Update for iOS and Macs negates text bomb that crashed devices

Last week we reported a major bug in Apple operating systems that would cause them to crash from mere exposure to either of two specific Unicode symbols. Today Apple fixes this major text-handling issue with iOS version 11.2.6 and macOS version 10.13.3, both now available for download.

The issue, discovered by Aloha Browser in the course of normal development, has to do with poor handling of certain non-English characters. We replicated the behavior, basically an immediate hard crash, in a variety of apps on both iOS and macOS. The vulnerability is listed on MITRE under CVE-2018-4124. If you were curious.

Apple was informed of the bug and told TechCrunch last week that a fix was forthcoming — in fact, it was already fixed in a beta. But the production version patches just dropped in the last few minutes (iOS; macOS). Apple calls the magical characters a “maliciously crafted string” that led to “heap corruption.” It seems that macOS versions before 10.13.3 aren’t affected, so if you’re running an older OS, no worries.

The iOS patch also fixes “an issue where some third-party apps could fail to connect to external accessories,” which is welcome but unrelated to the text bomb.

You should be able to download both updates right now, and you should, or you’ll probably get pranked in the near future.

Scrivener writing app gets a huge update

As ancient as the art of writing is, there is a bit of a shortage when it comes to truly excellent writing applications. Scrivener is one of the few, and today, the app has gotten a major update.

Scrivener works for both professional writers and hobbyists, giving an assortment of options for whatever kind of writing suits you, from screenwriting to novels and beyond. The app also offers a distraction-free interface for writers who are easily diverted to other corners of their computer.

The options for customization are countless, and Scrivener is also a powerful planning tool as well as a writing tool. The app comes with a corkboard feature, which lets users plan scenes or chapters and on digital notecards which can be rearranged as much as needed.

And if that weren’t enough, the app lets users export into whatever format makes sense for them.

With Scrivener 3, the app has a revamped interface, rewritten codebase for 64-bit, and now has more extensive support for Touch Bar. The update also brings with it a variety of new tools, including a Quick Search tool to find documents within projects, colored threads for index cards (to track storylines, etc.) and a new Bookmarks tool that replaces Project Notes, References and Favorites to quickly view documents from the Inspector.

A couple other handy features include Dialogue Focus, which lets you pick out all the dialogue within a project, as well as draft and session progress bars in the toolbar.

Epub 3 and improved Kindle export have also been added.

For existing customers, Scrivener 3 will cost $25, while it’s priced at $45 for new users. Folks interested in a trial will get 30 days free, and keep in mind that those days are not consecutive — trial days only count on days you use the app.

The new and improved Scrivener is available now for MacOS, and is “on its way” for Windows.

You can check out the full list of Scrivener 3 features here.

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