MarsEdit, Red Sweater Software’s macOS blog editor, received a major update today with new features and a UI refresh.
Among the long list of updates to version 4 of MarsEdit are several modifications to the app’s editor. Common formatting options like bold, italics, and underlining are easily accessed from a formatting bar. A new typewriter view option keeps text centered in the middle of the editor as you type. If you edit in rich text mode, MarsEdit also lets users resize images by direct manipulation, and the app’s previewer has added MultiMarkdown support.
For WordPress users, MarsEdit has added support for featured images in posts, post formats, and author editing. Modern macOS features like versions for local drafts, auto-saving, and application sandboxing for security have been incorporated too. For link bloggers, MarsEdit has a Safari extension that sends highlighted text to the app as a block quote along with the article title and URL.
Yesterday a serious security flaw in macOS High Sierra was discovered that let someone with access to a Mac running Apple’s latest OS gain root access to the its data. Today, Apple released Security Update 2017-001, which fixes the issue. The release notes to the update describe the issue as follows:
Impact: An attacker may be able to bypass administrator authentication without supplying the administrator’s password
Description: A logic error existed in the validation of credentials. This was addressed with improved credential validation.
In a comment to Rene Ritchie of iMore.com, Apple said:
Needless to say, this is an important update that should be installed as soon as possible.
Greg Barbosa, writing for 9to5Mac:
A newly discovered macOS High Sierra flaw is potentially leaving your personal data at risk. Developer Lemi Orhan Ergin publicly contacted Apple Support to ask about the vulnerability he discovered. In the vulnerability he found, someone with physical access to a macOS machine can access and change personal files on the system without needing any admin credentials.
Users who haven’t disabled guest user account access or changed their root passwords (likely most) are currently open to this vulnerability. We’ve included instructions on how to protect yourself in the meantime until an official fix from Apple is released.
Incredibly embarrassing and dangerous screwup for a company as devoted to security as Apple. They’re working on a fix, and in the meantime you should follow these steps to change your root password (thankfully, I had guest user access disabled, so the bug didn’t affect my machine).
See also: Rene Ritchie’s explainer.
High Sierra introduced APFS, Apple’s first entirely new file system on the Mac in decades. Today, Shirt Pocket Software announced an update to its backup utility SuperDuper! that is compatible with APFS. In fact, the app can create a bootable clone for any Mac running Mac OS X 10.9 and later.
Supporting a brand new file system is a tall order. As Dave Nanian explains on the Shirt Pocket blog, APFS volumes are handled differently by macOS than HFS+ ones were. That complicated the update of SuperDuper!, but as with earlier OS updates, Shirt Pocket has solved the issues and is ready with an update that works with Apple’s latest version of macOS.
If you’re not already making a bootable backup of your Mac’s drive, the update to SuperDuper! is the perfect time to download the app and get started.
Yestereday, David Sparks and Brett Terpstra released a new MacSparky Field Guide called 60 Mac Tips, Volume 2. The new volume picks up where Volume 1 left off with lots of great tips that are accompanied by highly polished screencasts narrated by the two authors. Sparks, who also co-hosts Mac Power Users on Relay FM with Katie Floyd, and Terpstra, an independent developer, author, and podcaster, have packed 60 Mac Tips with a wide range of topics that should appeal to beginners and experts alike including, Mail, Automator, Safari, Siri, Apple Notes, Apple Photos, Terminal, and much more.
60 Mac Tips, Volume 2 is available as an iBook on the iBook Store or from Vimeo as a series of downloadable videos. Both versions include high definition video, but I like the iBook version the best because it creates a convenient organizational structure around the videos.
Just ahead of the macOS High Sierra update, Bjango released iStats Menus 6, an update to its comprehensive suite of tools that sit in your Mac’s menu bar and monitor its systems and now, even the weather. With highly customizable notifications, iStat Menus is an excellent way to know what’s going on with your Mac and to be alerted if a problem is on the horizon. I’ve only been trying iStat Menus 6 for a short time, but like what I’ve seen.
