Dispute resolved, Jobs family mega-yacht free to leave port

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Date: Wednesday, December 26th, 2012, 07:41
Category: News

In the spirit of the holidays, the Jobs family mega-yacht is now free to go.

Per The Next Web, a financial dispute with designer Philippe Starck has been resolved and the mega-yacht commissioned by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is now free to leave the dock where it was previously impounded.



A lawyer representing the Jobs family has stated that a resolution has been reached between them and Starck. As a result, the yacht is now free to leave the dock it is stationed at in the Netherlands.

The yacht was sequestered by lawyers last week in Amsterdam over the financial dispute, in which Starck believed he was due 9 million euros, while the Jobs family felt he was owed 6 million euros. The terms of the final agreement between Starck and Jobs’ heirs is unknown, but it was suggested that the designer did not receive as much as he was asking for.

The boat was reportedly built on a mutual trust between Jobs and Starck, and the contract between them was not very detailed. Jobs began designing the ship, named “Venus,” after returning from a cruise that traveled from Italy to Turkey.

The super yacht was first revealed in October. Word of the yacht was first revealed by Starck himself in April, though it wasn’t seen until months later.

The 80-meter-long ship is made completely of aluminum, with huge plate windows covering the wheelhouse and main deck entrances. The yacht relies on 27-inch iMacs for navigation, systems control and other seafaring software.

I’m not sure if getting your mega-yacht out of being impounded counts as a holiday miracle, but the Jobs family has always seemed nice and you take what you can get.

Hacker cites iOS 6 code as becoming more secure, offering “tougher protections”

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Date: Wednesday, December 26th, 2012, 07:18
Category: iOS, News, security, Software

Hacking an iOS device may be getting tougher to do.

Per iPodNN, in a recent tweet, hacker i0n1c has revealed that the forthcoming iOS 6.1 update adds “again tougher protections” to the codebase even compared to iOS 6, suggesting that security has been dramatically improved.

While many users have perfectly legitimate reasons (beyond just wanting to) for jailbreaking their iOS devices, because the technique relies on finding an exploitable “hole” in the OS code that could also be used for malicious purposes, Apple is naturally very eager to close up avenues by which unofficial or dangerous code could be injected into the device — even though many “unofficial” apps are simply ones that were rejected by Apple for App Store guideline violations, mostly for altering core OS elements.

Closing down jailbreaking loopholes will also close off one of the principle sources of pirated apps, also giving Apple considerable incentive to cut off the practice. Holes in Android code are frequently used to install scamware, malware, privacy-compromising and even virus-ridden apps — a growing problem for Google, though the ability to heavily customize and “root” Android devices is a major selling point to the most technically-proficient of Android’s audience.

The hacker community believes that iOS 6 will eventually get an “untethered” (meaning “persistent through restarts”) jailbreak, but that iOS 6.1 may represent the end of the free jailbreaking road. The security may simply have reached a point where only those likely to sell any remaining exploit secrets are likely to be able to come up with any.

Apple has made security a top priority on iOS, since it is the only platform where malware is all but completely unknown. Many of the security improvements made in iOS have also been transferred to the Mac as applicable, including complete sandboxing of applications and developer “signatures” on apps.

In his tweet, i0n1c refers to a “changing of the guard” that has brought much-improved security to iOS. It’s unknown if this refers to Craig Federighi’s recent promotion to handle both iOS and OS X, or if this is a reference to Kristin Paget, a top white-hat hacker herself who is now listed on LinkedIn as a “Core OS Security Researcher” at Apple.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iOS 6 security bug in wild, reenables JavaScript under Safari without input from user

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Date: Monday, December 24th, 2012, 08:57
Category: News, security, Software

This is the reason bug fixes were invented.

Per AppleInsider the Safari web browser in Apple’s iOS 6 platform has a potentially serious JavaScript bug that could have major security and privacy implications.

The new “Smart App Banner” feature in iOS 6 is designed to allow developers the ability to promote App Store software within Safari. The Smart App Banner detects whether a user has a specific application installed, and invites them to view the software on the App Store or open it on their iOS device.

But for users who choose to turn off JavaScript in the Safari Web browser, the appearance of a Smart App Banner on a website will automatically and permanently turn JavaScript back on without notifying the user.

iOS device owners can test this issue by opening the Settings application and choosing Safari, then turning off JavaScript. Then simply launch the Safari browser and visit a website with a Smart App Banner.

Users can then go back into the Settings application to verify that the JavaScript setting switch has been flipped back to the “on” position without warning. Accordingly, JavaScript features on websites will begin working again.

The issue has reportedly existed since the release of iOS 6 months ago, though it has not been widely reported. In addition, people familiar with the latest beta of iOS 6.1 said the problem also remains in Apple’s pre-release test software on the iPhone.

