2014: The year in song (sort of)

A recent MacWorld article entitled “Apple’s 10 biggest hits, misses, and head-scratchers of 2014” brought to mind just how many significant announcements, products–and problems–the good folks from Cupertino bestowed upon us this year.

So, as my holiday gift to you, I invite you to join me on a musical journey through the best and the worst that Apple brought us in 2014. It’s perfectly OK if you want to sing along; just make sure that nobody’s within earshot or you’ll most likely have a great deal of explaining to do.

Happy Holidays from the employees and staff of AltiM@c Consulting!


Apple Pay is Coming to Town
to the tune of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

You’d better watch out
You’d better not buy
With plastic, nor cash
I’m telling you why
Apple Pay is coming to town!

Whole Foods is on board
Starbucks and BJ’s
Panera, Chevron
Duane Reade and Subway
Apple Pay is coming to town!

McNuggets from McDonalds?
Just use your Touch ID
At Macy’s, Staples, Texaco
Even Sports Authority

To use Apple Pay
The iPhone’s a must
So upgrade your plan
To the 6, or 6+
Apple Pay is coming to town!


Yosemite, Yosemite!
to the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree”

Yosemite, Yosemite,
What features wilt thou bring me!
Yosemite, Yosemite,
What features wilt thou bring me!

Thou sports AirDrop,
Markup in Mail, and
Yosemite, Yosemite,
What features wilt thou bring me!

Yosemite, Yosemite,
Thou torments me to upgrade
Yosemite, Yosemite,
Thou torments me to upgrade

Of Mavericks
I can’t enthuse
Yet still thou beckons me
To use
Yosemite, Yosemite,
Thou torments me to upgrade

Yosemite, Yosemite,
How this upgrade doth vex me!
Yosemite, Yosemite,
How this upgrade doth vex me!

Will Bluetooth fail
To work with thee?

Yosemite, Yosemite,
Thou torments me to upgrade…


iOS 8, iOS 8
to the tune of “Silent Night”

iOS 8, iOS 8
Gil had urged
Us to wait
Now my WiFi performance is poor
Have to do
A backup and restore
That’s what they said
At the sto-oooore,
That’s what they said at the store

iOS 8, iOS 8
Don’t they test
These updates?
Now my Camera Roll is no more
Seems to me it was there
Just before…
Why is this iPad so slo-ooowww?
Why is this iPad so slow?

iOS 8, iOS 8
Hard to keep
The versions straight
Just updated to eight one point two
How’s that version
Been working for you?
Camera Roll
Is resto-oooored!
Camera Roll is restored!


iPhone 6: The Holiday Medley
I’m Dreaming of a White iPhone | Can You Bend This iPhone? | It’s The Most Wonderful Phone Of The Year | The iPhone 6? Thou Art Too Large | Buy Yourself An iPhone 6 This Christmas

I’m Dreaming of a White iPhone
to the tune of “White Christmas”

I’m dreaming of a white iPhone
Is that an Apple Store? I’m there
Where the iPhones glisten
I stop and listen
To hear
Of bargains in the air…

I’m dreaming of a white iPhone
But these new 6-es, I’ve been told
Much to my chagrin
Will be
offered in
Just three versions–
Silver, grey or gold

I’m dreaming of a gold iPhone…


Can You Bend This iPhone?
to the tune of “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Said the British teens to the Apple tech
Can you bend this iPhone?
Right here in the store, Apple tech
Hey, let’s bend this iPhone
Look here, look here
We bent it ’till it broke
What a tale this fiasco provoked
What a tale this fiasco provoked

Said the bloggers to their visitors online,
See me bend my iPhone
Here’s a YouTube video I made of mine,
See me bend my iPhone
It bends, it bends,
When the pressure’s far too great
Seems a costly way to demonstrate
Seems a costly way to demonstrate

Said Cupertino to the people everywhere,
You can’t bend our iPhones
Nine complaints, of all the phones out there?
You can’t bend our iPhones
They’re strong, they’re strong
Ignore the clueless throng
‘Cause Consumer Reports confirms they’re wrong
Yes, Consumer Reports confirms they’re wrong


It’s The Most Wonderful Phone Of The Year
to the tune of “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”

It’s the most wonderful phone of the year
It’s much bigger
Yet thinner
HealthKit looks like a winner!
The new 6+ is here!
It’s the most
Wonderful phone
Of the year…

A much faster processor
Than its predecessor,
It’s better in every way
Capture hours of video
Then watch it in slo-mo
On the five-and-a-half inch display!

