Minecraft Is Getting Cross-Play On Multiple Platforms

With the upcoming release of the Better Together this summer, Mojang will unify the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One with mobile and Windows 10 PC versions of the game under the Bedrock Engine family. (excluding Java Minecraft which will continue to be supported as an independent version)
Continue reading Minecraft Is Getting Cross-Play On Multiple Platforms

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Can I run iOS 11?

iOS 11 is compatible with these devices.

iPhone

  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 5s

iPad

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2nd generation
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro 1st generation
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad 5th generation
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 2

iPod

  • iPod touch 6th generation

New iOS 11 Features

  • Files across services like iCloud Drive, Dropbox and Box
  • New Smart Dock
  • Multitasking via  Split Over or Split View
  • Drag and Drop
  • Apple Pencil for Screen Markup, Notes and Drawing
  • Document Scanning from Notes, sign with your Apple Pencil
  • ARKit – Augmented Reality
  • Redesigned App Store
  • Customizeable Control Center
  • Privacy at the forefront

iOS 9 is out in the wild

Apple released iOS 9 into the wild and it looks awesome. I don’t run an iDevice so I can’t comment on it as far as performance and overall satisfaction but I will be checking in with friends that do to get their feedback.

If you use an iDevice and want to know if you can install iOS 9, here is the list of compatible devices:

iPhone iPad iPod
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 4s
  • iPad Pro
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad 4th generation
  • iPad 3rd generation
  • iPad 2
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPad mini
  • iPod touch 6th generation
  • iPod touch 5th generation

Noteworthy features

Notes

  • The Notes app has always been great for jotting down your thoughts. And now it’s great for so much more.
  • Turn lists into checklists – Add bullets with a tap to create checklists. Make a grocery list, a wish list, or a to-do list — and check off items as you go.
  • Sketch your thoughts – Use the tip of your finger to draw right in your note. A selection of drawing tools lets you choose different brush styles and colors. And a handy ruler helps you keep things straight.
  • Note it with a photo – Now you can take a photo from within the Notes app. Or tap to access your photo library and add an existing photo or video to a note.
  • All your notes across all your devices – Notes works with iCloud so you can access your notes no matter which device you’re using.

Maps

  • Transit – Maps now features Transit view, bringing you public transit information with routes and directions.
  • Nearby – When you search in Maps, you’ll see a list of categories including Food, Drinks, Shopping, Fun, and more.

Multitasking

  • Slide Over – Now you can open a second app without leaving the one you’re in.
  • Split View – With Split View, you can go a step further and have two apps open and active at the same time.
  • Picture in Picture – While using FaceTime or watching a video, press the Home button and your video screen scales down to a corner of your display.

Even longer battery life.

Across the entire operating system, apps and key technologies have been made more efficient to trim battery usage wherever possible — so you get more battery life for the things you do every day.

Smaller, more convenient updates.

iOS 9 does even more to efficiently stream new updates to your device without having to first download and unpack them — which means you don’t need as much free space to update.

  • iOS 9 – 1.3GB
  • iOS 8 – 4.58GB

Faster and more responsive.

The apps in iOS 9 now take advantage of Metal, making more efficient use of the CPU and GPU to deliver faster scrolling, smoother animation, and better overall performance.

Improved security.

Keeping your devices and Apple ID secure is essential to protecting your personal information — like photos, documents, messages, email, and so much more.

Six-digit passcodes

The default for passcodes on your Touch ID–enabled iPhone and iPad is now six digits instead of four.

Two-factor authentication

A password alone is not always enough to keep your account secure. That’s why iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan have built-in support for two-factor authentication.

The infinite loop of iOS 8

There’s a bug in Apple’s iOS 8 that allows nearby attackers to send apps—and in some cases the iPhone or iPad they run on—into an endless reboot cycle that temporarily renders the devices useless, according to researchers who demonstrated the attack Tuesday.

The exploit uses a standard Wi-Fi network that generates a specially designed secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate to exploit the bug, according to the researchers, who work for Israel-based Skycure. The encrypted communication causes whatever apps happen to be connected to the booby-trapped Wi-Fi network to crash. The vulnerability was introduced in version 8 of the Apple mobile operating system.

