Apple is known for doing things with more attention to detail than most companies. So it should come as no surprise that even App Store gift cards with their promo codes have a few secret details that help make the experience more Apple-like.
So what powers the simple App Store promo codes? Secret fonts, special dimensions, and many more.
SHA1 is a cryptographic hash function that is used to verify signatures and other security-related files. Basically, it lets you quickly check that the file or digital signature you’re being shown is actually the real deal.
What’s all the fuss about?
In the last few years, researchers theorized that it might be able to create a fake file that matches a genuine file’s SHA1 signature. It was all just a matter of computing power and given the way technology works, that it would be possible in the next few years.
At that’s exactly what has happened: the Google team used a clever technique and Google’s vast server infrastructure to create a fake PDF file with the same SHA1 hash as their reference file.
What does SHA1 have to do with VPN?
When using a VPN, the server and VPN app go through several steps that let each side verify they’re talking to the right person. There’s Phase 1, during which both sides set up a secure channel to talk over. Then they use that during Phase 2 to establish the actual VPN tunnel used to transmit encrypted data.
SHA1 can be used in both of these setup phases to verify the authenticity of the data being exchanged and is configured by default for many VPN vendors.
So is a VPN that uses SHA1 at risk?
For single files like their PDF example or website certificates, Google’s research definitely shows that switching to SHA-2 is an important and necessary step.
However for VPNs, the attack is not feasible due to the short key lifetimes used:
In Google’s research, they needed the equivalent of 6500 single CPU-years to create their fake file.
In your VPN tunnel, a SHA1 hash is only used for 1 hour on average, before it is swapped for a new key. And the hash algorithm is used to verify a packet that has already been encrypted. So an attacker could only use this attack to sneak a fake packet into your data – and they’d have to compute in within 1 hour. To actually read your data would still be impossible, as the encryption algorithm means there are effectively two layers of security an attacker would need to break.
Security setup within VPN Tracker 365
Extra protection: use SHA-2 with your VPN
The latest VPN gateways also support SHA-2 hashes (e.g. SHA-256, SHA-384 or SHA-512). These are more modern, highly secure SHA variants that can’t be broken. SHA-2 has been supported in VPN Tracker since 2015 and is in our default configuration for many popular VPN vendors, including SonicWALL.
Secure: SonicWall TZ600 Gateway (uses AES-128, AES-192 and AES-256 with SHA-256)
We always recommend using the strongest encryption available to you. So switching to SHA-2 algorithms if your VPN gateway supports it is a good idea. However SHA1 is still secure, provided you use a relatively short key lifetime and, more importantly, always pair it with a strong encryption algorithm (such as AES-128, AES-192 or AES-256).
Update 21. February: It looks like this experiment is over and the charts are back to the way they were. Was it a sneak preview of things to come? We’ll keep this post updated.
The App Store Top Charts are one of the most popular ways to find the latest trends on the store. In fact, Apple has received some criticism in the past for an over-reliance on Top Charts for new app discovery.
But with subscriptions becoming increasingly popular, the Top Grossing charts run the danger of becoming stagnant: monthly recurring subscriptions all but guarantee certain apps a spot in the Top Grossing charts, making it almost impossible for new apps to break into the Top Grossing charts.
Now it looks like Apple may be testing out a new algorithm to fix that.
I guess: „Top grossing“ no longer incl. renewals, only new/first paid/subscription sales. Charts shake up evrywhr #appstore#apple#itunes
As Till noticed, it looks like recurring revenue no longer counts towards your chart position.
We’re very familiar with the charts and where the top apps in that category usually rank. This past weekend, a lot of apps in the Entertainment category suddenly dropped way down in the charts. What the heck?
A quick investigation revealed all the biggest losers offer subscriptions. And left at the top of the charts are big-name brands (such as Netflix who probably have enough new users coming in to keep them in the top spots) and paid apps.
Recurring revenue no longer counts towards your position in the Top Grossing Charts.
So far we were able to confirm this the German iOS App Store, as well as on the Mac App Store.
A boost for paid apps
This change is great for paid apps: They can compete on equal terms with subscription-based apps, now that the subscription app ranks aren’t being inflated by their recurring revenue. A glance at the charts shows a lot more indie paid apps in the top 25 spots.
It’s good to see Apple trying new things out on the App Store and given the emphasis placed on recurring subscriptions last year, this change makes total sense. Lets see what it does to the charts over the next few weeks!
P.S. If you like this and you’re a developer, we’ve got two great tips for you:
As the leading VPN client for Mac, we’re always improving VPN Tracker 365 and adding new protocols, device profiles and configuration options, so customers always have the choice of leading VPN products and vendors. Today VPN Tracker 365 includes support for over 300 VPN gateways: from enterprise-level VPN solutions from SonicWALL and Cisco, to cost-effective VPN products for small-businesses, start-ups and home-offices (see all compatible VPN devices).
Simple, secure and high-performance
Getting your TP-Link VPN router configured with VPN Tracker is a piece of cake: The step-by-step VPN Tracker Configuration Guide walks you through all the settings you need to make in the TP-Link web interface and in VPN Tracker, you just pick TP-Link and enter your gateway address – secure remote access to your office will be up and running in minutes.
TP-LINK VPN devices support a variety of VPN protocols and encryption algorithms, including very strong AES-256 encryption. Our connection profile is designed to be extremely secure while also offering fast VPN performance.
Other improvements in the latest VPN Tracker 365 update:
• We’ve redesigned the new Connection window, so it’s easier to find your device manufacturer
• Improved import of system L2TP and PPTP connections
• An issue with accessing login credentials stored in your Keychain has been fixed
• SecureDrop downloads now work more reliably
Pricing and availability: VPN Tracker 365 with TP-Link support is now available for VPN Tracker 365 customers, a free update included as part of your VPN Tracker 365 plan.
