Davao Mac User

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How to shrink your gear

Dan Frakes ran a series of articles for MacWorld for road warriors which gave tips such as using an Airport Express Base Station as a charger and carrying shorter cables instead of fewer cables.

The last installment of the series covers the incredible shrinking mobile gear. In it he lists down his essential small but powerful tools, like the Apple USB charger, Belkin Micro Auto Charger, Dr. Bott’s T3Hub, and many more. Check it out.

By the way, serious road warriors would be wise to check out his list of essential mobile gear.

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Filed under: Airport, Hardware, ,

New white MacBook; free 8GB iPod touch* in Back-to-School promo [u]

First read about the updates to the white MacBooks over at TUAW, with readers tipping the staff  about the quiet upgrade.

The new internal specs are (previous specifications in parentheses):

  • 2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (up from 2.0 GHz)
  • 2GB 800MHz DDR2 memory (up from 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM)
  • 160GB hard drive (up from 120GB)

AppleInsider notes that the new white MacBook still uses the same NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics card. The graphics card was updated January 21st along with the 1,066MHz front-side bus and doubling of the to RAM to 2GB.

The cheapest MacBook is still priced at $999, and according to AppleInsider the new white MacBook is eligible for Apple’s Back to School promo.

The just announced promo lets qualifying students, faculty or staff members get an *online rebate of $229 when they purchase a Mac and an 8GB iPod touch. Since the 8GB iPod touch costs $229, with the online rebate, it’s like getting the iPod touch for free.

The new white MacBook isn’t available in the Philippine Apple Online Store yet. Perhaps still waiting for stocks to arrive. Non-US TUAW readers have also commented that the upgrade isn’t available in their respective Apple Online Stores as well.

I’m hoping that we’ll have a back-to-school promo here as well.

Update: The Philippine Apple Online Store now has the white MacBook. It retails for ₱ 55,990.00 and estimated shipping is within 24 hours. No back-to-school promo though.

The internal specs between the polycarbonate and the low-end unibody MacBook is almost very similar (the unibody MacBook uses a faster DDR3 RAM). I’m expecting (more like hoping) for an update to the aluminum MacBooks real soon.

Filed under: iPod touch, MacBook, ,

Japanese university to give free iPhone to students

From the Mainichi Daily News:

Aoyama Gakuin University faculty began providing Apple iPhone 3Gs to all 550 staff and students Friday, using the GPS function to determine whether they are in school or not. Full operation of the system will be intitated in the autumn.

There are also plans to expand the use of the iPhones to setting simple tests and questionnaires, submitting homework and reviewing class video materials.

(I’d sure like to be enrolled in that university ~Jim)

Filed under: iPhone,

Mac OS X’s Java vulnerability

Warning! Warning! Hackers can use an exploit to destroy your Mac! Shut down your Mac NOW!!!

Wait! I’m just kidding. Don’t shut down your Mac yet. Well, not until you’ve read what the hoopla is all about.

According  to AppleInsider, Intego, a Mac security software developer, has warned that Apple has yet to fix a critical security vulnerability” in Mac OS X.

The said vulnerability is from a version of Java (What is Java?) Apple is using for Mac OS X; a vulnerability that was patched by Sun about six months ago. Yet, Apple failed to fix this even with the latest Mac OS X update.

So how does this exploit operate and what can it do? According to Ted Landau over at The Mac Observer:

Any Web site may include a Java applet. In most cases, the applet performs some useful and needed function for the Web site.

However, an unscrupulous developer could create a Java applet that executes some “evil” action, such as deleting files from your hard drive.

In Safari, the first time a Java applet attempts to launch, a message should pop up asking whether or not your “trust” the app. This is a security protection. If you are visiting an unfamiliar Web site and you’re unsure how safe the applet is, you can decline to trust the applet, and it won’t run.

The ultimate problem is that it is possible to create Java applets that run without triggering the Safari warning message (emphasis mine). Other browsers may offer more reliable early-warning systems (as covered in this Macworld article by Rob Griffiths), but all of them are subject to some degree of risk. This means that you could get in trouble simply by visiting a Web site that contains a exploitive Java applet. No other action would be required.