After sustained connections to the malicious signal, the OS itself will crash, in some cases in a way that causes the devices it runs on to spiral into a repeatable reboot cycle. Making the attack particularly vexing, even if users know the endless crashes are generated by the Wi-Fi network they’re connected to, they can’t disconnect because the repeated restarts make it impossible to access the device’s user settings, as demonstrated in the following video:

The Skycure researchers said the exploit can be combined with one they uncovered two years ago that forces iPhones to automatically connect to rogue Wi-Fi networks. The combination allows attackers to form a “NO iOS Zone” that after luring all iOS devices to join the Wi-Fi network, sends them into an endless crash cycle. Targets hit by the attack would have few options to stop the attack as long as they’re within range of the Wi-Fi access point. Skycure documented the vulnerability in a blog post published Tuesday and demonstrated it the same day at the RSA security conference in San Francisco.

Until there’s a patch, iPhone and iPad users should make sure they’re using iOS 8.3, since it appears to have mitigated some of the effects of the bug. Users should also keep Wi-Fi on their device turned off except when it’s needed.

Minecraft to get Story Mode in 2015

Telltale Games has announced on its blog that it’s working with Minecraft developer Mojang to create a series of games set in the world of the hit franchise.

Minecraft: Story Mode will be an all-new narrative-driven game series developed by Telltale in collaboration with Mojang. Set in the world of Minecraft, the series will feature an original story, driven by player choice. It will not be an add-on for Minecraft, but rather a separate stand-alone product that will premiere in 2015 on consoles, computers and mobile devices.

Telltale has made games in the Walking Dead, Back to the Future, and Game of Thrones universes, to name a few.

Getting ready for iOS 8

The newest release to Apple’s iOS will be rolling out any time now and we want to make sure you are set for when it does.

Can I upgrade?

This is the question that you will need to answer first and to help you out, here is the list of compatible devices:

  • iPhone 4s
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPod touch 5th generation
  • iPad 2
  • iPad with Retina display
  • iPad Air
  • iPad mini
  • iPad mini with Retina display

Note: Make sure you are plugged in and that your battery is fully charged.

Don’t Enable iCloud Drive When You Upgrade to iOS 8 Yet

I put this first so you are aware before doing anything else as this is important. If you accidentally upgrade, there is no going back and you will not be able to sync your iCloud documents with your Mac until OS X Yosemite debuts later this fall.

Apple is pushing it hard but iCloud Drive is only compatible with iOS devices running iOS 8 and Macs running OS X Yosemite, which is not yet available. What does that mean for you?

“As OS X Yosemite is still pre-release (and not yet available) upgrading to iCloud Drive will prevent you from syncing with Clear for Mac until both OS X Yosemite is released and you upgrade to OS X Yosemite. Developers cannot work around the choice made when upgrading to iOS 8, so please make sure you pay close attention to the iCloud Drive screen shown after you update to iOS 8.”
– Nick Fletcher of Realmac Software

After updating to iOS 8, one of the steps in the setup process will ask whether you want to enable iCloud Drive, at which point you should select “Not now.”

Later, once Yosemite is available you can enable iCloud Drive from the main settings menu in iOS by going to Settings ⇒ iCloud ⇒ iCloud Drive. At this point, the actual syncing process may take some time, Fletcher said, as Apple will have to move your data to new servers.

Clean up the crud

Over time we’ve installed apps that we no longer use. Now could be a good time to clean up your system to reduce the number of apps that could cause problems for you. Not to mention backing up your device will go faster. To remove an app simply press and hold any icon on the screen until the icons start wiggle with an x in the top left corner click that x on each app you want to remove and then confirm. You can also do it by going to the app system setting where you can also see what’s using up the most space Settings ⇒ General ⇒ Usage ⇒ Show All Apps

Backing it up

The most important part of prepping for an upgrade. You can use iTunes of iCloud. iTunes allows you to recover your device in the event of a crash or failed upgrade so I’d suggest doing that either way, even if just a fail safe for this one time.
iCloud backs up photos and videos in your Camera Roll, various device settings, your app data, the organization of your home screens, iMessage and text messages, ringtones and Visual Voicemail. To turn on iCloud go to Settings ⇒ iCloud ⇒ Storage ⇒ Backup and toggle iCloud Backup to ON. If you backup with iTunes, use the encrypted option. That way it will also back up the username/passwords you’ve saved on your device.