It’s the most wonderful phone of the year
Apple Pay’s time has come
Buy one now
With your thumb!
Before they disappear…
Grab the most
Wonderful phone
Yes, the most
Wonderful phone
Grab the most
Wonderful phone
Of the year!


The iPhone 6? Thou Art Too Large
to the tune of “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”

The iPhone 6? Thou art too large
For my front pants pockets to hold
I found thee awkward, and cumbersome
A right clumsy object of gold

Thy screen enthralls
And thy camera’s swell
Fain would I explore Apple Pay
But ’twasn’t long ‘ere
I soon returned
To mine old iPhone 5 in dismay…


Buy Yourself An iPhone 6 This Christmas
to the tune of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

Buy yourself an iPhone 6 this Christmas
Make your wallet light
Then, upgrade in two years
For more gigabytes…

Buy yourself an iPhone 6 this Christmas
Make the Yuletide pay
From now on,
You’ll keep those liquids
Miles away…

Trapped no more, as in olden days,
With that cheap flip phone of yore
Cases, apps and accessories
Find you spending more,
And more

Through the years,
When added all together
You’ve dropped five grand, somehow
Is this gizmo something you could
No! Buy yourself
That 64 gig iPhone

Pre-Holiday Bits & Bytes

While hard at work on an AltiM@c holiday greeting for your reading (and perhaps even singing) pleasure, it struck me that there are more than a few Mac-specific concerns deserving of at least some mention here, before we find ourselves ringing in the New Year.

So without further ado, here’s a quick Q&A focusing on the issues many of you have been encountering as of late:

Q. Is it finally safe to upgrade to Yosemite?
A. That’s a qualified “yes.” Now that Apple has released the 10.10.1 bug fix, I can’t find any compelling argument against making the jump to Yosemite. My only note of caution would be that those of you still using OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or 10.6 (Snow Leopard) with pre-2008 versions of some programs (Office 2004, Adobe Creative Suite 2 or earlier, Quicken 2007 to name a few) will need to buy some newer software. Hey, at least Yosemite itself is free…

Q. What about iOS 8?
A. Now that they’ve put the Camera Roll back, and the iCloud Photo Library seems to be working quite well, I absolutely think you should move up to iOS 8. Users of the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4s who are concerned about performance with the newest iOS have little to fear, since the iOS 8.x bug fixes rectified those issues for the vast majority of users. Then again, if you’re using an iPhone 4s you’re way overdue for an upgrade anyway. Speaking of which…

Q. Should I get the iPhone 6/6+?
A. I’m kinda mixed on this. Yes, they are both awesome in terms of speed, display quality and camera, and the iPhone 6+ screen is massive in comparison to its forebears. My concern with the 6+ is that it’s just too big to handle comfortably in one hand, and presents a challenge to those who spend some part of their day inserting and removing their phone from their front pants pocket. Even the 6 is on the tall side…

My advice would be to get the 5s while it’s still available and $100 less, since the only really significant feature missing from the 5s versus the 6 is the ability to use Apple Pay. But hey, if you really want/need a larger screen and you don’t keep your phone in your pants pocket, don’t let me talk you out of a pretty remarkable piece of hardware.

Q. Why do I keep getting “blocked plug-in” messages?
A. You can thank the Adobe Flash plug-in for that, as well as all the Web site developers who still insist on using Flash for video and other content on their sites. Given that the iPhone and iPad, as well as the vast majority of Android tablets, seem to get along just fine even though they can’t even run Flash, I eagerly await the day when Flash no longer exists on any platform.

But until that glorious day arrives, you’ll have to keep checking your System Preferences–>Flash Player settings to ensure you have the latest version. In some cases Flash will update itself without troubling you with error messages, but when there is a significant update to the plug-in, you will need to manually install it in order to banish those infernal “blocked plug-in” messages. At least, until the next update.

Here’s some helpful guidance on keeping Flash up to date, courtesy of Adobe. Hey, it’s the least they can do.


