Written: December 28, 2016

Apple ID

Apple Phishing Scam

I do own a few Apple products in my business:

So today when I received the following email it looked legitimate:

Apple ID

Apple ID

The first clue that this email may not be officially from Apple was that it started with Dear Customer, instead of using my first and last name. I next clicked on the From field in the email to see who actually sent the message:

spoof email

spoof email

OK, so now I knew that this wasn’t an official Apple email because the From address didn’t contain apple.com in it’s name. Furthermore, when I hover over the link for Learn More the address was revealing:

Phishing URL

Phishing URL

This is the hacker’s phishing address, not an actual apple.com address.

Even when an email comes from a big name like Apple, do a little checking before clicking any hyperlink, just to ensure your safety and not fall victim to a phishing scheme that is trying to steal your Apple ID and password.

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Apple MacBook Pro Woes

I’ve been using an Apple MacBook Pro brand of laptop computer for three generations now, however there is a myth that Apple laptops are more reliable than PC laptops. On my 17″ MacBook Pro laptop the keyboard started having keys that no longer work, so I’ve got an appointment at the Apple Genius Bar today to probably have the keyboard replaced. As a work-around I’ve added a wireless keyboard so that I can continue my work.

As a backup for my 17″ MacBook Pro I have a 2nd computer, a 15″ MacBook Pro, so I took it off the shelf and placed it on my table, however it wouldn’t sit on the table flat, it wobbled instead. Hmm, what would cause my laptop to no longer sit flat? I opened the laptop up only to be horrified to see that the trackpad had been destroyed. What would cause a trackpad to be pushed out from the inside?

I took the bottom of my 15″ MacBook Pro apart to see what was going on, and look what I found, a bulging battery had pushed the trackpad to crack and moved the bottom of the case. Doing a Google search for “MacBook Pro battery bulging” I found that this is a known problem with many people reporting the same issue. I’ve got an 11:55AM appointment at the Genius Bar, so I will bring them two broken MacBook Pros, one with a bad keyboard and the other with a bad battery, broken trackpad and bulged case. Wish me luck.

Oh, and Apple laptop hardware is not more reliable than PC hardware, both brands will have failures.

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4 responses to “Apple MacBook Pro Woes”

  1. Daniel Payne says:

    At the Apple store in Bridgeport Village but they want to change me $239 to replace the battery and track pad on the 15″ MacBook Pro, so I’m an unhappy customer.

  2. Todd Tomlinson says:

    I have one of those sitting in the closet — same problem – and that’s the second one that’s done that to me. I threw the first one away.

    • Daniel Payne says:

      Todd, I’m amazed that there isn’t some class action lawsuit against Apple for these bulging batteries or a lot more publicity about it. I last powered up the 15″ MacBook Pro just two weeks ago and it was totally fine, no bulging at all.

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Phishing security notice

Happy New 2016, Beware of an Apple ID Phishing

Welcome to 2016, and I hope that this will be your best year ever.

I just received an official-looking email from Apple with a security notice about a failed login attempt on a device in the UK:

phishing-security-notice

 

My suspicions were alerted so I did a quick look at the email sender, which revealed: infoweb@appleid.net

That’s not an email address coming from the official apple.com domain name, so I was about 90% certain that this was yet another phishing scam to get me to click a link. Step two was to hover over the blue link that they wanted me to click to see what URL they wanted me to land on:

Phishing URL

Phishing URL

OK, now I was 100% certain that this was a phishing scam because the URL is pointing to www.haven24.cool, which is certainly not in any way related to the official apple.com domain name.

This email looked quite official on the surface, but digging a bit deeper on my part instead of blindly clicking the phishing link protected my identity from being stolen and abused.

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One response to “Happy New 2016, Beware of an Apple ID Phishing”

  1. S.Jones says:

    Got one too, but luckily hotmail doesn’t let anything through to my Inbox if the sender is not one of my contacts, so I do the hovering bit! The really irritating thing is that I’ve ploughed through the Apple site and cannot find any place to let them know this has happened (unlike PayPal for example) so I’m just deleting it via phishing scam.

