Archive for May, 2009
As many of you know, Snow Leopard will be the new OS for upcoming Macs. It is currently in beta for anyone who wants to test it.
AppleInsider reader inewton1974 pointed us to an annotated Flickr albumof nearly four dozen Snow Leopard screenshots he published a bit earlier in the week. He begins by noting that the software’s setup assistant will now warn users if they don’t supply a password hint and claims that QuickLook capabilities have been built into universal Open and Save dialog windows.
inewton1974 has been kind enough to supply the world with glimpses of Snow Leopard. There seem to be a ton of improvements to the OS already. A first big change is the apparent loss of Quicktime. There are many options for it that are completely missing. Apple may be doing away with Quicktime. Everything is becoming smoother. The Finder slides icons into place instead of shifting abruptly.
For just a quick run down of the small changes made so far to Snow Leopard:
There is a slider in the Finder to change icon size and there are updates to the Date & Time preference pane will let Snow Leopard users display the time and date (or day of the week) side-by-side in the Mac OS X menubar. Time Zone preferences have also seen an overhaul. Each time zone is highlighted as a user moves their mouse cursor across the map. And as previously note, users will have the option to have their time zone updated automatically with help of Snow Leopard’s new Core Location framework.
Users who prefer not to have their Mac’s location identified via Core Location can switch the option off via the general security preferences. The same preference pane also introduce a handy new feature that will let users adjust the time interval between when their Mac goes to sleep (or activates a screen saver) and when their password will be required to regain access.
For instance, you could set your screen to dim after 10 minutes of inactivity but not lock down the system and require a password prompt for 45 minutes. In current versions of the Mac OS, there’s no separation of these features.
Below is a capture of QuickTime X Player’s HUDless movie playback presentation:
The new Player software will also let users upload movie files to Youtube or their Mobile Me accounts.
The same software also provides both basic video and audio editing (trimming):
A handful of changes are also in store for Snow Leopards Preferences, namely a separation of the Keyboard & Mouse preferences, a relocation of Bluetooth preferences from “Hardware” to a new section called “Internet & Wireless,” and a renaming of the “International” preferences to “Language & Text.”
There are many more changes made in Snow Leopard. This new OS already seems appetizing and I can’t wait to get a hold of it.
That’s right everyone! My favorite MacBook is upgraded! With the coming of it’s Back-to-School promo came the upgrade of the white MacBook, which is eligible for the offer as well. It has everything that was in need of upgrading, its processor, memory architecture, and more hard disk space.
The best thing however is the price. It is still $999 USD! What you get is a 2.13GHz processor (up from 2.0GHz), a 160GB Serial ATA Drive at 5400 rpm (up from 120GB), and 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM (up from 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM). This is much better than the earlier model, and a much better deal. I would not have bought the white Macbook before, now I’m considering it.
Another cool thing is that it’s already shipping across the globe. Check it out!
If I had to recommend anyone on a Mac to buy, it would be this one, the white MacBook. It seems by far the better deal, especially if you get it with the promo. You get a $999 white MacBook along with a $229 8GB iPod Touch. Very nice.
This will be the second update the white MacBook has seen this year.
Apple on Wednesday officially kicked off its 2009 back-to-school promotion, which offers a free 8GB iPod touch to students and educational staffers who purchase a qualifying Mac. –Apple Insider Staff
That’s right folks! Buy any new Mac and you get a FREE 8GB iPod Touch! With no added price! The 8GB iPod Touch is priced at around $229 USD. For example, if you buy a MacBook for $1,000 then you will receive an 8GB iPod Touch. What’s the catch you ask? Only a few.
You are eligible for this offer if you are in a private K-12 school or you are taking higher education (i.e. College, University, Academy, etc). That is the only way you can receive this offer. Any faculty or staff member of the K-12 private schools and any faculty of the higher education schools also qualify for the offer. Also important, parents who are purchasing a Mac for their child are also eligible for the offer. Also note this:
The promotion offers a $229 online rebate that cancels out the price of an 8GB iPod touch. Customers who instead prefer an 8GB iPod nano, 16GB iPod nano, 120GB iPod classic, or 4GB iPod shuffle can elect to receive lesser rebates that will similarly compensate for the costs of those models.
Now, which Macs qualify? The MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, and Mac Pro’s qualify. The Mac mini and refurbished Macs do not qualify.
When, where, and how do you participate?
You must buy your Mac and iPod in the same order on the same day and before September 8. The items must be purchased from the Apple Online Store for Education Individuals, an Apple Retail Store, Apple Telesales, or an Apple Authorized Campus Store located in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia.
“After you receive your Mac and iPod, submit your claim online by October 8, 2009,” Apple says. “Once your claim has been submitted, check your rebate status at any time.”
I was on the Apple site earlier yesterday and I saw this promo. I thought nothing of it. I didn’t know this was new until I read about it on the Apple Insider. I found this to be rather exciting and wished I was in college or in a private school. This is a great deal if you are big into Macs.
