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Apple has pushed a security update to MRT, the macOS malware removal tool

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 01:07 PM PDT

Apple has just pushed an update to the macOS malware removal tool MRT, which brings it to version 1.32 (1.31 appears not to have been released). As usual, Apple doesn’t provide any information about this, but Patrick Wardle reports that this adds detections for two new items for which Apple give internal code names: OSX.4e36ae6 and OSX.127eaa6. These join the equally cryptic OSX.28a9883 which was added to 1.30.

No one seems to know what Apple is referring to, which is extremely unhelpful to everyone involved. macOS seems to be the only operating system for which the names of its malware are now strict secrets, presumably to obstruct third-party security researchers.

You can check whether this update has been installed by opening System Information via About This Mac, and selecting the Installations item under Software.

A full listing of security data file versions is given by LockRattler and SystHist for El Capitan, Sierra and High Sierra, available from Downloads above. If your Mac has not yet installed this update, you can force an update using LockRattler, or at the command line.

I maintain lists of the current versions of security data files for Sierra on this page, for High Sierra on this page, and for El Capitan on this page.

Italian Masters go commercial: the Bridgeman deal is bad for art

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 07:00 AM PDT

The bad news last week for anyone interested in art history is the acquisition by Bridgeman Images of rights to images for all the 439 state-owned museums and galleries in Italy. Those include the Uffizi, most notably, and many of the major collections in Rome.

This doesn’t mean that every existing image of a work of art in one of those museums and galleries is suddenly going to require licensing from Bridgeman. But it does make it likely that anyone wanting an image of a particular painting or sculpture in one of those collections will have to pay Bridgeman for the privilege.

This hits academics worst of all. Those reproducing images in specialist publications will increasingly find that they will have to pay to do so. It also hits non-commercial websites such as this blog: a typical article on paintings here might contain ten images; at Bridgeman’s current rates, if all ten images had to be licensed, that article would cost me £700 to publish. Not only that, but Bridgeman’s licensing terms include the following:
2.7. Licensee shall not make the Licensed Material available to be downloaded, extracted, redistributed or accessed as a standalone file by third-parties.

That would mean that my current article format would be unacceptable if it were to use any licensed image; instead, I would have to use a locked image browser which denied you direct access to the image files.

Sandro Botticelli (Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi), Primavera (Spring) (c 1482), tempera on panel, 202 x 314 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Wikimedia Commons.
Sandro Botticelli (Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi), Primavera (Spring) (c 1482), tempera on panel, 202 x 314 cm, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Wikimedia Commons.

It is a matter of dispute as to whether Bridgeman or any other organisation or individual can claim copyright over images of works of art which are themselves out of their period of copyright, such as Botticelli’s Primavera shown above. At the time that it was created, there was no copyright law. Under most current laws, Botticelli and his heirs would have been fully protected by copyright for a period including both the artist’s lifetime, and seventy years following his death (terms and periods vary according to jurisdiction).

Copyright, as an intellectual property right, exists to protect the rights of those who create paintings, sculpture, music, movies, and many other parts of our culture. It ensures that creators, the people who put their ideas, perceptions, and skills into producing works, are adequately rewarded for their contribution to culture.

There has been a long-running dispute over copyright and photographic reproductions of artistic originals. If I take a photo of Primavera, does copyright apply to my photographic image? Many claim that such a faithful reproduction is by definition not itself an original or artistic work, and has none of the properties required to be eligible for copyright.

Others – overwhelmingly those who make income from the sale of such spuriously ‘copyrighted’ reproductions – claim that making a good photograph is sufficiently demanding as to make it a creative act.

There is actually a very simple test which should be applied: if a photographer does have a legitimate claim to copyright, then those who photograph paintings and other works of art should receive royalty payments from the sale of rights for the use of their images. What the image agencies fail to mention is that those photographers don’t. If you pay a licence fee to use an image provided by an image agency, that fee is split between the agency, which has done nothing creative or original, and the current owner of the painting. Not a penny or cent makes its way to anyone related to the original artist, nor to the photographer who made the image.