Peter Eckersley, technology products director with digital rights advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said he would characterize such an issue as a “serious privacy and security vulnerability.”

Neither Eckersley nor the EFF had heard of the bug in iOS 6, nor had they independently tested to confirm that they were able to replicate the issue. But Eckersley said that if the problem is in fact real, it’s something that Apple should work to address as quickly as possible.

“It is a security issue, it is a privacy issue, and it is a trust issue,” Eckersley said. “Can you trust the UI to do what you told it to do? It’s certainly a bug that needs to be fixed urgently.”

But Lysa Myers, a virus hunter at security firm Intego, said she doesn’t see the bug as a major concern for the vast majority of iOS device owners.

“While this issue is certainly not an ideal situation, by itself it actually isn’t that large a problem,” said Myers. “At the moment it doesn’t pose a threat, but we’ll continue to monitor it to make sure it doesn’t become more exploitable. There’s also the fact that few people actually disable JavaScript completely as it can partially, or totally, disable the majority of websites.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Some users complain of reduced battery life, new Wi-Fi issues after iOS 6.0.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 21st, 2012, 08:51
Category: iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

Sometimes a bug fix works perfectly for everyone.

Other times it doesn’t, or opens up a whole new can of worms.

Per the Apple support forums and Ars Technica, Apple’s newly released iOS 6.0.2 update for the iPhone 5 and iPad mini may have resolved some Wi-Fi issues, but some users say it seems to have also reduced their battery life.

A number of users have expressed they have noticed poorer battery life on their iPhone after upgrading to iOS 6.0.2. Specifically, one user said they noticed their battery draining “substantially faster.”

In addition, a small number of users have created a thread at Apple’s official support forums to share their own evidence of battery problems with iOS 6.0.2.

“It is absolutely draining my battery,” user ‘atdguy’ wrote. “I can usually get through a day with about 75% of my battery power remaining. Today I’ve gone through 90% and I’ve done nothing special with it.”

Others posting at Apple’s site said that the release of iOS 6.0.2 actually introduced Wi-Fi connectivity issues for them. The software update, released on Tuesday, was intended to address previous Wi-Fi bugs for the iPhone and iPad mini.

All of the users who commented or e-mailed say they are experiencing the battery drain issues with their iPhone 5. There was no mention of iOS 6.0.2 battery problems with the iPad mini.

If you’ve seen these issues on your own devices after the iOS 6.0.2 update, please let us know in the comments.

AT&T activates additional 4G LTE networks in 24 U.S. cities

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 21st, 2012, 08:51
Category: iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, News

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Some speedy new 4G LTE networks are in place around the U.S.

Which is never a bad thing.

Per AppleInsider, AT&T this week announced that its high-speed 4G LTE network — compatible with Apple’s latest iPhone 5, iPad and iPad mini — has launched in 15 new markets, and also expanded coverage in a handful of other locations.

A total of 10 new locations with 4G LTE reception were announced by AT&T on Friday:
– Boise, Idaho

– Boulder, Colo.

– Bowling Green, Ky.

– Harrisburg, Pa.

– Hartford, Conn.

– Lancaster, Pa.

– Lexington, Ken.

– New Haven, Conn.

– Ogden, Utah

– Providence, R.I.

Those 10 are joined by five other markets that AT&T announced have LTE connectivity on Tuesday of this week:
– Green Bay, Wis.

– Melbourne, Fla.

– Oxford, Miss.

– Springfield, Mass.

– Tucson, Ariz.

Finally, AT&T also announced this week that its existing 4G LTE network has expanded in a handful of markets. They are:
– Middlesex County, N.J.

– Phoenix, Ariz.

– Salt Lake City, Utah

– Los Angeles, Calif.

The latest expansions are the most significant update to AT&T’s network since mid-November, when the company’s 4G LTE coverage was extended to 24 new markets, including Denver, Colo., and Columbus, Ohio.

In all, AT&T’s 4G LTE network has been launched in 124 markets. The company plans to reach 250 million people by the end of 2013, and 300 million by the end of 2014.

As always, let us know how AT&T’s 4G LTE network is working out for you (and if it’s worth the fairly heady price tag you pay each and every month)…

Apple releases OS X 10.8.3 build 12D44 to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 21st, 2012, 07:50
Category: News, Software

The OS X 10.8.3 seeds are coming a bit more quickly these days.

Which is never a bad sign.

Late Thursday, Apple seeded OS X 10.8.3 build 12D44 to developers, with the new version coming just two days after the previous 12D43 build was released according to AppleInsider.

It is not clear what changes have been made with the new OS X 10.8.3 beta as sources familiar with the previous build say developers are being asked to focus on the same areas. In fact, the release notes are identical to those released alongside build 12D43 on Tuesday.

