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  1. Microsoft releases new Office version 16.52 (Builds 21071804 and 21072100) for Mac users in Beta Channel Microsoft has released a new Office Insider Preview Build with version number 16.52 (Builds 21071804 and 21072100) for Mac users (Beta Channel). The latest Insider Preview Build brings new features, improvements, and fixes for issues found in Outlook. Talking about what’s new, rules for MSA accounts are now supported in Outlook. The new Office build also includes “No Results” improvements. You can read the full official changelog below. Changelog Outlook Fixes Mail: We improved tooltip validations. Mail: We fixed an issue where typing an email address was manually marked as unresolved. My Day: We fixed a UI issue where the My Day preference box was cut off in the German version of the new Outlook. Search: We fixed an issue with offline search using custom dates. Groups: We fixed the ability to copy 365 Group messages into other folders via drag and drop. We fixed a crash that was caused by dragging folders in the navigation pane. We fixed a crash that was caused after assigning priority. We improved a performance issue while composing a message. New or improved features Rules: Rules for MSA accounts are now supported. Search “No Results” Improvement: If the to: and from: filters on the user query results in a no-result scenario, then to help the user find the email they’re looking for, we convert the query to a keyword search. To update to Office Insider Preview Build, open any Office program and go to File > Account > Update options > Update now. Microsoft releases new Office version 16.52 (Builds 21071804 and 21072100) for Mac users in Beta Channel
  2. iPadOS 14.7 and macOS Big Sur 11.5 come with plenty of bug fixes and security updates It's unusual for iPadOS to come after iOS, but it's here. Apple has released new versions of its iPadOS and macOS operating systems just a couple of days after the company updated iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. The iPadOS update adds some new features and shares a lot with its iOS counterpart, while the macOS release is a modest one that focuses on a couple of bug fixes. It's unusual for an iPadOS update to arrive after an iOS update, and it's likely that Apple delayed iPadOS at the last minute to address some issue, but we don't know for sure. In any case, the update is here now. iPadOS 14.7 Many of the new features and bug fixes Apple lists in iPadOS 14.7's release notes are the same as those seen in iOS 14.7 earlier this week. The first bullet point highlights the ability to tie two individuals in a family unit to the same Apple Card account, allowing them to develop credit together. The update also introduces a way to manage timers on a HomePod and tweaks the Podcasts interface. In one iPad-specific note, Apple says it has fixed a problem that caused audio to skip when using USB-C-to-3.5 mm headphone jack adapters. Apple's full release notes from iPadOS 14.7 are as follows: iPadOS 14.7 includes the following improvements and bug fixes for your iPad: Apple Card family adds the option to combine credit limits and share one co-owned account with an existing Apple Card user Home app adds the ability to manage timers on HomePod Podcasts library allows you to choose to see all shows or only followed shows Share Playlist menu option missing in Apple Music Dolby Atmos and Apple Music lossless audio playback may unexpectedly stop Braille displays could show invalid information while composing Mail messages Audio may skip when using USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapters with iPad macOS Big Sur 11.5 macOS Big Sur 11.5 also landed for supported Macs today, but it is a smaller release that delivers a few bug fixes and several security updates. It has the same Podcasts tweak as seen in iOS and iPadOS, and it fixes an issue related to data in the Music app and another with smart cards on M1 Macs. Here are the full macOS 11.5 release notes: macOS Big Sur 11.5 includes the following improvements for your Mac: Podcasts Library tab allows you to choose to see all shows or only followed shows This release also fixes the following issues: Music may not update play count and last played date in your library Smart cards may not work when logging into Mac computers with the M1 chip For more detailed information about this update, please visit: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT211896 You can read about the security updates in these releases on Apple's website, and there are quite a few for this version of macOS. Apple also clarified that this week's iOS update (and iPadOS, too) addressed a widely publicized Wi-Fi-related vulnerability. From the security update documentation: Impact: Joining a malicious Wi-Fi network may result in a denial of service or arbitrary code execution Description: This issue was addressed with improved checks With these macOS and iPadOS releases, Apple has now updated its entire suite of operating systems. These updates may be the last ones (other than emergency security or bug fixes) before Apple launches major new versions of iOS and macOS this fall. iPadOS 14.7 and macOS Big Sur 11.5 come with plenty of bug fixes and security updates
  3. Microsoft launches private preview of Visual Studio 2022 for Mac Microsoft has announced the start of the private preview stage for Visual Studio 2022 for Mac. To sign up, volunteers can register their interest using this form, if you are successful, Microsoft will contact you with a link to download the preview. Microsoft said that this is the first release of its .NET IDE with a refreshed interface that fully integrates with the macOS UI and fixes crashes. While the UI integrates better with macOS, Microsoft also notes that it feels more familiar with the experience on Windows so users swapping between platforms will have a flatter learning curve. The Redmond company said that it has high standards for quality with Visual Studio 2022 for Mac and therefore wants to squash more bugs during a private preview phase before opening it up to a larger public preview. While this update brings a footer status bar, a new tab model for the documents/tool window, and refreshed dark and light themes, future previews will bring a new preferences UI, tool window drag and drop, and a Git branch selector in the status bar. Feedback is crucial for Microsoft especially at this early stage in the product cycle. To report your feedback, in Visual Studio for Mac, go to Help > Report a Problem or Help > Provide a Suggestion. Microsoft launches private preview of Visual Studio 2022 for Mac
  4. XLoader malware steals logins from macOS and Windows systems A highly popular malware for stealing information from Windows systems has been modified into a new strain called XLoader, which can also target macOS systems. XLoader is currently being offered on an underground forum as a botnet loader service that can “recover” passwords from web browsers and some email clients (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, IE, Outlook,Thunderbird, Foxmail). Derived from the Formbook info-stealer for Windows, XLoader emerged last February and has grown in popularity, advertised as a cross-platform (Windows and macOS) botnet with no dependencies. The connection between the two malware pieces was confirmed after a member of the community reverse-engineered XLoader and found that it had the same executable as Formbook. The advertiser explained that Formbook’s developer contributed a lot to creating XLoader, and the two malware had similar functionality (steal login credentials, capture screenshots, log keystrokes, and execute malicious files). Customers can rent the macOS malware version for $49 (one month) and get access to a server that the seller provides. By keeping a centralized command and control infrastructure, the authors can control how clients use the malware. The Windows version is more expensive as the seller asks $59 for a one-month license and $129 for three months. As mentioned in the advertisement, the makers of XLoader also provide a Java binder for free, which allows customers to create a standalone JAR file with the Mach-O and EXE binaries used by macOS and Windows. Tracking XLoader 6-month activity up to June 1st, malware researchers at Check Point saw requests from 69 countries, indicating a significant spread across the globe, with more than half of the victims being in the United States. Although Formbook is no longer advertised on underground forums, it continues to be a prevalent threat. It was part of at least 1,000 malware camapaigns over the past three years and according to AnyRun’s malware trends, the info-stealer takes fourth place over the past 12 months, after Emotet If Formbook’s popularity is any indication, XLoader is likely to be more prevalent given that it targets the two most popular operating systems used by consumers. Check Point researchers say that XLoader is stealthy enough to make it difficult for a regular, non-technical user to spot it. They recommend using macOS’ Autorun to check the username in the OS and to look into the LaunchAgents folder [/Users/[username]/Library/LaunchAgents] and delete entries with suspicious filenames (random-looking name). Yaniv Balmas, Head of Cyber Research at Check Point Software, says that XLoader is “is far more mature and sophisticated than its predecessors [i.e. Formbook].” macOS’s growing popularity exposed it to unwanted attention from cybercriminals, who are now seeing the OS as an attractive target. “While there might be a gap between Windows and MacOS malware, the gap is slowly closing over time. The truth is that MacOS malware is becoming bigger and more dangerous” - Yaniv Balmas The researcher believes that more malware families will adapt and add macOS to the list of supported operating systems. XLoader malware steals logins from macOS and Windows systems
