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Archive for March, 2008

iPhones Get “Pwned”

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I don’t know if it’s sad or incredibly awesome that an iPhone dev team is using online “leet” speak to name software for the iPhone. What is being dubbed as “Pwnage Tool” ,will be able to completely unlock your iPhone.

The software, which will be compatible with Mac OS X will allow your iPhone to bypass it’s security utility. The security utility, “Bootloader” is what keeps your iPhone from downloading third party software. With the Pwnage Tool, it tweaks the bootloader to be able to load any software.

Here is a video of the Pwnage Tool in action:

As with any kind of software such as this, proceed with caution. While this might unlock new possibilities for your iPhone, it can also cause problems, especially if you have to have your iPhone worked on. Also software such as this might be considered useless once the App store is released, and third party applications will be available for download

MacBook Air Hacked In Two Minutes

Most Mac users enjoy the warmth of security that PC users only dream of having. I generally run anti-virus and anti-spyware at least once a week for my PC, and not once have I scanned anything for my Mac. There has been a glitch however in the MacBook Air’s security, which surprisingly didn’t last more than a couple of minutes against some “leet haxzorz” (couldn’t resist).

The threat itself is very minimal, as it took a group of security researchers to find the vulnerability. The weakness was found during a contest called, “Pwn to Own”, where security experts tested various machine’s security setups and try to exploit them. The glitch was actually found in the Safari program, and due to a non-disclosure agreement, has not been made available to the public.

Robert McMillan of the IDG News Service, reports on what happened during the competition, “Nobody was able to hack into the systems on the first day of the contest when contestants were only allowed to attack the computers over the network, but on Thursday the rules were relaxed so that attackers could direct contest organizers using the computers to do things like visit Web sites or open e-mail messages”

The group of researchers, had tricked the judges into visiting a website that had malicious code written into it. Once the judges visited the website, the team was able to hack into the Macbook Air and take control of it in about two minutes. The team won $10,000 for their finding, and Tipping Point, the sponsors of the contest have notified Apple of the successful hack.

I think it’s safe to say that although the hackers were successful, there’s very little risk on the public front. Macs are still by and large the most safe of any of the computer hardware that’s out there right now. Let’s wait and see what the exploit is, and what Apple is going to do to remedy it before final judgements are made.

What do you all think of this finding, should it cause some concern, or is it going to be blown out of proportion?

Apple – Helping America Getting Back Into Shape

The iPod, in my opinion helped spark the re-emergence of jogging and running in this nation. I remember when it was pretty rare to see people out running down the sidewalks of my town. Now I curse at all the people that run out in front of my car. I would say that a large portion of these people have ear buds that are connected to a MP3 device.

Apple it seems has taken notice of this sudden interest in staying healthy. It has been reported that they are in the process of developing a health based software program for the iPod Touch and the iPhone.

Richard Simmons
Let’s Hope Richard Simmons Is an Avatar You Can Use With The Program.

When the software is installed onto your computer, it will ask you a series of health related questions. It will ask you what sort of exercise activities you like to engage in, your fitness goals, and your activity level. Then it will ask you about your health history, and any current medications you’re taking.

Once this is complete, the program will churn out an exercise routine for you. It will give you goals to reach, in your quest for a healthy lifestyle. Your iPod Touch and iPhone will sync up with the program, so you can keep up with your routine when you’re at the gym.

Apple Is Putting In A Big Order For 3G iPhones

In a previous FreeMacBlog post, it was reported that Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple had a few criticisms with the iPhone. One of the big tiffs that Wozniak had, is that the iPhone didn’t incorporate 3G technology into their handsets.

I don’t know if Apple was listening to him, or had planned on releasing 3G handsets before Wozniak’s comment (most likely the latter). Either way it looks as though Apple is planning on a major push for their 3G enable handsets, as it’s being reported that around 10 million are on order. To address battery concerns, the new model of iPhone will incorporate OLED into it’s display. This will not only help with battery consumption it will also allow for the iPhone to become alittle more slim.

No exact date has been given for a US release of the phone. While this is great news to some, it can also be frustrating for the consumer who made their iPhone purchase from the first generation. How do you all feel about this news, are you excited, or frustrated?

Apple’s Safari Bundled iTune’s Update – Wrong Or Just Good Business Savvy?

“Tsk…tsk…tsk”, should have been the header of John Lilly’s blog last friday when he criticized Apple for its’ latest iTunes update. Software updates can be a real hassle in this fast paced, “I want to get things done at this very second” world we live in. I’d venture to say that most of you don’t even read what’s in your software updates (me included).

For those of you who didn’t know, Mozilla is the company that is behind the popular, and beloved by all Firefox browser. The CEO of Mozilla, John Lilly has updated his blog about certain practices that Apple has implemented in their newest iTunes update for Windows XP users.

So what could be inside an iTunes software update that could have Lilly all flustered? Well it’s really nothing to do with iTunes, but it’s the fact that Apple decided to bundle its’ Safari web browser in with the update. So should Apple be putting software installs inside updates for other software that you might have on your computer?

According to Lilly the answer is, no. Here is an excerpt from Lilly’s blog, “What Apple is doing now with their Apple Software Update on Windows is wrong. It undermines the trust relationship great companies have with their customers, and that’s bad — not just for Apple, but for the security of the whole Web. What they did yesterday was to use their updater for iTunes to also install their Safari Web browser –what follows is some background and analysis.”

So is this Safari bundled iTunes update a much ado about nothing or is Lilly right in saying it violates the trust between company and consumer? I believe it’s alittle bit of both. What I think we should learn from this, is how much more we need to be aware of what we’re putting on our computers. We need to stop just hitting the “enter” button so we can get to the applications we want to use faster. Was it kind of shifty of Apple to bundle Safari with the iTunes update? Yes, it was definitely pretty shift. I really don’t want unneeded software to be put on my computer when all I want is my iTunes to work better. But I don’t blame Apple for the decision, it will more than likely lead to more Safari usage on Windows.

What do you all think of the Safari bundled iTunes update? Feel free to leave your comments below

Apple Patents 3D Technology

Another patent that was applied for by Apple has been announced today. The patent looks to be a form of 3D projection technology. The patent was originally filed in 2006, and has just now been released publicly.

The patent involves a very complex 3D imaging device. Taking a look at the patent, there appears to be atleast 3 devices needed in order for the images to appear in 3D. The first is the projector itself, which would obviously show the image on the screen. A second device would come into play, which is being called a “3D imager”. The third looks to be a light sensor. One cool feature that was mentioned in the patent, is how the 3D viewing would work. First, there would be no need for any ocular equipment to view in 3D. Also with the 3D imager, the perspective of the screen changes if you happen to being viewing the screen from different angles.

3D Technology

Looking at the setup, it’s hard to imagine how this would fit in with someone’s home entertainment setup. Most people are minimalists when it comes to their setup, wanting the least amount of hardware for the functions they need. Having three pieces of equipment just to project a 3D image, would most likely turn people off. Also, with the hardware needed to pull such a feat off, the setup would probably cost more money than the average consumer would be willing to spend.

What do you all think of this patent, and just what could Apple be up to?