Q. What’s the deal with those special eyedrops you were getting?
A. Oh, thanks for asking. I’ve been using them for a few weeks now and I can’t really say that I have seen any significant improvement, but since everyone’s immune system is unique (not many more so than mine) my immuno-ophthalmologist really couldn’t tell me exactly what to expect in terms of efficacy or a time frame. So we’ll, uh, see…

Q. Can I ask one more “computer” question?
A. Sure.

Q. Thanks. I know I should be backing up my iDevice, but should I back it up to my Mac or to iCloud?
A. Definitely to your Mac (or Windows PC, if that’s how you roll). Why? Storage on your computer is free, as opposed to your having to pay for additional room on iCloud for all those fab pix and videos you have on your iDevice(s). And the local iTunes backup is more complete than the iCloud backup.

But… if you can’t be troubled to plug your device into the computer once a week or so, and/or you’ve already ponied up for extra iCloud storage, then iCloud is just fine. What’s important here is that you are backing up your iDevice(s) somewhere.

Q. OK, I think that’s it for now.
A. No problem, give a shout if you have any other questions.

Oy with the POODLEs already!

Plus: The Return of Camera Roll, and the debut of Yosemite

SO THERE I was, in the midst of crafting one of my typically droll and yet diabolically clever headlines for this post, when the perfect title was dropped right into my lap. Well, right into my Inbox, to be precise. Long-time client and Gilmore Girls fan Regina just happened to send along a completely unrelated email with that very subject line, which–according to the unparalleled resources of the Urban Dictionary–“can be used to shut up a person that is talking non-stop about a certain subject.”

Given that the primary focus of this missive is POODLE, an acronym for the latest security exploit capable of bringing the Internet to its knees, I feel well within my rights to assert that this expression can also be used to “shut up an Internet that is afflicted non-stop with certain security vulnerabilities.” As in: “Heartbleed? iCloud celebrity hack? Shellshock? And now POODLE? Oy with the POODLEs already!”

Ah, if only a well-turned phrase would serve to dispose of these technological threats… So just what is POODLE? Like Heartbleed, it’s a vulnerability in the system that encrypts information sent between devices and/or across the Internet, so that data like passwords and credit card numbers are protected from prying eyes. The POODLE vulnerability exists specifically in the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) 3.0 protocol, which was superseded by the newer and more secure TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol a while back.

UNFORTUNATELY, a small percentage of Web sites–and other devices that encrypt data, like routers–still use SSL 3.0 instead of TLS, and most Web browsers are set to “fall back” to SSL when they talk to a server if they can’t find TLS running, so that they can still conduct an encrypted “discussion.” When that happens, the POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption) vulnerability in SSL can be exploited by a hacker, and the no-longer-secure data can be decrypted and accessed.

So what can we do about this? Fortunately, as of this past Monday it’s pretty simple. Just run Software Update from the Apple menu, and it will deliver Security Update 2014-005, which prevents your Mac from using SSL in Safari, even if a server is offering it to you.

Firefox is also safe as long as you’re using version 33.0 (go to “About Firefox” from the FireFox menu to check/update). Google Chrome is still vulnerable as of this writing, per my visit to the POODLE Test site just a moment ago. And for anyone using 10.7 “Lion,” 10.6.8 “Snow Leopard,” or older, Apple is not providing a patch ;-(

APPLE HAS, however, provided a few other goodies in the past week. Namely, the iOS 8.1 update which, due to, er, popular demand, brings back the Camera Roll album. Not only that, it brings back the My Photo Stream album as well, if only to vex and confuse those of us who still don’t quite understand why Photo Stream photos are different on all our devices, and why they sometimes go away but other times stay forever.

Since Photo Stream will soon be replaced by the iCloud Photo Library, now available to try in a beta (test) version, there’s no point dwelling on the nitty gritty details. Suffice to say that those of you now using iOS 8 should definitely upgrade to 8.1 ASAP, since it squashes a lot of other bugs as well.

Should any of you out there feel adventurous enough to try out the iCloud Photo Library, it can be activated in Settings–>Photos & Camera on your iDevice. I’ll be curious to hear your experiences with it, so please feel free to share them in the comments below. For me, so far so good but I have only a few dozen photos up there at this point.

APPLE HAS ALSO released “Yosemite,” aka OS X 10.10, and in the process eliminated “Mavericks” 10.9. So if you haven’t yet upgraded to 10.9, it’s no longer an option. But trust me, you weren’t missing anything. While Mavericks brought little more than tabbed Finder windows (and major printing/email issues for some), Yosemite offers Handoff and Continuity features for iDevice users, as well as some other nifty stuff, like the ability to annotate email attachments and to sign documents with your trackpad.

