Hello and welcome to episode 22 of the Brew and Byte podcast, Inboxes and Apple Pies,
sponsored by the London Mac user group. I’m your host, Craig. And coming up over the next
50 minutes, we have everything from this week’s Apple News.
LinkedIn is networking more than its users would like.
What’s in store for Apple’s mail app
in the new Mac OS Monterey?
And we answer your tech questions.
This week, we’re also lucky enough to be joined
by not one, but two guests.
But first up, let’s say hello
to our resident backup expert, Martin.
- I’m fine, sort of recovered from the excesses
of last night’s football game.
So yes, I’m in fine fertile.
And Alistair, how are you?
Just got back from having my second vaccination.
So forgive me if I start repeating myself.
But yeah, I’m good.
And we’ll firstly say hello to Roy.
And if he doesn’t mind also explaining where he’s from
and how he’s been involved with Mac.
Hello, I’m Roy Wagner.
I’m from the Washington Apple Play user group.
I’m the current president.
and I’m coming to you from Virginia in the United States.
And I think we’re also joined
by another fellow Mac user group member.
It is Jonathan, how are you?
- Delighted to be here, Craig.
Thanks so much.
Yeah, I proceeded Roy as the president
of our local metro area Mac user group,
and I’ve been using a Mac for years and years.
I was a government lawyer
and we always had a Wintel machine at work
and I always had a Mac at home
and I never thought anything was wrong with that.
Anyway, really good to be here with you.
- Brilliant, thank you.
My first question obviously is gonna be to our guests.
We always ask, what was your first experience of a Mac?
- I was a PC person.
I was working for a government contractor
and one of the holiday parties, they gave out iPods,
one of the first versions of the music devices.
And so I got one and I was so impressed
with the quality of that, that I moved on
and eventually when they introduced the Mac mini,
the first version, and they said it was compatible with all the PC equipment,
the screens and the mouse and everything else.
I said, “Well, this sounds like a good way to try it.”
When I tried it, I thought it was great.
As they advertised, everything worked,
and it was much better than the PC experience.
He was hooked from the start.
What was Jonathan’s first experience of Mac?
It was one of the card-nag-pluses where you needed to put in
a floppy disk to do anything.
And I think I had the one that the big innovation
was having two card slots.
So you could actually have the operating system on one
and programs on the other.
I should say, by the way, that those were the early days
when Washington Apple Pie had two or 3,000 members,
because in the words of a terrific guest that we had,
who was a tech writer for the Wall Street Journal
for many years.
In those days, to get any programs,
you had to actually go to a meeting with the user group
and bring back a disk.
- I remember the early days of swap shops,
trying to get different bits of software to run.
Very many happy memories.
- Yeah, and the Pi actually for a long time
had an event like this annually,
they call the garage sale.
These were absolutely swap things all the time.
More, I think it was sort of split
between hardware and software.
Shall we move on to our first new subject, which sadly has to be a security one?
And Alistair, what happened with LinkedIn this week?
So it appears that LinkedIn had a data breach on one of its servers. But when you read up about
the article a bit more, it seems to be that some of the information was scraped from other data
leaks or breaches and they were confirming information with LinkedIn. So it was a multiple
sources which put it together and then they were selling it on the dark web and it’s about 700
million LinkedIn accounts. Yes, you’re right. Worryingly, I had a little bit of a dig on this
bit of information and that’s actually 92% of its users. So you’re very lucky if you’re in the other
8% at this point.
And aren’t I right in thinking that this is the second big breach at LinkedIn had they had one a
few years back?
Yes, LinkedIn did have a breach earlier.
At this point, I’m going to ask, does anybody have a LinkedIn account? And what do you think of this?
You know what I was thinking, Craig? Do you know about LinkedIn’s whole thing with contacts?
Dark Patterns had a great video showing how much LinkedIn nagged people to link their contacts with
with the app. And if you did link the contacts, then LinkedIn
sent mail, email and mail to every one of your contacts.
Well, it turned out there was a class action lawsuit in the US
about this and LinkedIn had to pay millions of dollars. So
anyway, what I was thinking is, geez, the people who never share
their contacts with LinkedIn are a lot better out of this breach
than the ones who were duped into it.
And the mad thing is that doesn’t LinkedIn now own
linda.com as well. So if you’ve got a linda.com account, you could be part of the same breach
because they tend to share the same servers. Isn’t LinkedIn owned by Microsoft? I have a funny
feeling it was Microsoft. I think it was Microsoft also, I think, but I stopped using it a number of
years ago. But when it first came about, it was quite a nice service. It made a lot of sense
and it was good, but then it got corrupted. A lot of young people continued to use it. I mean,
my daughter who’s a 30 something and is doing a startup app in New York City and she and
her cohorts use it a lot.
