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#1399: Meltdown & Spectre chip vulnerabilities, iPhone shutdowns, Washed-out Mac displays, Polaroid LED light panel, CES tech trends

Happy New Year! Unfortunately, we’re kicking off our first issue of 2018 with bad news: the recently discovered Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities affect nearly every modern computer CPU, including those in Macs and iOS devices. Apple has released updates to mitigate these flaws, but no one knows if they can be eliminated entirely. Apple has also apologized for an iOS tweak intended to reduce unexpected iPhone shutdowns that was also found to slow down older iPhones, and the company is responding with $29 battery replacements for select devices throughout 2018. Adam Engst explains how he fixed a mysteriously washed-out Mac display, and he reviews the inexpensive Polaroid Flexi LED Light Panel, which can improve your indoor photography or video work. Finally, our roving correspondent Jeff Porten looks at tech trends from CES 2018 — tune in next week to read his coverage from the show floor! Notable software releases this week include Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.8, VMware Fusion 10.1, Default Folder X 5.2, Ulysses 12.2, ScreenFlow 7.2, VLC Media Player 2.2.8, SEE Finance 2.0.2, MoneyWiz 2.7.1, 1Password 6.8.5, and Bookends 13.0.2.

Adam Engst 11 comments

Solving a Washed-Out Display Problem

Faced with a display that was getting whiter and brighter, Adam Engst finally realized that he had been inadvertently increasing the Display Contrast slider in the Accessibility preference pane via a keyboard shortcut.