Skip to content
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 34 years
and the TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals
Show excerpts

#1488: iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2, AirPods Pro, expired macOS installer certificates, screen mirroring tip, Continuity Sketch and Continuity Markup

Ready for more updates? iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 deliver promised features to Apple’s devices, including Deep Fusion, HomeKit Secure Video, and new Siri privacy options. Apple finally updated the HomePod to iOS 13 with this release, adding the capability to distinguish between family members. Apple also made a surprise announcement of the AirPods Pro, which boast swappable ear tips and active noise cancellation. Adam Engst shares tips for fixing macOS installers with expired certificates and mirroring selected screens in multi-monitor setups. Finally, for those who have updated to macOS 10.15 Catalina, we have a guide on using its new Continuity Sketch and Continuity Markup features. Notable Mac app releases this week include Default Folder X 5.4.1, BusyCal 3.7.2 and BusyContacts 1.4.2, Firefox 70.0, Transmit 5.6.1, and Bookends 13.2.7.

Josh Centers Adam Engst 14 comments

iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 Serve Up Deep Fusion, HomeKit Enhancements, and HomePod Features

Apple has released iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2, which deliver promised features and fix a slew of bugs. You can install the updates, which weigh in at 597.3 MB on an iPhone X and 534.1 MB on a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, in Settings > General > Software Update, through the Finder in macOS 10.15 Catalina, or otherwise through iTunes.

If you’ve already updated to iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, keep installing these updates. If not, it’s probably worth holding off a bit longer, but we’re getting closer to the point where Apple should have found and fixed the most egregious bugs.

iPadOS 13.2 release notes

The marquee feature of iOS 13.2 is the promised Deep Fusion for the iPhone 11 models, which uses machine learning to combine multiple camera exposures into a single image with superior image quality and less noise (see “Apple Announces iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max,” 10 September 2019). Users of those new iPhones can now also change the video resolution directly from the Camera app.

Both iOS 13.2 and iPadOS 13.2 also add delayed HomeKit features, such as HomeKit Secure Video, which lets you securely store security camera footage in iCloud, and HomeKit-enabled routers, which let you quarantine HomeKit accessories from the rest of your network. When Apple first announced this feature earlier this year, the company specified support for routers from Eero, Linksys, and Spectrum, but there was no mention of any of those companies in the release notes (see “Apple Announces iOS 13 and Breaks Out iPadOS,” 3 June 2019). Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, on the Siri privacy front, these updates offer a new setting to control whether Apple stores recordings of your Siri queries and Dictation entries, and an option to delete Siri and Dictation data from Apple’s servers. This change comes in response to the controversy surrounding Apple’s use of contractors to monitor Siri recordings for quality control (see “Apple Announces Siri Privacy Reforms,” 29 August 2019).

Rounding out the new features, iOS 13.2 includes support for Apple’s just-announced AirPods Pro (see “Apple Releases AirPods Pro with Noise Cancellation,” 28 October 2019) and improved performance when using AssistiveTouch to activate the App Switcher. Finally, Apple added some new emojis—whee.

The update also squashes a number of bugs that:

  • Prevented passwords from auto-filling in third-party apps
  • Prevented the keyboard from appearing when using Spotlight search
  • Caused swiping up to go to the Home screen to fail on iPhones without Home buttons
  • Made Messages send only a single notification even when repeat alerts were enabled in Settings > Notifications > Messages > Repeat Alerts
  • Caused Messages to show only a phone number and not a contact name
  • Caused Contacts to launch to the last-opened contact instead of the contact list
  • Prevented Markup annotations from being saved
  • Temporarily hid saved notes in Notes
  • Prevented manual iCloud backups from completing successfully

iOS 13.2 for HomePod

Apple has also, at long last, released iOS 13.2 for the HomePod. Although your HomePod should update itself soon, if it doesn’t, Apple provides manual installation instructions. That said, 9to5Mac is reporting that iOS 13.2 is bricking some HomePods, so don’t rush to update if it doesn’t happen automatically. (Adam Engst’s HomePods downloaded the update, but he’s holding off on tapping Update All until more is known about the bricking problem.)

iOS 13.2 release notes for HomePod

iOS 13.2 delivers the feature many HomePod-using families have been waiting for—the capability to distinguish between the voices of different family members. Until now, only one Apple ID could be associated with a HomePod, meaning that only one person could use Siri on the HomePod to set reminders, make calendar events, and perform other actions that relied on the Enable Personal Requests switch. In theory, this should also allow different people to get personalized Apple Music suggestions.