Was LinkedIn originally the one which was set up so that people could find out a way
of getting their contacts out when you had left the company? So there’s something in
the UK called gardening leave whereby if you were working for a big law firm or other big
company, you weren’t allowed to take your phone with you and your contacts were stored
the phone, the company owned your contacts. But there was a legal gap which said that if it was
on LinkedIn, it was exempt because it’s not owned by the company, it’s owned by LinkedIn. So everyone
used to transfer everything to LinkedIn just before they left the company and then keep all contacts.
But was it the original concept of LinkedIn? I was talking to someone, was it was designed to
find out who was available for lunch and they would find out for the company and this is how
they messaged each other. It’s been around for a long, long time. LinkedIn and Meetup
had both been around for years and years and years.
I’m fortunate I had to teach it for many years at a local college and it’s gone through several
different versions of itself. It seems to have got a bit nicer. It doesn’t demand to have all
your contacts all the time, which is a good thing. Well, they learn something out of that
class action suit, I think. Well, I’m pleased to say that I’m not a big fan of LinkedIn. I never
have been. I won’t mention any names, but somebody on this panel says, “Oh, you should be on LinkedIn,”
or you need to update it. Well, I’m glad I didn’t at this point.
-Personal jobs now require that you have it. So one of the companies I worked for,
it was not an option not to be on it because you had to be on it to show that you’re openness.
So that was open and fair. The second reason was if you’re going to teach it, you have to be on it.
-One indication of how this skews toward students and people who are getting out of school is that
I’ve used LinkedIn to keep in touch with some of the scholarship recipients of our group has a
scholarship with a local university. And so LinkedIn is the method that most of them want
to keep in touch with us. So it looks like I’ll use one password to change the my credentials again.
My only concern for that was to think about how it might affect other people other than necessarily
their account being hacked. So it was more about identity theft or that you’re more susceptible to
social engineering attacks. I was trying to think of a good example for this. So I’m going to pick
a company out of thin air. Let’s say I worked for Asda, a big supermarket company here in the UK.
If somebody wanted to be suspicious and attack you, they could easily look up where you worked
and create a fake email from your previous employer or their pension company to extract
more information out of you, which is potentially the reason why I don’t want to use it.
Actually, it’s a symptom. It’s a symptom of a larger problem, which is how much of our
information is in the dark web now. There really isn’t a fix for that until we go to
some biometric thing that actually works.
Did you hear the latest one, which was that up until, was it three years ago, certain
companies demanded you had LinkedIn accounts to prove that your information was the genuine
information because there was so much information about you going around that if you weren’t
on LinkedIn, you didn’t exist and thus you couldn’t get an interview.
The ironies abound.
Well, I tried to look at how this was carried out and obviously LinkedIn are being very
cagey about how this has happened or do they actually know how it happened is the other
question. Rumor has it is that somebody reverse engineered their API on their site and was
able to pull out all the different fields. So name, address, email, previous employer.
The other worrying thing was that it actually attacked private accounts.
So quote me if I’m wrong on this because I don’t use it, but can you pay so that your
items are not visible online?
It makes them private or they’re not featured in the search.
I think by having a private account also hasn’t saved you in this one.
It’s been able to take the info out of both, which is not a good sign.
LinkedIn premium does is a paid side of LinkedIn.
I believe that was to allow recruiters to look for people but without their names appearing.
Yeah, if you get the premium case, I can see who’s been looking at my profile in more detail.
Whereas with the basic one, it just says, “Oh, six people have viewed your profile this week.”
But if you pay for the extra premium account, then you can see who those six people are.
Okay, let’s go on to something far more exciting. Alistair, did you install the public beta?
I installed the public beta, yes, I have it on an external drive because I wanted to test
can you install this particular operating system on an external drive because there
were rumours that it wasn’t going to be available. So that was part of the test.
Although it did say it was going to take 54 minutes after it had installed,
after a download to install, which was rather worrying, but maybe that’s just the beta.
Now I have the fun bit of having to go back and go, “Okay, now what can I go and test?”
and I was testing it earlier and I was playing music through iTunes and trying to look at
photos at the same time and the music was hiccuping as it was playing. So I guess that
was spotlight indexing stuff. Has anybody else given it a go?
No, I was looking to, I was thinking about setting up on a spare machine I have got,
but I haven’t. Isn’t the iOS version out as well? And the watch version. So all the beta,
I think of all the new software is out for you to try. So I have got, I’ve got an old
iPhone X lying around somewhere. So I might very well try the system on that, see how the
new features are as they normally would if you don’t use it on a live up-to-date machine that
you rely on. So apparently from the reports I’ve heard, the current betas are actually pretty good.
There’s not too many problems with them. I think Apple got burnt in the past by releasing flaky
betas for public use and then wondering why they were getting thousands of complaints on the forum
line. So I think they’ve become much more adept at keeping the Betas to pretty sound offerings so
that you’re not getting live problems. But as I said, the warning is don’t use it on a machine
you rely on at the moment. Roy gives that speech to our members anytime we’re talking about upgrades.