  5. Apple’s latest iOS and macOS betas undo some of Safari’s controversial new design A more consistent design Apple has released its third developer betas for the upcoming iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, and they bring some much-needed fixes to Safari — namely, undoing some of the more controversial changes introduced in the earlier betas. For macOS, that means a normal tab bar that goes back to the previous design, while iOS is getting a more consistent design when it comes to the URL bar. iOS 15 is still sticking with its new tab view and the moved URL bar on the bottom of the display, but the latest beta docked it there permanently, instead of bouncing it to the top of the screen when you selected it. Apple’s also added a new refresh option to the pop-over menu when you tap and hold the URL bar. Together, the changes help make the new design a lot more cohesive to use. The change to macOS is simpler: Apple seems to have just brought back part of its Big Sur design for Safari’s URL bar and tabs, ditching the combined tab/URL bar setup that it debuted in the earlier betas. In the latest beta, there’s once again a URL bar that lives at the top of each Safari menu, with a row of tabs beneath it. Each of those tabs still takes up a decently large piece of real estate — the overall Monterey design is the same in that regard — but it’s definitely an improvement over the original betas. That said, if you preferred the new design, that’s still an option too, according to 9to5Mac. Unchanged, at least for now, is the iPadOS version of Safari. Given that Apple isn’t expected to fully release its latest OS updates until the fall, though, there’s still plenty of time for additional changes to Safari across all of Apple’s platforms. Apple’s latest iOS and macOS betas undo some of Safari’s controversial new design
  6. Parallels is working to bring Windows 11 to the MacOS MacOS virtualization app Parallels have confirmed that they are working on porting Windows 11 to macOS. The company, which has only recently brought Windows 10 on ARM to the Apple M1 Macbook, has told iMore that they are doing “everything that’s possible” to bring Windows 11 to macOS. “Since Windows 11 has just been announced recently, the Parallels Engineering team is waiting for the official Windows 11 Insider Preview build to start studying changes introduced in the new OS to deliver full compatibility in future Parallels Desktop updates,” said Nick Dobrovolskiy, SVP of Engineering and Support. Interestingly MacBooks generally do not come with TPM 2.0 chips, with Apple of course offering its own Secure Enclave, but Microsoft has already said that they are waiving that requirement for virtual machines. With Bootcamp no longer supported by Apple, the only way to run another OS on Macbook is via virtualization, suggesting Parralel’s 7 million MacBook users are likely to expand significantly in number in the future. via 9to5mac Parallels is working to bring Windows 11 to the MacOS
  7. All the New Privacy and Security Features Coming to iOS and macOS Improvements designed to keep your email private, crack down on data stealing apps, and help you find lost devices are on their way. As it does every year, Apple has used its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) to show off some of the changes coming to its software this year—and, unsurprisingly given Apple's track record, privacy and security are top of the agenda once more. The iOS 15 update for your iPhone and macOS 12 Monterey update for your Mac will arrive later in the year, along with improvements designed to keep your data and your devices safe from harm. A lot of these upgraded privacy and security features are due to be applied across both operating systems together. One of the apps getting a lot of attention this time around is Mail, Apple's default email client on mobile and desktop. A new feature called Mail Privacy Protection takes aim at the tracking pixels embedded in a lot of emails—when you open your messages, these pixels are loaded, and can filter back information such as your location and your choice of software platform back to the sender. Marketers, newsletter writers, and plenty of people in between use these tracking pixels to see how many people open their messages, but Mail Privacy Protection stops this data gathering. It won't be turned on by default, but it will be highlighted as an option when you upgrade to iOS 15 and macOS 12 Monterey. Also, because tracking pixels are just images, this protection applies to all remote-loading images in email. They're not “blocked” exactly, but routed through a relay that strips out that data gathering but intended to preserve your end experience. Similarly, Apple is enabling you to keep a closer eye on the apps you've installed with these software updates too. Through a feature called App Privacy Report, you'll be able to see how many times an app has accessed your location, photos, camera, microphone, and contacts during the last week. App Privacy Report tells you more about what your apps are up to. Photograph: Apple If you're wondering whether an app really needs the permissions that it's asking for, this Privacy Report should be able to tell you. The report will also list the domains the app is in contact with, and how often, giving users a better idea of just how much data grabbing and transmitting it's doing. As for Apple's digital assistant, Siri, more of the speech recognition work and command processing is going to be done on your specific device. This reduces the amount of data sent back to Apple and stored in the cloud, and meaning it's less likely that somebody else could be listening in, even if all you mostly do is check the weather, set alarms, and add items to your to-do list. Another new feature with a new name is iCloud+. If you pay for iCloud storage, then you're going to get iCloud+ along with it. The key tool here is iCloud Private Relay, Apple's take on a somewhat simpler VPN: It encrypts and routes your web traffic through a series of different locations, much like a VPN, keeping your location private and your data protected from eavesdroppers. There are two key stages in this rerouting, one of which is managed by Apple that encrypts your URL and deletes identifying data like your IP address, and a second one that is managed by what Apple calls a "trusted content provider." Those providers, yet to be identified publicly, will be a series of companies that will be responsible for assigning you a temporary IP address that's similar to your region and changes periodically, and then decrypting your URL so it can send you on to your destination site or service. The idea is that no one, not even Apple, can piece together the whole chain and figure out what you're accessing on the internet. Another part of iCloud+ is Hide My Email, which takes an idea from the Sign In With Apple service. It enables you to generate an unlimited number of unique, random email addresses for the purposes of signing up to new apps and services: Messages sent to these addresses will still come through to your main email addresses, but you can trash them any time you like to cut off communications. The feature will be built right into Mail, iCloud, and Safari. Gmail users can do this by adding qualifiers to their addresses (for example, setting up "[email protected]" for all your newsletter subscriptions, and filtering them to a folder for future reading, or to the trash when you have too many.) Hide My Email keeps your main email address well protected. Photograph: Apple The final part of iCloud+ is HomeKit Secure Video, which offers encrypted, secure storage for footage from your home security cameras. It also ensures any smart recognition processing is done locally, rather than being sent to the cloud. HomeKit Secure Video is actually already available, but more users will get access to it with iCloud+. Meanwhile, Apple Wallet is expanding its reach, and in "participating states" will be able to store your driver's license or state ID, in an encrypted and secure form. Apple says that it's working with the US Transportation Security Administration to get these digital IDs supported at airports by the time that iOS 15 rolls out. The future Apple Wallet will also have the capacity to support a broader range of digital keys too, from home keys to office keys to car keys. Of course, these are going to need to be supported by your door lock manufacturer, employer, or car maker before you can use them. There will also be a new set of functions in the Find My app when iOS 15 lands later this year. The app will be able to detect iPhones even if they're turned off or have been factory reset—they will continue to transmit a very low-power Bluetooth signal, a bit like an AirTag does, so you have more of a chance of recovering your Apple device if it goes lost or gets stolen. A host of smaller privacy and security updates are going to roll out with these updates as well, including a more secure form of copy and paste (to limit what apps can see on your clipboard), and an indicator in macOS 12 Monterey to tell you which apps are using your microphone or camera (as already happens in iOS.) All the New Privacy and Security Features Coming to iOS and macOS (may require free registration)