Adding a weather widget to iStat Menus is a departure for Bjango, which has previously stuck to system measurements, but I like it a lot. iStat Menus puts the temperature and an icon of current conditions in your menu bar. Clicking on the temperature reveals a wealth of additional information that will warm any weather geek’s heart and help everyone else plan their week.
Notifications are highly customizable too. If there’s a statistic reported by iStat Menus, you can bet there’s a way to be notified of it. Already this morning it warned me of an air quality advisory issued for the unseasonably warm fall day we’re having in Chicago. I’ve also set it up to alert me if I run low on available storage and RAM.
iStat Menus has added a wide variety of additional features too including,
- Additional theme and color options with light and dark menu options.
- Hotkey support for opening and closing menus from the keyboard.
- A new dual line clock option.
- New ways to customize the menu items and their dropdowns.
- A new Notification Center widget with the most popular statistics in one place.
- Improved accessibility and localization.
People familiar with iStat Menus will be right at home with this new version. There are dozens of refinements and new features, but the mission of the app remains the same: to provide a wealth of information in a compact, cleanly-designed interface that keeps users informed. I’ve enjoyed tweaking iStats Menus' settings today to suit my current setup as I test its new features. I’ve used the app on and off since version 2 or 3, but it’s been at least a couple of years since I last used it. I’m impressed with how far it’s come over the past couple of versions and plan to keep it up and running going forward.
iStat Menus 6 is available from Bjango’s website.
Since Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard was released in 2007, Apple has periodically paused to release updates to what is now known as macOS that are more a refinement of their predecessors than major upgrades. Apple signals each refinement release by picking a name that relates to the one immediately before it. In 2009, that meant Leopard was followed by Snow Leopard; in 2012, Mountain Lion followed Lion. It’s been a while, and Apple has moved from big cats to California landmarks and adopted the macOS moniker, but the company is back with another operating system update that predominantly focuses on under-the-hood features by following last year’s macOS 10.12 Sierra with macOS 10.13 High Sierra.
For a foundational release, High Sierra goes about as low as you can go by introducing an entirely new filesystem for the first time in almost twenty years. Apple File System, also known as APFS, is a modern filesystem developed by Apple to accommodate the needs of each of its platforms in ways that HFS+ couldn’t manage. If there’s a theme to each of the core technologies introduced with High Sierra, it’s laying the groundwork for the future across Apple’s product line. New video compression technology, Metal 2, and VR are all part of a new bedrock being laid to prepare for the future.
That’s not to say that there are no goodies in High Sierra though. Photos has received several new features, and although not individually as significant, changes to Mail, Notes, Safari, Siri, Spotlight, and other apps all add up to a solid collection of refinements that make the Mac more efficient than before. Even so, High Sierra won’t be remembered for revolutionary user-facing features. Instead, along with new iMac Pros and Mac Pros on the horizon, it shows that Apple still cares about the Mac, but is also taking a broader view, building the infrastructure for the next chapter in computing across all of its present and future products.
Today, Apple announced on its website that the official release date of macOS High Sierra will be September 25th.
As detailed at WWDC in June, macOS High Sierra features the introduction of several significant new and updated under-the-hood technologies including APFS, macOS’s new file system, Metal 2, which harnesses the power of your Mac’s GPU, and HEVC video compression. High Sierra also adds new features and refinements to existing apps like Mail, Photos, Notes, Safari, Siri, and more.
Apple hasn't announced a Golden Master seed of macOS High Sierra yet, but it should be released to developers soon. The GM seed gives developers a chance to finalize their macOS apps and submit them to the Mac App Store for approval before High Sierra is released publicly.
You can also follow all of our Apple event coverage through our September 12 hub, or subscribe to the dedicated September 12 RSS feed.
Today marks the 4th annual World Emoji Day, which was started by Emojipedia to celebrate emoji. To mark the occasion, Apple has previewed its designs of the emoji approved as part of the Unicode 10 Standard that will be added to iOS, macOS, and watchOS later this year.
In addition, the Apple Podcasts Twitter account is tweeting emojified versions of the names of popular podcasts and iTunes Movies is featuring emojified movie titles.
For more on World Emoji Day and how it's being celebrated, check out its official website.