Thursday’s notes also come with the same step-by-step instructions for installing and activating the “OS X Software Update Seed Configuration Utility,” which allows developers to download new seeds directly through Software Update in the Mac App Store. The new feature was first introduced in build 12D38 released at the start of December.

As with the previous beta seed, build 12D44 comes with no known issues and requests developers focus on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, Graphics Drivers and Safari.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the build and can offer any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

Adobe releases Photoshop CS 6 13.0.3 update

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Date: Thursday, December 20th, 2012, 09:46
Category: News, Software

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It took a little while, but this could be nifty.

On Thursday, Adobe released version 13.0.3 of its Photoshop CS6 image editing program. The new version, a 269.9 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), offers the following fix:

– Enables support for new HiDPI displays on the Macintosh platform for a dramatic improvement in image fidelity and resolution.

Photoshop CS6 13.0.3 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple patents point to effort to reduce noise on MacBook Pro fan modules

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 20th, 2012, 09:02
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News, Patents

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You know the fans on your MacBook Pro?

They’re about to get quieter.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a trio of patent applications discovered on Thursday reveal how the asymmetric fan blade spacing used in the newest MacBook Pro with Retina display models quiet the spinning impeller without sacrificing performance.

The three patent applications, all titled “Centrifugal blower with asymmetric blade spacing” and numbered sequentially (1, 2, 3) cover separate fan designs that feature asymmetrically aligned fan blades, two with 31 blades and one with 61 blades.

Apple first introduced its asymmetric fan design in June with the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and a subsequent teardown revealed that the laptop uses a 31-blade unit.

Typical fans incorporate a prime number of blades that are spaced at angles equidistant to each other, an industry standard aimed at reducing unwanted sound. At issue is the blade pass frequency (BPF) which produces harmonics from the pressure wave formed at the tip of each blade. The most noticeable source of noise is the pole pass frequency (PPF) tone, or the “vibration and resulting pressure waves created by the poles in the motor of the fan.”

Apple’s design calls for variably-angled blades that controls the spectral distribution of tones created by the fan. First-hand tests have found the new design to not necessarily quiet fan noise as much as create a less grating sound.

From the patent:
“Dispersing the energy of a tone over a number of discrete frequencies can make the tone seem less noisy to the listener by reducing the perception on the tonal BPF [blade pass frequency]. Spacing fan blades unevenly, while maintaining impeller balance, is one method of controlling pure-tone effects.”

According to the invention, the rearrangement of the fan blade angles cancels some of the noise usually heard in conventional portable computers but allows for the unit to still be balanced as the center of mass is located at the shaft of the impeller. The modified design also allows for the fan system to be smaller, thus permitting a thinner laptop as seen with the Retina MacBook Pros.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

SpamSieve updated to 2.9.6

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 20th, 2012, 08:51
Category: News, Software

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You can’t knock a useful chunk of shareware.

Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.9.6. The new version, a 10.7 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Worked around a bug in Mac OS X 10.8.2 that could cause spam operations in Postbox to be very slow. If you’re using Postbox, you can update your SpamSieve plug-in by following steps 1 through 6 in the Setting Up Postbox section of the manual.

– Made various changes to improve SpamSieve’s filtering accuracy.

– SpamSieve now understands that @icloud.com, @me.com, and @mac.com are equivalent, so it’s better that finding the proper inbox in Apple Mail when you train a message as good. (For non-Apple IMAP and POP mail accounts, you can define aliases manually, as before. Go to the Accounts tab of Mail’s preferences and enter all the addresses – separated by commas – in the Email Address field.)

– Customers have reported that Sync Services does not work reliably on Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Thus, rather than having Outlook use Sync Services to sync its contacts with the system address book, SpamSieve now offers a feature to load the Outlook address book directly. (This ensures that SpamSieve doesn’t mark messages from people in your address book as spam.) Outlook users are encouraged to make sure that Use Entourage/Outlook address book is checked in SpamSieve’s preferences and to click the Load button. For more information, see the Use Entourage/Outlook address book section of the manual.

– SpamSieve is now better able to handle invalid data received from a mail program.

– When Using a Spam Mailbox on the Server, SpamSieve is better at handling errors from Mail that could cause a trained spam message to go to the local spam mailbox instead.

– Training a message as good in Apple Mail now removes any flags, in case you were using Spam Message Colors in Apple Mail.

– Added How should I configure the junk filter on my mail server? to the FAQ.

– The Automatically Deleting Old Spam Messages section of the manual now includes instructions for Outlook.

– Worked around various file permissions problems that could prevent training in Apple Mail from working.

– Worked around a bug in Migration Assistant that could prevent SpamSieve from working properly with Apple Mail.

– The plug-in and scripts installers are better able to handle non-standard folder structures.

– Fixed a bug where SpamSieve was unable to see the contents of certain malformed messages, leading to poor filtering accuracy.