  8. New macOS Office Build comes with a ton of new features Microsoft has released a new Office Insider Preview Build 16.50.21060600 for Insiders in the Current Channel. The new Office build comes with a bunch of new features for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Talking about what’s new, the new Office Insider Preview Build adds a new look for the Office start screen which is based on the Fluent Design capabilities, an updated Thesaurus across Office, the ability to add a high-quality video to your presentation, dark mode in document canvas, colorful themes, and many more. You can read about all the features in detail below. Changelog Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote Get a new look for your Office start screen When you open Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote on your Mac, you are greeted with a new start screen that takes advantage of the latest Fluent Design capabilities. Though this update does not include any changes to the core functionality of the Start screen, it provides a clearer and?more intuitive start experience that is Big Sur macOS-optimized and unmistakably Microsoft 365. Learn more > Updated Thesaurus The built-in Thesaurus feature allows you to select just the right word to get your message across. We’ve updated the Thesaurus across Office to improve its accuracy and eliminate inappropriate and incorrect synonyms. To use the Thesaurus, highlight (double-click) a word, select Synonyms from the dialogue box, and choose the best option. (You can also open the Thesaurus pane from the Review ribbon to view contextual vocabulary suggestions.) PowerPoint Add high-quality video to your presentation Nothing adds life to a presentation like video. You can now elevate your documents with premium content by accessing a library of curated, royalty-free video footage. To add a video to your presentation, select the Insert tab, then select Video > Stock Videos and browse the available content. Select the video you want to use and click Insert to place it on the slide you want it to play from. Outlook Transition to the new Outlook If you are upgrading to the latest version of Outlook, you’ll notice we’ve implemented some features that will help you make a smooth and seamless transition. These include a First Run Experience that explains the major changes when you open the app for the first time, in-app notifications that “nudge” you to try out new features, and a What’s New checklist that helps you navigate the new experience and see what aspects of the program you haven’t explored or customized yet. New Colorful Themes Now you can enhance your Outlook for Mac experience with exciting new themes—choose one of six preset theme colors. These themes enable you to increase your screen visibility, address any personal accessibility needs, or simply beautify the user interface to suit your mood or interests. To enable a theme, select Outlook > Preferences > General. Under Personalize, select Light Mode, Dark Mode, or System (the latter will allow Outlook to reflect the system default setting). Then in the Theme section, click the color you want. To enable or disable window transparency, check or clear the Transparency checkbox. Change defaults for meeting times across an organization While back-to-back meetings have become a hallmark of the pandemic era, research shows that even small breaks between meetings can have a positive impact on stress levels and the ability to focus and engage. Now network administrators have the ability to create default settings in Outlook across an organization to end all meetings or events a few minutes early or start them a few minutes late, giving everyone at the company more breaks. These settings can be enabled through PowerShell; admins should refer to this Tech Community post for more details and instructions. Move and copy messages between accounts Many of you have asked for the ability to move or copy an email sent to one of multiple accounts to a folder in a different account. Now you can! This is also very helpful for those who are using a shared mailbox account. Learn more > Pin messages to the top of your Inbox You asked for it! Sometimes there’s an important email that you just can’t let get buried. You can keep that message highly visible by easily pinning it to the top of your Inbox. Learn more > Use contextual add-ins in the reading pane Now you can access contextual add-ins right from the reading pane in Outlook. This makes it easy to add a phone number to your contacts, look up a location on a map, or suggest a meeting without leaving the reading pane. To try these out, simply click on the contextual items that are highlighted for you by Outlook. Word New Dark Mode We heard you! We’ve made improvements to the popular Dark Mode. Previously, the Black Office theme offered a dark ribbon and toolbars, but your document canvas stayed bright white. We’ve extended Dark Mode so that your document is also dark, which is important for reducing eye strain and accommodating light sensitivity from long hours at a computer screen. To turn on Dark Mode, you need to enable it for your Mac in Settings > General > Appearance > Dark. Then, you can switch to this mode in Word at any time by selecting View > Switch Modes from the ribbon. Learn more > Editor Enhances Communication The Editor feature is here! Editor is an intelligent writing assistant that helps you put your best foot forward and communicate your message more effectively. It checks your document for grammar and spelling errors and offers suggestions to improve clarity, conciseness, inclusiveness, vocabulary, and more. To access the feature, click on the Editor icon on the Home ribbon, and review the suggestions in the Editor pane. Word, Excel, PowerPoint Accessibility Checker runs in background Now it’s even easier to create accessible content, by having the Accessibility Checker running in the background as you create and update your document. This feature displays real-time scan results in the status bar, showing when accessibility recommendations are available to investigate. Clicking the status bar item will launch the Accessibility Checker pane, which offers a list of accessibility issues that you can act on as desired. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote Use the ribbon with just your keyboard You asked for it! You can now carry out common ribbon tasks from anywhere in Office by using your keyboard; we’ve made this easier by implementing KeyTips. When you press the Option key (? Opt), KeyTips now appear on the ribbon to allow you to activate tabs and commands. To update to Office Insider Preview Build, open any Office program and go to File > Account > Update options > Update now. New macOS Office Build comes with a ton of new features
  9. Apple announces macOS Monterey update with powerful features Along with the new iPadOS 15 and iOS 15, Apple today announced the macOS Monterey update with several powerful features. The developer beta of macOS Monterey is available to Apple Developer Program today and the update will be available to the general public this fall. Some of the new features included in macOS Monterey include Safari’s new tab design, shared experiences with SharePlay in FaceTime, Universal Control and AirPlay to Mac. You can read about them in detail below. Already the world’s fastest browser, Safari now reimagines the browsing experience with a new tab design that lets users see more of the page as they scroll. A new tab bar takes on the color of the webpage and combines tabs, the tool bar, and the search field into a single compact design. Tab Groups offer a new way to easily save and manage tabs — great for planning trips, shopping, or storing the tabs users visit daily. Tab Groups also sync across Mac, iPhone, and iPad, so users can continue their project from anywhere and easily share tabs with friends and family. Shortcuts arrives on the Mac to help users automate everyday tasks and achieve peak productivity. Just like on iPhone and iPad, Shortcuts on Mac lets users quickly accomplish tasks with the apps they use the most. With a rich gallery of pre-built actions designed just for Mac, users can instantly share files, make animated GIFs, and more. Power users looking to take things further can use the Shortcuts Editor on Mac to customize shortcuts to match their workflows. Shortcuts is integrated throughout macOS, including the menu bar, Finder, Spotlight, and even hands-free with Siri — making it easy to run shortcuts no matter which app the user is in. Users can easily import existing Automator workflows into Shortcuts and be up and running right away. New features in Notes help users stay organized, collaborate, and create notes from anywhere. Quick Note is a new way for users to jot down notes on any app or website systemwide, making