1. Can I access the data in SUNRISE Contacts on a secure web page of my choosing?
Yes, you can. Once you have established a secure web server (using https and a VPN), you have to use Apple's own FileMaker Server 16 or higher to access SUNRISE Contacts. At more than $1,000 for the app plus a monthly and per user subscription, it isn't exactly the most cost-effective solution (1) for the average consumer. Businesses? Well, that is another question altogether, and only if there is a guaranteed profit from taking on this "bleed me financial dry" approach.
2. Can I use SUNRISE Contacts on an iOS device?
Yes. In fact, almost immediately after the move by Apple to remove the free web publishing feature in the standard FileMaker Pro app, the company quickly introduced the much cheaper option (actually, it is free): of running your databases on your iOS devices! However, there is one tiny catch. Apple can technically gather data coming out of a FileMaker Pro database.
With the advent of FileMaker Pro 14 and higher versions, Apple has permitted users to access their data kept in SUNRISE Contacts and other FileMaker solutions on iOS and Android devices (just as we can do on any number of computers and PC combo laptop/tablets for the Runtime option, which is the way SUNRISE Contacts was meant to be used) for free. However, any data you wish to transfer to your PC/Mac or other users will be noticed by the Apple servers. So it isn't a perfect and most secure solution. It is a kind of compromise. Your only option here is to encrypt your data (2).
Encrypt your sensitive data
However, the application of encryption technologies is a major problem for governments and law enforcement agencies, and has been classified by some as a weapon against nations and individuals who feel entitled to look at everything you do, and that includes your personal and business confidential data. And you thought George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four was science fiction. Think again! Big Brother is watching you.
As of June 2018, Australian, French and some American (e.g., the FBI) law enforcement agencies are trying to force Apple and other major commercial software companies to provide some kind of a secret backdoor to their encryption technologies as an easier means of accessing the content hidden in encrypted data. This means that once the data in certain lower quality FileMaker Pro databases or other software tools goes through the Apple servers, encrypted or not (simply by sending and receiving emails or copying/pasting data within the database), there is a high probability some people you don't know, including the software companies offering the encryption technology, can still read your data from the servers.
In seeing some of the advantages in this approach, as of 3 June 2018, the Chinese government is expecting to see this backdoor method applied to all software using encryption technologies so it can control its own population when people distribute digital data over networks. And it is done under the umbrella of Anti-terrorism laws. It does not matter if you have sensitive business confidential or personal information and you are definitely not involved in illegal activity. The burden is going to be on you (or the help of software developers and vendors) to prove you have nothing illegal to hide.
About our encryption technology
Our encryption is not based on Apple or other big software companies' tools. We are independent, and have no intentions to provide "backdoor solutions" to our encryption. Any attempts to do so would only compromise your security and privacy and can render the internet useless for economic purposes, such as consumers purchasing online with their credit cards. This is particularly true should any "backdoor solutions" get accidentally leaked onto the internet for hackers and organised crime syndicates to exploit.
Should some authorities still be worried about not knowing what is happening in the community because people are using these encryption technologies, the only effective long-term solution to the problems arising from those selected individuals and/or groups who may cause trouble for authorities is simply this:
- Start a new world order.
- Establish a minimum wage for all.
- Provide a safe place to live and grow.
- Provide free education for all.
- Give extra rewards to people who provide brilliant new ideas that work in reality and will solve any problems people will have.
Or, to sum it up, show true love for one another. If the current system does not provide it, then change it.
3. Can I use this product on any portable tablet?
Yes you can, and generally this is a reasonably secure approach. However, beware that if you are on the internet with your iOS device for any length of time, Apple can still quietly push information on your mobile devices through its own servers, including any data that comes out of SUNRISE Contacts or other FileMaker Pro databases.
Should you choose this option, we recommend that you run our PC version of SUNRISE Contacts straight out-of-the-box on an Intel-based combo PC/tablet (such as Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro or other similar machines) running Windows 7 or higher, and then you can benefit from the full features, including all our plug-ins (which include encryption) and those from third-party plug-in developers. If you intend to use FileMaker Server 16 running on your own server machine to transfer data over the internet to your portable PC device, use a VPN with encryption service.
Too expensive to buy FileMaker Server 16? We hear you. That is why we think it is better to find a trusted third-party FileMaker Server hosting solution for a minimal monthly charge (usually around AUD$59.95). Remember, Apple's decision to stop Web Publishing of FileMaker databases in a free manner on your own machine and with the company's choice of a different processor for its iOS devices (which will naturally disable our plug-ins as well) means you must use our PC version to get the full power and decide whether paying for a FileMaker Server 16 hosting solution is essential for your line of work.
4. Can I use SUNRISE Contacts with Cloud services?
SUNRISE Contacts and the Cloud (i.e., a place to host your databases on online servers) are a match made in heaven. Our recommendations for good FileMaker Server 16 web hosting (3) are:
As Carl Horton said: "Our FileMaker 16 Dedicated Database Hosting service starts with a 15 day free trial and can host up to 125 databases.". After the trial period, it costs $59.95 per month. (4)
- Foxtail Technology
Comes with a 30-day trial. Costs US$50.00 per month for shared hosting of 5 FileMaker databases, or US$100.00 per month for 10 FileMaker databases. These people will soon be offering FileMaker Server 16.
