iOS 8 MAC Randomization

Bhupinder Misra:

I found MAC randomization in iPhone 5s (details below), but not in iPhone 5 and iPad Mini. I suspect that this has to do with the OS architectural difference between old and new generations of iPhones.

In iPhone 5s, MAC randomization happens only under the following conditions:

  • Phone is in sleep mode (display off, not being used)
  • Wi-Fi should be ON but not associated
  • Location services should be OFF in privacy settings

I'm looking forward to the findings on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It looks like Apple has implemented this appropriately. I have no issues with my MAC address being shared when I actually connect, but not before.

Technical Details Of Peer To Peer AirPlay

Apple:

Peer-to-Peer discovery is initiated using Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) when a user selects AirPlay on an iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite v/10.10 device. This causes the device and the Apple TV to visit Wi-Fi channel 149 in the 5 GHz band and Wi-Fi channel 6 in the 2.4 GHz band, where the discovery process continues. Once the user selects an Apple TV and AirPlay starts, the Wi-Fi radios timeshare between channel 149 and whichever infrastructure channel each device is currently using. If possible, the AirPlay sender roams to the same infrastructure channel the Apple TV is using. If neither device is currently using an infrastructure network, the devices will utilize Wi-Fi channel 149 only for AirPlay. Peer-to-peer mirroring adheres to 802.11 standards, sharing Wi-Fi bandwidth with other Wi-Fi devices.

Everyone was asking Apple to make Bonjour easier to manage. They solved it by allowing us to take the Apple TVs off the network. I couldn't be happier.

Link via @danfrakes.

New Report On L.A. Unified's iPads Reflects Problems With Curriculum

Howard Blume::

An evaluation of the iPads-for-all project in Los Angeles schools found that only 1 of 245 classrooms surveyed even used the costly curriculum.

The analysis, conducted by an outside firm, also highlighted other problems, including the pace of the rollout last year at 47 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. It found that district staff was so focused on distributing devices that little attention could be paid to using iPads effectively in the classroom.

1 out of 245 classrooms even used it. How many used it effectively? I'll bet a lot less.

It Always Comes Back To Vision and Leadership

ARLnow.com:

Earlier this summer, APS vehemently denied a rumored tablet purchase for 9th graders. Some parents have reported that their 2nd and 6th graders have been assigned iPads this year. Asked about tablet purchases for lower grade levels, Adusumilli was vague in his response.

“We are preparing for the transition from shared devices to personalized devices at all levels,” he wrote via email. “As part of this preparation each school is conducting a pilot to learn about the instructional benefits provided by personalization. The devices for all the pilots have been purchased. The purchases were made using existing computer replacement funds.”

One parent who learned about the laptop plan contacted ARLnow.com this week and questioned why APS hasn’t told the community at large about the pilot program.

“Through all of this, nothing on any APS channels, including the ‘welcome to school’ info packets for my 9th grader,” the parent said, without giving his or her name. “Why the cloak and dagger communications of what is actually exciting news?”

I've never been a fan of pilot programs. When you are doing a technology deployment, you have to go all in. Pilots are essentially saying that we aren't sure what we are doing. Pilots are also a way to protect yourself from failure.

We don't do pilots with new playground equipment or textbooks. We evaluate and then go all in.

Link via @thunderkeys.

Why The Apple Live Stream Failed

Dan Rayburn:

Unlike the last live stream Apple did, this time around Apple decided to add some JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) code to the apple.com page which added an interactive element on the bottom showing tweets about the event. As a result, this was causing the page to make refresh calls every few milliseconds. By Apple making the decision to add the JSON code, it made the apple.com website un-cachable. By contrast, Apple usually has Akamai caching the page for their live events but this time around there would have been no way for Akamai to have done that, which causes a huge impact on the performance when it comes to loading the page and the stream. And since Apple embeds their video directly in the web page, any performance problems in the page also impacts the video. Akamai didn’t return my call asking for more details, but looking at the code shows there was no way Akamai could have cached it. This is also one of the reasons why when I tried to load the Apple live event page on my iPad, it would make Safari quit. That’s a problem with the code on the page, not with the video.

Very interesting.

Link via @EricSchu_Ras.

Details Matter In Hardware Design

David Pierce:

Round is hard, though, and not just for Motorola. Google may technically support round displays with Android Wear, but the 360 provides constant confirmation that this operating system was designed with rectangles in mind. Scrolling through a list will often cut off titles and images; sometimes list items get kicked way down to the bottom of the screen for no apparent reason. As with the display, there’s nothing necessarily broken here; these are just small cracks in the armor that keep the 360 from feeling truly like a perfect, polished device.

Details matter.

L.A. cancels iPads-in-the-schools program: a failure of vision, not technology

Macworld:

The failure of LAUSD’s iPad program isn’t that iPads (or any other devices the district may have chosen) weren’t a good fit. If there’s blame to be placed, it starts at the top. Deployments are only as good as the vision set forth before a Wi-Fi system or even a type of device is selected. If a school district isn’t going to follow Apple’s guidelines, it shouldn’t expect a successful project.

Apple does a lot of the legwork here by providing both the iPads and detailed guidelines for deployment. And other school districts around the world have documented their successes and failures. So when it comes to learning about best practices for deploying these devices in schools, it’s a simple matter of those in charge doing their homework.

This is an article I wrote for Macworld on the LAUSD/iPad situation.

Dropbox Cuts Pricing

Dropbox:

We don’t want you to worry about choosing the right plan or having enough space. So today, we’re simplifying Dropbox Pro to a single plan that stays at $9.99/month, but now comes with 1 TB (1,000 GB) of space.