The exploit could then be used to access or delete files, execute codes, and run applications.

But how real is this threat? Again, back to Ted Landau on how real the threat is:

The preceding is the official advice and I’m agreeing with it. However, whenever these security topics come up, someone inevitably asks: “Just how real a threat is this? If I don’t do anything to protect myself, how likely is it that something bad will happen to me?”
My answer is: The real world risk is very very low.
In order to be burned, someone would first have to put a dangerous Java applet out in the wild. To date, there are no known such applets.
Second, if such an applet did exist, there would be warnings about it all over the Web, as soon as it was discovered. If you are Web-savvy enough to be reading this column, chances are good you would see these warnings before there was even a remote chance of you being harmed.
Third, even if an exploitive Web site existed and you had not seen warnings about it, you would still have to be deceived into visiting the site. That means you’d have to receive some publicity about the site. Unless the exploiter is very good at generating phony publicity, this is not likely to happen.
Lastly, even if you did get some deceptive come-on, if you typically ignore invitations to go to unfamiliar Web sites and similarly trash all the spam email you receive, you would still be safe.
That’s why the real world risk is very low.

… whenever these security topics come up, someone inevitably asks: “Just how real a threat is this? If I don’t do anything to protect myself, how likely is it that something bad will happen to me?”

My answer is: The real world risk is very very low.

In order to be burned, someone would first have to put a dangerous Java applet out in the wild. To date, there are no known such applets.

Second, if such an applet did exist, there would be warnings about it all over the Web, as soon as it was discovered…

Third, even if an exploitive Web site existed and you had not seen warnings about it, you would still have to be deceived into visiting the site…

Lastly, even if you did get some deceptive come-on, if you typically ignore invitations to go to unfamiliar Web sites and similarly trash all the spam email you receive, you would still be safe.

Though the risk of being exploited by this Java vulnerability in the real world is low, Mr. Landau still advises disabling Java, for now. Macworld’s Rob Griffiths tells you how to disable Java on some web browsers.

Filed under: OS X, , ,

Apple opens new retail stores in Australia, Switzerland

Apple just opened Apple Store #256 in Australia. IT Wire reported that even if this is Australia’s fifth Apple Store (second in Melbourne) is still drew a crowd of about 300 people who lined up for the opening this morning. The new Apple Store, located in the Westfield Doncaster shopping center, had customer’s lining up as early as 8PM Friday which line grew to a hundred by 8AM today. Below is a photo taken by aagius during the opening of the Doncaster Apple Store. More photos at his Flickr page.

Photo by aagius

Photo by aagius

Prior to today’s opening in Australia, Apple also opened a new Apple Store in Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich Thursday. This is Switzerland’s third Apple Store. More info and photos at ifo Apple Store and Macprime.

Filed under: Apple, Inc.,

The Macalope speaketh

AntlersThis week on The Macalope Weekly:

Microsoft’s $30,000 b*llsh*t. Redmond is getting desperate.

Apple fans know the June 8 is NOT “late June”. Munster don’t see an iPhone or a Jobs on WWDC day. (Gruber has something to say about that.)

The netbook’s shine is fading. Really? Fer sure?

Check out what the horned out has to say.

Filed under: Apple, Inc., , , ,

Schiller to keynote WWDC 09

According to AppleInsider, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, Phil Schiller, will be delivering this year’s keynote on June 8 for the Worldwide Developer Conference to be held at the Moscone West conference center in San Francisco from June 8 to 12, 2009.

WWDC 09 is expected to showcase more Apple talent among of which is Bertrand Serlet, senior vice president of Software Engineering. He is expected to bring developers up to date on the latest Mac OS, Snow Leopard. Serlet said:

“Last June, we gave developers an early look at the powerful new technologies that form the underpinnings of Mac OS X Snow Leopard. At WWDC, we will be giving our developers a final Developer Preview release so they can see the incredible progress we’ve made on Snow Leopard and work with us as we move toward its final release.”