I warn them all the time not to try it because I’ve run Betas in the past and I’ve come from
the computer world so I know about running Betas and it’s challenging. You should not run it on
your ID that you depend on.
And from what I’ve heard, if you want to run the iWatch beta, you have to tie it in with
an iPhone beta.
So you’ve got to have both.
So don’t put it on a phone that you regularly use.
So I have two accounts, one which I deliberately set up for betas so that the two can’t talk
to each other.
So my Apple ID and my testing ID.
And I did it on purpose because I don’t want them to screw up databases.
contacts or calendars or weird little bugs that you discover.
One of the interesting things I discovered on the new beta is it talks about…
I hadn’t got an iCloud account, iCloud Plus on there, so I just went for the add 50 gigabytes
for 79 pence and then it said, “Okay, now you can use Relay and…”
What’s the other one called?
The two new features which are on iOS 15 and that should be fun to play with to see how
I found one bug and I’ve reported it, which was if you are not signed in with any form
of iCloud account on the beta and you open the podcasting app, it’s in a vicious loop
that you can’t play a podcast.
It wants you to sign in to an iCloud account and it’s something to do with the podcast
subscription service, I think.
Oh, I had an interesting one earlier.
Try to sign into my iCloud account, which has zero emails and zero information on it.
And it goes, would you like these settings to be added?
and you know it’s a series of tick boxes and you know me click okay. You click okay, it does nothing.
It just sits there. Yeah, a word of warning as you said Roy, do not install the beta on an Apple
watch because it’s the only device you cannot roll back. There is no physical way of rolling it back
to the previous version. So if something is buggy, you’re kind of stuck with it until it’s fixed.
Just a word of warning for that one. Does anyone here have a Western Digital My Book or My Live
duo hard drive. Have you seen the problems that they’re encountering? If you have got one and it’s
connected to the internet then pull the plug immediately. There’s a malicious attacks going
around which apparently is causing the unit to trigger a factory reset and restore and it
wipes all the data on the drive and apparently it’s irretrievable as well and then you have to get
a new firmware update onto the system from Western Digital. This has been going on for a while now so
So if you are, if anyone out there is using the Western Digital, please be very careful
if you’ve got data on there.
Unplug it from the internet so it’s not getting these commands to wipe and delete all your
There was a guy here I was reading who had been concerned that his hard drive only had
a few hundred megabytes left on it and was amazed to come in the following morning to
find it now had four terabytes.
Unfortunately, most of that was the information he needed and used to have.
I believe Western Digital are offering help and assistance to people, but they’re saying
they try with data recovery to recover it.
But because of the factory restore setting, it’s actually wiping the whole data.
So be very careful with that at the moment if you’ve got any Western Digital My Book
Live hard drives.
I don’t know if you saw their official statement or their support line was brilliant.
Also rather concerning for someone that also owns lots of Western Digital things.
It said, “We cannot retrieve the data.
We will happily cover data retrieval costs in some respects, subject to obviously terms
But the best thing was that they was actually offering discount to then buy the newer model.
I don’t think people have much faith in that product at the moment.
I think that was the best response I’ve ever seen for a mistake.
The trouble is I have a Western Digital 6TB drive, which I use as my main backup as well.
But that’s not connected to the internet, so that’s not a problem on that one.
It’s a shame because I’ve got a lot of that. I think their kit is pretty good. I’ve gone through
several different manufacturers of hard drives, external hard drives,
and WD had always been reliable. But yeah, just be careful.
A lot of my older ones’ backup drives are Western Digital, so I have to be very careful.
I haven’t looked at them recently, so I have to make sure I’m not on the Wi-Fi when I look at them.
Oh, some exciting news for people that still run Mac OS Lion and Mountain Lion.
Go for it Alistair, what happened this week?
So Apple have made it completely free of charge.
So if you want to download Lion or Mountain Lion and you have an older Mac,
you can now download it from the store without any problems.
Because previously those two operating systems, you had to have bought it in the past
and then it would appear on your purchases and it was very hard to get copies.
So that’s just helped out individuals who have nice old Macs, especially if you’re in education,
because a lot of the education market still has old equipment around.
Tell me if I’m wrong on this one, but wasn’t Mountain Lion one of the only Mac OSes that you
could buy on a USB stick directly from Apple? Because at that point, the MacBook Air had been
released and it didn’t have a CD drive or any other format of restoring the machine. I think
some of the early machines actually come with the USB stick with the OS on.
And it’s the only female operating system. If you look at Apple’s notes, it says it’s a female lion
on Mountain Lion and it’s a male lion for Lion. So it was him and her operating system,
which I thought was quite funny. That’s brilliant. What a one random fact of Mac OS.
