10.8: Open a specific browser based on the URL

Usually I want to open Gmail in Chrome and URLs pointing to my development server in Firefox. For everything else I use Safari.

There is this nifty free app called LinCastor that enables you to register your own handler for an URL. Although it had beed designed to register your own non-standard URL schemes, it can intercept standard http and https as well.

In LinCastor (which you need to double-click twice to fully open for editing):
Add a new URL scheme
Choose AppleScript handler

Paste the following code in, (replacing the stub code at the bottom):

on handle_url(args)
if (|URL| of args starts with “https://mail.google.”) then
tell application “Google Chrome”
open location |URL| of args

Source: Mac OSX Hints


An Open Letter to Tim Cook – Human Rights in UAE

By Alex Brooks Apple employees carry rainbow flags as they march in the San Francisco Gay Pride Festival in California June 29, 2014 | REUTERS/Noah Berger
Apple is a company that has for decades inspired millions of young people to design the best they can design, to focus on the detail and create beautiful and functional products. Apple has stood at the forefront of amazing product design and changed the way humans interact with technology through its own passion for design.
I, like many other people have watched on at Apple for years and looked up to the brand as a role model. Many years ago I would write school essays about Apple if I could and in my mid-teens decided that it was such a passion that I should help in the spread of Apple’s message by setting up this very website. I wouldn’t be surprised that if for the past 15 years I’ve said or read the word Apple dozens of times a day. But most notably Apple has shaped me as a person, it has shaped the way I perceive the world, the way I enjoy the world, and how I choose to live.
Recently Apple has climbed to be one of the most successful corporations the world has ever known, both financially and in terms of its product portfolio. With much glee I’ve watched on as you have steered Apple into an era of transparency and thoughtfulness—but most importantly, an era of equality and diversity.
Just last week Apple published, for the first time, equality and diversity figures from across its workforce. Before that a video was posted on the company’s website where hundreds of Apple employees were seen marching through the streets of San Francisco for Pride. You clearly outline your belief that “inclusion inspires innovation”, a catchy phrase but a message with strong responsibilities attached.
Don’t get me wrong, Apple leading the pack and publishing equality data is extremely welcome. Remember, Apple is a beacon to millions of young people—as it was to me. But equality and diversity is about more than just race, ethnicity, and gender. Sexual orientation is an important aspect in understanding a workforce, and gender is not binary. So whilst you’ve said you’re committed to the advancement of equality and human rights everywhere, I’d also encourage you to expand the understanding across Apple.
But this is not what I write to you about. Job listings would suggest you’re due to open an Apple Store in the United Arab Emirates—a country with an abhorrent track record of human rights. UAE is a country where women are required to ask for the right to travel without a male guardian’s permission, where women are refused the right to education and the right to drive any motor vehicle. A country where a women who has been raped can be jailed, and often are.
In the UAE LGBT people are effectively threatened by death and despite there being a fairly large LGBT scene there are still horrific stories of punishment. In Dubai where you look set to open a huge Apple Store it is illegal to be homosexual and the issues around trans people are not just misunderstood but outlawed.
I have no doubt that there is already a sizeable Apple workforce in the UAE, I find it hard to believe that such human rights abuses would prevent Apple from entering a market—parts of the United States and China aren’t much better—but I would encourage you to stick to your word of spreading the advancement of equality and human rights everywhere. For the sake of Apple employees in the UAE and other uneducated countries it’s important that Apple, once again, leads the way.
Alex Brooks
August, 2014

Source: World of Apple


Setting Up an iOS 7 On-Demand VPN

I’m writing a detailed set of instructions for getting VPN ‘on-demand’ working with iOS 7.

See Setting Up an iOS 7 On-Demand VPN for the details (it’s way too much stuff to post via MacOSXHints, as much as I’ve been a fan of this site for many years).

The complete set of instructions include:

setting up an IPSec VPN with iOS

setting up an OpenVPN with iOS

setting up a managed iOS device with VPN ‘on demand’ capabilities (for both IPSec and OpenVPN).

A few comments about this work:

One of the primary objectives was to document a setup where the VPN-connected iOS devi …

Source: Mac OSX Hints


MacBook Pro Receives Minor Update, New Product Rumours Begin to Dominate, Dell and Blackberry Act Like Nothing Is Wrong, Are MacIntel’s Days Numbered?

By Alex Brooks 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display | Image courtesy of Apple
Weekly summary of stories from across the World of Apple during the week commencing 28th July, 2014. An attempt to summarise the more interesting stories from the week and lace them in observation and comment.
MacBook Pro Receives Minor Update
The MacBook Pro with Retina display has marked the way for a flurry of updates across Apple’s product line as we head into busy season. The update is relatively minor and will act as a stop gap before Intel’s Broadwell processor platform hits the market in mid-2015.
The MacBook Pro with Retina display saw updates to both its 13- and 15-inch display models which feature faster versions of Intel’s Haswell processors, all 13-inch models now come with 8GB of RAM standard while all 15-inch models now feature 16GB of RAM. Apple also cut the price of the high end 15-inch model by $100, which now starts at $2499 (£1,999).