Photographers are paid fixed fees for each image taken, at the time that they make the photographs. Irrespective of what the agencies and others might claim, they are not treated as creators or originators in any way, but are paid per reproduction.

The truth is that image agencies and owners of works of art are subverting copyright to generate income for themselves which has nothing to do with the intellectual property invested by the artist in creating a work of art, and everything to do with physical ownership and profit for those who have had nothing to do with the creative act.

Image agencies have shown themselves to ignore copyright law by charging licensing fees for the use of images which the creator has placed in the public domain. Far from helping preserve our cultural heritage, image agencies are parasites upon it.

Woman Sewing: Slave to the sewing machine

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 04:30 AM PDT

The first functional sewing machines started to appear in the middle of the nineteenth century, and by 1870, several factories were making them for sale to anyone with sufficient money. Sales rose, costs fell, and by the 1880s they were within the reach of many households and individuals.

They did not completely replace sewing by hand, though. Their best use is for making whole new garments and sewn items: an early comparison claimed that a fully hand-sewn shirt took over 14 hours to make, something a skilled machinist could complete within an hour.

piltzsewinghour
Otto Piltz (1846–1910), Sewing Hour, or A Sewing Lesson (date not known), oil on panel, 39 × 50 cm, location not known. Wikimedia Commons.

Otto Piltz’s undated Sewing Hour, or A Sewing Lesson shows a group of young girls (not one boy in sight) learning a range of fibrecrafts under the supervision of a teacher or nanny, who sits reading beside an early sewing machine. It is interesting that neither the children nor their supervisor appears in the slightest interested in the sewing machine.

Piltz had originally been a decorative painter, and made many illustrations for the German family newspaper Die Gartenlaube, although here his style is thoroughly painterly and not conventionally illustrative.

tornoeseamstresswhitsundaymorning
Wenzel Tornøe (1844–1907), Seamstress, Whit Sunday Morning (1882), oil on canvas, 40 x 36 cm, Randers Kunstmuseum, Randers, Denmark. Wikimedia Commons.

Given the dramatic reduction in time to make garments, among the most enthusiastic early adopters were professional seamstresses, who could reduce cost and increase throughput once they had become adept with their machines. Wenzel Tornøe, a Danish genre painter, shows the effects of this in his Seamstress, Whit Sunday Morning of 1882, his best-known work.

This seamstress had been engaged in making costumes to be worn for the Danish festivities of Pentecost (Whitsun), when many Danes rise early to go out and see the sun dance at dawn. By the time that the festival morning has arrived, she has fallen asleep over her work, exhausted.

krohgtired
Christian Krohg (1852–1925), Tired (1885), oil on canvas, 79.5 x 61.5 cm, Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo, Norway. Wikimedia Commons.

The Norwegian Naturalist Christian Krohg may have been inspired by that painting for his Tired in 1885. This was part of his longer-term exploration of the theme of fatigue and sleep, particularly among mothers. The young woman seen here is no mother, but a seamstress, one of the many thousands who worked at home at that time, toiling for long hours by lamplight for a pittance. At the left is an empty cup, which had probably contained the coffee she drank to try to stay awake at her work.

Home work as a seamstress was seen at this time as the beginning of the descent into prostitution – a major theme in Krohg’s work. The paltry income generated by sewing quickly proved insufficient, and women sought alternatives, which all too often led to prostitution. During the 1880s, therefore, in some countries in Europe, the sewing machine was seen as a precursor to a woman’s moral downfall, the top of the slippery slope.

stifternewdress
Moritz Stifter (1857–1905), The New Dress (1889), oil on panel, 30.5 x 40 cm, location not known. Wikimedia Commons.

Other depictions were quite the opposite. The Austrian genre painter Moritz Stifter’s The New Dress from 1889 places the sewing machine in the safe almost wholly-female setting of the dressmaker’s. Every face is smiling here, some perhaps a little vacuously, as an affluent young woman tries on a new dress, with its incredibly small waist. Although this room is full of fabric and the trappings of dressmaking, including the mandatory sewing machine, no one is actually making anything.

