Without a doubt, the best write-up of the annual crybaby WWDC reaction is at The Graphic Mac.
June 9, 2009
May 5, 2009
On not being Malware proof, Rich Mogull writes:
…just because we live in a nicer neighborhood doesn’t mean we are immune to risks. For many years Mac OS X did have an inherent security advantage over Windows, but to those who understand the technologies within the operating systems, those days are long past.
The latest version of Windows (Vista, not that most people use it) is provably more secure in the lab than the latest version of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Leopard lacks proper implementation of the new anti-exploitation technologies included in Vista, and, based on the number of Apple security patches, experiences about as many vulnerabilities.
When I see articles that defend Mac OS X based on the lack of Mac-specific malicious software, and not on current technical capabilities, cybercrime dynamics, or attack methods, I tend to be dubious.
Mac OS X’s Unix core was a powerful security defense for many years, especially the requirement to enter a password before installing most kinds of software, but modern attack methods are able to circumvent that protection.
It’s part of his article on Mac Disaster News Stories.
Some days it seems the entire world is waiting with bated breath for the eventual fall from grace of the long-vaunted Macintosh security. From industry publications to the mainstream press, even the slightest Mac security hiccup spurs an onslaught of articles, debates, and even the occasional cable news headline. Some stories declare us invulnerable to attacks, while others give the impression that by the time you jump up from your armchair and rush to your Mac, it will already be infected and funneling your life’s savings and family photos to Nigerian spammers. For us Mac users it can be difficult to discern the lines between truth, hype, and outright fantasy.
As someone who spends most of his time reading, writing, and speaking about security, there are five things Rich tends to look for in Mac security news to cut to the heart of the story. After all the hype in recent days over the “Mac botnet,” he thought it was time to share some of his tricks.
March 25, 2009
Aaron Hillegass writes:
Every other conference in the world announces its date and location at least a year in advance, but year after year, Mac developers wait around to hear when Apple’s World-Wide Developer Conference will be held. WWDC is usually held in the summer, and the date for this year has still not been announced. So I have an announcement:
I will be at the beach Jun 6 – 13. If Apple decides to hold WWDC that week, I will not be there.
We reserved a big beach house for that week with another family six months ago. I would have worked around WWDC if I known when it was to be held, but it is too late to change my plans now.
My advice: If you ever plan a conference for thousands of people, I suggest you announce the date and location a year or more in advance.
I disagree with the “year or more” portion, but 4 – 8 weeks more lead time would be an improvement.
( Via possible/probable)
March 3, 2009
The Apple Blogosphere panicked today as Apple introduced a wired keyboard with no numeric keypad.
To make matters worse, it’s the default keyboard that comes with iMacs
and Mac Pros .
The Horror! The Horror!!!
My Take: Apple is killing the keyboard, period.
I think this is the last physical keyboard Apple, Inc. will produce. I believe we are being groomed for a multi-touch virtual keyboard (which will not have a numeric keypad) and this is one of the final steps.
I hope Snow Leopard will be the bridge between a mouse-based interface and a touch-based interface and 10.7 (or “OS 11” or “OS X Touch” or whatever the next one is called) demotes the Finder and brings Springboard to the Mac.
February 4, 2009
Much is made over the fact that Macs don’t get viruses. Even Apple’s advertising campaign plays up this fact. To this I say: So What? Viruses aren’t the only nasties out there, nothing is safe from a trojan horse, and everyone can be phished.
Nothing Is Safe from a Trojan Horse
I can burn a trojan horse on a DVD, and render your DVD Player permanently inoperable. I can put a trojan horse on a thumb drive and plug it into your car stereo’s USB port, and brick your car stereo. Of course, the trojan horse has to be written for the specific target. The trojan horse that destroyed the DVD Player won’t do anything to the car stereo and vice versa.
The same is true of Windows and Macs. A Trojan Horse written for a Mac is harmless to Windows, and vice versa.
What’s the difference?