it easy to capture thoughts and ideas wherever inspiration strikes. Users can also add links from an app to their Quick Note to create context, even on a website in Safari or an address in Maps. As users work through projects in Notes with friends or colleagues, they can add mentions, see everyone’s edits in the new Activity View, and categorize their Notes with tags to quickly and easily find them in the new Tag Browser and in tag-based Smart Folders. With Focus, Mac users can stay in the moment by automatically filtering out notifications unrelated to their current activity. Users can signal their status to let others know when they are focusing and not available. When a user has Focus set on one device, it automatically sets across their other devices and can be customized based on their current activity — whether they are preparing for a presentation or wrapping up an assignment for school. FaceTime now includes a suite of new audio and video features that make calls feel more natural and lifelike. With spatial audio, voices in a FaceTime call sound like they are coming from where the person is positioned on the screen, while Voice Isolation ensures the user’s voice is crystal clear and uses machine learning to eliminate background noise, and Wide Spectrum allows all the sound in the area to come through so participants can hear everything. Portrait mode taps into the Apple Neural Engine in the M1 chip to blur the user’s background for a stunning video effect, and a new Grid View shows participants in same-sized tiles. SharePlay is a powerful set of system features that enables users to have shared experiences while on a FaceTime call. Users can share their favorite music, TV shows, movies, projects, and more with friends and family in real time — kicking off a shared listening party, watching movies and shows, collaborating in apps through screen sharing, and more. With an API built for easy adoption, third-party developers can bring their own apps right into FaceTime. Shared with You makes it easy to locate and enjoy all the great content that’s shared through Messages, including photos, videos, articles, and more, right from a Shared with You tab within Photos, Safari, Apple Podcasts, Apple News, and the Apple TV app. Universal Control lets users work with a single mouse and keyboard and move between Mac and iPad for a seamless experience, with no setup required. Users can even drag and drop content back and forth between devices — great for sketching a drawing with Apple Pencil on iPad and placing it into a Keynote slide on the Mac. With AirPlay to Mac, users can play, present, and share just about anything — from the latest movies and games to vacation photos and presentations — from their iPhone or iPad right to their Mac’s stunning Retina display. The Mac’s high-fidelity sound system can also be used as an AirPlay speaker, so users can play music or podcasts on their Mac, or use their Mac as a secondary speaker for multiroom audio. With the new interactive globe in Maps and an amazing, immersive, and detailed city experience, users can enjoy new ways to navigate and explore the natural beauty of the Earth on the Mac’s large, gorgeous display. Live Text uses on-device machine learning to detect text in photos, including phone numbers, websites, addresses, and tracking numbers, so users can copy and paste, make a phone call, open a website, and easily find more information. Visual Lookup also uses machine learning to help users discover and learn about animals, art, landmarks, plants, and more in photos. These features work across macOS, including in apps like Photos, Messages, and Safari. iCloud+ combines everything users love about iCloud with new premium features, including Hide My Email, expanded HomeKit Secure Video support, and an innovative new internet privacy service, iCloud Private Relay, at no additional cost. AirPods Pro and AirPods Max deliver a theater-like experience with spatial audio on Macs with the M1 chip. Privacy features like Mail Privacy Protection let users choose whether emails can collect information about their Mail activity, and the Mac recording indicator now shows which app is accessing the Mac’s microphone. New accessibility features let anyone add alternative image descriptions right from Markup, and improved Full Keyboard Access and new cursor customization options provide more flexibility when navigating Mac. Source: Apple Apple announces macOS Monterey update with powerful features
  10. Poddycast is a desktop application that can stream your favorite podcasts Podcasts are a fun way to keep yourself entertained. Some users prefer to play the episodes on their phone, while some opt to listen to podcasts while they work on their computer. Poddycast is a desktop application that can stream your favorite podcasts. The program's interface is divided into two panes. To add a podcast, use the search function on the sidebar. Poddycast supports the iTunes API, which makes it easy to find your favorite show. The results are displayed on the right pane. Click the heart button next to a feed, to subscribe to it. The program displays your subscriptions in the favorites section on the side panel. I think it needs a better name, like podcasts. Poddycast displays a broken chain-link icon on a podcast's cover picture, if the show's URL is broken. Select a podcast to view a list of all available episodes. Click on an episode and the program will start playing it. You can control the playback by using the rewind/fast-forward, play/pause buttons at the bottom, or using the seek bar next. Control the volume and playback speed with the slider and the buttons towards the bottom right corner. Back on the episode list, you can view the title, the airing date, the duration of each episode. Mouse over the i-icon to view the description of the episode. Poddycast lists new episodes in a special tab that you can access from the sidebar. The history tab has a list of all episodes that you listened to. The application places an icon on the system tray, even though it does not run as a tray program. You can create playlists in the program, but the feature is not what you may think it to be. This basically a list of the most recent episodes from your subscriptions. It can be kind of useful if you are subscribed to many feeds, an all-in-one list is better than having to go through the favorites section and each feed to find new episodes. That being said, I'd rather have an option to add individual episodes to create a custom playlist. You can edit a playlist, rename it, or delete it by right-clicking on its name on the side panel. Poddycast has many hotkeys, hit space to play or pause, the left and right arrow keys to rewind or fast-forward the playback. The program has a dark mode, that you can toggle from the View menu. Poddycast is an open source Electron app. It is available for Windows, Linux and macOS. The program is portable. The lack of an option to export or import a list of OPML feeds was a bit disappointing. But that's not the dealbreaker, the major issue with the app is that it cannot download episodes. So, if you're someone who likes to archive episodes, or just prefer to listen to episodes offline (or across devices), you should look elsewhere. Hopefully the program will pick up these features in future releases. The best podcast application, in my opinion, is gPodder. The only thing that it's missing is support for iTunes search. Landing Page: https://github.com/MrChuckomo/poddycast Poddycast is a desktop application that can stream your favorite podcasts
  11. macOS 11.4 apparently fixes reported issue with SSD wear in M1 Macs Version 11.4 update seemingly solves gremlins in the SSD works A problem where the SSDs of Apple Macs running M1 chips were supposedly being hit with excessive wear – or at least apparent misreported excessive wear – has been fixed, according to a new report. You may recall the original story about SSD wear which appeared back in February, observing that the issue was only a serious problem for a very small number of Mac owners – but nonetheless, it obviously prompted some concern. Apple was never drawn to comment on the purported SSD gremlins in the works here, but AppleInsider now reports that the problem is seemingly cured in the new macOS 11.4 update (which emerged late in May) – while noting that a source within Apple told them off the record that this bug was actually a data reporting error in the software measuring SSD usage (a possibly raised back at the time). In other words, the observed (in some rare cases) alarming wear-and-tear wasn’t actually happening to the drive physically (rather, it was just being misreported as happening). That inside Apple source informed the tech site that the macOS 11.4 update has solved the problem, and AppleInsider confirmed that the operating system is now reporting ‘proper uptime statistics’ where it wasn’t before. Thrash no more One of the denizens of Twitter who flagged up the problem initially, developer Hector Martin, also separately stated (just before the release of macOS 11.4) that: “Update on the macOS SSD thrashing issue: It seems the issue is fixed in 11.4.” Martin, however, maintains in that Twitter thread that this was an actual problem causing drive wear as opposed to a misreporting issue as indicated by AppleInsider and its source. At any rate, the issue appears to have been remedied with macOS 11.4, so should now be a thing of the past once that update is applied. That 11.4 update also applies a bunch of security fixes, and cures some bugs including problems with Safari. Via Tom’s Hardware macOS 11.4 apparently fixes reported issue with SSD wear in M1 Macs