So some exciting news for some users was something that happened over at Smile Software,
which I’m sure some of us are familiar with if you’re a techs expander user, but they’re also
the manufacturer of PDF Pen and they’ve actually sold PDF Pen to a different company. Does anybody
have any experience of PDF Pen or Nitro? I’ll happily go back to PDF Pen and see what this
is all about. I think I used a similar version to it in the dim and distant past, but because so many
of the features have been taken on board by Apple now, especially if you have an iPad and you can
link it to your PDF viewer, you can use that for scribbled notes and things like that.
So that’s what I think I’ve been using.
Another useful feature is scanning used to be something that only PDFPen and PDFPen Pro
could do. And now the Apple OS makes it so easy to use any of your remote devices to scan to
notes, to an email, to almost everywhere, and does it elegantly too.
I’ve heard a lot of good reviews of PDF pen and I’ve never acquired it, but I’ve always heard it.
It seems that Apple does adopt a lot of the features that it puts in place, but also I’ve
heard the developers of PDF pen always keep up with the latest that Apple introduces and puts it
into PDF pen. So it always keeps one step ahead and then Apple introduces, you know, takes on
whatever they’ve been or whatever they optimized. Good product. I remember that I always use PDF
pen to avoid having to use Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat.
Do you think it was a good time for them to sell it or were they thinking about concentrating
on TextExpander because that’s potentially one of the more popular products?
I think it was an opportune time if someone came along with a reasonable offer that I think
they were going to say, “Well, this product isn’t going to improve.
We’re not going to make any more money out of it because of the upgrades.”
I think Windows has also done some work on that, their own PDF fuel without having to
So yeah, I think maybe it was a good time for them to get some money out of a legacy
software that’s really starting to go downhill.
So yeah, I think it was a good move by them.
You mentioned their text expander.
I think they will have the same problem.
Apple’s keyboard shortcuts are eating into that market as well.
It has surprised me for some time now why Apple haven’t had a more flexible clipboard.
Just being able to store one item to clipboard has always seemed to me to be a bit strange.
It’s where things like Alfred and TextExpander and a couple of others have exploited and
used that to build their own software base.
So I’m surprised we haven’t seen a multi clipboard from within Apple itself.
Maybe that’s the one they can’t steal at the moment.
It’s under too many patents.
That’s actually really good. I use Keyboard Maestro for something like that. I know Alfred
does it as well. I’ve got both of them on the machine. Yeah, that’s true. I think it
does come down to what parts of Apple copied of these apps. I know there’s some other apps
out there that are probably panicking at this point because their technology has been integrated
into the new OS.
Yeah, I’ve been using CopyClip actually and I’m pretty happy with that. So I’ll wait to
see that being taken over by Apple.
I think the other one was Quicksilver was in that market, wasn’t it?
They were the first to start doing that.
But I think the reason that Apple have stayed away from multiple
clipboards is there, I could be wrong on this one, but I believe that
their license comes originally from Xerox.
So do you remember when they licensed the mouse, then they also licensed
the icons on the menu bar at the top.
They also licensed clipboard because the guy who invented clipboard was
originally working for Xerox originally.
and then he came to work for Apple.
And maybe they got a theory that if they go after multiple clipboards,
they may get sued by patent trolls.
So maybe they’re having to be careful to get around it.
That’s more typically what they would do,
because then they would actually take over the patent rights.
I can just think of a few.
So let’s say that the “Hey, Apple” lady,
her voice has slowly disappeared after being bought out.
The other one that I can think of is workflow.
People that use shortcuts.
That was obviously a secondary purchase by Apple.
And I don’t think any of the workload team
are actually left now.
Don’t think any of the original guys are still there.
They’re all doing more exciting things, making shortcuts.
Okay, so we’ve looked at all sorts of different topics
over the last few weeks,
from automation to security to backup.
But one thing we haven’t looked at
is something that we probably all use
all the time every day,
which is Mail.
So does any of you use the inbuilt app for Mail
or do you use a third party one?
- So I use both Microsoft Outlook,
that’s the 2019 version,
and I also use the built in Mail.
When I’m out and about, I use Thunderbird as well.
So I tend to sort of,
I’m familiar with lots of different Mac apps.
I’ve tried Sparrow and I’ve also tried Postbox.
Postbox was actually quite a good one.
I think it was better than Thunderbird.
- Interesting, because actually in this area,
though that it wasn’t heavily covered in WWDC,
Apple have actually been doing lots of things
in the background to mail.
So they’ve actually introduced four main features.
So in their words, one is compose,
the other one is actions, content blocking
and message security.
Did anyone have a readup on what some of these were
or delve into what they can and can’t do?
- I’m a dedicated user of mail.
have used it for the last three since it started. I’ve tried other forms but I find that you have,
it doesn’t smoothly work between your Mac, your pad and your phone and that’s what brings me back
to mail each time. That integration between the three, yes, mail lacks maybe a couple of
certain features that other more dedicated mails have, but the integration between all my Mac
equipment just makes mildly obvious choice and you work around some of the limitations it has.