The new iPhone OS 3.0 is also expected to be showcased with technical sessions to help developers get the most out of the iPhone 3.0 SDK and the more than 1,000 APIs available for iPhone OS 3.0.

Filed under: Apple, Inc., iPhone, OS X, ,

Update Tuesday: Apple releases OS X 10.5.7, Safari 3.2.3 and 4.0 beta, and OS X 10.4 updates

Apple Tuesday released a slew of updates for their Leopard and Tiger operating systems as well as for their Safari web browser version 3 and 4 beta.

Mac OS 10.5.7

This update is recommended for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of Macs.

Here’s the partial list of updates and fixes:

  • Includes latest security fixes.
  • Includes additional RAW image support for several third-party cameras.
  • Improves performance of video playback and cursor movements for recent Macs with NVIDIA graphics.
  • Improves the reliability and accuracy of Unit Converter, Stocks, Weather and Movies Dashboard widgets.
  • Addresses a situation that may cause issues when logging into Gmail.
  • Improves reliability when syncing contacts with Yahoo!.
  • Improves Finder search results for network volumes that may not support Spotlight searching, such as Mac OS X Server v10.4, Time Capsule, and third-party AFP servers.
  • Includes several improvements to Directory Service and Client Management, which are described in the About Mac OS X Server 10.5.7 Update article.


Also included are updates or fixes for iCal (improves reliability when automatically syncing with MobileMe); Mail (addresses reliability and sync issues with Notes); Parental Controls (improves consistency with Parental Controls and application restrictions); and printing.

For the complete list of updates and fixes check out the Mac OS 10.5.7 Support page.

You can update Mac OS X 10.5.7 by using your Software Update utility or by downloading the standalone installer:

  • Delta update requires you to have 10.5.6 (442MB)
  • Combo update lets you update to 10.5.7 if your operating system is from 10.5 to 10.5.6 (729MB)

Note: Software Update indicated a 286MB download for the 10.5.7 update on my Mac. Your milage may vary.

Mac OS X Server 10.5.7 update improvements include: AFP Server, Directory Services, Mail Service, RADIUS Service, Wiki Service, and more. Check out the Support page for more information.

Safari

Safari 3.2.3 is recommended for all Safari users and includes the latest security updates.

Updates are available for Leopard (40MB; requires Mac OS X 10.5.7), Tiger (26.29MB), and Windows XP/Vista (19.69MB).

Safari 4 beta 1 has been updated as well and requires 10.5.7.

Tiger Security Update

Security Update 2009-002 is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X. Previous security updates have been incorporated into this security update. Update is available for Intel Mac users (165MB) and PPC Mac users (75MB).

Read before installing

Apple has some important reminders for users before installing any update, especially OS updates:

  • Back up your computer prior to installing any updates.
  • Quit any open applications before starting the installation.
  • Do not interrupt the installation process.
  • You may experience unexpected results if you have third-party system software modifications installed, or if you’ve modified the operating system through other means. (This does not apply to normal application software installation.)
  • If issues occur during installation–for example, if Software Update quits unexpectedly–please see this article.

Filed under: OS X, Safari, , , ,

Of market share and accolades

Apple, for the past two weeks, has gotten accolades for their Macs and iPhone and saw an increase in web market share with the help of their iPhone and iPod touch devices.

Consumer Reports [hearts] Macbooks

Apple’s entire MacBook line got top honors in the latest Consumer Reports computer study yet again, according to an AppleInsider article.

The MacBooks and MacBook Pros lead in every laptop size category. In the 13-inch category, the aluminium unibody MacBook takes the gold with a score of 62, MacBook Air takes silver with a score of 60, and the white polycarbonate MacBook takes bronze with a score of 55.

For the 14- to 16-inch category, the MacBook Pro takes top spot scoring a 75, while the the nearest competitor only scored a 64.

The17-inch MacBook Pro won first place with a score of 80 in the 17- to 18-inch category. The second place Windows laptop only got a score of 64.

The rankings were based according to performance, design, versatility, screen quality, and battery life.

The Mac mini and iMac, however, only took second places in the standard desktop category and the all-in-one category, respectively.