  12. Kon-Boot is an application which will silently bypass the authentication process of Windows based operating systems. Without overwriting your old password! In other words you can login to your Windows profile without knowing your password. Easy to use and excellent for tech repairs, data recovery and security audits. Fast, tiny and gets your job done! KON-BOOT 2in1 for Windows and Mac OSX. One Kon-Boot pendrive to bypass Windows and Mac OSX authorization process. One Kon-Boot pendrive to rule them all! Kon-Boot 2in1 is basically Kon-Boot for Windows and Kon-Boot for Mac OSX connected together. No need for multiple pendrives anymore. System Requirements: Kon-Boot 2in1 can be only installed on USB thumb drive (there is no .ISO in the package). Windows OS and Internet connection is required for the installation. All other requirements were already presented above (in the Kon-Boot for Windows and Kon-Boot for Mac OSX sections). Supported Operating Systems: All Windows systems starting from Windows XP to Windows 10 (both x86 and x64) Regarding the UEFI support only Windows 8/8.1/10 x64 systems are supported (this is default Microsoft policy, additionally there are virtually none x86 UEFI systems out there). Kon-Boot now is able to bypass online account authorization on Windows 8/8.1. On Windows 10 only local account authorization bypass is available (with possibility to add new administrator account automatically (USB only)). macOS: - macOS High Sierra OSX 10.13 (NEW) - macOS Sierra OSX 10.12 - OSX 10.11 - OSX 10.10 - OSX 10.9 - OSX 10.8 - OSX 10.7 - OSX 10.6 (experimental) Changelog: - Includes fixes for Windows (+awesome feature for Commercial licenses) and Mac OSX (supports 10.13). Complete Changelog: Version 2.7 update released - 03.02.2018: Multiple Kon-Boot installer fixes Version 2.7 released (2.6 version was skipped to match the 2in1 version) - 01.01.2018: Additional features for Commercial version (automatically executed powershell scripts!) (UEFI part only for Windows 8/Windows 10 x64) Multiple fixes for kon-boot stability (UEFI part) Multiple installer fixes (USB installer now requires online activation) CD version is deprecated and will no longer be maintained (last version with CD support is 2.5) UEFI support for x86 bit Windows system is deprecated and will no longer be maintained (there are virtually no x86 UEFI systems out there anyway) Entire documentation updated and moved to online form Homepage: http://www.piotrbania.com/all/kon-boot/ Changelog: https://kon-boot.com/docs/#windows_guide/#changelog Downloads: Kon-Boot 2.7 Full - Win + Mac: Site: https://www.upload.ee Sharecode[?]: /files/8141386/Kon-Boot_2.7.rar.html Mirror: Site: https://www.multiup.eu/en Sharecode[?]: /download/8525461794db0387a206788d25d91c13/Kon-Boot_2.7.rar FYI: Multiup can be .eu or .org. Pls use which is working for your location.
  13. Malware caught using a macOS zero-day to secretly take screenshots Image Credits: Made Kusuma Jaya / EyeEm (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images Almost exactly a month ago, researchers revealed a notorious malware family was exploiting a never-before-seen vulnerability that let it bypass macOS security defenses and run unimpeded. Now, some of the same researchers say another malware can sneak onto macOS systems, thanks to another vulnerability. Jamf says it found evidence that the XCSSET malware was exploiting a vulnerability that allowed it access to parts of macOS that require permission — such as accessing the microphone, webcam or recording the screen — without ever getting consent. XCSSET was first discovered by Trend Micro in 2020 targeting Apple developers, specifically their Xcode projects that they use to code and build apps. By infecting those app development projects, developers unwittingly distribute the malware to their users, in what Trend Micro researchers described as a “supply-chain-like attack.” The malware is under continued development, with more recent variants also targeting Macs running the newer M1 chip. Once the malware is running on a victim’s computer, it uses two zero-days — one to steal cookies from the Safari browser to get access to a victim’s online accounts, and another to quietly install a development version of Safari, allowing the attackers to modify and snoop on virtually any website. But Jamf says the malware was exploiting a previously undiscovered third zero-day in order to secretly take screenshots of the victim’s screen. macOS is supposed to ask the user for permission before it allows any app — malicious or otherwise — to record the screen, access the microphone or webcam, or open the user’s storage. But the malware bypassed that permissions prompt by sneaking in under the radar by injecting malicious code into legitimate apps. Jamf researchers Jaron Bradley, Ferdous Saljooki, and Stuart Ashenbrenner explained in a blog post, shared with TechCrunch, that the malware searches for other apps on the victim’s computer that are frequently granted screen-sharing permissions, like Zoom, WhatsApp and Slack, and injects malicious screen recording code into those apps. This allows the malicious code to “piggyback” the legitimate app and inherit its permissions across macOS. Then, the malware signs the new app bundle with a new certificate to avoid getting flagged by macOS’ built-in security defenses. The researchers said that the malware used the permissions prompt bypass “specifically for the purpose of taking screenshots of the user’s desktop,” but warned that it was not limited to screen recording. In other words, the bug could have been used to access the victim’s microphone, webcam or capture their keystrokes, such as passwords or credit card numbers. It’s not clear how many Macs the malware was able to infect using this technique. But Apple confirmed to TechCrunch that it fixed the bug in macOS 11.4, which was made available as an update today. Source: Malware caught using a macOS zero-day to secretly take screenshots
  14. Apple releases macOS 11.4 with expanded GPU support, Safari bug fixes, more Apple has officially made macOS 11.4 available to the public. The latest software enables support for several AMD GPUs as well as support for paid subscriptions in the Podcasts app, bug fixes for Safari, Preview, and more. macOS 11.4 is available now for all users and should be showing up in System Preferences > Software Update soon if it’s not already. Apple’s also made the latest software available for iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. macOS 11.4 is a more minor update after 11.3 added a range of new features. However, the latest release does bring a handful of changes. One of the main features in macOS 11.4 is expanded GPU support for “cards based on the AMD Navi RDNA2 architecture (6800, 6800XT, and 6900XT).” In the release candidate, we learned macOS 11.4 also includes support for paid subscriptions in Apple Podcasts along with a number of bug fixes: Apple Podcasts subscriptions are available for purchase via monthly and annual subscriptions Channels group together collections of shows from podcast creators This release also fixes the following issues: Bookmarks in Safari may get reordered or moved into a folder that can appear hidden Certain websites may not display correctly after your Mac wakes from sleep Keywords may not be included when exporting a photo from the Photos app Preview may become unresponsive when searching PDF documents 16-inch MacBook may become unresponsive when playing Civilization VI Notably, ahead of today’s 11.4 public release, Apple started testing with the first macOS 11.5 beta last week. Source: Apple releases macOS 11.4 with expanded GPU support, Safari bug fixes, more