Here’s what else is new for the HomePod:

  • The option to Handoff music, podcasts, and phone calls from an iPhone to a HomePod
  • The option to add HomePod music to a HomeKit scene
  • Ambient Sounds, which are relaxing sounds you can play in the background
  • Sleep timers, which work with both music and Ambient Sounds

Michael Cohen, whose HomePod updated with no problem, tells us that the trick for playing Ambient Sounds is to say something like “Hey Siri, play soundType sounds,” where soundType includes “fireplace,” “forest,” “night,” “ocean,” “rain,” “stream,” and “white noise.” If you discover other types, let us know in the comments.

Ambient Sounds playback

Apple has yet to publish online release notes or security notes for these updates. According to Apple’s security updates page, Apple also released tvOS 13.2, but no release notes are yet available. We also anticipate the release of macOS 10.15.1 Catalina and watchOS 6.1 soon, since they’re both required for the AirPods Pro.

Adam Engst 14 comments

Apple Releases AirPods Pro with Noise Cancellation

The AirPods have been one of Apple’s most popular products of the last few years, so it wasn’t surprising when Apple introduced the second-generation AirPods (“Second-Generation AirPods Gain “Hey Siri” and Optional Wireless Charging,” 20 March 2019). More surprising is today’s release of the AirPods Pro, which build on those features to address some of the criticisms of Apple’s wireless earbuds. The new capabilities come with a price hike to $249, which includes a Wireless Charging Case. The AirPods Pro require at least the just-released iOS 13.2, iPadOS 13.2, and the upcoming watchOS 6.1, tvOS 13.2, and macOS Catalina 10.15.1.

(Warning—the scrolljacking on the AirPods Pro product page is slow, clumsy, and annoying; you’re better off reading Apple’s press release if you don’t have all day to scroll.)

AirPods Pro photo

Most notably, Apple redesigned the AirPods Pro for improved comfort and fit. Although the original AirPods were lauded by many who found the wired EarPods uncomfortable, plenty of people still had trouble wearing the AirPods. Each of the AirPods Pro earbuds comes with three sizes of soft, flexible, silicone ear tips. Apple says the ear tips use a vent system to equalize pressure and reduce discomfort. By sealing the ear canal, the ear tips block more outside noise.

The AirPods Pro also offer an Ear Tip Fit Test, presumably accessed in iOS 13.2 or iPadOS 13.2, which somehow tests the quality of the seal and identifies the best ear tip size for you. The test’s algorithms measure the sound level in each ear and compare it to what’s coming from the speaker driver, then suggest if you need a different ear tip or should adjust the seal.

Although the ear tips should provide some level of passive noise cancellation, the real win will come from the new Active Noise Cancellation mode. It uses a pair of microphones—one facing out to sample the external environment and the other facing inward—and advanced algorithms that adapt the sound signal 200 times per second to cancel background noise. For frequent flyers, the AirPods Pro may be well worth the money for the active noise cancellation alone. Perhaps traveling business professionals are the audience that supports the “Pro” moniker.

However, there’s a problem with noise cancellation—passive or active—which is that sometimes you want to be able to listen to your music or podcast or audiobook without being entirely isolated from your environment. Runners need to be able to hear cars, bikes, and other runners—once, in a single-track trail race, I seriously startled an earbuds-wearing woman when I brushed past her too closely because she hadn’t been able to hear my shouted warnings as I overtook her. (Luckily, she couldn’t hear my subsequent imprecations either.) And anyone who commutes by bus, train, or plane needs to be able to hear important announcements.

To enable that, Apple has created Transparency mode, which adjusts the noise cancellation levels to ensure that your own voice sounds natural to you. Presumably, that’s a stand-in for being able to hear important sounds around you. You can switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes using a new “force sensor” on the stem of the AirPods—is that Apple’s new term for a pressure-sensitive button? Alternatively, the volume slider in Control Center or the AirPlay icon on an Apple Watch both let you adjust modes. The AirPods Pro force sensor also enables you to play, pause, or skip tracks, and answer or hang up phone calls—for anything more, you can use Siri.

Active Noise Cancellation mode does consume more battery power, dropping the standard 5 hours of listening time to 4.5 hours. But the AirPods Pro boast 3.5 hours of talk time, which is up to 30 minutes more talk time than the second-generation AirPods. As with previous AirPods models, the Wireless Charging Case provides additional charges for up to 24 hours of listening time or 18 hours of talk time.