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Failing Graphics on a 2011 MacBook Pro

What Happened When My Laptop Died, Twice

Over the past few decades I’ve owned laptops from Zenith Data Systems, Toshiba, Dell, HP and Apple. I’ve known that the reliability of laptops in particular is quite low because of how tightly packed the components are, leading quite often to heat-related failures in the CPU, GPU, DRAM or other chips mounted on the logic board. Last week my 2011 MacBook Pro with 17″ display decided to flake out and stop working after annoying graphical glitches and constant freezes and reboots.

Failing Graphics on a 2011 MacBook Pro

Failing Graphics on a 2011 MacBook Pro

Thankfully, I’ve been watching the Apple forums and heard about an official program dubbed, “MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues“. It turns out that the graphics chip is attached to the logic board with lead-free solder, and that if not applied properly will eventually begin to fail after so many heat and cool cycles.

Related – A Brief History of the Apple MacBook Pro

I did a quick Google search for, “lead free solder failures” and it returned some 940,000 results, so this is a big topic not just limited to Apple’s MacBook Pro product.

Sn/Ag/Cu/Sb Failure with Voids in Crack

Sn/Ag/Cu/Sb Failure with Voids in Crack

Some related articles about lead-free solder failure:

AMD Radeon GPU on a MacBook Pro

AMD Radeon GPU on a MacBook Pro

Prior to the Apple repair program you had a few choices:

Apple is wisely offering to repair at no cost to the owner affected MacBook Pro laptops that were sold from February 2011 and December 2013:

To see if your MacBook Pro qualifies, see what year your laptop is by clicking on: Apple> About This Mac

About this Mac

I was able to phone my local Apple store at Bridgeport Village, confirm my serial number, then make an appointment with the Apple Genius Bar to drop off the laptop. Since I wanted to keep working while my 17″ MacBook Pro was being repaired, I decided to buy a used 15″ MacBook Pro from a local Craigslist listing. After just five days of use my 15″ MacBook Pro died this morning in the same manner as my 17″ in for repair, so today was not a fun day for me. I traveled to my Apple store with the dead 15″ MacBook Pro and the Genius Bar guy noted, “Oh, your 17″ is back from repair”. Now that was perfect timing, so I’m typing this blog on my recently repaired 17″ MacBook Pro, and waiting for my backup 15″ laptop to be repaired in about a week for the same failure mechanism.

Related – A Brief History of Chip Design at Apple Computer

I’m not sure of the exact economic cost to Apple for implementing this MacBook Pro repair program, but online there was a petition started to recall these failing MacBook Pro computers and over 38,000 people had signed it. In California and Canada class action lawsuits have also been filed to address this consumer product failure. Let’s take a guess and say that up to 100,00 MacBook Pro owners have this work done and that it costs Apple $500 to repair each unit, that would make the cost about $50 Million, and maybe it will also stop the two class-action lawsuits.

The one Apple person that I spoke to on the phone about my failing laptop wanted to know if my machine was stock or had been modified. I admitted that I had replaced the hard disk drive with a Samsung 500 GB SSD, and upgraded the DRAM to 16 GB. At first he wanted me to return all components to stock, but I pushed back and pointed out that my SSD used less power than a hard disk drive, and actually made my laptop run cooler, plus the DRAM was testing OK and was not causing these failures. He finally relented, and said that he was making an exception for me. Uh huh.

Related – A Brief History of the Apple iPod

The good news is that Apple is the largest consumer electronics company in the world, and they finally decided to help out distressed MacBook Pro owners like myself by admitting that there was a reliability issue, then offering a free repair program. I’m still undecided if I will continue to buy Apple products because it has been such a hassle for me to have two failing MacBook Pro laptops plus an iPad 2.

My iPad 2 was out of the 2 year Apple Care warranty period, and it continued to freeze and reboot sporadically. Maybe I just have to wait long enough for Apple to have a free repair program my iPad 2, just like the MacBook Pro.

