Stuart Breckenridge

Not Blogged In A While

It has been over a month since I blogged and that’s because, on 23rd September at 14:03, my wife and I became parents.

What a life-changing, tiring, rollercoaster of a month it’s been. We couldn’t be happier.


— Supported by —

Content Blockers in iOS 9

Update: Marco has pulled his Peace content blocker from the App Store.

Today sees the release of iOS 9 and with it Safari Content Blockers. These are small applications (with associated extensions) that allow you to block specific content such as adverts and background trackers when browsing the web. Users see immediate increases in browsing speed and better privacy.

Websites that rely on advertising as a source of revenue are rightly concerned and some are responding. Without a doubt, their revenues are about to take a tumble.

I have no issue with advertising when it is displayed in a tasteful way. Unfortunately, when it comes as pop-unders, pop-overs, videos, and banners — sometimes all on the same site — it’s too much. Content blockers are a necessary response to an unethical practice.

I am was using the Peace content blocker, though there are several more already in existence.

Apple TV as a Games Machine

But in equipping the new Apple TV with older tech, there is the feeling that the firm isn’t quite ‘all in’ on its games strategy - and it’s difficult to avoid the sense that the device could become out-dated sooner rather than later. As things stand, the end result is that at a technological level, the A8 won’t be supplying 3D experiences on par with Xbox 360, let alone Xbox One. The firm’s insistence on sticking with relatively meagre levels of flash storage - 32GB as a base with usual eye-watering mark-up for the 64GB model - also limits the kinds of games we will be playing on it.

Richard Leadbetter

I once argued that Apple could be a real challenger in the console market. It has the user base, the platform, and a much lower barrier to entry—license fee wise—for third parties.

However, based on the technology used in this generation of Apple TV, it’s clear Apple don’t want to contend in the games console market: the hardware is not capable, the 64GB storage is paltry, and the limit of 2GB storage per app is smaller than what the original Xbox and PS2 had with their DVDs.

Oh well, Crossy Road at 1080p it is.

Privacy and Security

A few years ago I applied for a bank account and was asked to provide identity, address, and income proofs either via fax or email. This struck me as odd for two reasons:

  • individuals don’t tend to have fax machines; and,
  • sending (private) documents over email is not even close to secure.

In my situation using a fax machine was immediately excluded, so I enquired about the email option and highlighted my concerns about security. I was told that in order to protect my documents, I could compress them and then add a password to the compressed file. “And how would you like me to send the password to you?”, I asked. “By email”, I was told.

The person I was speaking to didn’t seem to realise the sheer stupidity of sending a password in cleartext or, as it turns out, the security shortcomings of password protected zip files. I didn’t press the matter further as I decided to drop the application.

I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to expect that, at a minimum, businesses should be using PGP or S/MIME for encryption, and providing clear instructions to their clients as to how it should be used. For bigger institutions (e.g. banks) that need documents from you, they should provide a secure, online portal for document upload.

Any business stating that they respect your privacy and then ask for your documents over an unencrypted channel should be viewed with suspicion. It’s nothing more than corner cutting.

Chinese iPhone Users Hit By Keyraider Malware

Seven paragraphs into the linked article:

“It found that an attacker had made changes to software used on jailbroken iPhones.”


Talk about misleading headlines.