I touched on Handoff and Continuity a few posts back, but just to review, these features enable iDevice users to do things like start an email on your iPad and finish it up on your iMac, or take a call from your iPhone on your MacBook Air. In fact, you can even initiate a phone call from your Mac, as long as your iPhone is nearby. For my money, Handoff and Continuity have the potential to be the most valuable features to come along in a new OS since 2007, when Time Machine debuted way back in Mac OS X 10.5.

So should you upgrade to Yosemite now? Well… if you’re already using Mavericks 10.9, and your Mac has slowed down appreciably since upgrading, or if it has caused problems with your Apple Mail program (especially if you’re a GMail user), I would go for it.

FOR THOSE USING Mountain Lion 10.8 or who have had no issues with Mavericks, I would at least wait until Yosemite 10.10.1 shows up, which is typically  within a month or two after the initial version release. So far I have not seen any of the horror stories that often accompany a brand-new system, but since your mileage may vary, discretion is probably the better part of valor here.

As with iCloud Photo Library, any early adopters of Yosemite are encouraged to share their experiences below.

(Shell)shock and awe, coming around the Bend

ANOTHER WEEK, another set of crises for Apple to weather. On the heels of August’s celebrity photo iCloud hack comes the Shellshock vulnerability, freshly discovered on Sep. 24 and rivaled only by this spring’s Heartbleed bug as the Vulnerability With The Most Compelling Monicker so far this year. At virtually the same moment, reports of the new iPhone 6 Plus bending after spending an extended period of time in users’ pockets began to surface on various forums.

Let’s begin with Shellshock. Also known as the Bash bug, it’s a legitimate issue present in most UNIX-based operating systems, of which Mac OS X is one. The name “Shellshock” arises from the area of the vulnerability, specifically the Bourne Again Shell (bash), a program used to issue commands to the system. If the bug is present, an attacker could potentially take over control of the shell, and thus the entire operating system.

FOR THE AVERAGE Mac user, however, it’s unlikely to become a real problem unless he or she has messed with some advanced UNIX settings from the command line. Still, Apple has taken it seriously and has issued downloadable patches (see end of article) for Mac OS X 10.9, 10.8 and 10.7. A future OS X security update will push the proper patch to your Mac shortly if you don’t apply it now.

There’s a way to test your Mac for the bug, but it involves using the Terminal app to run a UNIX command; if you’re all about that sort of thing, then check out Lifehacker’s instructions and dive right in. Otherwise, just download and install the appropriate patch below (go to About This Mac from the Apple menu if you’re not sure which version of Mac OS X you’re using).Those of you still running OS X 10.6 are unfortunately out of luck, as Apple stopped issuing security updates for Snow Leopard late last year.

ON TO THE iPhone 6 and the debate over whether, well, whether this whole “bendable” thing is worth debating. According to Apple, in a statement made to the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets on Sep. 25th, the company has received only nine complaints of the iPhone 6 plus bending under normal use. On the other hand, a quick Web search reveals all sorts of references to angry users, YouTube videos of folks bending their phones until they snap, and most recently two 15-year-old boys who actually recorded themselves on video bending–and breaking–an iPhone 6 Plus in the Norwich, CT Apple Store.

Are the new iPhone 6 models particularly vulnerable to bending under normal use? The first few days of reports and YouTube videos were often compelling, but for the most part on the unscientific side, while Apple on Sep. 25th invited the medis to its “torture-test” facility and demonstrated the various stress tests they perform on the iPhones to ensure durability, in an effort to show how tough the phones actually are.

SO WHO TO believe? On September 26th, no less an authority than Consumer Reports weighed in on the debate by publishing the results of their own stress tests on not only the new iPhones, but the iPhone 5, LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and HTC One (M8) as well. I’ll let you read the results for yourself, but to sum up:

  • “Significant force” was required to damage any of the phones tested; the testers deemed them all to be “pretty tough”
  • The iPhone 6 Plus turned out to be stronger than the iPhone 6
  • The iPhone 5 was approximately twice as strong as either iPhone 6 model
  • The most durable phone was the Samsung Galaxy Note 3; the least durable was the HTC One (M8)
  • “While nothing is (evidently) indestructible, we expect that any of these phones should stand up to typical use.”