Anna Ancher, Fisherman's Wife Sewing (1890), oil on canvas, 59 x 48 cm, Randers Art Museum, Denmark. Wikimedia Commons.
Anna Ancher (1859–1935), Fisherman’s Wife Sewing (1890), oil on canvas, 59 x 48 cm, Randers Art Museum, Denmark. Wikimedia Commons.

Fisherman’s Wife Sewing (1890) is another of Anna Ancher’s beautifully sidelit paintings, showing a further safe and moral environment for the sewing machine: for the fisherman’s wife, it could greatly reduce the time that she had to spend making, repairing, and maintaining her husband’s clothing.

willetteferbravais
Adolphe Willette (1857-1926), Advertisement for Fer Bravais (c 1890), colour lithograph, dimensions not known, The Wellcome Collection, London. Courtesy of and © The Wellcome Collection, via Wikimedia Commons.

The belief that there were many women left exhausted at their sewing machines persisted and pervaded. Adolphe Willette developed it further in this advertisement for Fer Bravais medicine against anaemia from about 1890. In a twist of irony, her cat appears very wakeful. The brand new Eiffel Tower in the background ensures that we recognise the location of this woman’s flat.

koehleroldsewingmachine
Robert Koehler (1850–1917), The Old Sewing Machine (date not known), oil on canvas, 100.3 × 75.6 cm, location not known. Wikimedia Commons.

There were other problems with sewing machines too: being mechanical, they could go wrong and need repair. Robert Koehler’s undated The Old Sewing Machine shows a woman and her young daughter with a mechanic and repairman, looking at the woman’s old and very primitive sewing machine.

Koehler is now little-known, but had a fascinating career. Born in Germany, he arrived in the USA in 1871, and decided to stay. He returned to Europe twice to train, and became a good friend of the American painters William Merritt Chase and Frank Duveneck, whom he met when they too were training in Munich.

lilienliederdesghetto
Ephraim Moses Lilien (1874-1925), illustration for ‘Lieder des Ghetto’ by Morris Rosenfeld (1903), further details not known. Wikimedia Commons.

Women were not the only ones at risk of becoming slaves to their sewing machines. Many men worked as tailors and dressmakers, a trade prominent in the Jewish ghettos of Europe. Ephraim Moses Lilien’s Art Nouveau illustration for Lieder des Ghetto (Songs of the Ghetto) makes its point clearly. Lilien was a prolific illustrator who became the first Zionist artist.

willettealoneatlast
Adolphe Willette (1857-1926), Alone at Last (c 1915), illustration in ‘Journey of a French infantryman’, December 25 and 26 1915, Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Wikimedia Commons.

After his earlier illustration warning of the dangers of the sewing machine, Adolphe Willette struck a different balance in Alone at Last in about 1915. This illustration was used in Journey of a French infantryman, published at Christmas 1915, when many troops would have just returned home for seasonal leave from the First World War.

While her husband has been away at the front, the young wife has been making good use of her time with her sewing machine. She looks a picture of health for all that work, too, but may well attribute that to the Fer Bravais, of course.

bestsewingwomeninroom
Hans Best (1874–1942), Sewing Women in the Room (date not known), oil on canvas, 54 × 73.5 cm, location not known. Wikimedia Commons.

Judging by the sheer volume of garments in Hans Best’s undated Sewing Women in the Room, these two women are not just maintaining the clothes of their family, but are seamstresses working at home, sharing the single sewing machine. This effect is exaggerated by the multiple curtains at each of the windows.

perlmutterrakospalotaseamstress
Izsák Perlmutter (1866–1932), Rákospalota Seamstress (date not known), oil on cardboard, dimensions not known, Magyar Zsidó Múzeum és Levéltár, Budapest, Hungary. Wikimedia Commons.

Izsák Perlmutter’s Rákospalota Seamstress (date not known) shows a Hungarian version of the same, a homeworking seamstress.

anchersewingdresscostumeparty
Anna Ancher (1859–1935), Sewing a Dress for a Costume Party (1920), further details not known. Wikimedia Commons.