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My Take on the Apple Product Announcements Today

In America the popular press talks almost non-stop about: Disasters, politicians, celebrities and Apple. Yes, Apple. Today I watched the live cast of the new Apple product announcements.

iPhone 6

Two new iPhones on the right

iPhone 6
First, the see things differently video started playing, then the live stream died so I had to turn over to CNET where they were live commenting. 30 years ago the first Macintosh computer with iconic mouse-based graphical user interface, and bit-mapped graphics was announced at the Flint Center. Today we heard about the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, like rumored, in screen sizes at 4.7″ and 5.5″, catching up to the Samsung Galaxy Note introduced in 2011.

The A8 chip has 2 billion transistors, designed in the 20nm process node, and a 64 bit architecture. The M8 is the new motion chip which allows Apps to measure acceleration, count steps, stairs, altitude and barometric pressure. About 28 minutes into the announcement the Apple Live cast came back to life.

Related: A Brief History of IC Design at Apple Computer

Apple-A8-Chip

The A8 processor chip

Usability improvements:

Apple fanboys can wait in line on September 19th, or just go online to pre-order on September 12th.

iOS8

On the software side iOS8 comes out on September 17th across most iDevices. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon did celebrity promo videos for the iPhone 6 and 6+.

Related: A Brief History of the Apple MacBook Pro

Apple Pay

Next up was how Apple is replacing physical credit cards with a new payment system called Apple Pay, based on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 already use NFC for secure payments with the Google Wallet app. Expect to see Apply Pay launch next month and in a few dozen big-name retailers.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay holds your credit card info

 

Apple Watch

One more thing…. As expected, we heard about the new Apple Watch, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd.

Apple Watch

One of many looks for Apple Watch

The strap is detachable, allowing users to customize the look to fit their own taste. The user interface is new, using the crown dial to select and navigate by clicking or turning. The display is sensitive to both touch and tapping, in a 3D sense. A taptic engine provides physical feedback. The custom-designed chip is called the S1, and complements the Taptic chip. Fitness metrics like heartbeat allow you to track health. You get three Apple Watch choices: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch Edition. You’ll need an iPhone to operate your new Apple Watch (not stand-alone, or interoperable with anything else), and other features or apps include:

Maps

Zoom on maps with twist of watch crown

Health and fitness was the final topic and Tim Cook talked about how the new Apple Watch gives you daily and workout feedback using technology like:

Charging is required daily for the Apple Watch. This watch will cost you $349, and is available in 2015.

Summary

The new generation of iPhone 6 and 6+ are a step in the right direction, as Apple finally offers more than one screen size, following on the success of other consumer product competitors like Samsung and HTC. For me, bigger screen size is always better and I’ve been enjoying a 5.5″ display with my Galaxy Note and Note 2 devices for a few years now. The custom A8 and M8 chips make the iPhone 6 and 6+ possible, continuing the tradition of in-house, ARM-based design.

Apple Pay looks to be another promising merge of business deals and NFC technology to make retail purchasing easier. Apple Pay uses fewer keystrokes than Google Wallet on an Android phone to make a purchase, so that’s an improvement.

The Apple Watch isn’t first to market, but it certainly has the best marketing launch for a product in the wearable category, and I think that offering two different sizes makes more sense than one-size fits all. The $349 price makes this an instant, high-end, consumer status device. I look forward to learning more about the two custom chips inside of the Apple Watch family. As an Android phone user I am not compelled to buy an Apple Watch, and will continue to use my Cat Eye device to track cycling fitness.

Related: IoT Application – Road Biking Fitness

 

Full Disclaimer: I do own shares of AAPL stock and use an iPad Air plus MacBook Pro each day.

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Apple and Flash

You may know by now that Apple and Adobe don’t play well together, and some say that it stems from Steve Jobs disliking management at Adobe. Whatever the reason the end result is that the interactive technology called Flash does not run on iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch devices. Flash however does run on the desktop for Apple OS X, and so today I upgraded to the latest, greatest Flash version on my MacBook Pro 17″ laptop. Here are the easy steps to upgrade:

 

The web used to have Flash for showing slideshows, however a non-Flash technology called jQuery has taken over that role mostly because it’s free and it works on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices as well.