– Fixed a bug where sometimes setting the date in the Statistics window didn’t work when SpamSieve was running in 64-bit mode.

– Fixed a regression where where messages trained as good in Apple Mail didn’t move back to the inbox if you were using a local spam mailbox and no inbox matched the message’s recipients.

– Made various improvements to the manual.

SpamSieve retails for US$30.00 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

Carbon Copy Cloner updated to 3.5.2

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 20th, 2012, 08:32
Category: News, Software

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On Saturday, Carbon Copy Cloner, the shareware favorite for drive cloning operations by Mike Bombich, reached version 3.5.2. The new version, an 8.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Added support for sending notifications to Mountain Lion’s Notification Center. Growl support will continue to be supported for Snow Leopard and Lion, but in Mountain Lion, CCC will only send notifications to the built-in Notification Center. We understand that Growl offers functionality beyond Apple’s Notification center, but the time required to maintain support for Growl and protecting CCC from problems specific to Growl has become too much of a burden to continue its support when there is a capable alternative offered by the operating system.

– Scheduled tasks configured to run when the source or destination is reattached now have an optional reminder interval. If your source or destination volume hasn’t been attached in a given length of time (7 days by default), CCC will run the task and prompt you to attach the volume.

– When selecting a folder as the source or destination, CCC now displays a “bread crumb”-style indicator of the path to the folder to make it more clear where exactly the source and destination folders are located.

– CCC will now warn you if your USB-attached source or destination volume is “slow”, e.g. attached in a manner that results in the interface speed being negotiated to 1.5MB/s or less.

– Task names are now sorted in a case insensitive manner in the Scheduled Tasks window.

– Improved CCC’s handling of MacFUSE filesystems that do not explicitly allow access to the root user.

– Made some improvements to how CCC prevents sleep during a backup task.

– Improved handling of mounting network volumes with guest privileges.

– CCC now offers a simple mechanism for updating the password for the credentials used to mount a network volume in a scheduled task (e.g. if the password was specified incorrectly when the task was created or has subsequently been changed).

– There is now only one menu item for creating a Mac OS X Installer in CCC’s Source menu. Selecting this item will automatically select the Mountain Lion installer, if present, the Lion installer if present (if the ML installer is not present), or give the user the opportunity to manually select a Mac OS X installer application. The user can also hold down the Option key while choosing this menu item to manually select a Mac OS X Installer application.

– When CCC’s Cloning Coach reports that the destination’s Recovery HD needs to be updated, updating that Recovery HD is now much more automated.

– CCC now works around problems cloning a Recovery HD volume that are caused by PGP and Paragon “flavors” of the GUID Partition scheme.

– Fixed some issues handling file ownership when the source or destination filesystem is nfs, ppfs, osxfusefs, or fuse4x.

– Made a few adjustments that should cause CCC to behave better while logged in as the root user. We don’t recommend logging in as the root user, nor do we spend a lot of time testing this configuration, but it should work better now.

– Made some improvements to how a logout event is handled. During logout, the WindowServer is torn down. Depending on the timing of that and when a CCC scheduled task manages to exit, it’s possible for the scheduled task to make requests to the now-absent WindowServer which can lead to an exception. That exception can place CCC into an indeterminate state for a prolonged period of time. Now if a backup task is running and you log out, CCC will abort the backup task and exit more quickly. If an exception occurs, a secondary termination mechanism will reliably terminate the scheduled task, allowing it to properly reload and reconnect to the new WindowServer process.

– Some email servers require SSL but do not support STARTTLS, which is the IANA-approved standard for negotiating SSL-protected connections to SMTP servers (http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3207). This update accommodates these servers by pre-negotiating an SSL connection when using port 465.

– Made some minor user interface adjustments to accommodate the behavior of encrypting Fusion volumes.

– Fixed the errant presentation of a configuration concern when the destination volume’s Recovery HD OS version is not a perfect match to the OS version on the source. It is appropriate, for example, for the source volume’s OS to be 10.8.2, but the Recovery HD volume’s OS to be 10.8 (because Apple does not update the Recovery HD during ordinary OS updates).

– Fixed a schedule calculation issue for monthly tasks in which some months could be skipped.

– Fixed an issue in which some folders in the list of items to be copied could not be opened.

– Addressed a couple issues where CCC would hang while trying to retrieve information from an unresponsive volume.

– Filenames that use more than 255 bytes (e.g. less than 255 characters, but with non-ASCII, multibyte characters) are now preserved properly.

– Fixed an issue in which applying the Mac OS X 10.8.2 Supplemental update would cause CCC scheduled tasks to report that “Mac OS X is not responding to CCC’s request to perform a privileged task”.

– Fixed an issue in which CCC was unable to copy files to the destination if the root folder of the source was locked.

Carbon Copy Cloner 3.5.2 retails for a US$39.95 shareware registration fee. The application requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.