Accessing sensitive call data on macOS (CVE-2021-30673)

The following is a writeup of CVE-2021-30673, a macOS vulnerability which allowed access to view sensitive phone and FaceTime call data for devices in a user’s iCloud account, which was resolved in macOS Big Sur 11.4 and Security Update 2021-003 for macOS Catalina.

Accessing sensitive Safari browsing data on macOS (CVE-2020-9977)

The following is a writeup of CVE-2020-9977, a macOS vulnerability which allowed access to view sensitive Safari data for devices in a user’s iCloud account, which was resolved in macOS 11.0.1.

Installing AppleGlot on macOS Catalina and Big Sur

TL;DR, I’ve published a script to automate the installation here.

I recently wanted to use AppleGlot, a developer tool from Apple that facilitates the automatic translation of strings from Apple’s published string glossaries from macOS and iOS. A good demonstration of its functionality is available here.

However, the latest version of AppleGlot available from at time of writing is 4.0 (v161.6), which has the following issues on macOS Catalina and Big Sur:

The signing certificate is invalid (FB8770951) and the installer hasn’t been updated to work on macOS Catalina’s Read-Only System Volume (FB8773764).

TodayFlights – Notification Center Flight Tracking

I’ve just released TodayFlights, which is a simple Notification Center widget that allows users to track flights.

It includes a map of the flight path, as well as detailed information about departure and landing times, including any encountered delays.

Aristocrat – Simple OCR

My latest Mac utility is Aristocrat – its purpose is to simplify the process of optical character recognition on OS X.


Using Chrome on OS X and Safari on my iOS devices means that I’m not able make use of iCloud Tabs – Apple’s tab syncing solution. CloudyTabs attempts to solve this.

Dictionary++ - An Open Source Dictionary App For iOS

Since iOS 5, Apple has included a system-wide dictionary within iOS, accessible from text fields in all applications on the platform. Whilst this is a fantastic solution when you come across an unfamiliar word as you’re reading a webpage or iBook, for example, it’s far from perfect when you need to arbitrarily define a word.

On OS X, this is simply a case of typing the word into Spotlight (however, I prefer to use LaunchBar to perform the same task). But on iOS, I’ve found myself jumping between three different processes:


Xcode, for those who aren’t aware, is the name Apple gives its suite of developer tools. It includes the Xcode IDE, as well as an array of various command-line tools and GUI apps that all aid in the process of developing software for Apple platforms.

On The Perceived Worth Of Physical Objects & Their Digital Counterparts

Christmas. That one day every year where people around the world engage in the custom of gift giving, a seemingly important practice that has apparently existed since 0AD. Alas, without diving deep into the historical context of this tradition, I wanted to discuss something I noticed at my family’s Christmas celebrations this year.

Email Is Broken - Stop Trying To Fix It

Email. The humble “method of exchanging digital messages” initially developed in the early ’70s that’s still the essential backbone of almost all online interactions. We communicate via email, we share files via email, we use email to login to almost all our online services, etc, etc, etc.

And as it stands today, email is pretty awesome:

Microsoft Surface And Advertising

Microsoft’s long awaited Surface tablet is due to be shipped to customers in the coming days, and whilst early reviews are hesitant to recommend the device, the collective tech world will be watching on with eager eyes as this product debuts and tries to snatch a piece of the tablet marketshare. One detail that’s been causing a stir since the Surface’s introduction is Microsoft’s marketing efforts, specifically the teaser and subsequent TV ad:

iOS 6 Maps - A Wobbly Foundation For The Future

Now that the dust has settled on the whole iOS Maps issue, I thought it would be appropriate to formulate some of my own ideas. We’re all aware of the initial rush of complaints and anger after iOS 6 initially launched, the tech press announcing that 2012 would be the year of ‘Mapgate’ (because they can’t go a single year without one of those). To a similar vein, it’s being called Apple’s ‘worst software product yet’, and a tumblr blog curating the best ‘fails’ has gone viral. However, I believe that this release doesn’t deviate from Apple’s traditional behavior, and is actually quite a logical move (in the long run).

On iPhone And Unrealistic Expectations

Every year apple releases a new iPhone, and every year it gets labeled boring, disappointing, (and a whole array of other dismissive adjectives) by tech writers and the general public alike. This release last month however was particularily noteworthy, since despite a complete re-architecturing of the entire phone, vastly better battery life (even with LTE), lighter and slimmer deign and that ofter wanted larger screen - the reactions were the same (if not more intense) as last year. I started to question why this is the case - is it simply ‘apple haters’ spewing their typical nonsense? Or is it something more than that?

Nanoc + ZSH = Awesomeness

Static blogging engines are the only way to go, not just for the reduction of server resources, but also for the unlimited ability for customization (and not being beholden to a behemoth like WordPress). This blog - and indeed this whole site, is built with the totally awesome Nanoc static site generator. Setting up and using Nanoc’s tools is already super easy, but I wanted to make them even easier and more enjoyable to use - so I’ve created a simple ZSH plugin that includes autocompletion and aliases for common tasks.

Improving The App Store Experience

iOS 6 brings with it significant changes to the process of discovering, buying and downloading apps on iOS devices. Whilst most of these changes are welcome additions, many past issues haven’t been addressed, and new, somewhat confusing changes have irritated the developer community testing the beta versions. Transitioning to iOS 6 myself made me think about how this absolutely vital part of iOS could be refined and evolved. Whilst developers are always clamoring for more features that benefit their ability to sell apps in the store, such topics have already been covered in detail by many around the blogosphere. I wanted to simply focus on improving the experience for humble end users discovering, buying and updating their apps:

The Tech Industry's Plagiarism Problem

With recent product releases from Samsung and HP showing striking similarities to Apple devices released much earlier, the internet has become awash with claims of blatant ‘ripping off’ by these aforementioned companies. A war of words has promptly erupted - the blogosphere trying to define the level of ‘similarities’ a product is allowed before it’s defined as a rip-off. This got me thinking, and I’ve created a table highlighting several recent products that received quite a bit of media attention because of this very issue:

My OS X 10.9 Wishlist

The Mountain Lion launch came and went last month without the lukewarm reception Lion endured the year before. 10.8 focuses on correcting 10.7’s flaws (Lion’s “Snow Leopard” upgrade if you will), but it steers far from the Snow Leopard “no new features” bandwagon. In summary, it continues down Apple’s path of application parity with iOS by porting several new apps to the Mac, gave an extremely prominent position to iCloud throughout the OS, whilst also refining the OS in small, but noticeable ways. Whilst I find that on the whole, 10.8 is far superior to 10.7 in almost every way, I (as many others) continue thinking about how Apple can continue to evolve and mature OS X into a better overall product. So here is my wishlist of things I’d like to see in 10.9; ranging from the almost certain to crazy, nerdy desires that will quite possibly never be included.

Hello World!

I look forward to writing here and trying to engage further with the blogosphere.