A virus is a self-replicating piece of software. It requires no human intervention to spread. It just has to exploit a known hole in your system’s security. A Trojan Horse (or just “Trojan”) doesn’t have to find a hole in your security. It just has to bait you. It fools you into downloading it, installing it, giving it permissions, and running it.
It can be disguised a quarterly report from your supervisor, a viewer for a porn site, a cracked version of iWork or Photoshop, or even a pirated song.
When it’s disguised as a photo or a video or music file, it’s easy to spot because clicking on those things should never prompt your Mac to ask for your password… so when it does: Bingo! Trojan Horse Blocked! However, if I I’m installing something, asking me for my password is perfectly normal.
Another thing no OS is safe from: Phishing.
A phony e-mail link is a phony e-mail link and the fake web page you’re typing your password into doesn’t care what you’re typing on.
On why AV software is necessary on Windows* (especially XP)
* Until very recently, all versions of Windows came with five of its ports open (Mac OS X comes with all of them shut and locked.) Ports are back-door channels to the Internet: one for instant-messaging, one for Windows XP’s remote-control feature, and so on. These ports are precisely what permitted viruses to infiltrate millions of PC’s for almost two decades. Microsoft finally shut those ports after 18 years with the release of Vista.
* When a program tries to install itself in Mac OS X or Linux (system folder), a dialog box interrupts your work and asks you permission for that installation — in fact, requires your account password. Windows XP goes ahead and installs it, potentially without your awareness.
* Administrator accounts in Windows (and therefore viruses that exploit it) have access to all areas of the operating system. In Mac OS X, even an administrator can’t touch the files that drive the operating system itself. A Mac OS X virus (if there were such a thing) could theoretically wipe out all of your files, but wouldn’t be able to access anyone else’s stuff, couldn’t touch the operating system itself, and couldn’t access your backups.
* No Macintosh e-mail program automatically runs scripts that come attached to incoming messages, as Microsoft Outlook does. Outllook and IE are the two most common vectors for malware infection because of auto-running.
On why AV software is a good idea on a Mac.
If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
OK, so a Windows Virus can’t affect your Mac… they’re still attached to that e-mail you forwarded to that mailing list! If you had scanned it, you would have protected your non-Mac using family and friends from having to deal with it. What if their AV software isn’t up-to-date? Wouldn’t you feel awful if little Suzie lost her book report on turtles just because you saw a retro dancing-hamster / peanut-butter-jelly-time flash video and wanted to pass it on?
So am I suggesting you buy the latest version of Norton? HEAVENS NO!!!!
Norton AV software actually has caused problems in the past on Macs and have not provided any protection from anything for all the money they charge.
Check out ClamX AV. There are plenty of free Mac AV solutions, but ClamX is the least intrusive. People say that when a danger finally surfaces, that’s the one they’ll be downloading and using. Until then, no one bothers.
Now, if you’ve made it this far you may have noticed that in the beginning I said that Macs don’t get viruses. That is not the same thing as Macs can’t get viruses. OS X has set a record for longest time without an outbreak, but nothing lasts forever and no system that communicates is 100% secure.
*Clipped from a Slashdot post, I have no idea who the original author is.
The PowerMac G3 and G4 each had a long upgrade life, with CPU upgrades from Sonnet and other manufacturers and a host of expansion card makers giving the community what Apple wouldn’t. Many of these machines are still in use, a decade after they were built.
The PowerMac G5 upgrade market never blossomed. It was cut short by the once-every-ten-years architecture switch. (I should have seen it coming. I did own an Apple II in the 90s! I even tried buying a 640K upgrade card in 1992 to keep it alive.)
My barely-a-half-decade-old Dual 2.0 won’t play Spore, it won’t play Sims 3 when it comes out, and it won’t run Boxee. It definitely won’t be able to run Next Year’s Latest And Greatest OS: Snow Leopard.
So it’s time to upgrade.
A big complaint among the gamer community is the Mac Pro’s price tag. Until the subject of money comes up, techie people can argue both ways as to if it’s a good machine or not… and the upgradability of the machine renders many of the points moot.