Consumer Report also places Apple on top of the list for support services for both portables and desktops. This echoes Forrester’s “Customer Experience Index” report released last month which gave Apple an 80% rating; 14 points above the nearest competitor.

Britain’s got Apple…

…in its top five PC vendors for the first quarter of 2009. Based on Gartner’s April 2009 report, Apple placed fifth on the list with a market share of 4.8%; that’s up 0.5% compared to 2008’s first quarter result.

The iPhone gets honors, too

In JDPower’s “2008 Business Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study“, Apple’s iPhone got top honors, rated as “Among the Best” beating competitors such as HTC, Motorola, Palm, RIM Blackberry, and Samsung.

The study looked at five factors in deciding which smartphone was the best. In order of importance, the five factors are: ease of operation, operating system, physical design, handset features, and battery aspects.

The iPhone received an overall smartphone customer satisfaction score of 778 out of 1,000. It garnered perfect scores in all factors except one: battery life. Second place RIM Blackberry got 703 and Samsung, 701.

iPod touch triples web market share in five months

According to an April 2009  Net Applications report, Apple’s iPod touch garnered 0.15% of web market share. Might not seem much but when compared to the 0.05% market share last November, last month’s 0.15% represents a threefold increase for the multi-touch-based iPod.

For the iPhone the period between November 2008 and April 2009 resulted in an increase of 0.18%; from 0.37% to 0.55%.

When combined, both iPhone and iPod touch give Apple the largest share in the mobile web space.

However, things are different in the desktop/laptop space. The Cupertino company saw a slight dip in web market share from last month’s figures. Mac OS figures fell 0.04% from March’s 9.77% to April’s 9.73%.

Windows has it worse though; shares dropped from March’s 88.14% to April’s 87.90%, and when compared to last June 2008’s results, last month’s figures represents a fall of almost 3% in web market share.

AppleInsider does tell readers that the numbers doesn’t directly translate to actual unit market share and can be swayed by usage patterns.”

Last but not the least…

MacDailyNews reports that Vitrue, a social media marketing company, has released its ranking of the top 100 social media brands of 2008, and Apple has managed to place itself four times on the top 20. Macs are placed #16, the iPod on #7, Apple as a company third, and on first place is the iPhone. According to Vitrue the list:

comprises a mix of blue-chip brands that Vitrue deems to be successfully establishing their social presence and commanding attention and engagement online.

Filed under: Apple, Inc., Hardware, iPhone, ,

Yahoo Messenger for the iPhone

Yahoo! Messenger for the iPhoneMacworld gives the Yahoo Messenger app for the iPhone and iPod touch a generally good review (four mice out of five), with the reviewer praising the app’s ability to share photos, archive conversations, and being able to remain active for 10 minutes after switching to another app or taking a call. Yahoo Messenger can’t run in the background just like any other app because of the limitation in the current iPhone OS. The upcoming iPhone 3.0 OS will solve this with push notification.

The app can also be used to sign up for an account in case you don’t have one yet.

I do have some quibbles with some of the reviewer’s complaints:

  1. Can’t chat over video: the iPhone doesn’t even have video capability (yet). Kind of petty to complain about a missing feature when the device itself doesn’t support it.
  2. No support for any other instant messaging clients: Yahoo does have the prerogative to offer a service catering to its users only. They don’t need to support other IM services. This is not Adium we’re talking about here.

His other complaints are less petty and seem valid (non-animated emoticons, social network integration, and history sync between the desktop version and mobile app). Yahoo might add these later on.

I have the Yahoo Messenger app on my iPod touch but I don’t use it often. The fact is, I’m not doing IM much these days. Right now, my preferred method of communication is Plurk and to a lesser degree, Twitter.

Still waiting for the official Plurk API for a better iPhone/iPod touch app.

Filed under: iPhone, Software, ,

PLEASE READ

On July 21, I moved my blog to its own server.

So www.davaomacuser.com no longer points to davaomacuser.wordpress.com.

I've already got a few new posts over there so please join me at www.davaomacuser.com.

See you there. Thanks!

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