They've matched Google Drive on the 1 TB monthly plan. Dropbox still offers the $99 annual plan, so it's actually cheaper than Google Drive if you pay annually. They've also released a number of new (and much appreciated) features.

TiVo Introduces A $50 Over-The-Air DVR For The Post-Aereo Era

Harry McCracken:

This new antenna-only TiVo--which competes with Simple TV and Tablo, two DVRs from startups--is a bit of an experiment. It'll only be available at 430 Best Buy stores beginning in September, and from BestBuy.com starting in October. As always with TiVo, there's also a charge for the service that provides the TV schedule and otherwise manages the box: $15 a month, with a one-year commitment.

Tom Rogers, TiVo's CEO, says that he was struck by how big a story Aereo's legal battle and ultimate downfall turned out to be: "I was surprised how much non-legal press, broad consumer press, that story was getting in terms of over-the-air channels and having some recording ability for them." About 30% of TiVo customers already used it only with an antenna; the company figured that even more cord cutters might be interested in a low-priced TiVo designed especially for them.

The problem with TiVo isn't the start up cost ($199 for the box isn't unreasonable), but it's the monthly fees. With a 1 year contract, it's $14.99/mo. Tablo is $50/year. TiVo needs to have a $9.99/mo option and not charge an additional monthly fee for TiVo Mini (currently $5.99/mo).

Understand your Wi-Fi with Airport Utility

The Sweet Setup:

Apple’s Airport Utility seems like a simple app on the surface, but with a little understanding of Wi-Fi technology, it provides valuable information when it comes to troubleshooting Wi-Fi issues. Wi-Fi, for all its simplicity, is a complicated technology and if you understand the basics, you’ll be much better off when it comes to configuring and troubleshooting your home Wi-Fi.

I recently published an article over at The Sweet Setup on how Apple's Airport Utility for iOS can provide some great information on the "health" of your Apple based Wi-Fi network.

Click here to read.

The Intel Problem

Stephen Hackett:

One huge gain Apple made when switching to Intel in 2006 was the ability to natively run Windows. While Apple certainly made fun of the Microsoft operating system (like in the ad above), the ability to run OS X and Windows side-by-side is a huge selling point for power users.

For example, I use modern.IE virtual machines to QA websites at work. If I were to be running an ARM-based Mac, I wouldn't be able to do this. As much as Apple might like to think its customers can be OS X-only, I'm not alone in these needs.

Stephen's 100% right. I know plenty of people in the enterprise and education who still use VMware for that 1 app they need to use that is Windows only.

JAMF Software Exec Talks Apple’s Evolution

Jeff Engel:

“Back in 2002, very few people considered Apple a viable enterprise solution,” says Halmstad, who serves as JAMF’s co-CEO. “We saw what they were doing with Mac OS X, and believed that their future was incredibly bright. In the early years, people always told us that we’d have to support Windows. We stayed focused on helping the enterprise succeed with Apple … and it has worked out very well for us and our customers.”

JAMF doesn't support Windows or Android. Some people see that as a negative, but I see it as a positive. With most enterprise vendors, Apple is treated as a 2nd class citizen (particulary on the Mac). JAMF is dedicated to Apple. If there was a printer company who only supported Apple, I'd use them. JAMF has a neat story, so I'd recommend reading the entire article.

Disclosure: JAMF Software sponsors Out of School, but I am a customer as well.

Tunnelbear

I wrote about using Cloak to stay safe on public WiFi a few weeks ago. A few days later, I got an email from the folks at Tunnelbear asking if I'd like to try their service. I had heard good things about it, so I gave it a shot.

Key differences between Cloak and Tunnelbear:
1. Tunnelbear is half the price of Cloak for the unlimited plan (it's even cheaper if you just need iOS VPN service)
2. Tunnelbear doesn't have the feature where it automatically connects based on the SSID being used.

Both services work well and are easy to use. Cloak's killer feature is the ability to "set it and forget it". Your choice is to basically save $50 and have to manually connect. If you rarely use a VPN, this might be a good choice. If you use it often, Cloak's automatic connection management might be worth the premium.

I've been told that the VPN backend on iOS 8 has been completely re-built, so these services should get even better.

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Conversations on forums are candid and honest. People ask for advice on how to shave, install software, or find the right product to buy – and yet, almost no one thinks they’re remotely useful or profitable. As an example, look at how Google axed its discussion search feature just last week.

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Google is Stealing Away Microsoft’s Future Corporate Customers

Dan Frommer:

This says two things. First, Microsoft and other vendors like IBM still have a tight grip on the largest companies. Gartner analyst Tom Eid—who predicts that enterprise email alone will be a $5 billion global industry this year, growing about 10% from last year—confirms this. He estimates that Microsoft still commands 75% of the market’s spending, versus about 3% to 5% for Google.

But Google is capturing Microsoft’s future customer base. Perhaps this doesn’t hurt as much now, but as today’s smaller companies grow into tomorrow’s leaders, will they eventually switch to Microsoft products? Or will they stick with Google? (Or, also possible—but less dramatic—both?)

We've ran Google Apps since early 2010 at our school. We did a lot of training when we launched, but new teachers really don't require much since their personal email is usually powered by Gmail. We're seeing the generation of workers who used Gmail and Google Docs in high school and college come into the workforce. They understand that you can "be productive" without Outlook and Office. For Microsoft, this is a scary situation.

This quote from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway always comes to mind here:

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”

How does Microsoft lose their enterprise grip? Gradually and then suddenly.