Checking for the update

Once you get your device ready you can feel free to update. Keep in mind, nothing is guaranteed to work flawlessly which is why we got ready but even that is not guarantee. To update, go to Settings ⇒ General ⇒ Software Update then follow the instructions.

Things to remember

  • Most apps will work, but the full experience won’t land just yet
  • Upgrading will kill your jailbreak. A new one could take a while
  • Early adopters may experience a few bugs, quirks, and hiccups
  • Using a work phone? Your IT department might not be ready
  • Older devices aren’t fully equipped, may experience slowness
  • Downgrading can be tricky, if not impossible

Edit

You can apply for Apple’s OS X Yosemite Beta program and update your Mac to the beta version of OS X Yosemite as well.

Let us know how it goes and what you think about the update.

 

Microsoft to acquire Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5B

Microsoft confirmed it will acquire the studio that created the hit “sandbox” game Minecraft for $2.5 billion, a move that could help bolster the company’s Xbox and mobile ambitions.

In a statement released Monday, Microsoft says the deal will close by the end of this year.

“Minecraft is more than a great game franchise,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a statement. “It is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.”

Launched in 2009 for PCs, Minecraft is an open-world game where players roam a simple landscape with forests and beaches, breaking apart the environment and building new objects like a digital Lego set.

It has surged in popularity over the last five years. Microsoft says the game has topped 100 million downloads. Although it’s been available on Apple’s iOS devices for nearly three years, it’s currently the second most popular paid app for iPhone. Retail versions of the video game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were the third best-selling titles in the U.S. last month, according to NPD Group.

“The Minecraft players have taken the game and turned it into something that surpassed all of our expectations,” says Mojang CEO Carl Manneh in a statement. “The acquisition by Microsoft brings a new chapter to the incredible story.”

Microsoft says Minecraft will remain available on all its current platforms, including PlayStation, a rival to the company’s Xbox brand. Continue reading Microsoft to acquire Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5B

Thousands of Apple devices being infected with AdThief malware

Security researcher Axelle Apvrille recently published a paper about AdThief, a malware aimed at hijacking ad revenue from a reportedly 75,000 infected devices. First discovered in March 2014, and also known as “spat,” the malware, which comes disguised as a Cydia Substrate extension, was found to replace the publisher ID of publishers with the one of the malware creator, effectively attributing all ad revenue to him.

iOS/AdThief!tr
iOS/AdThief!tr hijacks advertisement revenues and redirects them to accounts owned by the attackers.

A publisher ID is used to identify a publisher’s account on an ad platform, which helps track revenue generated by said publisher. By being able to swap the publisher’s publisher ID with his own, the malware creator was able to hijack revenue from about 22 million ads. In effect, when clicking on an ad, an infected user would generate ad revenue for the attacker instead of the developer of the application or website.

  • Infected devices: ~75k
  • Total activate times: ~22m
  • Daily activate times (around 3/20/2014): ~22k

The malware was designed to target ad kits from 15 ad networks, including Google-owned AdMob and Google Mobile Ads, both representing a large share of mobile advertising at least here in the US. Other American companies targeted by AdThief are AdWhirl, MdotM, and MobClick. The remaining targeted ad networks were all from China or India.

TARGETED ADKITS

A list of mobile adkits targeted by the malware is provided in a report: YouMi, Vpon, MobClick, Umeng, AdSage/MobiSage, MdotM, InMobi, Domob, AdWhirl, AdsMogo, Google Mobile Ads SDK, AderMob, Weibo, MIX SDK and Poly SDK. The majority of these are Chinese, four are based in the US, and two in India.

In his report, Xiao remarks that Weibo is a popular social network in China, but is unable to attribute MIX SDK and Poly SDKmore precisely. In fact, Sina Weibo, introduced in 2013, is an advertisement SDK, so that solves one mystery.

MIX SDK can be attributed to GuoHeAD. It probably refers to the GuoHe MIX platform for cross-promotion of mobile games. This is also backed up by the name of a source file found in the malware: /Volumes/MacOsStore/Project/IOS/SpAd/SpAd/AD_GuoHe.xm.