I’ll add my own $0.02 here, if I may: Thanks to a concept known as “physics,” the thinner smartphones become, the less durable they’ll be. From my own perspective, I’ve always been afraid to place a phone in my back pocket–not for fear of bending it but rather that I might crack the screen upon sitting down.

And just in “case” this isn’t patently obvious, most iPhone owners (86% according to this Business Insider survey) employ some type of protective case. In fact, the survey revealed that over 25% of the respondents used OtterBox cases, meaning that they take their protection pretty seriously.

LET’S WRAP UP by bringing a little sanity into this debate. Regardless of the “bendability,” or lack of same, of the new iPhones, resist the temptation to ride bareback and enclose your device in a protective case of some sort. Avoid putting the phone in your back pocket, even if you’re not intending on sitting down for a while. Last but not least, do not conduct any of the previously-referenced stress testing on your $700 iDevice.

AltiM@c Consulting: Proudly keeping our readers from becoming shell-shocked–or bent out of shape–since 1995.

Shellshock patch for Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks:

Shellshock patch for Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion:

Shellshock patch for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion:


That’s two small steps for man… one giant leap for security

NOT ONLY does that bastardized quote make an appropriate lead-in to this posting, it reminds us of the fact that although we put a man on the moon way back in 1969, we still rely on passwords to protect our identity online and offline. And because it takes a concerted effort–even with the services of a password manager–to update and strengthen all those passwords, we often end up putting that task off for another day.

In the wake of the recent “celebrity photo iCloud hack,” Apple has been urging all of us to employ “two-step verification,” which as the name implies, involves a second step beyond simply entering a password in order to verify your identity when you make an iTunes store purchase or update your Apple ID account info. This isn’t a new concept; Apple and many other online services (including Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and Twitter) have offered various flavors of this security enhancement for years.

WHAT IS NEW is that Apple is now officially urging us to make use of two-step verification, in addition to strengthening our passwords. I’m all in favor of anything that makes our accounts more secure, as long as it doesn’t make our computing experience unnecessarily complicated. For most of us I feel the extra step is worth the additional protection, but read on to make sure that it’s a good option for your particular situation.

The additional “step” in two-step verification involves a unique PIN code that is sent to your cellphone via text message (or iDevice, via a “push” notification) once you’ve entered your password. At that point you’ll see a prompt to enter this code, which changes each time it’s used. So this prevents anyone from accessing your iTunes Store account or your iCloud data, even if they are able to guess your password. It’s a relatively simple process and requires only a one-time setup on Apple’s site.

KEEP IN MIND, however that if you decide to enable and use two-step verification, you must have a cell phone that can accept SMS text messages (most can) in order to set up TSV, and you must have either that cell phone (or any iDevice on which you’ve enabled Find My Phone) with you whenever you want to do any of the following:

  • Make a purchase from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store or App Store, whether on your Mac or any of your iDevices
  • Make any changes to your Apple ID info (credit card, password, etc.)
  • Sign into the iCloud Web site
  • Call Apple for help with your Apple ID

One other word of caution: Once you enable TSV, your Apple ID password is encrypted in such a way that even Apple can’t retrieve it for you. That’s why in the setup process you are prompted to create an emergency Recovery Key, which can be used in the event you forget your password. Obviously you will want to keep that in a safe place on your Mac, ideally within your password manager or in a Word document that is password-protected.

SHOULD YOU determine that two-step verification is the way to go for you, start with the setup instructions here:

Frequently asked questions about two-step verification for Apple ID:

and then check out this Wall Street Journal article, which details how to enable TSV for many other Web sites:

Safety First! How to Sign Up for Two-Step Verification on 11 Top Online Services:

If you’ve determined that you don’t want to go the TSV route, that’s perfectly fine–only if you’ve created very strong passwords for your Apple ID and any other Web properties that contain your personal or financial info.

SO THAT’S two-step verification. Unlike the moon landing, it’s not rocket science. But compared to using only a password–especially a “weak” one–it really is one giant leap for security.

Making us Pay

That’s exactly what Apple’s been doing. Seemingly lost between Tuesday’s unveiling of yet another pair of new iPhones (the 6 and 6 Plus) and the Apple Watch–which will no doubt sell by the truckload despite its hefty price tag ($349 and up) and the fact that it needs to be accompanied by an iPhone for full functionality–was the revelation that Apple has concocted a “virtual wallet” payment system to accompany its newest smartphone models.