Apple makes much of the immersive sound quality of the AirPods Pro, using lots of breathless adjectives. The AirPods Pro probably sound better than the AirPods, but we’ll have to wait for the audiophiles to weigh in on whether such purple prose is warranted:

AirPods Pro deliver superior sound quality with Adaptive EQ, which automatically tunes the low- and mid-frequencies of the music to the shape of an individual’s ear—resulting in a rich, immersive listening experience. A custom high dynamic range amplifier produces pure, incredibly clear sound while also extending battery life, and powers a custom high-excursion, low-distortion speaker driver designed to optimize audio quality and remove background noise. The driver provides consistent, rich bass down to 20Hz and detailed mid- and high-frequency audio.

AirPods Pro expanded

The AirPods Pro with Wireless Charging Case are available to order now for $249 and will start arriving on 30 October 2019. The second-generation AirPods remain available for $159 with the wired charging case or $199 with a Wireless Charging Case. The Wireless Charging Case itself remains priced at $79.

We’ll see if Apple can produce sufficient quantities of the AirPods Pro to meet demand, a challenge that took the company quite some time to meet for the original AirPods.

Adam Engst 96 comments

Redownload Archived macOS Installers to Address Expired Certificates

Apple digitally signs the installers used by its software updates to ensure that they haven’t been tampered with. That’s sensible, but there’s a gotcha: the certificates Apple uses to sign these installers have expiration dates. On his Der Flounder blog, Rich Trouton explains what happens when these certificates expire—Apple reissues the installers with new certificates. That has happened again, since many, if not all of Apple’s recent installers had an expiration date of 24 October 2019, which came and went last week.

For most Mac users, this kerfuffle is largely irrelevant—if you need an installer for an older version of macOS, you’ll get one that will work when you download it. The people who are being impacted are Apple consultants and IT admins who have built troubleshooting toolkits that contain a selection of macOS installers for rebuilding Macs with whatever version of macOS is required.

A collection of old macOS installers

The Finder may report that those installers can’t be verified and may have been corrupted or tampered with during download.

Screenshot of an installer with an expired certificate

Getting New Installers

Apple has now re-signed and re-released older installers, giving them a new expiration date of 14 April 2029—nearly 10 years in the future. If you want to rebuild your archive, you can download new installers from links on these pages:

Apple says that earlier versions are not available for download, and as far as I can tell, that’s true. Historically, they appeared in the App Store app, in your list of purchased items, but the only operating systems still showing up there for me are the developer beta of Sierra and the GM candidate for El Capitan (and I doubt they’d work anyway).

However, if you have installers for 10.9 Mavericks, 10.8 Mountain Lion, and 10.7 Lion, TidBITS Talk reader gastropod suggested a workaround for their expired certificates. Before you install, set the clock on the Mac to a date when the certificate was valid, perform the install, and then reset the date back after installation. To change the date from Terminal (which is likely all that will be accessible), follow these steps, which set it to 1 February 2016:

  1. In the installer, choose Utilities > Terminal.
  2. Enter sudo date 0201010116, press Return, and enter your password.
  3. Quit Terminal and continue the install.

Catalina Enhances softwareupdate Command-Line Tool

Speaking of Terminal, Armin Briegel has written on his Scripting OS X blog that the softwareupdate command has a new option in Catalina that lets you download the full installer for a specific version of macOS. This seems to work with versions of 10.14 Mojave and 10.13 High Sierra, but nothing older.

This command downloads the latest Install macOS application to your Applications folder.

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer

And this one downloads 10.13.6 specifically.

softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 10.13.6

In the Year 2525

This isn’t the first time we’ve needed to rebuild our collections of macOS installers—see “Previously Downloaded OS X Installers No Longer Work” (2 March 2016)—and it won’t be the last. Although it’s mostly just an annoyance to redownload everything now, the situation is more troubling over the long term. Silicon Valley always wants to look to the future, but academics and researchers of that future will also want to look back. Expiring certificates could make it difficult or even impossible to bring older Macs back to life for historical or reference purposes. Apple is unlikely to exist forever, but will the final employee re-sign all the old installers with a certificate that expires on the last possible date of 31 December 9999? And then what happens in the year 10,000?

Adam Engst 2 comments

TipBITS: How to Mirror Selected Screens in a Multiple Monitor Setup

I just got back from MacTech Conference, where the inimitable Sal Soghoian gave a talk in which he revealed a tremendously cool technology hidden deep inside macOS. I’ll write about that once he finishes the video explaining the setup.