  15. Thorium Reader is a cross-platform and open source eBook reader application Do you read eBooks on your computer? If you're bored with your current eBook reader program and want a new one, you maybe interested in Thorium Reader. The open source program is user-friendly, and supports a variety of formats; EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, ZIP, LPF, Audiobook, Webpub, LCPA, LCPDF, LCPL, Divina, Daisy and OPF. Thorium Reader's interface couldn't be simpler, it has two tabs. The My Books tab, is your eBook library. To add your books from the start page of the app, you can either use the + button to browse, or drag and drop an eBook onto the interface. Once you have imported the books to the program's library, they are listed on the home page. Only the recently added books are listed here, switch to the All Books section to browse your entire library. Thorium Reader displays the title, author name, and cover of the books. Hit the three-dot button to delete or export a book, the about section displays the eBook's description, cover, publisher info. It also allows you to add tags. Use the Search bar to find a book. Toggle the view between grid (thumbnail) view and list view using the buttons next to the search bar. Switch to the Catalogs tab in Thorium Reader. You may add an OPDS feed (Open Publication Distribution System) from online services, or your own server, and browse the catalog. I tried it with some Atom feeds, and it works pretty well. Click on a book's cover to start reading it. Thorium Reader has a toolbar at the top with some useful shortcuts. The back arrow button closes the current book and returns the focus to the bookshelf. To view both the book and the library at the same time, click the 3rd icon. The speaker icon toggles the text-to-speech mode, which uses the system's voice accessibility options (Microsoft David and Zira). The book icon lets you view the contents, chapters, and also the bookmarks that you added. Use the arrow buttons/bar at the bottom or the right and left arrow keys to navigate between pages. The buttons toward the right edge of the toolbar are options you commonly find in most reader apps. The search icon is useful for finding content in the book page, that can come in handy if you want to jump to a specific section. Bookmark a page, and you can pick up where you left off. Thorium Reader has three themes Neutral (Light), Sepia, and Night, which you can access from the aa menu > theme. Adjust the font size, type, page layout, alignment, columns, and the spacing settings for margin, word, letter, paragraph and line, from the aa menu. The last option on the toolbar toggles the full screen reading mode. The program supports many keyboard shortcuts, e.g. Ctrl + B toggles the bookmark, Ctrl + F11 jumps to full screen mode, etc. You can find the full list of hotkeys under the settings. Thorium Reader is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. The Electron app can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store and the GitHub Repo, though a portable version is not available. Looking for a comic book reader? You may want to check out YACReader. Landing Page https://www.edrlab.org/software/thorium-reader/ Source: Thorium Reader is a cross-platform and open source eBook reader application
  16. Mozilla working on several macOS improvements for Firefox It is weekly Firefox Nightly news, Mozilla has said that it’s working on a number of items in the macOS version of Firefox to improve how native it feels. The changes outlined include scrollbars squishing during rubber-banding (hitting the bottom and top of web pages), the arrival of native fullscreen, and improvements to enhanced dark mode handling. The latter two items can be toggled on in Firefox Nightly for testing. The current version of Firefox on the Nightly channel is version 90, the release after the big interface overhaul due on June 1. Firefox 90 is expected to launch on July 13, 2021, according to FX Trains which tracks Firefox releases. According to Mozilla, the new squishy scrollbars are enabled in Firefox Nightly but native fullscreen and the dark mode enhancements need to be enabled. To enable native fullscreen, head to about:config and turn on full-screen-api.macos-native-full-screen. To turn on enhanced dark mode support, go into about:config again and enable widget.macos.respect-system-appearance. The work on native fullscreen and support for enhanced dark mode is still underway so you should be aware that you may experience problems after enabling these features in Firefox Nightly. As long as Mozilla doesn’t run into any major issues, we could see all of these improvements arrive with the stable release of Firefox 90. Source: Mozilla working on several macOS improvements for Firefox
  17. Learn keyboard shortcuts for popular programs and practice the combinations with KeyCombiner Keyboard shortcuts can help you work faster, thus increasing your productivity. I often highlight the importance of hotkeys in my reviews. The thing is, it can take a while to get used to the shortcuts. KeyCombiner is a free desktop program and website that can help you learn the keyboard shortcuts for popular programs, and also practice them. Note: You'll need to sign up for a free account before using the website or the desktop program which is available for Windows, Linux and macOS. KeyCombiner's interface has two panes, a sidebar with various options, and a large pane which displays the contents of the page selected in the side panel. The Dashboard is sort of the home screen, it has one collection for you to get started. A collection is a list of shortcuts for a set of programs, like browsers, editors, mail, Windows, media, etc. The default one, Essential collection, lists the basic shortcuts commonly used by many programs such as Ctrl + O to open files, Ctrl + S to save, Ctrl + Z or Y to undo and redo actions, etc. Click the three-dot button in the top right corner to switch between Windows/Linux and macOS keyboards. You can add or remove your own hotkeys. Once you are familiar with the list, you may want to start practicing the combos. Click the Practice button at the top of the page, to start the test with all shortcuts, or highlight a few shortcuts, and click the Practice Selection button. KeyCombiner will display a set of commands on the screen, and you'll need to use the corresponding shortcut. e.g. if it shows Copy, you have to press Ctrl + C. The program gives you a hint on which key to press if you haven't pressed a key for a few seconds. If you used the wrong keys, it will be taken as an error, but it still lets you fix the mistake. It's okay to get the answers wrong, because it's all part of the learning process. The test runs for a minute, after which you will be scored based on the number of combinations used per minute, the percentage of the combos you got right, etc. Scroll down the screen to see which shortcuts you mistyped, the ones you were most confidant about, etc. There is a cool graph that shows you the details. You can view your past performance from the statistics section (graph bars icon), from the collection's page. Now that you are familiar with the basics, it's time to crank it up a notch. Click on the Public option under Collections (in the sidebar). Scroll the list, or use the search bar to find a program that you use, and add it to your collection. I'm going to go with Firefox for this example. KeyCombiner does not allow you to subscribe to a collection with a single-click. Instead, you will need to select the shortcuts that you want and add them to your personal collection. I found this to be a bit tedious, but it works. The Vim shortcuts for example, can be very handy as they are used in a number of applications and browser extensions. That's not all that KeyCombiner does, it has an Instant Lookup feature that functions like a cheat sheet. Say you're working with a specific program, and you need a list of shortcuts for it. Press the hotkey Win + Alt + C, you may change it from the File menu. It brings up KeyCombiner's Instant Lookup window, it automatically recognizes the program you are working with, and displays the relevant shortcuts. Use the search bar to find a specific keyboard combo that you want. KeyCombiner is an excellent way to get used to keyboard shortcuts, you can use it to learn shortcuts for a ton of programs and services like Explorer, Command Prompt, Edge, Safari, Vivaldi, VLC, Excel, Word, Gmail, etc. A premium tier of the program is available with some extra feature, but the free version should suffice for most people. The program does not work offline, I believe it is a web-wrapper for the website, which is in my opinion the biggest con, that and the mandatory account registration. Landing Page https://keycombiner.com/ Source: Learn keyboard shortcuts for popular programs and practice the combinations with KeyCombiner
  18. Imagine is an open source image compression utility for Windows, macOS,and Linux If you take hundreds of photos or screenshots, and save on them on your computer's hard drive, its gonna get full sooner or later. To avoid this, you can save the images to a cloud service, move it to an external storage device, or just delete the ones you don't need anymore. Sometimes you may want to keep a bunch of pictures because they are irreplaceable, but their file size could be really large, especially if they are in a very high resolution. Imagine can help you recover some disk space by compressing your images. Oh, and don't confuse this with the legacy picture viewer of the same name. Imagine, the photo compressor, has a clean GUI. Click the Add button or drag and drop some images on to the program's interface, it supports JPG, PNG, and JPEG images. While the add button lets you select multiple photos at the same time, it doesn't load an entire folder. But dragging and dropping a folder adds the contents, so you may want to use that for batch image processing. Imagine displays a thumbnail of each image that you add. If you want to remove a picture, use the X button, or the Clear All button in the toolbar if you want to start over. The program doesn't support image editing, all it does is compress the images to a slightly lower quality, to reduce the file size. Adjust the quality by dragging the slider below each image. This allows you to set the quality for the JPG and WebP formats. As for PNG, you can set the color quality. The number next to the slider indicates the chosen value. Select the format you want to convert the image to, by clicking the option in the bottom left corner. Imagine shows you the file size before and after the compression, as well as a percentage represented