Also it’s the nicest looking one. If you go back to 20 years, no when did it come out? It came out
what 2003, 2004? It was in the original OS X release so at the time it was cutting edge in the design
and it was easier to use than the more complex Office 2003 because that as much as that’s an
excellent program and was very well designed. It was a bit too complex if all you want to do was
send and receive email. I think that’s where Mail worked quite successfully. The other thing about
Mail, and I’m not sure if people remember this, was that I think it was either El Capetano Mojave,
but they spent a long time working with Google engineers to make sure that Gmail worked perfectly
with Mac Mail because there was a number of issues with it. Apple had certain security protocols
put into Mac Mail now to work with Gmail? So I was intrigued with this. So Apple Mail grew out of
Next Mail. I don’t know if anybody used that in the past, which was also the original OS that was
ported over when Apple bought Next in 1997. But what intrigued me was Next Mail was actually the
first universally supported app that included embedded links, images, things that could be
served up on different servers externally through HTML.
And to be honest, it is one of the apps that just works,
but I’d be intrigued to know why people use Mail.
- Oh, could I tell a funny story about Mail?
- Yeah, go for it.
- Okay, so in our Pi meetings for a long time,
there’s a fellow named Lawrence Chargers,
who I call one of our Greybeards.
He’s been with the Pi for a long time,
one of the smartest people I’ve ever encountered.
He recently relocated to the West Coast of the US.
But he had the habit of anchoring the Q&As
that always started our meetings.
Can you guess what the most common topic
that he found the most annoying that came up in the Q&As?
Sufficiently so that when he left,
the guy who makes our video podcasts
did a compilation of the portions of the meetings
asking about email and gave him a disc with this on it
that he could take with him.
And Lawrence made very clear
that one thing he wasn’t going to miss
were questions about email.
- The 11 years I’ve been running my business,
the two things which are the most annoying
and the most reoccurring is email and printers.
And it’s the most odd things that you get asked
which are most reoccurring.
So for example, someone has multiple email addresses
and one email address is filled up with space.
So how do I get rid of that space?
So how do I take it off the server and onto an archive email?
Or how do I add flags?
‘Cause flags are common in Windows,
but not so much on Mac.
Mac started doing multiple colors only fairly recently.
Or how do I print something?
Or how do I add a signature?
What Apple have done is a hell of a lot
very, very clever engineering on top because what you don’t realize is that it can get
crushed as it goes through the internet and get repopulated on something else.
So you may be sending from Apple, but the person on the other end may be on Windows
and Apple has to give all the right information so it displays correctly at the other end.
And the amount of times when I went around and you get email and it was like in type
eight font because someone hadn’t realized that their computer monitor was really small
And so they had to increase everything or done everything.
And so you get this tiny email and I said, by the way, by the way, have you realized
The big problem with email is that it’s so ubiquitous that it’s not a reliable form of
In fact, do you folks use groups.io by any chance?
Groups.io is like a successor to Yahoo Groups and a tactic that they use because so many
Many mail houses now mark everything as spam on the back end and the users might have more
or less control over it.
Because they’re small, this new groups.io, many of the mail houses mark messages that
come to that, to their mail patrons as spam.
Groups.io unsubscribes the people and they have to press a resubscribe link to get back
All because to make any sense of the terrain now, most of the mail servers really have
clamped down and marked many, many things as spam that people now have to go into their
spam settings to try to recover things.
Do you know how many people now, if I email, I have to text them to let them know that
Because otherwise they just won’t see it.
The thing I’m discovering is how different and how much superior mail is on an iPhone
compared to mail on a Mac.
You come across this because you’ll often set up some really obscure email for someone.
Someone says, “I bought this new Apple.
Can you set it up for me?”
So you set this new Apple up, you put the email address and the password in, and then
it will work perfectly on the iPhone or the iPad.
You put it on a Mac.
“Oh no, no, no.
I can’t do that.”
They use some weird sort of arbitrary sort of port number
or no security or something which is a really old
archaic email address.
Some other company which no longer exists in this country.
iPhone seems to work around those problems.
So I don’t know what they’ve done.
I think they should get the team that works on the iPhone
to come and work on the Mac mail
and sort of keep it nice and effective.
Terminated it a couple of upgrades ago
We used to use it actually for our member emails to put our logo in and not have to you know
Reconfigure it each time but stationary went away and that was that apparently it was got rid of because it wasn’t compatible with
Outlook and here’s the really odd thing apple is got higher
Security for Microsoft and outlook for gmail and you’re thinking hang on but gmail is used in the corporate world
world a hell of a lot.
And up until recently, you had to go into Gmail
and say, tick a box and say, use Gmail with legacy software.
But there wasn’t a workaround.