For now, however, I want to share a tip that I’d never heard before that lets you mirror two (or more) of three (or more) screens attached to a Mac. It’s not something everyone will need, to be sure, but if you ever end up in a similar situation, you’ll appreciate knowing it. The trick works in at least macOS 10.14 Mojave and 10.15 Catalina, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes quite a bit further back.

Sal’s demonstration involved his MacBook Pro, an iPad connected by Luna Display, and a pair of projectors. One projector showed the iPad’s screen via a camera, so the audience could see Sal’s taps and swipes, but the other projector was connected to the MacBook Pro. As such, Settings > Displays > Arrangement showed three screens: the MacBook Pro, the Luna Display-connected iPad, and the projector.

Displays preference pane showing three screen

The problem was that Sal could only see the MacBook Pro and the iPad on the podium. For anything that happened on the projector, he had to peer into the distance to work from the projected screen. That proved difficult, but he soldiered through the presentation.

Afterward, Ed Marczak, a speaker and advisor to MacTech Conference who wasn’t in the room during the setup time, shared a little-known tip that would have made things easier on Sal. It turns out that if you have three (or more) screens connected to a Mac, you can mirror two of the three by Option-clicking one and dragging it on top of another. This does exactly what you’d expect. The Mac acts as though it has only two screens instead of three, and the same image appears on the two that are mirrored, with the third being separate.

Displays preference pane showing three screens, two mirrored

I verified this at home on my 27-inch iMac with Retina display, my standard 27-inch Thunderbolt Display, and an old 21-inch iMac I connected with Target Display Mode. Option-dragging the iMac monitor on top of my Thunderbolt Display’s icon in Settings > Display > Arrangement worked like a charm.

(What, you didn’t know about Target Display Mode? It’s a clever but short-lived technology that enables you to connect a non-Retina iMac made between 2009 and mid-2014 to another Mac via MiniDisplayPort or Thunderbolt and then use it as a secondary display. The trick, once you make the connection, is to press Command-F2 while the target iMac is at the login screen. It works pretty well, but it can be fussy to use regularly in my experience driving the 21.5-inch iMac as a secondary screen for my MacBook Air. In general, Target Display Mode is a great hack, but I wouldn’t recommend relying on it.)

Again, this tip is likely to be useful only in unusual situations, but as evidenced by Sal’s Rube Goldbergian presentation setup at MacTech, those situations do crop up from time to time.

Josh Centers No comments

How to Use Catalina’s Continuity Sketch and Continuity Markup

After pushing out a quick update to Take Control of Notes to address major changes in iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and macOS 10.15 Catalina, I realized that there were a few little things I’d missed in my haste, including a couple of little-publicized Continuity additions to macOS 10.15 Catalina. Another free update to Take Control of Notes will be out soon, but in the meantime, I’d like to tell you how you can take advantage of these new Continuity features, which aren’t limited to Notes.

Continuity is Apple’s umbrella term for a wide variety of technologies that let you integrate or switch between your Apple devices without missing a beat. They include features like AirDrop, Apple Pay, Auto Unlock, Handoff, Instant Hotspot, and Sidecar (see “Catalina’s Sidecar Turns an iPad into a Second Mac Monitor,” 21 October 2019). Catalina adds a couple of new members to the Continuity family: Continuity Sketch and Continuity Markup, which let you draw sketches and mark up files on a device running iOS 13 and sync that data back to a Mac running Catalina.

Continuity Sketch

If you’re familiar with the Continuity Camera features introduced in macOS 10.14 Mojave (see “How to Take Photos and Scan Documents with Continuity Camera in Mojave,” 27 September 2018), Continuity Sketch works much the same way. However, instead of letting you take a picture or scan a document with an iOS device, it lets you use your iOS device as a sketchpad for your Mac.

The same apps that support Continuity Camera also support Continuity Sketch, such as the Finder, Mail, Messages, Notes, Pages, and TextEdit. Here’s how to use Continuity Sketch:

  1. Click File in the menu bar or Control-click. In Mail, you can Control-click in a compose window. In Messages, you can Control-click in the message field. In Finder, Control-click any blank area of the Desktop.
  2. Choose Import from iPhone or iPad > Add Sketch. If you have multiple devices available, the submenu will display multiple entries.
    Continuity Sketch in the contextual menu
  3. Your iPhone or iPad should wake up to a sketch canvas. Draw your sketch using the onscreen tools (which I explain below).
    Continuity Sketch
  4. When you’re finished, tap Done to send the sketch to your Mac and insert it in the app from which you called it.Continuity Sketch in Mail