the reduction in the size. Click the green dot next to an image, and the program loads it in its built-in photo viewer. This gives you a larger preview of the image, has some zoom controls, a color/quality slider. The before and after buttons are useful, to get an idea of what the image will look like, when the compression is done. You can change the background color of the previewer, this does not affect the image. There are a few ways to save the compressed images. Use the arrow button above a picture to save the content individually. Or, for a more convenient approach, click the Save button on the toolbar. You have the option to save the image as a new file, or overwrite the older photo directly. I recommend creating a new image, just in case if the output isn't good enough, you can use the original as a fallback. The button in the top right corner of Imagine's UI opens a modal with three sliders, these are the global quality settings for JPG, WebP and PNG images. This is useful for processing several images at once. Imagine is an Electron program. It is open source, available for Windows, macOS and Linux computers. There is a portable version too. It's up to you to decide what you want, image quality or quantity. The program does not have a way to select a format for all images in a single-click, so you'll need to set it manually. Landing Page https://github.com/meowtec/Imagine/ Source: Imagine is an open source image compression utility for Windows, macOS,and Linux
  19. Hackers Exploit 0-Day Gatekeeper Flaw to Attack MacOS Computers Security is only as strong as the weakest link. As further proof of this, Apple released an update to macOS operating systems to address an actively exploited zero-day vulnerability that could circumvent all security protections, thus permitting unapproved software to run on Macs. The macOS flaw, identified as CVE-2021-30657, was discovered and reported to Apple by security engineer Cedric Owens on March 25, 2021. "An unsigned, unnotarized, script-based proof of concept application [...] could trivially and reliably sidestep all of macOS's relevant security mechanisms (File Quarantine, Gatekeeper, and Notarization Requirements), even on a fully patched M1 macOS system," security researcher Patrick Wardle explained in a write-up. "Armed with such a capability macOS malware authors could (and are) returning to their proven methods of targeting and infecting macOS users." Apple's macOS comes with a feature called Gatekeeper, which allows only trusted apps to be run by ensuring that the software has been signed by the App Store or by a registered developer and has cleared an automated process called "app notarization" that scans the software for malicious content. But the new flaw uncovered by Owens could enable an adversary to craft a rogue application in a manner that would deceive the Gatekeeper service and get executed without triggering any security warning. The trickery involves packaging a malicious shell script as a "double-clickable app" so that the malware could be double-clicked and run like an app. "It's an app in the sense that you can double click it and macOS views it as an app when you right click -> Get Info on the payload," Owens said. "Yet it's also shell script in that shell scripts are not checked by Gatekeeper even if the quarantine attribute is present." According to macOS security firm Jamf, the threat actor behind Shlayer malware has been abusing this Gatekeeper bypass vulnerability as early as January 9, 2021. Distributed via a technique called search engine poisoning or spamdexing, Shlayer accounts for almost 30% of all detections on the macOS platform, with one in ten systems encountering the adware at least once, according to Kaspersky statistics for 2019. The attack works by manipulating search engine results to surface malicious links that, when clicked, redirects users to a web page that prompts users to download a seemingly benign app update for out-of-date software, which in this campaign, is a bash script designed to retrieve next-stage payloads, including Bundlore adware stealthily. Troublingly, this infection scheme could be leveraged to deliver more advanced threats such as surveillanceware and ransomware. In addition to the aforementioned vulnerability, Monday's updates also address a critical flaw in WebKit Storage (tracked as CVE-2021-30661) that concerns an arbitrary code execution flaw in iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS when processing maliciously crafted web content. "Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited," the company said in a security document, adding it addressed the use-after-free weakness with improved memory management. Aside from these updates, Apple has also released iCloud for Windows 12.3 with patches for four security issues in WebKit and WebRTC, among others, that could allow an attacker to cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks (CVE-2021-1825) and corrupt kernel memory (CVE-2020-7463). Users of Apple devices are recommended to update to the latest versions to mitigate the risk associated with the flaws. Source: Hackers Exploit 0-Day Gatekeeper Flaw to Attack MacOS Computers
  20. Apple will reveal the next versions of iOS, macOS at WWDC21, starting June 7 It will be entirely online again, as expected. Enlarge / Apple's splash image for WWDC 2021, which references a meme from last year. Apple Apple will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on schedule this year, with the event kicking off on June 7 and concluding on June 11. Like last year, it will be an online-only affair as the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. All the event's offerings will be free for anyone who has an Apple developer account. The company typically uses this event to announce new versions of its various operating systems (macOS, iPadOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS) and detail the software's new features and changes. WWDC is sometimes, though not always, used to announce new hardware products, too, and it's often the event Apple uses to explain very major changes in direction, should they be imminent. For example, Apple revealed the details of its custom-made silicon transition at last year's conference. Apple's press release notes that the usual components will be there. There will be a keynote to kick things off, followed by "state of the union" presentations that drill deeper on each platform. Then, Apple will offer video sessions on specific features—using the Metal graphics API to make augmented reality applications, in one hypothetical example—throughout the week. The conference will also include one-on-one lab appointments "offering technical guidance" to developers, Apple says. As is customary for announcements like this, Apple provided a statement from a company executive to coincide with the news. "We love bringing our developers together each year at WWDC to learn about our latest technologies and to connect them with Apple engineers," said Susan Prescott, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing. "We are working to make WWDC21 our biggest and best yet and are excited to offer Apple developers new tools to support them as they create apps that change the way we live, work, and play." WWDC21 will also see the return of the Swift Student Challenge, wherein students are encouraged to "create an interactive scene in a Swift playground that can be experienced within three minutes." Swift Playgrounds is a coding sandbox app for Macs and iPads Apple uses to introduce people to Swift, the Objective-C-derived programming language that is increasingly used to make apps for iPhones and other Apple devices. Winners of the Swift Student Challenge will receive "exclusive WWDC21 outerwear and a pin set," Apple's press release says. As always, we'll be covering the event and all its announcements live here at Ars Technica. Apple will reveal the next versions of iOS, macOS at WWDC21, starting June 7
  21. Valve releases Steam Link app on Apple’s Mac App Store macOS release follows a Linux version just a few days ago. Enlarge / A screenshot from Steam Link for macOS. Valve Valve has launched a standalone app for Steam Link on Apple's macOS App Store, adding a new option for Mac users who want to play games on machines that are often labeled as poor choices for gaming. Steam Link allows users to stream games from a gaming PC to a supported device on the same local network and to play those games with a MFI or Steam controller. Valve already offered a full Steam app for macOS, but it takes up 1GB of space and has a reputation for being clunky. In contrast, the Steam Link app has a minimalist interface that appears to be designed with game controller peripherals in mind. Valve has also previously offered a Steam Link app for iOS and iPadOS, but this is the first time the company has released software through Apple's macOS App Store. (The full version of Steam is offered as a web download, not an App Store app.) Game streaming has had a somewhat tumultuous history on Apple's mobile platforms, but it's been a little rosier on the macOS side. The same streaming features that Steam Link offers were already possible through the full Steam app for macOS, GeForce Now has a Mac client, and Mac users have long enjoyed the ability to stream PlayStation games with a barebones app. In general, Mac gaming has had its ups and downs over the years, and lately, things have been trending down. Apple's switch from OpenGL to Metal enabled much better performance for games whose developers put in the effort to support it, but we've also seen fewer Mac ports of triple-A games overall lately. Many indies still support the Mac, though, and with the introduction of Macs running CPUs and GPUs that share an architecture with the chips found in iPhones and iPads, Apple has opened the door for iOS and iPadOS games to run natively on newer Macs. However, our own tests of iOS and iPadOS games on the M1-equipped Macs that launched last year showed things were quite hit-or-miss, with interface problems and other limitations making for a subpar experience. As a result, macOS currently feels stuck between the two vast worlds of PC gaming and iPhone gaming, without yet leaning fully into becoming an optimal platform for either. Steam Link lets users play high-end, modern games on a MacBook Air or the like, as long as they have a beefy Windows gaming PC on the same local network. Valve releases Steam Link app on Apple’s Mac App Store