But Apple had spent the money and time
to send its engineers to Google to make sure that Mac Mail had
stayed up to date.
It’s interesting you say that, because one of the reasons
I stopped using Thunderbird, that’s
how I accessed my Gmail account.
But Google got so naggy about it,
it just wasn’t worth it anymore.
That brings on to a good question,
is does any of us pay for email and if so, why or what’s the argument for paying for it?
I don’t, but I think I should. The system was more usable as people have pointed out here.
The amount of dross and spam and junk that comes through. I’ve got a fairly aggressive
settings on my junk filter through mail, but even so, you’re getting upwards, I think last
count, I’m getting upwards of something like 300 to 400 emails a day, which are junk.
spam. So most of them, thank God, go straight into the junk folder. But then you still sometimes even
have to keep an eye on it just in case there’s the one from a client who I’ve not known before. It’s
a first time client or a sales inquiry. The spam filter will automatically, if it’s not in my
contact book, it will junk it. So you still end up kind of keeping an eye on it all. But
it is frustrating dealing with that amount of spam and junk every day. So if there was a paid
service, which could somehow automatically get rid of all that, then that to me would be a
saving, it would be worth that money to save my time.
There’s a service called Mailroot. And Mailroot interposes a server between the sending mail
server and the receiving mail server. And what it does is separate the things that clearly are spam
and quarantines and sends on as quarantine the ones that it has questions about and the ones
that its logarithm say are safe go directly. So we actually contacted this group because the
pie email, the email that we were, that we provided for our members was getting too much spam and
MailRoot really cut it, really cut it back. Now I think this is used more on enterprise, you know,
systems and isn’t so much available for individual consumers.
It’s very good. What it does is it just asks a simple question. It says, “Oh, sorry,
can’t receive email, can you retransmit again? And most spam servers won’t retransmit it,
and if it’s an honest one it will retransmit it. So it’s quite a clever way of getting around it.
The other one I’m not sure if people use is SpamSiv. I’ve been using SpamSiv for a long time,
and I find that very effective for blocking a lot of spam coming in. And for paid for email,
I have some services which I have to pay for, for certain emails I own. So I have one through
Microsoft Exchange, but that’s because I have a domain name attached. And so that’s the only way
you could get email into it. So I was actually intrigued by this because I don’t use Apple Mail,
I use Air Mail because it just integrates with so many other automated applications.
But in delving into a little bit more into paid email services, have any of you come across Hey,
H-E-Y. So this is quite an intriguing story. So they’re quite new. I think maybe this time last
year they launched, they had a bumpy start with Apple in that it is a subscription-based service.
So it’s $99 a year and they didn’t include that in their app. They circumvented it and Apple wasn’t
too happy about not having a cut of the 30%. So their app got denied on an update, but they
have actually split email into three. So they have something called an inbox, which is IMBOX,
which circumvents important email, as they say it. Then they’ve obviously stolen the word from
Facebook here in that they have email feeds, which puts all of your newsletters into a feed.
And then the paper trowel is obviously important emails that you’d keep as a record if it’s a
receipt or a software serial number along those lines. But something that I liked with it is that
by default all of the notifications are turned off. So when you first get a new email, it goes
into something called the screener and you have to agree that you want to be able to see these emails,
which is quite a good idea. It does have its downsides in some respects as with some other
email services, it obviously has to go through your email onto their server first to sort all
of these and then back out. They are GDPR registered, which is interesting. They’ve got
certification for that. But the only thing I’d say to that is that it kind of slows down the email
process. If you’re somebody that’s sitting waiting for emails back and forth, there is a delay.
One thing I would say is it’s kind of got its own version of Spotlight. It has a really good search
engine for it and it was also one of the first to block email tracking which is going to be a new
feature in Mao. That may be worth investigating. It’s actually made by Basecamp. Craig, is this
a web-based app or an actually downloadable app? They actually have both. So it’s designed to be
on a web browser but I know there is an iOS and other app which is a really good question.
That’s its one downfall. So any of its services are only available inside their app. So you are
locked in. So if you want just the feed emails or just the paper trail section, you have to
physically use their own app. You can’t just have them forwarded on to Apple Mail or Thunderbird or
whichever other mail client you use. That is kind of a downfall in that respect, which I don’t know
if I’m a fan of. This is where mail route sounds better. Or has anybody ever used Sanebox?
I’ve not used this, which supposedly does some kind of filtering service and seems to
be very good by Gmail.
I think the more you delve into it, it looks great.
And then you get to the bit where it says pricing and then you think, oh no, which seems
to be a common thing now in the app store.
Yeah, I think the hallmark of any of these things is if you try it, most people will
quickly figure out if you’re going to use it, then it’s worth paying for.
But if you find that you’re not really using it, that’s the end of it.
Does anyone use mail rules?
Yes, I do.