Anna Ancher again makes the most of the light in her Sewing a Dress for a Costume Party of 1920. These three women look rather older than the average seamstress, and they are working with the materials for a single dress, destined perhaps for a daughter or granddaughter. One of them performs the larger-scale sewing at the machine, and the others progress the manual work.

krohgseamstresschristmaseve
Christian Krohg (1852–1925), Seamstress’s Christmas Eve (1921), oil on canvas, dimensions not known, Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, Tromsø, Norway. Wikimedia Commons.

Christian Krohg returned late in his life to his earlier concerns over sewing machines and moral decline, in his Seamstress’s Christmas Eve (1921). A young woman is in her garret bed-sit, where she has been toiling long hours at her sewing machine. An affluent couple – a relative or employer perhaps – has just arrived to give the young woman a Christmas tree, a large wicker basket of presents, and more. Maybe that young woman can still be saved from the fate brought on by the sewing machine.

armbrustsewingmill
Karl Armbrust (1867-1928), Interior of a Sewing Mill with Seamstresses at Work (1927), media and dimensions not known, Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin, Berlin, Germany. Wikimedia Commons.

Sewing machines also had dramatic impact on the making of clothing on a more industrial scale. When sewing by hand, homeworking is the order of the day, and there is no value in pooling those workers into a factory. Once those seamstresses are working with sewing machines, the situation is reversed, and many were employed in factories, the sewing mills.

Karl Armbrust’s Interior of a Sewing Mill with Seamstresses at Work from 1927 shows what was commonplace in garment manufacture. These women didn’t need the skills of those sewing by hand, consequently were paid a pittance.

Paintings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries explore many of the concerns and benefits of the sewing machine. One area which they left for the next generation of artists was the changing roles of women over this period – something which was directly influenced by the sewing machine.

Sparing many women the time required to make and maintain the clothing for members of their household didn’t give many of them more free time. Instead, it enabled them to go and work in factories, to earn the money to pay for factory-made clothing and its repair. What at first had seemed to be an increase in independence ended up as increasing dependence.

32-bitCheck nows checks all code, command tools and dylibs included

Posted: 22 Apr 2018 11:30 PM PDT

There’s more executable code on your Mac than that in apps and bundles alone. The great majority of that which is outside bundles is in executable Mach-O files – things like command tools and dylibs (dynamic libraries). And those Mach-O files can be 32-bit, or 64-bit.

When macOS 10.14 ships, Apple has warned that it will not run 32-bit code without “compromise”, so now is the time to start updating and replacing old 32-bit code, including command tools, dylibs, plugins, extensions, and of course apps themselves.

My free tool 32-bitCheck 1.1 is unique in scanning thoroughly for and reporting apps and bundles which are still 32-bit, but doesn’t examine bare Mach-O files such as command tools and dylibs. So I have improved it further in version 1.2 to give you the option of checking all bare Mach-O files too.

32-bitCheck05

Tick the checkbox to Check Mach-O and run a scan on a folder containing plenty of command tools, etc., like /usr/local, and it informs you which of them are still 32-bit.

It tests for these in the same way that the command tool file does, by examining their ‘magic number’, the first four bytes of the file. If that is 0xfeedface (I kid you not!) in hexadecimal, then that Mach-O binary is 32-bit and not 64-bit. I have checked results returned by 32-bitCheck against those from file.

I have also improved the information provided in the text report, to make it clearer which types of code were included in the scan, and updated the Help book again.

I have looked again at the issue of memory usage: this is almost entirely the result of performing a deep traversal of the folder being scanned. Interestingly, if you repeat a scan on the same folder, perhaps with different option settings (for bundles and Mach-O files), second and subsequent scans seem to be rather quicker, suggesting that the deep traversal is being cached after a scan.

Version 1.2 of 32-bitCheck is available from here: 32bitCheck12a
and in Downloads above.

This completes the features – apart from folder drag and drop support – which I intended this tool to have. If you want any additional features or changes, please let me know here.