Continuity Markup

Continuity Markup provides the same tools as Continuity Sketch, but it works differently. For one, it’s accessible only through Quick Look on the Mac. Also, unlike Continuity Sketch, where the sketch doesn’t appear until you tap Done on the iOS device, your scribbles on your iOS device show up in real-time on your Mac’s screen. Here’s how you use it:

  1. To activate Continuity Markup, first pull up an image or PDF document in Quick Look by selecting it in the Finder and pressing the Space bar.
  2. Click the Markup button in the Quick Look toolbar.
    The Markup button in Quick Look
  3. In the markup toolbar, click the icon on the far right that looks like an iPad and Apple Pencil and choose your device from the pop-up menu.
    Mac markup tools
  4. The chosen device will wake up, with the document or image in markup mode. Mark it up using the onscreen tools.
    Continuity Markup
  5. When you’re finished marking up the image, tap Done to dismiss it from your iOS device.
  6. Back on the Mac, click Done in Quick Look to save your changes, or click Revert to undo them all.

Markup Tools

As noted, Continuity Sketch and Continuity Markup share the same set of tools on the iOS side. They appear in a palette at the bottom of the screen, and on an iPad, you can drag the palette to any of the four sides of the screen. And of course, if your iPad supports it, you can draw with an Apple Pencil.

Markup tools

Here are the tools, from left to right:

  • Pen, Marker, Pencil: These three are the main tools you’ll use to draw on the screen, each with different thicknesses. Tap one of the tools while it’s selected to change its line style and weight or adjust its transparency.
    Markup tool options
  • Eraser: With this tool selected, tapping a drawing will erase it, which is called the Object Eraser. In iOS 13, you can switch to a pixel eraser, which works like a real eraser and lets you remove portions of the image, by tapping the Eraser tool again and then Pixel Eraser.
  • Lasso: The lasso tool lets you draw around an object to select it. Once you’ve selected an object, you can drag it around the screen or tap it to see options to copy or delete it.
  • Ruler: Tapping this tool displays a ruler, which you can move and rotate and then use to help draw straight lines at any angle by drawing along one side of the ruler. The line will snap to the edge of the ruler. Drag with one finger to move the ruler, and twist with two fingers to rotate it—it displays the angle while you’re rotating the ruler.
  • More Tools: Sometimes you’ll see a plus icon in the palette. Tapping it reveals additional tools, which are extremely similar to Preview’s editing tools on the Mac:
    • Text box: Tap this tool to insert a text box, which says Text by default. Tap the box and tap Edit to change the text inside the box. You can also use the Aa button in the palette to change the text style.
    • Signature: If you’ve created a signature in Preview for signing digital documents, you can insert it here. Otherwise, you’re prompted to draw a new signature that will be inserted on the screen.
    • Magnifier: This tool adds a circular loupe that magnifies whatever is under it. Drag the blue dot to adjust the size of the loupe and the green dot to change the level of magnification.
    • Shapes: Tap these icons to insert the associated shape: rectangle, circle, speech balloon, or arrow.Extra markup tools

I cover these tools and much, much more in Take Control of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, Take Control of Notes, and Take Control of Preview, which I co-authored with Adam Engst.


Default Folder X 5.4.1 Agen Schmitz No comments

Default Folder X 5.4.1

St. Clair Software has issued Default Folder X 5.4.1, fixing problems in macOS 10.15 Catalina where Default Folder X wouldn’t correctly record recently used folders if they were empty. The Open/Save dialog enhancement utility also fixes a bug that caused folder operations in the Utility menu to be disabled, ensures the file dialog menu shortcut commands work correctly, and eliminates an intermittent crash. The release also works around a problem in Catalina that prevented Default Folder X from being added to the Screen Recording permissions list under certain conditions. ($34.95 new, TidBITS members save $10 on new copies and $5 on upgrades, 9.6 MB, release notes, macOS 10.10+)

BusyCal 3.7.2 and BusyContacts 1.4.2 Agen Schmitz No comments

BusyCal 3.7.2 and BusyContacts 1.4.2

BusyMac has released BusyCal 3.7.2 and BusyContacts 1.4.2 with enhancements, bug fixes, and stability improvements for the personal information management apps. BusyCal adds an advanced preference to show meeting invites for proxies in the Inbox, lets you combine the “Group entries by Calendar” appearance option with the new “before sorting by time” option, improves conflict resolution for changes made to events on an Exchange account, resolves an issue where Control-clicking a Todo would incorrectly put it into edit mode, and works around a macOS 10.15 Catalina issue where emailing meetings as .ics attachments wouldn’t work.

