Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

Yup, more social media weird lists. If you’ve ever wondered what you have to do to get that one sticker on Foursq… er, Swarm, here goes:

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 3.13.03 PM

A few things I’ve learned about these things:

  • You get stickers if you check-in through third party apps that have API plug-ins to Swarm (such as Untappd).
  • You get stickers if you check-in through the Foursquare app instead of Swarm.
  • The distance limitation for stickers seems to be removed (so if your GPS picks you up a mile from a spot and you are checking in there, you’ll still get a sticker if appropriate).
  • There are no more levels of stickers/badges like there were in Foursquare.
  • You can be mayor again, if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • There’s a sticker for editing places, likely to get people into crowdsourcing the upkeep of the data, which can otherwise get stale.

August 27th, 2015

Posted In: Social Networking

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Take Control is here to support you! So through August 24th, you can add any number of our books to your Take Control library for 50% off the cover price. All our books are DRM-free and available in PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle) formats, so you can read wherever, whenever, and on whatever device you like. Use this link to pick the titles you need to stay up to date:

(We expect everything to work properly, but if our newly redesigned site is overloaded by sale traffic, try again later in the day when things have settled down.)

Remember, there’s no need to read a Take Control title from front to back; instead, each book has a Quick Start that helps you jump instantly to the information you need.

We have books that will help with numerous Apple-related technology tasks and projects, including:

* Converting from iPhoto to Photos
* Figuring out what the heck iTunes 12 is up to
* Maintaining an AirPort-based Wi-Fi network
* Installing and running OS X Server
* Syncing and sharing files with Dropbox
* Enjoying your Apple Watch

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For those new to Take Control and looking for a quick fix, we have a few instant-purchase bundles, also 50% off:

* iWork explained: Apple’s iWork suite — Pages, Numbers, and Keynote — now comes free with every new Mac, and offers a level of power that compares well with the heavyweight Microsoft Office. The three books in our iWork trilogy provide 750 pages of comprehensive documentation. Normally the three books would cost $55, but for this week, they’re only $27.50 — perfect for college papers and projects.

* Automation for everyone: Macs have fabulous time-saving tools that can turn anyone into a power user. This bundle of “Take Control of Automating Your Mac,” “Take Control of LaunchBar,” “Take Control of TextExpander,” and “Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal” would normally cost $50, but is only $25 in the sale.

* Safe computing: Today’s Internet is unfortunately an insecure place, with hackers, malware, and bots threatening your privacy and security. With calm, friendly advice, Joe Kissell explains how you can stay safe in “Take Control of Security for Mac Users,” “Take Control of Your Online Privacy,” “Take Control of Your Passwords,” and “Take Control of FileVault.” Together they’re normally $50, but if you’ve been meaning to lock down your Mac and improve your passwords, you can now pick them up for only $25.

We also have books about Yosemite, iOS 8, Apple Mail, iCloud, Audio Hijack, PDFpen, Scrivener, DEVONthink, Apple TV, and more. So stock your Take Control library today with the titles that you’ve been wanting to read or that might be useful in the future!

Thanks so much for your continued support, and the many useful questions and kind comments you’ve sent over the years. Please do us a quick favor, and spread the word about this sale to your friends and colleagues — it’s the perfect way to introduce someone to the series or to get your mother to switch over to using Photos.


August 18th, 2015

Posted In: Articles and Books, sites

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You may have noticed a few new articles on Apple Configurator 1 recently (which isn’t assuming anyone actually notices what I’m writing about). While preparing for the massive change that is Apple Configurator 2, I’ve taken the liberty to put a page up compiling many of my articles that align into a guide on Apple Configurator 1, to offer up an outline for what I’ll be working on for Apple Configurator 2. This guide is now available at

August 13th, 2015

Posted In: Apple Configurator, iPhone

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I keep looking for more and more ways to have my Apple Watch be really functional without having it talk to my phone when I need the function it’s performing. One of those can easily be looking at photos. One of these is to sync some photos to the watch so that if my battery dies or I leave my phone on my desk, I still have access to photos if I want to get to some. To sync pictures from your

First, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Then tap on Photos in the list of apps under the default My Watch tab.


From the Photos screen, choose to be notified of alerts. I leave this set to Mirror My iPhone. Then, set the Synced Album to any album on the phone that you’d like to sync to the watch. This might be Camera Roll, the default, or you can select any album that you’ve created. After I did this, I’ve created a new album call watch that syncs all the pictures I want on my watch.


Tap on Photos Limit to configure how much space you allow the photo album to fill up on your watch. You can select 25, 100, 250 or 500 photos, which nets 5MB, 15MB, 40MB and 75MB respectively. Then tap

Then wait. The photos will be sync’d to your Watch.

May 28th, 2015

Posted In: Apple Watch

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Just like with an iPhone, it’s simple to take a screenshot on your Apple Watch. It’s a similar process as on other Apple devices. To take a screenshot from an Apple Watch, go to the screen to take a screen capture of and then press and hold the digital crown (the round button that spins) while you press the side button down (the little button below the digital crown).