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New iMac display, 2013

Don’t Believe All Marketing Hype

This past week Apple announced a refresh of the iMac computers, their all-in-on design with 21.5″ or 27″ displays. I’ve owned an iMac before but never got used to the glossy display because it was like looking into a mirror at myself all day long. The marketing department at Apple made a bold claim about he newest iMac display:

“How did we make an already gorgeous widescreen display even better? By making it 75 percent less reflective.”

OK, that got my attention because I have a MacBook Pro laptop with a 17″ anti-glare display, along with two external 24″ matte monitors which provide me with three screens that have no glare, meaning that I can look at my work, not my reflection.

I visited my local Apple store this weekend at Bridgeport Village to take a look for myself at the 75% less reflective displays. To my immediate shock and dismay the new displays were just as glossy and reflective as the previous models. I could easily see myself in the displays along with every product on the wall behind me. The clerk tried to minimize my displeasure with, “Well, this store is brightly lit.”

I walked out of the Apple store knowing that I would never buy the “new” iMac because the display glare is still not acceptable for my use. So, don’t believe all marketing hype, look for yourself before investing in a new computer or display.

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apple magic mouse

How Long Should Hardware Last?

In my small business I buy computer hardware to help me communicate with clients, do work and keep informed. Recently my Apple magic mouse died after only about three years of use.

apple magic mouse

This Apple mouse is a thing of beauty, and like most Apple hardware it’s pricey at $69.00. My short-term remedy was to swap out the dead mouse with a Logitech wireless mouse and then plan a trip to my local Apple store at Bridgeport Village.

logitech mouse

 

I’ve been using Logitech mice for decades and never had one die on me, oh well.

The amount of time required for me to buy the replacement Apple magic mouse was a business loss, and hopefully one that will not happen again. I’m thankful that my computer hardware and software enable me to run my web development business very efficiently, it’s just when something goes down I lose my productivity gains.

Current trends say that we are replacing our laptops at a slower pace now and choosing to hold onto them longer than before.

I’ve been replacing my laptop every two years for a newer model, although I still buy used laptops like the MacBook Pro to be fiscally conservative. What has your experience been with hardware reliability and upgrading?

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Apple Provides Excellent Customer Service

In business I love a good deal, so when my daughter wanted to upgrade her phone she fell in love with the iPhone. I knew that AT&T offered refurbished phones for a good price online, so we logged into our account and found a refurbished iPhone 4 for just $0.01.

iPhone 4

 

The phone was shipped to our home within 2 days of ordering, and my daughter enjoyed using her first smart phone. She was so excited about the iPhone that she started downloading apps, changing the ring tones, getting a case, etc. that we didn’t activate the phone until 15 days later. Upon activation I called her iPhone but she couldn’t hear me speaking. We ran through some diagnostics at the Apple support site and concluded that the speaker wasn’t working.

We phoned AT&T and explained our audio problem with the iPhone and they told us that we were one day late beyond the 14 day limit for a return, instead we needed to talk with Apple directly. The nice AT&T support person connected us with Apple and we found out that we could either have a replacement mailed to us in a few days, or just schedule an appointment at our local Apple store using the online scheduling with the Genius Bar.

Monday morning we arrived at the Apple store in Bridgeport Village and received our replacement iPhone 4, at no cost. The blue-shirted  employees at our Apple store greeted us warmly, found our reservation, and helped us quickly and efficiently. Now that’s superior customer service that will likely make my daughter a lifelong Apple customer.

Apple Store, Bridgeport Village

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GoPayment + iOS6 = Apple Oops

Mobile credit card sales using your smart phone are booming however you need to hold off on using Intuit’s GoPayment with iPhone or iPad using the latest Apple operating systems, iOS6.

 

I usually upgrade my OS as soon as possible, and in this case I’m not using GoPayment so all should be well for me.

Friday: Wow, that was fast.

Intuit announced a fixed version of GoPayment today, now available at the App store. Enjoy.

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3 responses to “GoPayment + iOS6 = Apple Oops”

  1. Anthony says:

    Will there be a solution for ios6 soon?

  2. Daniel Payne says:

    I would guess about a week or so because Intuit is very motivated to keep their GoPayment vendors happy.

  3. Daniel Payne says:

    Anthony,

    Intuit fixed their app in just two days, enjoy GoPayment.

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