O'Grady's PowerPage » OS X

Waltr surfaces, allows users to copy previously unplayable media formats to iOS devices

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 7th, 2015, 18:22
Category: iOS, News, Software, Uncategorized


This could be helpful.

Recently, a new app called Waltr surfaced. The app works as an alternative to iTunes to copy media onto your device, except that it transcodes files so that they play on the iDevice using the native Videos and Music apps. You no longer have to worry about file formats, including MKV and FLAC, and deal with errors saying that this format isn’t supported, or (if you use a third-party media player app) deal with files that have been copied failing to play, or playing only the video and not the audio.

Since the video is transcoded and played using the native Videos app, you can be sure that it will play back smoothly (rather than choppily), and that you won’t consume any more battery on the iDevice.


Security researcher demonstrates Thunderbolt firmware hack proof of concept at Chaos Computer Congress

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 5th, 2015, 10:15
Category: Hack, Hardware, News, security, Thunderbolt


As great as Thunderbolt is, there are vulnerabilities to consider.

Per 9to5Mac, a security researcher speaking at the Chaos Computer Congress in Hamburg demonstrated a hack that rewrites an Intel Mac’s firmware using a Thunderbolt device with attack code in an option ROM. Known as Thunderstrike, the proof of concept presented by Trammel Hudson infects the Apple Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) in a way he claims cannot be detected, nor removed by reinstalling OS X.

Since the boot ROM is independent of the operating system, reinstallation of OS X will not remove it. Nor does it depend on anything stored on the disk, so replacing the hard drive has no effect. A hardware in-system-programming device is the only way to restore the stock firmware.


iCloud.com Photos beta pulls disappearing act, no longer available

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 2nd, 2015, 10:17
Category: News, Software


It’s hard to say exactly what’s happening here, but sometimes Apple makes changes with no warning.

Per AppleInsider, the beta iCloud.com Photos application is no longer available to access via the website, as a vague “early 2015” launch date for a new Photos for OS X app also looms.

The iCloud Photos app had been available in beta form since last October, when it first debuted. In the following weeks, Apple had gradually added features, such as the ability to manually upload photos to the cloud.


Apple releases Network Time Protocol security patch

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014, 08:43
Category: News, security, Software


It’s not a huge patch, but it could make a difference.

Per Mac|Life, Apple released a small Network Time Protocol security patch on Friday. The patch, a 1.4 megabyte download, addresses what the company terms as a new “critical security issue”.

Fascinatingly enough, the vulnerability itself was discovered by the Google Security Team back on December 19, and the U.S. Government alerted users of it only a couple of days later. The dangers of the vulnerability are a little complex and the government’s ICS-CERT site is a little vague about what it is and what it does:


Apple seeds second OS X 10.10.2 Yosemite beta, asks developers to focus on Wi-Fi issues

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 5th, 2014, 11:32
Category: News, Software, Yosemite


If you’re still having Wi-Fi issues with Yosemite, there may be some hope on the way.

Per MacRumors, Apple on Thursday seeded the second beta of OS X 10.10.2 Yosemite to developers, two weeks after seeing the first 10.10.2 beta and two and a half weeks after releasing OS X 10.10.1 to the public.

The new beta, build 14C78c, is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store and should be available in the Mac Dev Center soon.


Apple quietly updates iWork for iCloud, adds 50 new font types, support for new languages, other changes

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 24th, 2014, 09:16
Category: iCloud, News, Software


It wasn’t the biggest update in the universe, but it might prove helpful.

According to MacRumors and German blog Macerkopf, Apple on Friday updated iWork for iCloud with support for up to eight new languages and more than 50 new fonts. The changes were added to the cloud-based versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote.


Google Chrome for OS X goes 64-bit

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, November 20th, 2014, 16:40
Category: News, Software


If you were hankering for a 64-bit version of Google Chrome for OS X, it’s finally arrived.

Safari has been 64-bit since OS X 10.6 (August 2009) and Firefox has been 64-bit since version 4 (2011). Incidentally, a 64-bit web browser is required to run Oracle Java on OS X.

Per Google’s Chrome Releases Blog, the Chrome team promoted v.39 to the stable channel for Windows, Mac and Linux. Google Chrome 39.0.2171.65 contains a number of fixes and improvements, including 64-bit support for Mac, a number of new apps/extension APIs, lots of under the hood changes for stability and performance.

Chrome 39 will arrive through an automatic update (if you have that feature enabled). If you don’t, you can download it from Google.


Some users continue to report Wi-Fi-related issues after OS X 10.10.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014, 11:33
Category: News, Software, Yosemite


From my own end, the OS X 10.10.1 Yosemite update worked and I haven’t had any issues to kvetch about.

This doesn’t seem to be the same case for everyone.

Per 9to5Mac, Computerworld and complaints registered on the Apple Support Communities, yesterday’s dot-release of OS X 10.10.1 has seemingly failed to address the Wi-Fi problems some users have been experiencing since upgrading to Yosemite, according to continuing posts on the Apple Support Communities.

Despite the first bullet-point in the release notes for 10.10.1 reading ‘Improves WiFi reliability,’ many of those who had reported connection failures, dropped connections and slow speeds said that nothing had changed since upgrading to 10.10.1 …

ComputerWorld quoted a number of illustrative complaints from a support thread containing more than 1,100 posts including the following:

10.10.1 didn’t fix my Wi-Fi issues, still randomly dropping every few minutes or so […]

We’ve got business-grade routers and [access points] at my school, and we’ve got numerous people unable to connect for longer than a minute before and after [updating] to 10.10.1 […]

10.10.01 does NOT fix the Wi-Fi issues. I had to go thru the same extreme routines I have had to go thru the past 2 months to be able to connect to the Internet.


Apple releases OS X 10.10.1 Yosemite update

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 17th, 2014, 19:13
Category: News, Software, Yosemite


‘Tis a day for updates.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has released OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 with bug fixes and performance improvements for Macs running the latest version of the desktop operating system.

The update offers the following fixes and changes:
– Improves Wi-Fi reliability.

– Improves reliability when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server.

– Resolves an issue that may prevent Mail from sending messages through certain email service providers.

– Addresses an issue prevents connecting to remote computers using Back to My Mac.

– Resolves an issue where sharing services, Notification Center widgets and Actions may not be available.

– Addresses an issue that could cause Notiication Center settings to not be retained after a restart.


Microsoft begins overhauling Skype, launches selected users to Skype for Web beta

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 14th, 2014, 11:19
Category: News, Software


A while back, it was reported that Microsoft has been significantly overhauling Skype.

As of Friday, the company announced that it is starting to roll Skype out onto the Web. Per 9to5Mac, Skype for Web will allow users to chat, video call, and manage contacts from a web browser without having to download the Skype app. Microsoft is currently offering Skype for Web as a beta to select users.

To participate in the Skype for Web beta, Microsoft says to log on to Skype.com where the browser-based version of the video calling will be and check for an invitation. The company says its making invitations available to a small number of users to start and will expand to users worldwide “in the coming months.”