Apple Tech

Should the CIA target Apple?

Something worth thinking about. There is spying that we denounce, such as the mass spying revealed by Snowden, but there is also some that we should come to expect, whether we agree with it or not.

Because That’s Where the Intelligence Is — As a taxpayer, if the CIA and every other U.S. intelligence agency doesn’t target Apple products, I want a refund.

Our instinct is to express outrage at U.S. intelligence agencies targeting the products of U.S. companies, but this is far from the first time it will happen, is far from the last time it will happen, and is absolutely essential for those agencies to do their jobs. As the entire world relies completely on technology for all forms of communication, tapping into that technology is critical for intelligence gathering.

via TidBITS

Apple Travel

Using Passbook at KLIA and HKIA

I’ve been itching to use Apple’s passbook ever since it was announced, as it’s an ideal solution for digital tickets. The lack of support from local cinemas so far means that I haven’t found a good opportunity to give it a go. Fortunately as I was checking into my Cathay Pacific flight online, I noticed that there was an option to download the mobile ticket, which was supported by Passbook, so this was a good excuse as any to test it out.

There are a couple of places where you’d usually need your boarding pass, and this is what happened:


  • Check in counter: I was allowed to bypass this step, since I had no check in luggage and my boarding pass was already on my phone.
  • Document check before entering the immigration area: Passbook barcode was scanned using the same scanner that scans the printed boarding pass.
  • Boarding gate: Surprisingly the lady needed to take the extra step to manually verify my digital boarding pass here, though there wasn’t any issue.
  • Boarding the plane: The crew usually asks to see your boarding pass when your get on the plane, but if you tell them your seat number directly, they let it slide, so I didn’t need any boarding pass here.


  • Check in counter: I had already checked in online using the Cathay Pacific mobile app, and I had no trouble when I was purchasing my ferry ticket to HKIA, but the lady wasn’t too sure if I’d run into issues without having a printed boarding pass, so she printed one for me, just in case.
  • Entering HKIA via ferry: There is a security check before entering HKIA by ferry and I made the mistake of handing the the security personnel my passport with the printed boarding pass inside (because that’s where I usually store my boarding pass), so she stamped that and let me through. My assumption is that I could get past this with just my Passbook ticket, but I guess I can only verify this on my next trip. Update: They don’t accept Passbook here. So you’ll need a printed boarding pass. Damn.
  • Boarding gate: No problem.
  • Boarding the plane: No problem.

Things I noticed

  • While the gate number was supposed to automagically update to my Passbook boarding pass, that never happened. The gate number did update after I did a manual pull-to-refresh though.
  • Having the option to have the boarding pass displayed on your lock screen is very useful, since it gives me quick access to my boarding pass.
  • Shopping at the airport usually requires your passport and boarding pass, I managed to make it work with Passbook and my boarding pass.

It’s good to see Passbook support increasing. I know that Malaysian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Airbnb already support it. I’m definitely looking forward to more services supporting it, especially the local cinemas, since I’m not overly fond of their mobile apps.


Switching back to iCloud

Every now and then I get the itch to switch my contacts and calendaring back to iCloud. I was using iCloud for contacts and calendaring a while back, but decided to switch to Google because:

  • I trust Google’s sync expertise a lot more.
  • If I ever decide to switch to Android or get a secondary phone, it’s easy to keep my contacts and calendars in sync. China’s Xiaomi is a constant source of temptation.

But with OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 just around the corner, I guess I’ve been given enough incentive to switch back. Some of the reasons that made me decide to switch back include:

  • I want to see how well Apple’s devices are services work together in 2014.
  • My contacts/calendar sync with Google on iOS was getting messy, it was time to clean up, so it was a good time as any to migrate.
  • While I’m not a serious privacy buff, I have been increasingly frustrated with Google and Facebook’s privacy policies.

While doing that (and performing a hard reset on my iPhone), I decided to go one step further and switch back from Wunderlist and Simplenote to Apple’s Reminders and Notes respectively. Switching from Simplenote was particularly sad since I really love it as a product and the sync totally beats Apple’s implementation hands down, but I’m going to soldier ahead at least until I’ve had a good few months with iOS 8 later this year and review it.

Let’s see how things go.

Apple Evernote Tech

DocScanner For iOS: My Portable Scanner

I love scanning stuff

I’m a big fan of scanning things in order to reduce clutter. Some might argue that I’m merely converting physical clutter into digital clutter, but that’s a debate for another day. I’ve tried various methods to always have a portable scanner with me, including getting a non-branded version of the IRIScan Book 2. In the end, I always settled with using my iPhone’s camera for taking quick photos of stuff, and keeping the documents that needed to be scanned by an actual scanner until I got to my fiancée’s house, which had a Canon MX 426 multifunction printer.

Apple Doodles MadeWithPaper Tech

Switching between apps on the iPhone

It can't be that hard
It can’t be that hard

I’m not an designer, but I’m always curious why Apple doesn’t make a better way to switch between apps on the iPhone. Double-tapping the home button to bring up the app switcher tends to wear out the home button pretty quick.