Unfortunately, it always devolves into one side complaining how you can get twice the machine for half the price complete with links that only prove that they don’t know how to squat about speccing out a machine (or think that 15% less is “half”) and the other side talking about how much the “free” OS X and iLife are worth should be counted for Apple’s side and the price of MS-Office, yearly Anti-Virus software, and yearly tech calls should count for the PC side. NO HELP AT ALL.
So I ask the gamers out there, would you buy used? Fully upgradable used Mac Pros can be had at a very good spec-to-dollar ratio if you’ve got the Google Fu to find them.
More importantly, if you DO own a Mac Pro, would you ever get rid of it? Can you swap out motherboards if CPU/RAM/HD/Video upgrades aren’t enough? Have Mac Pro motherboards changed AT ALL since introduction? Are there any “bad models” I should avoid?
I keep looking for a FrankenMac (the opposite of a Hackintosh) community to spring up around the Mac Pro like it did around the PowerMac G3 and G4 and the Mac Mini… but so far even my Google Fu has failed me.
So I’m throwing this out into the ether: Should I buy one of the affordable used Mac Pros online, or should I save my pennies and buy new and even get AppleCare? It’s like a thousand dollar difference.
Oh, and one other thing: This will be both my primary machine AND my media center. (Yes, I live dangerously.)
January 31, 2009
When you start a new WordPress Blog, by default it has one post. This post. Hello World!
Based on my blog’s title, who am I? . . . ? Your answer will determine how I’ll sound to you in all my posts.
I’m a Hater
I’m on the Microsoft payroll and am just pulling a Dvorak and trolling for page hits. I’m Dan Lyons. I’m Fake Dan Lyons, I’m Fake Fake Dan Lyons. I’m a Microsoft PR Move to deflect from [insert bad news here]. I’m a gamer and build-it-yourself type who thinks everyone should know how to upgrade their RAM and add a second hard drive. I think that Bill Gates was a visionary, but was taken down by jealous companies who couldn’t compete in the market and had to get Big Brother to fight for them. I’ve never touched a Mac, except in Middle school and it kept freezing up; they’re overpriced and under-specced and I won’t waste money on a fancy case with a logo on it.
I’m a Fanboi Apologist
I worship at the altar of Steve Jobs. I drank the Kool-Aid and only pretend to grumble so I can make excuses. I’ve never owned a PC because I’m rich. I have Apple stickers on my car, my bicycle, my skateboard, and my dorm-room door. I like to think I’m a rebel, and I’m Different, and therefore better and cooler than you. I have all my hair, and it hangs down to my ass. I believed in Apple II Forever. I bled in six colors. I believe that Jeff and Andy were creating two very different machines, and Steve made the Mac into neither and both. I think Apple is that iPod/iTunes company with the cool bus ads and has something to do with The Beetles.
Who am I really?
I’m a nobody. I’m your brother. I’m Steve Jobs. I’m Fake Steve Jobs Twice Removed. I’m a fourteen year old who just got his own room and a new Mac. I’m the original 40 Year Old Virgin.
OK, it’s not funny anymore.
Well, it was for me. Spoiled sport. Truth? I’m no one you’ve heard of. I write things that you don’t care about and definitely don’t agree with. You shouldn’t read this blog at all. Go away. You’ll thank me.
You think this is comedy gold, don’t you?
I think I’m kinda cute. Of course, that’s the crap they use to rake you over the coals later.
Cute, or Smug?
See! It’s happening already. You’ve put me in a box.
Who are you talking to?
Isn’t that.. me? I mean… you’re me, right? There’s no interviewer giving voice over. I mean, I’m not doing voices out loud or anything.
You want to do it out loud into the empty room, now. Don’t you?
January 7, 2008
[NOTE: This post was originally published January 7, 2008 @ 7:35 on my personal blog. It has been moved here to consolidate all my Apple-Related rants in one place.]
We all know the format. Rock music is playing while the auditorium fills. Backstage Stephen Jobs, businessman, readies himself for his performance as The Steve. He’s in costume, he’s well rehearsed, and he has his water. The music stops and he walks onstage to a thunderous applause.
First he talks about Old News (existing products, sales reports), then New News (doling out the goodies).
