Bed's Stuff - Tag iOS

Thoughts and Analysis on COVIDSafe

As a way to help track the spread of COVID19 throughout Australia, the Australian government has rushed to market an app called COVIDSafe. Having data on COVID19 infections is a good thing, knowing when you have been in high risk of a being infected by a contagious person will enable government to identify outbreaks quickly and is a key step towards relaxing lockdown restrictions. The cause for this app is good! However there is rightly a lot of concern about two areas in particular - privacy and effectiveness.

As a former and still occasional iOS developer, I've been able to pull out the iPhone App's contents and see what's there. My long time friend Charles Gutjahr has done some detailed logging of the app including bluetooth activity while the phone is in various states. On the Android side, Matthew Robbins on Twitter has decompiled the Java code with great success. As such, despite the government not open-sourcing the app, it is very clear what the app is and isn't doing. We don't have to trust the government (because I sure as hell don't) - the notes below have been confirmed and are facts.

What? How?

The app uses bluetooth signals to detect other phones (like AirDrop does when sharing photos to a person standing next to you). The strength of the signal can allow a guess of how close you are to that person.

Its for this scenerio:

  • you and I hang out.
  • a week later I get a positive COVID19 test.
  • I mark myself as positive in the app and upload my contact data.
  • you immediately get notified that you should be tested.

This allows outbreaks to be detected quickly, which is necessary knowledge for allowing the rest of economy to stay open.

Privacy Concerns

There are various privacy concerns going on about this app:

"I don't want COVIDSafe tracking me"

The app does not access your location, it does not know your GPS co-ordinates and doesn't send them anywhere. While ANY app and website that talks to a server, can guess your general location (ie Melbourne, Sydney) by your Internet Address, this is often not very accurate. If you're concnerned about this, stay off the internet completely!

"I don't want the Govenrment to have a record of everyone I'm in contact with"

The app does not send your contact data anywhere without your express consent. If you have been given …

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Alfred Dropbox Snippets Workflow

I'm a big user of the macos utility app Alfred - its an amazing replacement for spotlight - but so much more too (go check it out if you don't know what it offers). Amongst other things, I have a good collection of URLs to animated gifs - handy for posting into chat conversations at suitable moments. This is fantastic when I'm in front of a Mac at home or work - but often I wish I had quick access to my Alfred snippets on my iPhone or iPad. Now Alfred allows syncing its settings (which include the snippets) via syncing services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, etc - and I already synced mine via dropbox to maintain a common configuration at home and work. So I was dismayed that there was nothing out there that could access this.

As a professional mobile developer, there was no excuse, so I figured I'd take some weekend time and write myself a nice iOS app to access the snippets from anywhere. Hooray! A nice side project! Then I mentioned it to my colleague and friend Tom Wilson, who reckoned that I could probably do it all in Workflow.

What's Workflow you ask?. Its an automation utility for iOS - and whilst I've always thought it was damn impressive, I had never thought of a great use for it, beyond as a glorified bookmark tool. But I set out to see if it was up to the challenge.... and it was!

The only downside, is that it doesn't work all that great as a fully contained today widget workflow - due to a limitation with widgets and being unable to scroll a list. The work-around to that, is forcing it to run in the workflow app itself.

I've submitted the workflow to their Gallery, in the meantime you can download it with the link below.

Download on an iOS device: - Alfred Dropbox Snippets Workflow

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A personal landmark occasion

There are various significant parts of one's life; junior school, high school, university, the first 'grown up' job, getting married, and so on. Changing jobs isn't usually a remarkable event, but in this situation, I do feel its a significant event. As I exist in my final week after thirteen years with AMC, I'm remarkably surprised to find myself reflecting on the past (as I'm normally such a Vulcan-like logician, this sentimentality does indeed surprise me).

Unlike many university graduates who get an entry level job and then bounce around from one company to the next (because lets face it, company loyalty is for the most part a thing of the past), I was very lucky to have stumbled into my first real job whilst still studying. Having just finished my first year at university doing a double-degree, with no money, my parents rightly pressured me into finding a temporary job for the summer. So off I went, walking up and down a main shopping strip, giving my resume to pretty much every shop on both sides of the street. I got a phone call when I came home,  from a retail outlet who needed late night data entry work; as they were putting a new point of sale system into place. It was the perfect temporary work I needed, so I accepted and went to do a weekend of 6pm - 2am data entry. It was there where I met a man who would shape the next decade of my life and the first stage of my career. I joined AMC for summer work experience as a casual junior developer, and then changed the double-degree to a single degree while continuing to work part time at AMC until I graduated, then joined up fulltime. AMC and university was a great match, as I was learning how to do things the 'proper way' at uni, while learning how things were done 'in the real world' on the job.

Twelve years and ten months later (I'm still surprised at that length of time), I'm handing over the Software Development Manager's role to my replacement, amidst the company being acquired and my long mentor, friend and former owner no-longer involved with the company. I had been looking to move on for the past year or so, as I was so very tired of dealing with barcodes, point of sales, stocktakes and all related …

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What Bed's Been Doing Lately

So I admit, as recently pointed out to me this blog has been pretty boring lately, focusing primarily on my articles at The Apple Blog, and updates to my little iPhoneOS app that rotates photos. Thusly I will henceforth try and amend the issue, beginning now, although since this post is called "What Bed's Been Doing Lately" and I've been doing what many consider pretty boring stuff, I may not succeed.

Firstly my full time job of the last 12 years is still keeping me busy, managing my small software team producing Windows and Windows Mobile software for the retail market. 12 years of working with barcode scanners. Still, I have been pushing the sales team towards these babies, because it would be immensely more fun writing software for a well designed platform, as opposed to Windows Mobile.

I know this because most of my after-hours time lately has been spent deep within XCode cooking up Cartoon Studio for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. We are currently in version 1.0 feature freeze and are a brewing up something that is hopefully full of spit, polish and shiney. Speaking of spit and polish, I have a post about just that over at HawksBed Studios. HawksBed studios is the company founded by myself and my good friend Bort (of Twitter and FARK fame). We make a good team since I can implement things, but have no ideas, while he can't implement anything but is full of ideas. The first (of many) ideas is Cartoon Studio and we think that so far we're on track for something exciting. Check us out and if you're interested in joining our wider (but still private) beta release let us know.

Meanwhile, back in March, an old friend was resurrected: PCW Entertainment. When I first discovered them in 2001 they had a big impact on me. Sure, Professional Wrestling is not a legitimate competitive sport, it is theatre. But it is physical theatre and very much so. As I trained to be a referee, learning how to take bumps and flip around I found a great respect for all of these athletes and new found ability within myself that I could do anything I wanted to, if I wanted it badly enough (even become a local tag team champion being thrown off the top of the ringpost through a table and loving it; me, a geek …

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Fugliest iPhone App EVER

I didn't think it was possible for any iPhone application to be as ugly as a windows mobile application. I was wrong.


Its so bad it makes my eyes bleed. How did this get past the Apple approvers? My mind boggles.

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Andrew Bednarz - otherwise known as Bed, is a Technical Director at Shadowboxer. Husband. Father. Nerd. Former and occasional software engineer. An optimisitic pessimist 🤘