I am to group together certain emails from clients and items like that to try and bar
some of the worst of the spam that comes through.
So yeah, I find that very useful.
That was actually the reason that I moved away from Apple’s mail app.
So I wanted to use the rules, especially the colors, to indicate different people or different
projects and I never found it reliable. It was also awkward in that those colors never
applied on anything iOS based on iPadOS. So you can’t have colored bars on mail, which
was my frustration. That is why I switched to Airmail. My frustration with Airmail is
there is the delay because it’s going through their server and back out again. But does
Airmail work on your phone and your pad? It does. And it is a one-off payment for the
app so it works across the three which is always helpful and it’s also one of those
apps that you can actually run shortcuts on.
I do like the smart folders in Mail being able to group and set a series of criteria
that has to match for them to fall into that group and then you can again with multiple
projects that I’m working on you can’t just identify project A, project B, project C because
some of the suppliers I use might be working on A and B and not C, and then someone’s on A and C.
So being able to use those smart folders to work that out for you can, again, I find save a lot of
time. And certainly if I’m backtracking on issues and you know what projects can be like, there can
be some contention at the end, who said what and who did this and who gave that instruction and
who’s going to pay for it usually is the biggie. Being able to quickly locate all those various
files and emails is usually some attachment somewhere where you’ve had a purchase order
attached or a variation order. So I find using the smart folders very useful in mail. I’m not
sure whether that’s in the other programs. They do offer similar things. I know Hay does it,
Spark definitely does. And AirMail in that you can actually also schedule when you want an email to
be sent. So I could sit and write an email tonight and then it will automatically send off in the
morning. Is anybody intrigued with what the new configuration of Mail is going to offer?
It’s invariably I find the problem is trying to find a one-off email from someone that you don’t
know, not really in your contact group or in your normal work circle. But then, you know,
that email contains the keys to the kingdom and you’re thinking where the hell is that? How do
I find it? And the search programs could be very useful. I was intrigued by the security extensions
and I’ve been trying to do some more delving into this. But the way it looks is that you can actually
say you’re working on a project in an office, so you’ve got the finance department or the
marketing department and only certain people can review certain emails. So you can actually assign
who has access to read that email back. So you could send out a spreadsheet that’s to accounting
and only people in accounts can read it. And before you send the message, this is where the
new actions feature comes in, is that it actually puts a blue tick next to the person’s email address
to say that they’re authorized to decrypt this message. But I’d like to see how that works.
I’ve used encryption email in the past and it’s not the best thing in the world. It’s kind of
or the web-based, or you’ve got to have a plug-in at either end on a Mac or on an iPhone.
It’s really clunky on the Mac to set that up and use it.
Because in the past, wasn’t it, Google Drive and a few others, you could say,
only allow this person with this email address to read this email.
Email by default has got weaker security than it should do for the amount of information that
we send for it. Traditionally, what people have to do is write information, zip the file,
or encrypt the file, somehow put some password on it and then send it. I mean, the last big
feature Apple put into Mail was Mail Drop. Tell me about it. That’s an expensive business
as a photographer. We transfer is my life in some respects.
Yeah, Mail Drop is, I think, was a really an elegant solution to that. It works very easily.
We recommend, I still don’t think it’s automatically on by default when you configure a mail account,
but in settings you can enable it and we encourage our members to do that.
I’m going to ask one last random question. Does anybody have any weird and wonderful
predictions of what’s next for email or is email going to go away?
I suppose it depends on what it would be replaced by. It was a more glorified form of
message or something like that or that you could directly interact with the person you want to.
But then that wouldn’t cover blast emails when a CEO wants to send a personal letter to all 5,000
people in his organization. It’s a little bit trickery. So it actually does come out to Dear
Martin rather than Dear Member. Unless there is some new form of software to do that, I see email
being almost ubiquitous these days. The other interesting one is that if you look at the
text-based systems that most people use on a regular basis, that would be instant messengers,
such as WhatsApp or Telegram.
And one of the things which those things have focused on
So that is end-to-end encryption and pre-forward security.
So it means you can’t reverse engineer it.
Now, if Apple did something as simple as that,
that worked with say Microsoft and Google,
who are the two biggest providers of email in the world,
then you’d probably find that things
would start moving forwards.
And then second of all,
it’s about making sure that companies have to correct groups
because companies would always email the lawyer and then email the accounts of pumps. So they’re
covering their arse on everything. And it’s a culture problem rather than a technical problem.
This is the part of the show where we answer our listeners’ tech questions. Please get in touch
with us via the various social medias found in the show’s description. Okay, so first tech question,
The gentleman has an Intel Mac Mini with a broken EFNET socket, but what can he do? Can he replace
it? Go for it Alistair. Unfortunately, he’s going to have to go to an Apple store or Amsys or
someone like that and get the logic board replaced, which is Apple’s word for motherboard. It’s not a
separate module. I came to the same conclusion. It is kind of an expensive repair. The other thing
I was looking at is what other solutions does he have? The best solution that I could come up with
was over using a third party hub that’s got an EFNET socket or you use the Thunderbolt
to EFNET adapter. That’s probably the best option because that way you don’t lose the speed.