For more information please go to The Apple Insider
bMost of us are familiar with email and sending things through it. We are used to attaching a document to an email and sending it. It’s fast and easy. Email is all well and good, but what if you are working on a project that had multiple people working on it? Email would be a hassle, and you would have to appoint a person to view all these different changes to the project. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a way were multiple people can access your file and also speak to each other about changes? Well, I’m about to give you 3 sites that you can do that on.
The first one is Etherpad.com. It sets up a random URL for the web page of your document. However, I wouldn’t recommend this one because of one flaw, there is no security. Once someone knows the URL to your document, they can get it. There is no way to set a password or anything of the nature. It is very useful however, for quick meetings on non-sensitive material. You have a chat window off to the side where you can discuss your project and you can see everyone’s changes to see which is better. It takes far less time than email. Each person’s changes is highlighted a different color AND this is a free service. I may start using this myself, it sounds very handy.
No. 2 is something a little more secure and feature rich. It is Box.net.
A team of people can share a collection of documents that is posted to their own Web page. You can do full-text searches across this collection, and have threaded discussions too. The cost is $15 per user per month. And unlike Etherpad, you can share all kinds of files, not just word processing documents.
That basically says it all. You can upload multiple types of documents and search text through your pile of documents. You can have conversations as well. I don’t believe there is a chat, but the conversations stay put like a forum post.
The last of these services is Drop.io.
This is like Box in that you can save a wide variety of files and do so securely, like Etherpad in that you have real-time chat. But there is plenty more going on here. The cool thing about Drop.io is that you have so many ways to get information in and out of the shared Web page. You can upload content via Web, e-mail, send via a text message, Facebook feeds, or even phone or fax it in. The phone calls are saved as audio files.
As you can see, Drop.io is basically a combination of the previous two. You can try it out for free. If you want to create one shared page, that will be $10 per year for 1 GB of space. Personally this service sounds the best to me. Many features and seems to be easily accessible. I haven’t tried out these services myself yet, but I may come back and update this with my own opinions of the one(s) I’ve tried. These are great services if you are part of a big company working on many projects. It is faster and easier to share your projects through one of these services.
Read the full article at: Computer World
May 11, 2009 (IDG News Service) A year ago, when a Time Magazine reporter told Tan Dailin that he’d been identified as someone who may have hacked the Pentagon, he gasped and asked, “Will the FBI send special agents out to arrest me?”
Dailin (better known as “Withered Rose” in Chinese hacking circles, was arrested in Chengdu, China by local authorities. He now faces seven (7) years in prison under a new Chinese cybercrime law that was passed in late February. Western media has been covered with stories of Chinese hacking for years. Up until now, the cybercrime in China was governed by three articles added to China’s criminal code in 1997. These articles were severely out of date. The definition of cybercrime was quite narrow. It has broadened greatly with the passing of these new laws.
These laws however, are still in the early stages of development. The max years a person can spend in prison for a cybercrime is seven years. That is poor considering that in the United States, where people who commit computer fraud regularly serve 20 year sentences. Many experts are wondering if China is sponsoring politically motivated cyber-attacks and turning a blind eye to cybercrime.
In the past few years, cybercriminals have been posing as security experts and calling on small-business owners to offer their services. If they aren’t hired, then they simple attack the business. They usually start out with distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, unless they are paid.
Dailin reportedly was arrested after he trained a DDOS attack on rival hacker groups. His victims went to authorities with evidence.
Some IT professionals have turned to crime in the past few years. China’s economy is struggling, and these professionals can not easily find jobs.
Zhao, the CEO of security consultancy Knownsec, called China “the world’s malware factory,” saying that the country has become a major source of online attacks and so-called zero-day attacks, which target previously undisclosed software flaws.
Recently, in the past few months, Chinese hackers have gained fame for launching widespread attacks against popular programs such as Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, and many local programs.
May 7, 2009 (IDG News Service) Cybercriminals who went after Facebook users with a number of phishing attacks last week have now turned around and begun sending spam messages from the Facebook accounts they cracked. – Apple Insider
Some of the spam is your normal spam, Viagra, etc. But the other spam is much more dangerous. This spam leads users to sites that overload your computer with adware. One of those sites, mygener.im –do not visit this Web site; it will attack your computer — is loaded with attack code that is used to install malicious programs, said Paul Ferguson, a researcher with antivirus vendor Trend Micro.
Facebook is disabling accounts that it links to recent spam attacks, but the company won’t say how many users have been affected. Facebook is considered by many to be a “mini-myspace”, but it has grown in popularity. It looks like there are only a few users that are affected. This is pretty big news and it sounds like Facebook has some security holes to fill. Many of my classmates have Facebook accounts. Many popular bands and celebrities have Facebook accounts as well. Facebook is no longer the small social networking site it was deemed earlier.
Facebook had an incident last year with Koobface, which was a worm program that spread like the plague through Facebook. It tried to trick its victims into downloading malicious code. It seems Facebook is not a reliable place at the moment. They really need to up their ante on their security.
Spammers have turned back the clock and are recycling a years-old tactic by planting their messages in images, a security researcher warned today. –ComputerWorld
Image spam was something that was popular years ago. It caught everyone off guard. Spammers would send their unwanted material through emails in the form of images. This created a huge problem until most major email clients started to filter the images. An odd spike in image spamming has returned in 2009 where it declined rapidly in 2008.