  22. Microsoft Edge on macOS introduces native update experience in the Canary channel Microsoft Edge on macOS will soon get the same native update experience that Windows users have been enjoying since launch. The new update experience is already live in Edge Canary version 90.0.816.0 or newer, though it’s currently only available on Intel-based Macs and must be enabled via the edge://flags menu. On macOS, Microsoft Edge updates currently go through the same Microsoft AutoUpdate app that the company uses to update the non-Mac App Store versions of Office for Mac. The Edge team has acknowledged that this process can be confusing and slow, especially as the edge://settings/help page was “not always consistent with Microsoft AutoUpdate in showing update availability.” With this new Edge-native experience, Edge updates will be handled within the browser and be automatically installed in the background, just like it works on Windows. When an update is available, the pop up notifications from the Microsoft AutoUpdate app will be replaced by a badge over the app’s Ellipsis menu. This new native update experience will need to go through Edge’s different Insider channels before it becomes generally available on macOS. It will also be coming soon to Macs with M1 chips, the Edge team said yesterday. Source: Microsoft Edge on macOS introduces native update experience in the Canary channel
  23. Microsoft releases new macOS Office Insider Build for Insiders in the Current Channel, here is what’s new Microsoft has released a new macOS Office Insider Preview Build 16.46.21020701 for insiders in the Current Channel. The latest Office build brings a new feature that allows you to create content in Word with your voice with the new dictation toolbar, voice commands, and auto punctuation support. Beyond that, the update also includes new features for PowerPoint. You can read the full official changelog below. CHANGELOG Word Dictation just got better It’s now easier to create content with your voice with the new dictation toolbar, voice commands, and auto-punctuation support. PowerPoint Create GIFs with transparent backgrounds When exporting to an Animated GIF, a new option will allow you to make the background transparent. Export animated GIFs in a range Select a range of slides when exporting to animated GIF. To update to Office Insider Preview Build, open any Office program and go to File > Account > Update options > Update now. Source: Microsoft releases new macOS Office Insider Build for Insiders in the Current Channel, here is what’s new
  24. Swifty is an open source and offline password manager for Windows, MacOS and Linux Many people are switching from LastPass, and looking for suitable alternatives. The popular choice seems to be Bitwarden, though I prefer an offline tool like KeePass. But those aren't the only options available, there are many open source programs to choose from. Swifty is an open source and offline password manager for Windows, MacOS and Linux. The best part about offline password managers is that you can start using them right away, without registering for an account. When you run the program for the first time, you'll see options to setup a master password, or to import a database from an existing backup. Let's go with the new user option. The program has a pleasant interface with two panes and a sidebar. The right pane displays 2 options: to create a new entry, and to import data from Google Drive. The latter creates a Swifty folder in your Google Drive account, and syncs your database to it, and this serves as a backup solution. Note: Swifty doesn't work with Firefox Containers. I've set account.google.com (and all other Google sites) to open in the Google container. Even though I was able to connect Swifty to Drive using Firefox, it just kept giving some error. Then I tried the URL with Microsoft Edge, and it worked perfectly. To get started, click on the + symbol on the sidebar, and you'll see some many text fields appear on the right pane It has options to enter the website's name, URL, your email address, username, etc. Fill up the form as required, when you come to the password field, hit the generate button to create a unique, strong password. Optionally, add a tag to a login which will help you search for the specific account quickly. It also supports TOTP (time-based one time passwords) Note: The database is encrypted using Swifty's own encryption module (AES 256 GCM) Hit the save button and your credentials will be saved to Swifty's vault. You can access the saved logins from the 2nd tab on the sidebar. Each field has a copy button next to it, which you can use to copy the data to the clipboard, and paste it in any program that you want to. Swifty clears the clipboard automatically after 1 minute, I had to use a stopwatch to see how long it took for the autodelete to happen. There's no option to change the timer. To edit a saved login, click on the pencil icon, make your changes and hit the save button. You may also store notes and your credit card information securely, to do this, select the corresponding tab on the sidebar, and then click on the + button. Swifty will automatically lock the database when it has been idle for a certain time, to protect your information from prying eyes. I used the stopwatch again, and it takes one minute to trigger. You can't modify this behavior either. Click on the settings button in the bottom left corner of Swifty's GUI. In addition to saving your vault to your Google Drive, you can save a local backup of the vault.swftx on your computer. You may change your database's master password from the settings, if you forget it, there is no way to recover the vault's contents. The last tab in the Settings screen lets you define the Password Generation rules, you can use it to set the default length of generated passwords, and whether to include numbers, uppercase and special characters (symbols). The program runs from the system tray, and has a tray menu that can be used to can access the vault or lock it. Swifty is a pretty good application, but it's not without flaws. There is no portable version available. The major drawback however, is that it does not support importing an existing database from LastPass, KeePass, Bitwarden, CSV file, etc. There are no mobile apps or browser extensions for Swifty yet, though they are in the road-map. This means you are currently limited to the desktop programs. The fact that it doesn't have autotype (or autofill), makes it a bit tedious to use the password manager. Landing Page https://getswifty.pro/ Source: Swifty is an open source and offline password manager for Windows, MacOS and Linux
  25. Package Manager Sileo and Procursus Will Soon be Available for macOS Big Sur Package manager Sileo and Procursus will soon be making their way to Macs running Big Sur. It will be available for both Intel-based Macs as well as M1-based Macs. Sileo coming to the Mac will allow for third-party software and tweaks much like the tweaks that are available for a jailbroken iPhone. It is also being developed as an alternative to the popular package manager, Homebrew. One advantage Sileo has over other Mac package managers is that it has a GUI which makes it very user-friendly. @HackedByApple has also shared a screenshot showing Sileo running on macOS Big Sur. Can confirm she is pretty cool! pic.twitter.com/2ItwMzuFJs — HackedByApple (@HackedByApple) February 26, 2021 As per @Diatrus, Procursus and Sileo coming to the Mac will also pave the way for more packages coming to iOS. While not mentioned, this might also allow users to sideload iOS apps on their M1 Macs. Sileo and Procursus coming to the Mac might also make it easier to install the Checkra1n and Odyssey jailbreak companion tool on Macs. Sileo is currently the default package manager for Chimera and Odyssey jailbreak. It is written completely in Swift by the Electra team and offers a far superior experience to Cydia. It was developed as an alternative to Cydia which is no longer being updated actively which brings with it a host of issues. Source: Package Manager Sileo and Procursus Will Soon be Available for macOS Big Sur
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