Micromat, Publishing Your Mac’s Serial Number

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Date: Wednesday, December 13th, 2006, 01:00
Category: Uncategorized

iconmagg5.gifEditor’s Note: This article was originally run without the long version after the jump due to a technical error. This is the entire article and the PowerPage regrets the error. – Ed.
Did you know that when you install TechToolPro 4 it is constantly running an anti-piracy service? Did you know that it was sending your serial number out to every other Mac on your network? I didn’t think so.
Micromat slipped some broad and sweeping anti-piracy measures into a TechToolPro update awhile back. TechToolProtection, the daemon that constantly runs on every Mac installed with TechToolPro, does much more than “protect” your Mac, as its name implies.
TechToolProtection starts a Bonjour service that is constantly broadcasting critical pieces of information about your Mac to other systems… information that anyone on a network subnet can read.
But, that’s the least of your worries. It also broadcasts your Mac’s serial number. This is something that even Microsoft refuses to do with their most stringent anti-piracy measures. Even Microsoft agrees that publishing your machine’s serial number can place it at-risk for security attacks, as well as accessing your personal information.
Gaining your Mac’s serial number can be used for pretexting with Apple, accessing insurance information about you, and places your identity at risk. Not to mention that should there be a recall on your Mac, anyone can claim parts for your Mac, and pocket the cash selling them.
There are known knows, and there are known unknowns about TTP’s anti-piracy measures. We don’t know what else is being broadcast, but Micromat has indicated to myself and others that it is not encrypted.
Finally, we do know that there is no need for this. Net Monitor uses the same Bonjour method of sniffing out piracy, and does not broadcast your Mac’s serial number. Also, it does not run 24/7, but only when the app itself is running, minimizing the chances of your serial number being pirated by someone else.
Want to see this in action? Download Bonjour Browser (don’t bother opening TechToolPro). If you see “_ttp4daemon.tcp.” running, congratulations, anyone can rip off info about you and your Mac.
Want to put a stop to this? Post in Micromat’s forum or send a note to them letting them know you care about your privacy. Or, don’t, and let someone more nefarious take care of you. A temporary workaround is barring TechToolProtection from starting up, or, close it after startup (and every startup) from Activity Monitor.
I approached Micromat with this issue in-depth, and their response was “you’re the only one complaining”. I tried to respond to them that this was simply because nobody knew about it yet… but that did not go too well. I also want to add that I own and use TechTool Pro on a weekly basis, and endorse its ability to repair and fix your sick Mac. I just wish Micromat would be as ardent about your privacy and system resources as they are about their feature set.
Contributed By: Christopher Price – PCS Intel

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Device Problems In Search of a Solution

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Date: Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, 03:42
Category: Opinion

The problems PDAs and mobile phones suffer are comparable to the mess of incompatibility and complexity that plagued desktop computing in the 80′s. The problems aren’t all the same, but they similarly act to limit the usability and potential of consumer electronics.
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Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RDM

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Newton Lessons for Apple’s New Platform

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Date: Monday, December 11th, 2006, 09:00
Category: Opinion

Apple is building a new platform, and applying lessons it learned from the 90s, when tried to launch the Newton as a new platform. Like the original Macintosh from a decade prior, the Newton started as one product, and intended to branch out into a range of systems. Here’s why it failed and the lessons to be learned.
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Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RDM

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iPhone ‘an almost definite certainty’, allegedly

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Date: Tuesday, December 5th, 2006, 10:00
Category: iPhone

iphone-slider-250.jpgThe iPhone rumour mill has been cranked up to eleven by Digg.com founder Kevin Rose claiming that the new iPhone will be ‘small as sh*t’. Which, as any qualified scatologist knows, is very, very, very, very small. Possibly.
Rose also claimed that users should be able to use it on any GSM network, and that it almost certainly has a slide-out keyboard.
He also claimed that it will have two batteries: one for the music-playback, the other for the phone. This pretty much confirms that his story isn’t bogus because, as we all know, two small batteries are (nearly always) a LOT better than one big battery. Maybe.
He also thinks two iPhones will ship: a 4GB and an 8GB model, costing $249 and $449 respectively. This has the ring of truth. The iPhone will need memory, and (in the United States at least) be priced in dollars.
What Kevin Rose didn’t say (probably because he didn’t have time, or maybe just forgot) is that the new iPhone will nearly certainly feature WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, a full suite of contact management utilities that synchronise effortlessly with Macs and PCs, a 5 megapixel digital camera (with optical zoom), voice recognition, a full range of flash-memory slots, a built-in high-resolution projector, and a virtual projector keyboard.
He also omitted to confirm that the iPhone would weigh less than 10 grammes, be a mere 3mm thick, and that the built-in screen would allow the viewing of hi-def video at full resolution.
He was probably wanting to leave Steve Jobs with a few ‘just one more thing’ announcements. Possibly.
Contributed by: Brett Jordan