These web hosting services do not require that you purchase your own FileMaker Server 16 license key from Apple, Inc.
5. Why do I see a Mac message on first launching SUNRISE Contacts suggesting that the software could be unsafe?
The message you are seeing probably looks like this:
Don't worry. This is a standard notification from Apple introduced since OS X Mountain Lion to let you know that Apple has not checked SUNRISE Contacts for any malware and is unaware that we are a software developer. This is not a problem. Our software has been checked against the world's best antivirus tools. These include VirusTotal.com and Kaspersky Anti-Virus. If these tools cannot find viruses or other malware in our software, neither will Apple. Furthermore, if your own anti-virus software on your Mac can't pick up a malware in our software, you can be sure SUNRISE Contacts is safe.
For the safest copy of our software, you should only download it from our web site. If you do, the exact file sizes for version 2.9.6 should be:
Mac (sunrisecontacts2018.dmg): 219,556,680 bytes
PC (sunrisecontacts2018.zip): 228,524,355 bytes
In addition to this, when you open the DMG file containing our Mac version of SUNRISE Contacts 2018, it will be verified on your system. Any unexpected changes to the DMG file will stop the DMG from being opened and will be described as corrupted or unrecognised. Only the original version of our DMG file will be fully verified and open safely.
As for us being described as an "unidentified developer", this is our choice. We don't think it is worth spending US$99 a year to Apple just to stop this annoying message. Mac users are intelligent people and know where to find good quality and safe software.
Still, Apple remains unconvinced about your ability to make a reasonable decision when it comes to software downloads. As a result of this lack of confidence in Mac users, Apple has decided it is best for all of us not to consider running a wider range of high quality software outside the Mac App Store (MAS). In the most recent macOS versions (namely Sierra and High Sierra), there is apparently no option to select "Anywhere" in the Security preference pane to stop the nagging message.
This kind of condescending behaviour from the company on all Mac users is certainly unnecessary and is not a good look for the company. It is like having a virtual Nanny watching over you all the time because it thinks you are forever a child with the inability to think on your on. It is presumed that since you are a child you cannot figure out what's right for yourself and you will never be able to figure out what is safe software. This kind of thinking from Apple might be okay for novices of the Mac platform with absolutely no knowledge of computers and the internet. However, for more experienced users, Apple is doing far too much to restrict people from making their own reasonable decisions.
Or perhaps the real reason for doing all of this is because Apple wants a slice of the profits made by developers. The only problem is, these poor developers must choose to let Apple display their products on its MAS. Or would it be not too strong a word to say "forced" based on the way macOS is restricting Mac users to buying apps from the MAS and, therefore, for the developers to have any chance of selling their apps and for their work to be seen they will have to follow Apple's rules to get on the MAS or else they may never be able to get on the Mac platform? Basically the company is trying to monopolise the Mac software market, and setting up the macOS to ensure this is the case.
This is remarkably similar to the way iPhone users are being forced to purchase iOS apps from the MAS. The only slight difference is that the U.S. Supreme Court has recently (June 2018) ruled against Apple's claim that it is doing nothing illegal in creating its own closed system of Mac software apps and only the developers control and decide on the price. The reality is, developers have no choice but to be on the MAS because iPhone users are forced to go on the MAS to find all their apps and Apple provides no easy way for users to put apps on iPhones for those developers wishing to set up their own storefront and sell apps outside the MAS. The MAS is no longer a storefront where iPhone users can check the apps and prices and later shop around elsewhere for the best price. The company is effectively acting as a monopoly by getting all Mac software to be sold on the MAS and no where else. And with this move, Apple takes a sizeable share of the profits from developers for the privilege of being on the MAS.
But it isn't just money and monopolising the Mac software market that Apple is seeking.
As certain developers have discovered, even if we paid the subscription to Apple to receive a code signing certificate to put into our software, Apple can easily delay and choose to deny our software from being sold on its online store given the considerable effort by Apple to reduce competition in the Mac versions of certain CRMs by third-party developers (because Apple wants Mac users to use the company's preferred contacts.app supplied with macOS and iOS). Should it happen to us again (which in all likelihood it will), the subscription costs to us would be seen as a waste of money.
Consequently, there is a divide in the Mac developers' sphere. On one side we have those who are forced to go on the MAS and follow Apple's rules based on the way the iOS and macOS are designed to force ordinary Mac users to use only the MAS for all their software needs. And on the other side are those who sell independently and provide tools/advice to Mac users on how to run a wider range of Mac software on their computers, just to give them the choice.
At the end of the day, it should be up to you to decide which software to use, and apply common sense techniques to the situation of deciding what is the safest high quality software to run on your computer.
6. Can I stop the annoying Mac message?
If you are comfortable and confident as a Mac user and know how to find safe quality software, you can disable GateKeeper's annoying message. You do this using Terminal.app in your Utilities folder located in the Applications folder. With Terminal open, type the following command:
sudo spctl --master-disable
Press the enter key. You will need to type in your administrator password and press the Enter key again. Gatekeeper's "Anywhere" setting will now be restored, and it will also be selected by default. If you ever want to enable the Gatekeeper settings again, type:
sudo spctl --master-enable
Alternatively, you can download our Mac app to a FAT32-formatted USB drive. Then you can open the DMG and transfer to any location on your computer. Launching SUNRISE Contacts 2018.app should be fine from this moment on.