BusyContacts now removes a column from the sorting list if you click its header three times, restores zoomed-in photo size upon relaunch, fixes a bug where a newly created Google contact would at times lose selection after sync, and improves date format recognition when pasting dates into the Birthday and Anniversary fields. ($49.99 new for BusyCal from BusyMac or the Mac App Store, free update, 27.7 MB, release notes, macOS 10.11+; $49.99 new for BusyContacts from BusyMac or the Mac App Store, free update, 12.9 MB, release notes, macOS 10.11+)

Firefox 70.0 Agen Schmitz No comments

Firefox 70.0

Mozilla has issued Firefox 70, strengthening the Web browser’s Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) with social tracking protection and a Privacy Protections report. Introduced by Mozilla in June 2019, ETP blocks known third-party tracking cookies and cryptominers and is turned on by default with the Standard setting (with the Strict setting additionally blocking fingerprinters, which can harvest a snapshot of your computer’s configuration).

Firefox 70 protects users from social media trackers from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, all of which collect data about your browsing history to improve ad targeting. Note, however, that these social media networks will still be able to collect data about you when you visit their sites. The new Privacy Protections report displays the number of cross-site and social media trackers that have been blocked—click the shield icon in the address bar to view it.

Firefox 70 Privacy Protection report

Mozilla also improved Firefox’s Lockwise password manager with an enhanced password generator and updates on breached accounts (see more details on these new and improved features at this Mozilla blog post).

In addition to upping its privacy protections, Firefox receives a redesigned app icon, ensures that built-in Firefox pages now follow your system Dark mode preference, enables password importing from Chrome, and improves the readability of underlined or overlined text, including links. (Free, 69.1 MB, release notes, macOS 10.9+)

Transmit 5.6.1 Agen Schmitz No comments

Transmit 5.6.1

Panic has issued Transmit 5.6.1 to remove support for Amazon Drive at the request of Amazon, which does not affect Transmit’s continued full support for Amazon AWS S3. The file transfer app also now enables you to quickly copy a currently open folder’s path to the clipboard, ensures the rules predicate popup draws correctly, resolves an issue that prevented writing very large keys to known_hosts, ensures that remote Quick Look works as expected in macOS 10.15 Catalina, resolves a hang that occurred when deleting files from filtered search results, and ensures that adding a remote folder to the places bar and then copying one of its children no longer transfers the entire folder. ($45 new, free update, 63.3 MB, release notes, 10.11+)

Bookends 13.2.7 Agen Schmitz No comments

Bookends 13.2.7

Sonny Software has released Bookends 13.2.7, bringing some document opening and scanning fixes to the reference management tool when running in macOS 10.15 Catalina. The update ensures that opening PDFs in a non-default app works correctly, scanning an open Pages document works even when Bookends does not have Full Disk Access, and searching for DOIs in certain PDFs when attaching no longer causes a crash. Bookends 13.2.7 can now can perform BibTeX scans on files with the .tex extension, changes the keyboard shortcut for Make Quoted PDF Highlight From Selection to Control-Shift-Command-Q, removes a trailing return when performing Copy Formatted, improves identification of invalid DOIs in Web pages, fixes a bug where a file’s extension was repeated when it was renamed automatically, and resolves an issue that caused a long delay when trying to access a server that is no longer mounted. ($59.99 new with a 25% discount for TidBITS members, 51.2 MB, release notes, macOS 10.10+)


Josh Centers 6 comments

Fearing Shooters, Schools Put Kids under Surveillance

In the wake of the February 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, school surveillance has become a big business, with school districts spending more than $8 million per year on ways to electronically monitor their students. At The Guardian, Lois Beckett has documented the extent of these systems, which can monitor everything typed on school-provided laptops and in school-managed student communication systems. If a student says or searches for something concerning, school administrators can, and have, responded in minutes, whether that means pulling a student out of class or sending police to the student’s house at night.

While the article highlights potentially bad situations—notably suicides and threats to others—that were averted thanks to these surveillance systems, it also raises serious questions about both student privacy today and the future in general. A representative from Gaggle, one of the school monitoring companies, argues that its surveillance systems prepare students for the workforce, where they can also expect to be heavily monitored.

Schools are in a tough situation here. Federal law requires them to “monitor” students’ online activities, although what counts as monitoring has never been clearly defined. There’s no question that schools need to provide a safe environment for students, but how far they should go remains open for debate.

Gaggle marketing