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Apple iTV Touted on 60 Minutes Segment

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Date: Monday, December 4th, 2006, 10:54
Category: iTV

60 Minutes on CBS featured a segment on NetFlix and discusses DVD popularity and potential competition from online movie distribution. In the segment Apple ITV “Apple plans to boost its new downloading business by introducing iTV within six months. It’s a box that will connect the Internet and TV. Reed Hastings told 60 Minutes he’ll unveil plans for his own download service in January. And Netflix has posted a customer service number on its Web site.” See the segment here.
Contributed by: bradvr

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Will Apple Make Another 12″ Laptop?

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Date: Wednesday, November 29th, 2006, 17:31
Category: Any Laptop Computer

Longing for the days of laptops the size of the the PowerBook Duo, reader Eric Nix offers the following request:
Have we seen the end of Apple’s ultra portable laptops? Hopefully, no.
Many users demand ultra portability because of frequent travel. In my case, I frequently travel to third world countries for international relief work. I need something that’s ultra portable with a decent battery life. Stocked with a few extra batteries, it might be days before I can plug into an electrical outlet to recharge a battery.
Here are the reasons why we 12″ PowerBook users feel abandoned and why we hope Apple will produce another ultra portable laptop:
1. Not every person needs a widescreen display: Most of us don’t watch movies on our laptops. Most of us use the laptop for surfing the internet, reading email, word processing or business applications. Although a widescreen is suited well for many users, it adds unnecessary inches to a laptop’s width.
2. A smaller size translates into better portability: Ever tried using a laptop on a cramped airplane, train or bus? Imagine doing this in a third world country where the seats are even closer together than in the U.S. Yes, you can pack humans on a bus like sardines in a can. It’s not the ideal place for a 17″ widescreen, but the current 12″ form factor works well.
3. Smaller screens allow for better battery life: No unnecessary pixels to illuminate.
4. Smaller sizes and lighter weights make it easy to tote around: Every ounce counts when you’re toting textbooks or extra batteries to your class — a half mile away from your parking garage.
5. Thin is in: A thinner laptop allows one to pack in more of those textbooks, papers, and other “fun” stuff into your laptop bag. Some of us will even opt to carry additional batteries in the saved space.
How about it, Mr. Jobs? Will you give us a 12″ non-widescreen MacBook Pro for us ubergeek travelers who demand portability, or will you alienate us and force us to look for Windows (gasp) ultraportables?
Contributed by: Eric Nix, MD

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MagSafe Stress Relief

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Date: Tuesday, November 28th, 2006, 10:00
Category: MacBook Pro

magsafe-wrap.jpg
For those of you worried about the weak spot/melting point of the MagSafe connector, here’s what I’ve been doing with all my laptop power supplies for the last few years. I cut a short piece of 1/8″ spiral cable wrap available at Walmart or Radio Shack, usually in a package of multiple diameters for a couple bucks, wrap it around the weak point and cinch it down hard with a small zip tie and a pair of pliers. Cheap trick, but until they add some real stress relief at that joint, it cheaper than buying a new power supply.
Contributed by: Kent Sievers

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Platform Crisis: The Tentacles of Legacy

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Date: Monday, November 27th, 2006, 00:52
Category: Opinion

After reliance on isolationist development using proprietary technologies, the second factor of platform crisis involves embracing the suffocating tentacles of long term legacy support. Here’s how legacy plays into the past, present, and future plans of Apple and Microsoft, and what it means for users of their products.
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Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RDM

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Apple and Microsoft: Platform Crisis Meltdown

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Date: Monday, November 27th, 2006, 00:00
Category: Opinion

How Apple and Microsoft have both used and fallen prey to four factors of software development disaster in the past and today. Read More…
Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RDM

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The Secrets of Pink, Taligent and Copland

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Date: Sunday, November 26th, 2006, 19:00
Category: Opinion

After Hitting the Wall in Mac System 7 development, Apple desperately needed a plan for the future. The isolationist, proprietary development style that had formerly differentiated Apple’s products now stood in the way of the company’s very survival. The same situation applies to Microsoft today.
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Contributed by: Daniel Eran, RDM

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