This system works with your existing credit cards, but it’s more secure than any available payment method. It’s dead simple to use, incredibly convenient, and already supported by national chains like Macy’s/Bloomingdales, McDonalds, Subway, Walgreens, Petco, Toys “R” Us, Staples and more.

Apple calls it simply Apple Pay. I call it pretty remarkable because after seeing the demo and the ecosystem they’ve created around it, I think it truly does have the potential to change the way we pay for things. It’s not the first system to take a crack at mobile payments via a virtual wallet (see Google Wallet) but it’s the first one to come out fully locked and loaded, with retailers, banks, and credit card companies already on board.

Apple Pay is based on an already-existing technology called near field communication (NFC). Put simply, it’s a way for two devices to “talk” to each other over very short distances by establishing a temporary wireless connection. By waving your smartphone in front of an NFC enabled device at your friendly neighborhood retailer’s checkout, a credit card payment can be made in mere seconds. No need to launch an app; in fact, you don’t even need to unlock your iPhone–thanks to the Touch ID technology that Apple introduced with the iPhone 5s.

When you compare this experience to fumbling with credit cards, security codes, picture IDs and swipe card readers that never seem to get it right the first time, the advantages in terms of convenience are pretty obvious. What’s probably not as obvious are the advancements in security and privacy that are baked into this new system. Although Apple Pay can make use of any VISA, American Express or MasterCard, it never actually uses (or stores) credit card numbers or security codes on your iPhone.

Instead, a unique secure ID is encrypted and stored on your iDevice for each of your credit cards, and it is this information, along with the transaction info and a one-time security code, that is sent to your credit card company. At that point the unique secure ID is linked to your actual card no. and account, and payment is transmitted to the merchant. This means that your card number is never sent anywhere in the process of making a purchase, and because you don’t actually hand the card to the cashier, no one even sees your card number–much less any other personal info–at the point of sale.

Further, if your new “virtual wallet,” aka iPhone, is lost or stolen, you can remotely suspend all recent payments and wipe the device from any other iDevice or Web browser using Find My Phone. That’s not really new, but consider this: Because the credit card numbers and other info for each card are not stored in the iPhone, and because–in theory, at least–you left your actual wallet at home, you don’t need to call up and cancel all your credit cards. You just import their info into your replacement iDevice, and you’re back up and running. Or buying, as the case may be.

Apple’s demo of Pay at Tuesday’s press event made it seem almost impossibly simple, convenient and secure. And it just might be all that when it comes on line this fall. As you may have already guessed, this revolutionary payment system requires the purchase of the new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. So now that Apple has made us Pay, Apple is going to make us… pay.

Or, to paraphrase the official motto of the Commonwealth of Virginia: Sic semper Appleus.

A brief note on security, or, what else is new?

Regarding the recent “celebrity photo iCloud hack,” which most of you have probably heard of by now, it appears after much investigation and finger pointing that there is no inherent security flaw in the iCloud system, and that these were isolated attacks specifically directed at the iCloud accounts of female celebrities (Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Garner, Kate Upton etc.) in hopes of discovering compromising images to post online. The attacks were conducted using common “brute force” hacking techniques; in other words, sending password after password at the account in rapid succession until the correct one was discovered.

Nothing new or innovative about that, and since the targets were specifically young, nubile female celebs, it’s probably safe to assume that none of us were affected. In the wake of these attacks, Apple has pledged to improve iCloud security, but also urges users to implement strong passwords as well as to enable two-step verification, which is generally a good idea in terms of making your Apple ID even more secure. Because TSV involves a very specific setup process and requires that you have a cellphone with you whenever you make a purchase on the iTunes Store, we’re going to explore it in a future posting to help you decide if it’s the right move for you, or if it will cause more problems than it solves.

So what’s the moral of this story? It’s two-fold:

  1. Resist the temptation to post naked selfies to your Photo Stream.
  2. Use a strong password for your Apple ID/iCloud account. If any or all of the celebs affected by this had employed strong passwords, their accounts would not have been compromised.

Finally, some of you have been asking about the Home Depot hack, which was confirmed this past Monday and potentially affects up to 60 million accounts. It really has nothing to do with your computers or iDevices, and since it had been going on undetected for at least six months, you probably already know if any cards you used there have been compromised. Just to be sure, however, check your recent statements carefully for any suspicious charges and report them to your card issuer ASAP.