Skype Reaches Version 2.6.0.151

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Date: Thursday, July 19th, 2007, 08:20
Category: Software

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It’s up to a fairly complex version number, but it tends to work well and has proven incredibly useful.
Skype, the long-standing Voice over Internet Protocol client, has been updated to version 2.6.0.151. The new version, a 29.7 megabyte download, offers improvements in both audio quality and bandwidth management optimizations.
The program is available for free, though the service charges a given rate for computer-to-land-line and computer-to-cell-phone calls and international calling.
Keep in mind that the new version is still in its beta stages, so a little caution might be a good idea.
Skype requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to run.
If you’ve tried the new version and had either a positive or negative experience with it, let us know in the forums.

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Firefox 2.0.0.5 Released

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Date: Thursday, July 19th, 2007, 08:01
Category: Software

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Late Wednesday, Mozilla released Firefox 2.0.0.5, the latest version of its popular Firefox web browser.
The new version, a 17 megabyte download, repairs the following security issues:
-XPCNativeWrapper pollution.
-Unauthorized access to wyciwyg:// documents.
-Remote code execution by launching Firefox from Internet Explorer.
-File type confusion due to %00 in name.
-Privilege escalation using an event handler attached to an element not in the document.
-Frame spoofing while window is loading.
-XSS using addEventListener and setTimeout.
-MFSA 2007-18 Crashes with evidence of memory corruption.
Firefox 2.0.05 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later to run and is available for free.
If you’ve tried the new version and had either a positive or negative experience with it, let us know in the forums.

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Certain iPhone Cameras Producing Greenish Tint in Photos

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Date: Thursday, July 19th, 2007, 07:40
Category: iPhone

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Getting back to the iPhone, a number of users have reported that the built-in cameras are producing a greenish tint on certain captured photos.
According to the guys at iPhone Atlas, the problem seems intermittent and could possibly indicate that different component manufacturers were used, resulting in different qualities on the shipping product.
Various readers have pointed out that the greenish tint can be resolved through Photoshop’s white balance tool as well as iPhoto’s enhance tool.
If you’ve seen this on your end or have another solution or workaround, let us know in the forums.

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Second Gen iPhone in September?

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Date: Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, 15:55
Category: iPhone

Remember all those version 2 iPhone rumors rumbling about back in May. Well, they’re back and running amuck in Taiwan. According to DigiTimes, Taiwan’s Chinese-language Commercial Times says that Taiwan’s Wintek has gained the touch-screen panel orders for the second-gen iPhone. The report claims that Wintek has already begun test production in small volumes with Apple intent on selling their newest model of the iPhone in September for somewhere between $249 and $299. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t state where this flavor of the iPhone will be sold.

Second generation iPhone for $249 in September? – Engadget

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iPhone Unlocking Team Reaches SIM Card Milestone

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Date: Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, 13:37
Category: iPhone

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The guys over at the iPhone unlocking project (available with a simple Google search) took on a sizable task when the handset was first released.
Despite having yet to completely unlock the handset, the team has reached a significant milestone in releasing iASign, a piece of software that purportedly allows users to work with prepaid Cingular, AT&T and AT&T MVNO SIM cards. According to Engadget, the program will allow users to pick up an iPhone without a contract, install their current SIM and be able to use the phone via a current contract without signing up for a new one.
For the brave of heart, the iASign download link can be found here.
If you’ve tried the program or have your two cents to chip in about unlocking the iPhone, let us know over in the forums.

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Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 Build 4560 Released

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Date: Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, 08:08
Category: Software

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Late Tuesday, software company Parallels released build 4560 of its best-selling Parallels Desktop for Mac emulation program.
The new build, an 83.2 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker, adds the following fixes and changes:
-Better customizability of SmartSelect for easier app/file integration.
-Faster & smoother Boot Camp partition use.
-Much smoother fullscreen transitions. No more flickering or lagging redraws.
-Improved Parallels Tools for Linux…we’ve added a Time Sync tool.
-The return of the Parallels Image Tool!
-A beefed up Parallels Explorer that makes sharing files and working with non NTFS drives easier. Sharp new graphics too.
-More powerful Snapshot manager that gives you greater control over how snapshots -re created and deleted.
-Minor tweaks and fixes.
Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 retails for US$79.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.
If you’ve tried the new version and have either positive or negative feedback about it, let us know in the forums.

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iPhones Lead to Headaches on Duke’s Wireless Network

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Date: Tuesday, July 17th, 2007, 14:25
Category: iPhone

It’s new, it’s spiffy and damn is it cool to have.

And it’s apparently brought Duke University‘s wireless LAN system to its knees.

Writing for NetworkWorld.com, author John Cox has pointed out that anywhere from a dozen to 30 wireless access points have been overwhelmed by requests from several iPhone handsets.

At this time, campus network administrators are talking with Cisco, the campus’ main WLAN provider and have opened a help desk ticket with Apple.

“Because of the time of year for us, it‚’s not a severe problem,” commented Kevin Miller, assistant director, communications infrastructure, with Duke’s Office of Information Technology. “But from late August through May, our wireless net is critical. My concern is how many students will be coming back in August with iPhones? It’s a pretty big annoyance, right now, with 20-30 access points signaling they’e down, and then coming back up a few minutes later. But in late August, this would be devastating.”

