Brexit Briefly Explained

If you have been following world news at all over the last two and half years, you have likely heard about the referendum that the United Kingdom voted for in 2016 to leave the European Union. Even though it has been a big news story it may not be easy to understand. Thankfully, there is a video by CGP Grey to explain the issue with why an agreement cannot be made easily.

There is also a footnote video that adds a bit more information. Both of the videos are worth watching to learn a bit about the struggles that the United Kingdom is having.

Apple Announces March 25th Event

Today Apple sent out event invites for an event that they will be holding at the Steve Jobs Theater at 10:00 am on Monday, March 25th, 2019. The invite is titled “It’s Showtime”. As John Paczkowski of Buzzfeed stated, that it is the same tagline as the September 2006 event that showed off the original Apple TV.

According to Matthew Panzarino of Tech Crunch, the invite has an animation, which is shown below.

There have been some rumors of what might be shown at the event. I will make my predictions before the event. What predictions do you have for the March 25th event?

Apple Celebrates International Women’s Day

ipad-swift-womens-day-2019

March 8th is set as International Women’s Day, but Apple is celebrating the entire month of March. The first way that Apple will be doing this on the App Store by having the “App of the Day” highlighting an app founded, developed or led by a woman.

Along with highlighting stories of female developers, musicians, and artists, Apple is hoping to bring even more women into technology. One way that Apple is doing that is by partnering with Girls Who Code who will be using Apple’s “Everyone Can Code” curriculum. With the curriculum 90,000 girls and the Girls Who Code facilitators can use Swift to help the students learn. Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives stated:

“Women have earned the opportunity to have our ideas shape the future. We’re excited to support Girls Who Code as they empower girls to be the developers and tech innovators of tomorrow.”

In addition to working with Girls Who Code, Apple will also be holding over 60 sessions within their own stores. These session are all in a “Made By Women” series. Some of these sessions will be led by artists, musicians, photographers, app developers, scientists and entrepreneurs.

The sessions will be held in various stores including:

  • Chicago
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • Kyoto
  • London
  • Los Angeles
  • Milan
  • New York
  • Paris
  • San Francisco
  • Singapore

Specifically for International’s Women’s Day, Apple will have an exclusive Activity badge, with accompanying stickers, by performing a walk, run, or wheelchair exercise of a mile or more on March 8th.

2019 International Women's Day Challenge Activity Badge

If you have been paying attention at all, it should be no surprise that there is a disproportionate number of males in technology. Hopefully with Apple highlighting women throughout the entire month of March, it may inspire some other women to get into technology.

Source: Apple

AirBuddy: A Review

AirBuddy Icon

When Apple unveiled a new product in September of 2016 alongside the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, it was something that users were not necessarily expecting. The product was the AirPods. During the announcement Apple let us know that there was some very custom silicon in the earbuds. This chip was a wireless chip that they dubbed the “W1”.

The W1 chip is an Apple designed chip that is specifically for being able to quickly pair with any iOS or macOS Sierra device. The W1 chip also enables is the syncing of the pairing information between all of the devices using the same iCloud account.

The synchronization with iCloud is designed to allow your devices to automatically switch, without having to go through the tedious, “un-pair”, “re-pair” dance that is typical of Bluetooth enabled devices.

Apple has made this entirely seamless when switching between iOS devices. And it is somewhat seamless on the Mac as well. However, unlike iOS there is no nice interface on the Mac for connecting to the AirPods. In order to connect to your AirPods, or Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones, you have to select the headphones either within an app or from the Bluetooth menu. This is where AirBuddy can come in handy and makes things a bit easier.

AirBuddy

AirBuddy is an app that Apple should have created for macOS. Since they have not, macOS and iOS spelunker Guilherme Rambo, has written it. AirBuddy takes the look and feel of the iOS card that appears when you open your AirPods and it brings that to the Mac. The app uses the same services and graphics as on iOS and mimics the look and feel. The screenshots below show the comparison


Prerequisites

There are some requirements to be able to use AirBuddy. These include a Mac running macOS Mojave, and signed into the same iCloud account that your AirPods or Beats Solo 3s are on. The second requirement is that you will need a Mac that supports Bluetooth Low Energy, also known as BTLE. If your Mac supports Handoff and continuity it is quite likely that it will support AirBuddy.

Preferences

As with any good Mac app there are a few things that you can tweak. There are only two options. These are “Enable for AirPods” and “Enable for other W1 headsets”. By default “Enable for AirPods” is checked and “Enable for other W1 headsets” is unchecked. This is because most users of the app have AirPods, but may not have a pair of Beats Solo 3, or newer headphones.

Today Widget

There are different interaction methods on the Mac, including via the Today section of the Notification Center. With the Today Widget enabled you can not only view the battery levels for all of the bluetooth connected devices, but you can also click on a device that you want to connect and it should connect to your Mac.

AirBuddy Today Widget

Pricing

AirBuddy has a slightly differentiated pricing model than most other apps. For many apps an author will provide a price and you can either agree to pay or not pay it. AirBuddy has this same idea, with a price of $5.00. However, if you so choose, you can actually pay more than the minimum. To quote Office Space:

“Now if you feel that the bare minimum is enough, then okay. But some people choose to [pay] more and we encourage that, okay?”

When I bought the app, I paid more than the minimum. This was for two reasons. The first is to support an indie developer and the second is because any native Mac app that is produced brings even more to the ecosystem. You can purchase AirBuddy at Gumroad.com starting at $5.00.

Closing Thoughts

AirBuddy is an app that cannot live on the Mac App Store. This is because it uses some system frameworks that will not allow it to be in the store. Even though it is a side project for Mr. Rambo, he does intend to provide meaningful updates and bug fixes, as time permits. If you use any W1 enabled headphones on your Mac AirBuddy can help make things easier. While it is a minimalist application, it does what you expect an all in a nice clean interface. AirBuddy is worth the entry fee, whatever you decide that fee is.

Apple to Require Two Factor Authentication for Developers

Two Factor authentication on a Mac and verification on an iPhone

Today Apple sent out an email to developers about the security of their accounts. The emails states:

In an effort to keep your account more secure, two-factor authentication will be required to sign in to your Apple Developer account and Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles starting February 27, 2019. This extra layer of security for your Apple ID helps ensure that you’re the only person who can access your account. If you haven’t already enabled two-factor authentication for your Apple ID, please learn more and update your security settings. If you have any questions, contact us. Best regards, Apple Developer Relations

There are a few possible reasons for this. The first is, as the email states, to help secure developer accounts. By enabling the two-factor authentication, particularly for Certificates, Identifiers, and Profiles cannot be added by unauthorized users.

This will have some downsides though. By requiring two-factor authentication, only ten devices will be able to receive the two factor authentication codes. For most individual users, this will not be a problem. Five of these trusted devices can be Macs and five of these can be iOS devices.

I contacted Apple Support to verify the number, and it is indeed ten trusted devices that can be associated with an Apple ID.

For larger development groups who may need to allow more than one user to login to the Certificates, you will likely need add a user who has access to the Developer Resources.

If you have not already enabled two-factor authentication on your Apple Developer account, you will want to review the two-factor authentication support page to be sure that you have a way to recover your account, if needed.