The screen will flash for just a second and you’ll hear the camera sound. If you wait a couple of minutes, the screenshot will automatically show up on your phone in the photo library.

May 20th, 2015

Posted In: Apple Watch

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When I started to write this, I had this idea that I’d write an article that looked at the features and the usability of the Pebble and those of the Apple Watch. Both have the ability to load custom apps, both have app stores, both do many of the same other tasks, etc.


The problem with that premise for this article is that they simply aren’t even remotely comparable. Let’s look at why:

  • Apps: The Apple Watch can support apps and glances from apps. You can load as many as the thing can take, you can get different types of apps and there are already hundreds (if not thousands – I don’t have the patience to count) of apps that have support for the Apple Watch. The Pebble on the other hand is limited to 8 concurrent apps and I have never actually found more than 5 that I wanted to use that didn’t involve a watch face.
  • Watch faces: I don’t change watch faces really. Most of the apps on a Pebble are all about custom watch faces. Pick your favorite school, your favorite Disney character, etc. The watch faces available for the Apple Watch are great and all, but the default face, with instant access to the calendar, your exercise stats, the weather, and of course the time, are is really what the device is about and the best usability option, something Apple has always excelled at. It would be great if the other time zone option on the Apple Watch had some really cool stuff you could swap it out with. If you force tap on the screen, you can certainly select other things, but all the cool stuff is placed in other areas of the default watch face.
  • The screen: The screen on the Apple Watch is just a beautiful screen, with full color, lots of pixels, etc. The screen on the Pebble more closely resembles options from an Atari 2600. So, think Wii vs 2600 (aka e-paper)…
  • The app that manages the wearable: The Apple Watch app has in app controls for what’s available on phones, can configure which apps/glances are shown, unpair/re-pair, configure notifications, manage Do Not Disturb, put the device into Do Not Disturb mode, configure passcodes, manage sounds and vibrations, configure brightness and size. It’s pretty robust. The app for the Pebble does much less, but is on par given the features available on the device in general.
  • Light: The type of light emitted by the Pebble actually makes it a little easier to see in sunlight to me. But if you have sunglasses on then forget about it. Which I usually do when there’s a lot of sunlight. But this is a showstopper for some. Like those who (legitimately) still look for raised keyboards on phones…
  • Battery life: The Pebble kicks the crap out the Apple Watch when it comes to battery life. I’ve not charged my Pebble once in a week and it was happily camping straight into the next week. My Apple Watch must be charged daily.
  • Older iPhones: The Pebble can work on any iOS 6 compatible device (and up). The Apple Watch needs an iOS 8 device. So if you have an older phone, you’ll likely want a Pebble. Or take this as the opportunity to stop listening to 90s era Brittany Spears and upgrade your phone when you buy a watch.
  • App security: There are apps that can muck up a Pebble. This ranges from screen distortion to apps crashing. I tend to think that if an app can cause a device to crash then it could be intentionally designed to do more worser (yes, that was on purpose) things to the device as well. I could be wrong and haven’t spent any real time doing security research on the device, but it seems like a bad thing. Meanwhile, apps that go to an Apple Watch go through the App Store and so have at least some semblance of review.
  • Music Control: I like the Pebble more in this respect. It instantly sends commands to music on your phone. The Apple Watch always seems to be just a little bit delayed (not bad, but I can notice the delay). Having said that, the Apple Watch also has a Remote app, so you can also control music streaming out of computers onto Apple TVs.
  • Instant Messaging: The Pebble can show you messages. The Apple Watch can as well, but goes a step or 10 further and actually allows you to send voice messages, text messages, animated Emoji and even your heartbeat (which people keep creepily sending me – except that one guy who has none – but we all knew he was a lich so whatever on that).
  • Fitness: The fitness options on the Pebble are mostly from apps. The apps are a bit limited, but you can do a few pretty cool things. There are more built-in options on the Apple Watch; however, the 3rd party apps for Fitness tracking are pretty considerable and growing daily.
  • Pay for all the stuffs: Apple Pay isn’t the most widely accepted form of payment around, but it is gaining in popularity and pretty cool. Not sure if NFC is really going to be changing the world, but it might, and a wearable that isn’t specifically a fitness tracker is likely going to need it over the coming year.
  • Price: The Pebble can be $89. The Apple Watch starts at $350 and goes up to thousands (10 of ’em actually).

Overall, the Pebble is inexpensive. At 4 times the cost is the Apple Watch, which has less battery power but way more features. So it’s not Apples to Apples (no pun intended) to compare these. If you’re interested in a really inexpensive wearable and not worried about all the crazy features that come on them, check out the Pebble. But, the Apple Watch, as with many an Apple product, is very much worth the price tag. Unless you’re getting a gold one…

May 11th, 2015

Posted In: Apple Watch

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My third podcast in the last couple of months, this time with Chuck Joiner again, of MacVoices. And we talked a pretty good bit about Bushel and Mobile Device Management. Thanks to Chuck formatting this whole thing pretty awesome and helping bring my explanations to a point where they actually make sense!