The iPhones apparently flood the access points with as many as 18,000 address requests per second, consuming almost 10 megabits per second of bandwidth and overtaking the access point to the point that the access point shows up as “out of service” for up to 10 to 15 minutes at a time. During these periods, there’s no way to communicate with them.

In addition to temporarily shutting the access points down, the iPhone, through the use of the Address Resolution Protocol, will request the MAC address of a destination node since the device has already obtained an Internet Protocol address. If the device receives no answer regarding the MAC address, it just keeps asking.

Miller has stated that Duke’s network team began capturing wireless traffic for analysis and discovered that the offending devices were iPhones. There are currently about 150 iPhones registered to use Duke’s campus WLAN.

“I’m not exactly sure where the ‘bad’ router address is coming from,” Miller says. One possibility: each offending iPhone may have been first connected to a home wireless router or gateway, and it may automatically and repeatedly be trying to reconnect to it again when something happens to the iPhone’s initial connection on the Duke WLAN.

They’re still sorting out what that “something” is. On two occasions, one last Friday and one today, Monday 16 July, both users seemed to be behaving completely normally, yet both iPhones started flooding the net with ARP requests. In both cases, the user first successfully connected to the WLAN at one location, and then moved to another building, where the ARP flood began. “It may have something to do with the iPhone losing connectivity and then trying to reconnect in a new location,” said Miller.

Duke has currently commented that the trouble ticket with Apple was “escalated”, but as of now, nothing substantive has been heard from the company.

This fall could prove interesting, especially if you’re in a campus network capacity.

If you’ve seen anything along these lines or have your own stories, ideas or feedback, let us know over in the forums.

Security Firm Expresses Concerns Over iPhone Browser Dialer

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Date: Tuesday, July 17th, 2007, 08:04
Category: iPhone

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Security firm SPI Labs claims to have discovered a threat to the iPhone’s security via the handset’s built-in MobileSafari browser. The company claims that the browser, which features an ability to dial phone numbers found on web sites, can be exploited in the following ways:
-Redirecting a call to a phone number other than the one seen on a given web site.
-Tracking calls to a site visitor.
-Bypassing the confirmation dialog box and forcing the call to continue.
-Preventing the phone from dialing calls altogether.
The firm has offered examples in which a user clicks on a malicious web site, then discovers they’re calling an international number and paying those rates.
According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, SPI Labs has opted not to disclose the actual nature of the exploit and how to perform it. The company has stated that they have alerted Apple and are cooperating with the company as to how to plug these holes. SPI Labs has also commented that the feature can simply not be used if users are worried about security.
If nothing else, the first iPhone software update should prove interesting.
Let us know your comments, ideas and thoughts on this over in the forums.

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iPhone Users Reporting Mixed Brightness on Handsets

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Date: Tuesday, July 17th, 2007, 07:53
Category: iPhone

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The grass may be always greener on the other side, but iPhone users may have a genuine complaint in this situation.
According to the guys over at iPhone Atlas, readers are reporting that some iPhone screens are brighter than others when set to the full brightness setting. The dimmer screens also seem to display a grid pattern on the background that appears as a checkered pattern of horizontal and vertical lines in all applications (a picture posted on ImageShack presents the difference).
The problem seems to stem from two distinct revisions of iPhone LCD panels being used, a 5 series and a 7 series. This can be tested via the following instructions:
-Put your iPhone in field test mode by accessing the Phone application, tapping Keypad, then entering *3001#12345#* and pressing Call.
-Tap Versions
-Inspect the entry next to LCD Panel ID
-Users have reported that iPhones with LCD Panel IDs that begin with 7 exhibit this problem, while those with IDs that begin with 5 do not — though we’ve seen reports from users with 7-series screens that do not exhibit the issue.
The article also suggests that when checking whether or not your iPhone has this issue, be sure to deactivate the Auto Brightness setting in your Settings menu, then reset the iPhone by holding the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button for at least 10 seconds. The reading may be affected by ambient light and this is the best way to remove that factor.
Apple has yet to comment on this issue.
If you’ve seen this or anything similar with your iPhone, let us know over in the forums.

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AT&T May Offer Discounted Data-Free iPhone Plan

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Date: Monday, July 16th, 2007, 13:03
Category: iPhone

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When enough customers get irked about something, a company usually works to accommodate then.
AT&T is no exception. According to Electronista, the provider may offer a low-cost data-free plan for iPhone users who threaten to drop their accounts.
Specifically, if a client calls complaining about Internet performance over its EDGE network, AT&T sales agents have apparently been offering to lower their monthly bills to US$40 as opposed to the current US$60/month minimum in exchange for dropping the unlimited data plan and SMS text messaging features.
Other features that arrived with the iPhone and its initial service plan will remain. Subscribers will still be able to use the iPhone’s Wi-Fi feature for browsing as well as have e-mail and YouTube access. Other features that will remain the same include 5,000 night and weekend minutes as well as 450 daytime minute. Visual Voicemail is disabled under the revised contract and the US$40/month fee tacks on minor service fees as well as charges 25 cents for each text message if a separate text bundle isn’t included within the revised account.
For subscribers failing to pass AT&T’s credit check during the activation process despite owning an iPhone, AT&T has quietly instituted GoPhone plans for these users. The GoPhone plan functions as a simplified prepay plan. Up to this point, AT&T had required that virtually all its plans include data and SMS features.
Not a bad alternative if you feel the iPhone’s data functions aren’t up to snuff, but not perfect either. As always, feel free to toss around your ideas and thoughts in the forums.

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