author Kirk McElhearn argues that Apple should eliminate DRM in titles sold in the iBookstore, citing Steve Jobs’s 2007 open letter, “Thoughts on Music,” as an example of how Apple could pressure publishers. The core problem is that titles purchased in the iBookstore are readable only on iOS devices and not on a Kindle, other ebook reader, Android device, Windows PC, or even a Mac until iBooks arrives with OS X 10.9 Mavericks. However, titles purchased on a Kindle can be read in the Kindle app on nearly all of those platforms. As a result, McElhearn says he usually buys from Amazon instead of Apple, a strategy we’ve heard many other ebook aficionados adopting as well. Like all other Take Control titles, McElhearn’s most recent book, “Take Control of LaunchBar,” is DRM-free.
Apple has signed on to an open letter asking for more transparency from the U.S. government’s national security requests. Joining Apple are AOL, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Tumblr, Twitter, Yahoo, Wikimedia Foundation, Y Combinator, and many other groups. Notably absent from the list are any major telecom companies, which reportedly refused to sign the letter. The signing companies want permission to publicly report statistics on government requests related to the USA PATRIOT Act, FISA, and National Security Letter statutes. The letter is addressed to President Obama, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and a variety of other prominent members of the House and Senate.
Maintenance release to the free text editor that mirrors many of the fixes in BBEdit 10.5.5. (Free, 9.8 MB)
Maintenance release with over 30 fixes and improvements. ($49.99 new, free update, 12.6 MB)
Is it worth paying a monthly fee to be able to upgrade your smartphone or tablet more often? Maybe. Josh Centers analyzes what the new T-Mobile and AT&T plans mean for Apple users.
You may have heard that the Tumblr app inadvertently transmitted passwords in the clear on Wi-Fi networks, but what else might be at risk? Over at PCWorld, Eric Geier performed an experiment to see what he could intercept over an unsecured Wi-Fi network at a coffee shop. Using a Windows laptop with a wireless network analyzer and a rooted Android phone, he was able to see the Web pages other connected users were viewing, as well as email and unsecure logins. Geier offers a number of tips to improve Wi-Fi security while in public, including always using SSL connections to Web sites, when available.
Social network and infrastructure service App.net has released a new tool called PourOver that enables you to publish RSS feeds on App.net. PourOver will be especially appreciated by bloggers who wish to send new post links to App.net automatically. The open-source syndication tool supports Pubsubhubbub for real-time publishing and flow control to space out posts.
Need to point out visual errors in iOS, or just want to get a chance to play with iOS 7? Josh Centers tells you why you want to check out Bugshot.
Apple’s professional audio app has been redesigned, sporting numerous new and improved features. ($199.99, 650 MB)
Nashville-based attorney Chris Sevier has filed suit against Apple in federal court for enabling his pornography addiction. Sevier wants Apple to enable an Internet filter in iOS devices by default, and allow it to be circumvented only upon sending a signed form to Apple. While iOS parental controls could use some work, Sevier’s request is rather over the top, to say the least, and we don’t anticipate needing to explain a judge’s decision in the case. Sevier was arrested earlier this year for stalking country star John Rich, and the Tennessee Supreme Court has placed Sevier on disability inactive status for mental illness.
Jon Lipsky, the lead developer on TouchDraw, received an email complaint about a competitor’s app. He helpfully looked up the correct contact information, only to find that the competing app, Diagram Touch, was in fact a cracked and repackaged version of TouchDraw. Lipsky went on to discover a pirated version of OmniGraffle that was repackaged in the same way. Other developers have voiced the same issue in his post’s comments. Until Apple gets this under control, watch what you buy, and don’t take any wooden nickels!
It’s the end of an era. The August 2013 issue marks the final U.S. print version of the venerable PCWorld magazine, founded in 1983. However, PCWorld will still publish on the Web, and the print magazine will continue in some other countries. PCWorld’s sister publication, Macworld, will continue to arrive on newsstands each month for the foreseeable future.