So whether you’re planning a big event, a conference, or just want to make sure everyone sees that important all-hands meeting, make sure people don’t forget the date!
You’ll find our attractive calendar images in the Contents panel in the sidebar under Graphics. You can even ungroup the elements to adjust font sizes and colors, e.g. to highlight your event date.
Tip: We also include additional highlight graphics that you can use to draw attention to a specific date.
Faster loading newsletters with PNG image compression in Mail Designer Pro 3.1.1
Modern eye-catching newsletters tend to use a lot of images and large photos. That can lead to large overall email files sizes that will take longer to load.
The latest Mail Designer Pro update (Download 3.1.1) now offers lossless PNG compression, which decreases the size of your graphics, logos and banners. The result? Leaner, cleaner, faster-loading email newsletters.
Mail Designer Pro automatically compresses images when you export – you’ll find it alongside the other Design Options
We’ve also made Mail Designer Pro a bit smarter about images: It now detects whether an image is a photo or a sales graphic and uses that to choose whether to save an image as a PNG or JPG file, while also keeping file-size and quality considerations in mind.
Gmail is one of the most popular email providers in the world and the default email app on many Android phones – that’s a lot of customers reading newsletters in the Gmail app. Until today, Gmail has only supported an ‘optimized’ newsletter view, where it would automatically take the desktop version of your email and tried to re-format it for smartphone screens – usually with mixed results.
Now Gmail users will see your mobile-optimized layout exactly as you intended it: Google has updated Gmail with full support for mobile-optimized emails. So we’ve released Mail Designer Pro 3.1, an update that takes full advantage of the new Gmail features and lets you create newsletters that will look great in Gmail.
Gmail mobile-responsive facts
So what has Gmail changed exactly? Here are the details for fellow email-HTML nerds out there:
Gmail now pays attention to media queries, which allow us to show the mobile version of your newsletter to smartphones
There’s still no support for web-fonts, but you can configure fallback-fonts in Mail Designer Pro 3, for the best of both worlds
Technical fun fact: Attribute selectors aren’t supported, but CSS class definitions are – Mail Designer Pro takes your design and translates it into HTML and CSS styles that Gmail will display correctly
Roll-out status: Gmail’s mobile-responsive changes are already available in Gmail for Android, Gmail on the web and in Google Inbox on iOS. The Litmus team has more details on their blog.
New mobile design previews: iPhone 7 and Google Pixel
To help you to visualize what your design is going to look like, we’ve added a new smartphone design preview for Google’s new Pixel phone. It gives you an accurate Gmail-preview, complete with the fallback fonts you’ll see.
We’ve also added the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (in Black and Jet Black) so you can get a feel for those new models as well.
Try out some of the new keyboard shortcuts for a real productivity boost:
Command + G groups objects
Space + Enter adds a simple line break (instead of starting a new paragraph)
Command + N opens a blank design
Command + K add a link to the currently selected text
Version 3.1 also includes further compatibility improvements for Outlook and MailChimp, as well as performance optimizations. And you may have noticed that Mail Designer Pro now displays a notification once your test-email has been sent.
Get early access to upcoming Mail Designer Pro releases
Introducing the Mail Designer Pro Beta program! We love getting feedback from you guys, so experienced users can now activate Beta updates under Preferences > Updates. You’ll get early access to our public betas with new features, fixes and improvements.
We’re really stoked to support the new and improved mobile-responsive Gmail right from the get go. If you like the latest update, we’d appreciate a short review on the Mac App Store.
Autumn is a golden time of year. A perfect time to cuddle up with your Macbook and let your creative juices flow. We hope that our newest update for Mail Designer Pro 3.0.6 inspires you to create even more amazing newsletters. We’re happy to announce that as of today you can download the Mail Designer Pro 3.0.6. The new version has a lot of improvements for creative professionals.
NEW: Replace Image
We’ve all been there: You’ve designed a great header image with the perfect font, logos, call-to-action button – everything. Then your clients asks you to change the background photo for something “more fun”. Ugh.
Introducing ‘Replace image’ – simply swap out any image for a “better” one, while keeping the size, position and layout of the original.
It’s easy to replace the original picture with a new one in exactly the same location, with the exact same size as before, and all of the original layout properties of the picture layout block. When you replace a picture, the graphics and fonts remain where and how they were.
Mini Makeover: Style improvement
It’s easy to lose track of everything when you use a lot of styles. You guys have told us what you like about styles and what needs improving: First off, the lock is gone. Next: we’ve improved the indicator that lets you know which style is currently selected. And we’ve also fixed a few bugs that could occur when switching between styles and ’No style’ text. And we’ve also removed the confusing ‘All emphases’ option – simply select all text and hit ‘Remove’ instead.
Shadows are exported correctly
The color picker has been improved and we’ve fixed some color profile issues that could lead to colors being slightly off
You can now hit Shift+Return to inert a simple line break instead of starting a new paragraph
Resizing with modifier keys works like in other apps
An issue that could cause exported PDFs to cut off has been fixed
Alignment guides are now underneath layout block edges, so they aren’t accidentally selected when you’re trying to adjust your layout
Let us know if you have any comments or thoughts on the new update! Your Mail Designer Pro Team
Apple’s new operating system, macOS Sierra, is now available and we’ve been testing our apps with the newest system to optimize compatibility. The following equinux apps are ready for the jump to macOS Sierra!
Important: Please make sure you have installed the newest versions of your equinux apps. We’ve included links to the newest versions below.