New software first, then (if any) new hardware and hardware bumps. The earlier he reveals new hardware, the more new hardware we’ll get.
Then one more thing. Maybe. He doesn’t do them every time.
Sometimes a thank you and goodbye, sometimes a musical guest.
So what will be the specifics? Until next week, we can only guess.
He’s my two cents:
What I expect: The lineup got a complete refresh in October, including a new model. I don’t expect hardware to change in capacity or price at all. I expect firmware 1.1.3 for the iPod Touch to come out with all the rumored features.
What I want: A video/voice VOIP handset. Call it the iPod Chat. or the iChat Mobile. Or the skunkcabbage vomit machine. Who cares what you call it? Just make it. Please.
What I expect: Firmware 1.1.3 and a loose date for the SDK.
What I want: Immediate release of the SDK and a developer’s preview of Firmware 1.2.0 which it will require.
What I expect: Processor and hard drive bumps on existing models.
What I want: Wide touchpads on all models, including a new Macbook Mini, and the functions in OSX to take advantage of it (like resolution independence, Ink, and gestures). Also: A mini tablet that you hold like a PSP.
What I expect: Processor and hard drive bumps for the iMac and Mac mini. Nothing for the Mac Pro.
What I want: A whole new desktop machine. Shaped like a small drawing board, it does away with the pointer and introduces a different GUI paradigm.
What I expect: After two years in the making, there will be movie rentals.
What I want: TV Show rentals at ridiculously low prices. Low enough to consider cutting out your cable bill and going all-internet.
What I expect: Nothing.
What I want: New 24″, 26″ 42″ and 52″ models. Standard with iSight, BTO without.
What I expect: Skip lines @ Starbuck’s. All Starbuck’s in airports are now wired for iPhone.
What I want: iPhone now works other places like it does at Starbucks. Music off the air, browse the iTunes Music Store, and order food if available. (Like the pizza/hotdogs at Costco)
What I expect: iTunes 8
What I want: OS X 10.5.2, and updates to iLife and iWork.
One More thing:
What I expect: He didn’t do a “one more thing” at all between September of 2004 (iPod nano) and October 2007 (iPod touch). I wouldn’t expect one this time.
What I want: I want it all. Duh.
Musical Guest: Nobody. Too much new hardware.
March 26, 2007
[NOTE: This post was originally published March 26, 2007 @ 9:36 on my personal blog. It has been moved here to consolidate all my Apple-Related rants in one place.]
The Cons of Switching from Windows to Mac. Ten Quick Ones.
1. Everything has a learning curve. Remember learning to tie your shoes? It won’t be nearly that hard.
2. It’s different. Yes, I know this is a Pro, but it goes along with that learning curve thing.
3. Firewire and USB 2.0 only. Gotta dump that ancient printer, finally.
4. When you ask for help, people will try to “solve your problem” rather than answer your question. They will also question your motive for doing it YOUR way. It’s a right-brained/left-brained thing, I think.
5. You will become a magnet for every Apple hater around. You will be surprised how personally offended others are by your choice in electronics purchases. Heaven forbid you buy hardware from a manufacturer that writes its own OS rather than outsourcing it!
6. Mac Memory. When you switch from PC to Mac you will have to break the habit of buying the cheapest RAM you can buy and/or cannibalizing old/dead machines. You will have to buy quality pieces of hardware. Quality hardware is expensive when one is used to bottom of the barrel and freebies.
7. WMV files with one or more of the many types of Microsoft DRM on them go from being “confusing and overpriced” to “completely useless”.
8. Hardware Manufacturers who must sign away the rights to include Mac or Linux drivers with their products (or mention on the box that it works AT ALL) in order to get the “Designed for Windows” logo necessary to compete turns buying gear into Russian Roulette.
9. Software Companies who have to halt development of Mac versions in order to get those same logos. This is happening less and less. In fact, software that halted development of Mac versions in the 90s are returning to the Mac. *cough* Premiere *cough*.
10. Owning a Mac makes you want to own more Apple gear. It sounds like a joke. It isn’t.