The update to the Retina MacBook Pro comes close after a minor refresh to the MacBook Air. Next up for refresh are the iMac and Mac mini, references to “mid-2014″ versions have been found in various places on Apple’s website.
iPhone 6, iWatch, Apple TV Rumours Flow Readily
I’ll start with the more suspect rumours and work down to something more believable. First up is the long-rumoured Apple TV product, often dubbed iTV. Ars Technica has paraphrased a post from elsewhere outlining how it’s unlikely that we’ll see the rumoured Apple TV refresh this year—although we may well see a fresh to the current form of Apple TV.
The article refers to Apple’s troubles with procuring content for the hardware set top box, quoting cable companies as ‘dragging their heels’. As with most rumours around the Apple TV, it’s not yet known what form this piece of hardware will take and whether it’ll replace the current incarnation of Apple TV.
Related to this is a report from AppleInsider which covers Apple’s continued efforts to create its own Content Delivery Network (CDN) and apparently begin to rely less on third party distributers. It would appear that Apple is now serving content from its own servers directly to some and no longer serving from third party mirrors. Apple is said to have “added ‘multiple terabits per second’ of capacity, a nearly tenfold increase over its current capabilities.”
It’s not known why Apple is building this capacity, the obvious answer is of course the world’s continued reliance of the iTunes and App Stores but some have speculated that for Apple’s Apple TV dream to be answered then a reliance on media streaming will sit at the centre of it.
Next up is the iWatch. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who holds a solid track record, has suggested that Apple’s iWatch will be available in limited quantities during 2014. His prediction for the number of units that will ship is just three million. Kuo has previously pinpointed November as a production date for the iWatch which has been pushed significantly by display manufacturing issues. Previous rumours have suggested that the iWatch will be unveiled during an October 2014 event.
So far no one has spotted an iWatch, or has much clue what the device will do—other than gather fitness data.
Rumoured iPhone 6 lineup, featuring 4.7- and 5.5-inch mockups next to iPhone 4-inch and iPad mini | Image courtesy of MacRumors
And finally the iPhone 6. Apple is said to be planning a September 16 event to unveil the next iPhone, with an apparent release almost a month later on October 14.
This author will offer more detailed analysis of iPhone 6 rumours nearer the time, so far however we expect Apple to release two new iPhone models, one with a 4.7-inch display and one with a 5.5-inch display. It’s not known what will happen to the 4-inch model, or how the current iPhone 5c plays into this mix. Some rumours have suggested that the 5.5-inch model will be so constrained by manufacturing that it will not launch until early 2015.
Other rumours about the iPhone 6 remain scant, we’ve got a good idea of the design which will naturally be thinner than previous models and it’s expected that Apple will incorporate a faster A8 processor and an improved camera.
The end of MacIntel?
Speaking of the A8 system-on-chip, Jean-Louise Gassée has written in his Monday Note about Apple’s reliance on Intel and how that relationship could come to an end with the onset of ever powerful A-series ARM processors. As we can see from above evidence, Apple is being held back on the Mac by slow releases from Intel but its own processor manufacturing continues to forge ahead.
Gassée uses a number of arguments to back his case, starting with cost, moving on to power dissipation, and finally Intel’s poor delivery schedule.
The A7 was described by Apple as a “desktop-class” processor; Gassée summates by saying:
“By moving to ARM, Apple could continue to increase its PC market share and scoop much of the profits – it currently rakes in about half of the money made by PC makers. And it could do this while catering to its customers in the Affordable Luxury segment who like owning both an iPad and a Mac.”
Dell and BlackBerry Act Like Nothing is Wrong
Here’s some Monday entertainment for you all.
As pointed out by John Gruber, Dell and BlackBerry recently scoffed in an interview with Reuters about the threat from Apple and IBMs partnership. Whilst I wouldn’t expect any company in the world to openly admit about increasing competition from competitors, I thought we’d all learnt about how embarrassing it is to scoff at credible threats to your entire business. Gruber quotes former Palm CEO who claimed that Apple could never play in the smartphone sector and win customers as evidence of previous stupid comments, I prefer Ballmer:

Dell and BlackBerry have both stated that they’re in the midst of re-inventing themselves, and rumours have swirled about the pair maybe forging a partnership. BlackBerry’s Chief Exec likened the Apple-IBM partnership to when “two elephants start dancing”, I’d liken a Dell-BlackBerry partnership to two lead brinks sinking in the ocean.
Next week
Tune in next week (hopefully) for another dose of Apple musings. In the mean time you can follow me on Twitter and sometimes I’ll tweet something funny but mostly it’s about Apple, higher education and politics in the UK, and beer.

Source: World of Apple