Finally, Poly SDK is not a new adkit: it corresponds to AderMob. This is confirmed when downloading the AderMob iOS SDK.

Hijacked advertisements in iOS/AdThief

AderMob http://adermob.renren.com/ China
AdMob and Google Mobile Ads http://www.admob.com/ USA
AdsMogo http://www.adsmogo.com/en China
AdSage/MobiSage http://www.adsage.com/mobiSage China
AdWhirl http://www.adwhirl.com USA
Domob http://domob.cn China
GuoHeAD http://www.guohead.com China
InMobi http://www.inmobi.com India
Komli Mobile http://www.komlimobile.com/index India
MdotM http://www.mdotm.com USA
MobClick http://www.mobclix.com USA
UMeng http://www.umeng.com China
Vpon http://vpon.com China
Weibo http://us.weibo.com China
YouMi http://www.youmi.net China

Implementation details of adkit hooks found in iOS/AdThief.A!tr

Adkit source Filename Typical class names
AderMob AD Ader.xm AderSDK*
AdMob and Google Mobile Ads SDK AD AdMob.xm GAD*
AdsMogo AD AdsMongo.xm AdMoGo*
AdSage ? MobiSageAd*
AdWhirl AD Adwhirl.xm AdWhirl*
Domob AD DoMob.xm DM*
GuoHeAD AD GuoHe.xm MIXView*
InMobi AD InMobi.xm IMAd*
Komli Mobile AD KomliMobile.xm APIManager*
MdotM AD MDotM.xm MdotM*
MobClick ? MobClick*
UMeng AD UMeng.xm UMUFP*
Vpon AD Vpon.xm VponAdOn*
Weibo AD Weibo.xml DXAdHWB*_
YouMi AD Youmi.xm YouMi* – delegated to Google Ads

Conclusion

iOS/AdThief is a technical and malicious piece of code which hijacks revenue from 15 different adkits. It is built on top of the Cydia Substrate platform, available for jailbroken devices, which provides it with an easy way to modify advertisement SDKs. With Substrate, the malware needs only to focus on the call and implementation of each hook.

At first, the identification of every adkit the malware targets was difficult because the code mentions only class names used by each adkit SDK. However, the fact that the malware author did not strip out debugging information helped us to identify all 15 adkits. In particular, this is how support for Komli Mobile and GuoHeAD was detected.

Links

  • Get the bulletin here
  • Read Claud Xiao’s report here

Working with your iCloud

Everywhere. Automatically. That’s the way it should be, and iCloud makes it a reality. So when you buy a song, you don’t have to download it over and over to enjoy it on multiple devices. Or worry that a document doesn’t contain your latest revisions. Or spend time transferring photos. iCloud takes care of everything for you. Just like that.

Working with iContacts

To work with your contacts from your iDevice do the following:

  • Log into https://www.icloud.com/ with your AppleID you use on your iDevice
  • Click on the Contacts icon
  • Click on the Gear to the bottom left of the screen
  • Click Select All
  • Click on the Gear again
    • Select Print to print your contacts
    • Select Export as vCard to export your contacts

Other things you can do

Continue reading Working with your iCloud

Using tablets to reach kids with Autism

This article was originally posted on CNN on Thu April 10, 2014 by Heather Kelly.

“In terms of apps for kids with autism and special needs, there’s a lot of stuff for preschoolers. There’s not as much when you start going up to an older audience, especially when it comes to social skills,”

– Christa Dahlstrom (Creator of Flummox and Friends)

(CNN) — Two 5-year-old boys, one with autism, were having some friendly playtime when they had a communication breakdown. One boy didn’t respond to the other and walked away. The ignored kid got frustrated and pushed over a small staircase, causing the first boy to fall.

Their speech therapist, Jordan Sadler, decided to address the issue by recreating it in an iPad app called Puppet Pals. She restaged the scenario as a movie, even taking photos of the room for the background and of the kids for the characters. Using the app to show an instant replay of the scuffle, Sadler and the kids identified what went wrong and then recreated the scene, this time making better decisions.

Creating custom stories to help kids learn communication skills or understand complex situations is just one of the ways parents, therapists and educators have taken advantage of tablets to work with kids with autism. Continue reading Using tablets to reach kids with Autism