About 25% of last months spam can be attributed to image spam. These image spammers seem to be doing the same thing they were before, but it seems they are less skilled at it. Few of the messages included ready-to-click links. Instead, the images contain a URL that the user must type into their address bar. Far less efficient in my mind. From March 19 to April 9, spammers conducted an image spam test. The test was obviously successful because on April 21 it came back stronger than ever. After April 9 the spam had nearly ceased entirely, then all of a sudden came back the 21st.
Experts are surprised that this tactic is working. Most email clients should filter the spam out, but it is possible that perhaps for performance reasons, the vendors ditched the image-based spam filtering. Experts also predict the return of other old tactics such as PDF and audio clip-based spam.
A new lawsuit seeking class action status has accused Apple of neglecting a flaw in the MagSafe power connector for MacBooks that might not only cause a break but could trigger sparks, forcing customers to buy replacements and even creating a potential fire hazard. – Aidan Malley
Submitted late last week to a Northern District of California court in San Jose, the joint complaint from Tim Broad, Naotaka Kitagawa and Jesse Reisman claims that the MagSafe cable used for the MacBook and MacBook Pro will inevitably fray near one of its connecting ends, contradicting Apple’s claims that the adapter is “durable.” The plaintiffs believe that day-to-day use, including winding the cable around the power adapter’s pop-out guides, ends up destroying the cable over time — and that Apple is aware of the problem but hasn’t fully addressed it with a safer design.
What all that means is that the power cables for the MacBook and MacBook Pro are crap. So much for Mac’s “high quality” products. I might as well buy a “lesser quality” Windows laptop and save my house. With just every day use of the cord, it will eventually fray near one of the connecting ends. That means possible electrocution and fire. The plastic sheath on the cables were usually melted away and the bare wiring exposed. Apple is aware of the problem but hasn’t addressed it with a safer design.
Apple recommends customers whose cables have frayed to go to the nearest Apple service location if sparks occur other than at the prongs. However, most of these visits result in the customer buying an $80 adapter rather than receiving a free replacement. That’s the Apple customer service we’ve come to love.
As the problem is already known to affect “at least thousands” of users and may well include hundreds of thousands with the exact same issue, the plaintiffs want class action status to represent anyone who may have bought an affected MacBook and have charged Apple with violating California’s business codes as well as breaching the implied and explicit warranties attached to the computers.
Broad, Kitagawa and Reisman want Apple to not only refund any of the associated costs with the known defective products but to warn the public and, if successful, pay punitive damages alongside the expected compensation.
As expected, Apple has not commented on the lawsuit. Apple was supposed to be redesigning its adapters in October of 2007 to fix the cable issues, but the problems are still occurring as late as March of 2009.
A couple of tech blogs are reporting Tuesday that Apple may have some interest in acquiring Twitter in an all-cash deal, though neither publication is able to substantiate the rumors or outline a clear-cut strategy that would serve to motivate the iPhone maker into such a deal.
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that lets users broadcast short messages of up to 140 characters – known as tweets – to other users who subscribe to their feeds, known as followers.
Twitter has skyrocketed since its creation. Many celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears have adopted the service. Oprah also announced that she is going to use the service, says TechChrunch.
There are about 25 million Twitter users worldwide, which has been swelling by 40% each week since last month.
A technology blog reported Tuesday that Apple may be talking about buying Twitter for $700 million.
Find out more at Apple Insider
This Apple “Media Pad” will likely use the 9.5-10 inch display and be able to watch high definition videos and browse the internet using Skype over wifi. It is rumored to be cheaper than the iPhone. This “Media Pad” could potentially out do the Amazon Kindle.
The Amazon Kindle 2 is an e-book reader. Basically, it displays electronic books, magazines, and newspapers. That is mostly all it does. You can download (buy) books from Amazon.com and it will be immediately transferred to your Kindle. It has no backlit screen, yet you can see perfectly in any lighting. However, the Apple “Media Pad” is said to be the killer of the Kindle.
The Kindle 2 has a confusing button layout. The scroller is said to be difficult to use. The Apple “Media Pad” will have a larger touch screen so it will be far easier to read and flip through pages. The prices for the media pad are rumored to be cheaper than that of the Kindle’s.
Many major newspaper companies such as the “New York Times” are struggling. Many are looking to these devices to save their companies. These Media Pads sound great, but they come with some negatives.
First is that these media pads and e-book readers are expensive. Some people just like the feel of paper. There are consumers that are afraid of technology. They know the newspaper, they know how it works. Why would they switch to something they have no idea how to work? Then there’s the cost. These e-book readers are fairly expensive. On top of the initial expense you have to pay for the books. It is, most of the time, cheaper to just go to the jiffy store and buy a newspaper. Or, after work, swing by your local Books-A-Million and get your book.
Also this “Media Pad” is able to play high definition movies. Well, doesn’t the iPhone and iPod Touch already play movies? How this product sells will be up to its “cool” factor.