January 29th, 2015

Posted In: Bushel, Product Management

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Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP for short) allows you to automatically setup devices with the settings you need on devices that your organization purchases. In Bushel, we give you the ability to link an Apple DEP account up with your Bushel account. This allows devices to add themselves automatically to your Bushel when the devices are activated. We tend to think this is the coolest thing since sliced bread and so we want to make sure you know how to use the feature.

Setup Device Enrollment Program in Bushel

To get started, log into your Bushel and click on Devices. Here, click the button for Device Enrollment Program.


Download your certificate and go to and log into your Device Enrollment Program account. Click on Manage Servers in the Deployment Programs sidebar.


Next, click on Add MDM Server and provide the certificate we gave you and a name. Once Bushel has been added to your Device Enrollment Program (DEP) account, click on Assign by Serial Number to add your first device. Assuming the device is part of your DEP account, enter the serial number for the device and choose which server (the one you just added) that the device should reach out to on activation to pull settings from.


Once you’ve added the server, you’ll be greeted by a screen that says Assignment Complete. You can now wipe the device and upon reactivation the device will pull new settings from your Bushel.


The Device Enrollment Program in Bushel

Click OK and you can add more devices. Once your devices are added into the Apple DEP portal they will automatically appear in the DEP screen of your Bushel. Click on a device to assign a username and email address, if you will be using email.


Good luck!

November 21st, 2014

Posted In: Bushel, iPhone, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, Minneapolis

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OS X has a command called rvictl, which can be used to proxy network communications from iOS devices through a computer over what’s known as a Remote Virtual Interface, or RVI. To setup an rvi, you’ll need the udid of a device and the device will need to be plugged into a Mac and have the device paired to the Mac. This may seem like a lot but if you’ve followed along with a couple of the other articles I’ve done recently this should be pretty simple. First we’ll pair:

idevicepair pair

Then tap Trust on the device itself. Then we’ll grab that udid with idevice_id:

idevice_id -l

Next, we’ll setup a rvi with rvictl and the -s option (here I’m just going to grab the udid since I only have one device plugged into my computer):

rvictl -s `idevice_id -l`

Then we can list the connections using rvictl with the -l option:

rvictl -l

Next, we’ll run a tcpdump using this newly constructed rvi0:

tcpdump -n -i rvi0

Next, we’ll get a lot of logs. Let’s fire up the Nike FuelBand app and refresh our status. Watching the resultant traffic, we’ll see a line like this:

22:42:29.485691 IP > Flags [S], seq 3936380112, win 65535, options [mss 1460,nop,wscale 5,nop,nop,TS val 706439445 ecr 0,sackOK,eol], length 0

There’s an IP in there, We can look this up and see that the servers are sitting on Amazon Web Services and verify it’s Nike. Watching the traffic with tcpdump we can then obtain GET, POST and other information sent and received. Using wireshark we could get even more detailed data.

Overall though, this article is meant to focus on the iOS side of this and not on debugging and refining the approach to using tcpdump/wireshark. rvictl is a great tool in the iOS development cycle and for security researchers that are looking into how many of the apps on iOS devices exchange data. Enjoy.

November 19th, 2014

Posted In: iPhone, Mac Security, Network Infrastructure

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The new Health app from Apple provides a conduit to run all of your health data through on an iOS device in order to then provide you with a single pane of glass to see all of your health related data. This can include diet, workouts, weight, blood pressure, etc, provided that the vendors of such devices or apps you may use support those features. The Nike Running app (not yet for the Fuelband) is one such app. And if you track runs with Nike Running then you’ll want to setup the integration asap, as the Health app only looks at runs that are configured after you setup the integration.

To integrate the app into Health (and therefore showcase what Health can do) we’ll simply upgrade it and do so real quick. The first step is to upgrade the Nike+ Running app. To do so, open the App Store, tap on Updates and find the Nike+ Running app. Here, tap Update and provide your password.


When the app is finished updating, open it. You should be prompted on the first open after the update to setup Health Access. Here, use the sliders for each of the items you’d like to sync to Health. These include your NikeFuel (the fuel points obtained per run), the Workouts and, if you have a device that tracks Heart Rate, whether or not the Running app can access that Heart Rate data. Tap Done when you’re satisfied with your settings.


From within the Health app, you can then see what Health reads from and writes to the NikeFuel app. Open the Health app, tap on Fitness and then NikeFuel. Here, you can change the settings that were previously configured.


The NikeFuel entry will then start to sync with your Nike account. Tapping on NikeFuel in the Health app provides you the option to Show on Dashboard, which is the first screen of your Health app. Toggle this to enable the option.


Once enabled, you can see stats from your Nike Running app on the dashboard in Health. The data is then useable by other apps that can also integrate with Health, provided you allow it.


When the next run is synchronized, you should see data from the run populate the NikeFuel entry on the dashboard. The FuelBand, Nike Basketball and Nike Training Club apps have not been integrated into Health. But when they are, I’ll try and remember to come back and update this article.


November 1st, 2014

Posted In: Wearable Technology

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