Our next question is, how can I tell which Wi-Fi channel my iPhone is using? This may sound obvious,
but I think Jonathan had a suggestion for this one.
Oh, well, one of the things that is always available to people is to go to their router settings and see what channels are available and what devices are connected.
And there you can tell actually exactly what the channel is and its attributes.
And how do people get to the router?
Does this get into password managers inevitably?
No, no, no, it’s fairly simple. It’s called Google.
you Google what is the default IP for this particular router and it would conditionally be
192.168.0 and then a number afterwards. So if it’s BT in this country, that would be 254.
If it’s NetGear, that’s 0.1 or 1.1. And normally the admin passwords and the admin username is on
the bottom of your router or on the back of your router. And if you’ve lost that little tab on the
on the back of your router, they know to put a sticker
somewhere else because they know people go and lose them
all the time.
Oh, please tell me you’ve changed the default.
When I configured my Linksys mesh system,
it nagged me about the quality of the password.
So this was a big improvement.
That’s a good start.
I actually wanted to add to this one.
So I thought of another way,
could you use the external app?
Was it Net Analyzer is one that’s free
iNet. I think that does it too but I think you might have to pay for that now. I had
another thing to add to this that you may or may not know is that do you know how to check,
say you’re at home and you’ve got internet disconnected and you’ve got full signal on your
phone, do you know how to check if it’s actually something to do with the mobile phone network
or that the actual signal from your phone is working or not? Does anybody have a phone handy?
So if you go into dial a phone number, and I’m going to read this out slowly, but it’s not so
difficult. If you put in star and then the numbers 3001 and then the hash key and then 12345 and then
hash and then star and see what happens when you press call. Has anybody come across this one?
It is actually iOS’s iPhone field test mode, which lets you check which cell tower you are
are connected to and if you actually have signal coming from it and you can even tell
the signal strength.
So if you go in…
This is very cool, Craig.
So there is something on that list of interesting digits and strange looking numbers, which
is the RX code, it will say in brackets, which is actually the signal strengths.
Have you seen all the things that you can get if you scroll through this?
If you go to the menu thing, you’ve got a little house and you’ve got the menu thing.
So you can tell which band of mobile phone signal you’re coming across.
You can potentially work out which cell tower you are connected to.
You know, but what’s interesting is if the phone is set to Wi-Fi, the data is unavailable.
So maybe the first thing to do is turn off Wi-Fi.
But by all means, have a play with that and delve into what some of the other code numbers
mean which is normally signal strengths or which mobile phone provider.
mine is 3 or EE or AT&T or Verizon, whichever one, but you can actually see which cell tower
you’re nearest to, which may be helpful. So the other last question is something that’s
potentially quite quick to answer, is a gentleman recently installed iOS 15 beta, whether that’s
for the iPhone or iPad OS, and has been playing around with some shortcuts that he had previously,
and they no longer work on his phone or iPad.
And the honest answer to that is,
is please don’t play with your existing shortcuts on a beta
’cause it will sadly break them.
And it will probably break them even more at the moment
because shortcuts has been completely rewritten
in Swift Code UI.
And some of the actual process
of building a shortcut has changed.
So the different steps to it,
Like introducing a URL isn’t just scan URL or bring in URL from Safari.
It doesn’t quite work that way anymore.
This is also another warning of don’t connect your iCloud, which you currently use on your
primary phone to your test phone.
Hence why you have to have two Apple IDs so that the iClouds don’t mix because you don’t
want test code design for 15 going to iCloud and then going on to iOS 14 or 13 on your
other devices and screen them up.
On that note, I think we’ve answered pretty much all of our questions.
I don’t know if anybody else has anything to add.
Well, just thanks so much for including us, Craig.
This was a lot of fun.
In that case, I think we’ve come to
the end of yet another edition of the Bruin Byatt podcast.
We’ll firstly say thank you very much to Jonathan for this evening.
If you could also let listeners know where they can find
more about your pie group?
Just go to WAP.org and that stands for Washington Apple Pie.
Thanks again, Craig.
Good to see you, Martin and Alastair.
Thank you, Jonathan.
And of course, we’ll also say thank you to Alastair.
Thank you very much.
It’s been fun.
I’ve been enjoying talking to our guests this evening.
We’ve learned a lot.
And we’ll say thank you to Martin.
No, thank you, Craig.
the team. It is so refreshing to be able just to chat with people from what the other side
of the pond there in relatively straightforward comfort and ease. It just goes to how far
technology has moved in.
And on that note, it’s of course it’s thank you from me. Until next time.[MUSIC PLAYING]