If you do not fancy using the App Store or the built-in recovery mode to download and run the large OS X 10.9 Mavericks setup file, Apple gives you the option to create a bootable USB drive to install the operating system on your Mac. It is fast and works even when there is no Internet connection available.
The process is pretty straightforward, and does not require advanced skills, or downloading a dedicated third-party tool (although I will also explain how to use one, in case you decide or need to go down this road). All you need is an 8 GB USB drive (it can be larger), which you may already have lying around somewhere, and a Mac.
Ninth in a series. This week Google updated its Gmail app, adding background refresh, so it can now fetch new mail even when it’s not open. This is a great addition, and stops you having to manually refresh to check for new messages. Google also added simplified sign-in. Log in to any Google app -- Gmail, Maps, Google+ or Chrome, for example -- and your account details will be used to log you in to all other Google apps automatically.
Of the new apps that have arrived in the store this week, there's a great, easy to use file transfer tool, an app that will help you monitor and (maybe) manage your caffeine consumption, a social local discovery tool, a dance game, and a cartoon racer that will let you go head to head against Top Gear's The Stig.
Even though 4K displays have started to pop out for quite some time now, Apple has been lazy at fully supporting them in OS X 10.9 Mavericks. So when my colleague Brian Fagioli tested the Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD he found that, while Windows 8.1 was able to adequately handle it, Apple's Mac operating system rendered the display "unusable".
The reason for this lies in the display settings made available by the OS. Those only allow folks to choose a lesser resolution like 1080p. Fortunately, that is set to change as Apple is readying an update for OS X 10.9 Mavericks that will soon allow users to take full advantage of what 4K displays have to offer.
This is a personal account of the way I have noticed the technology markets changing over the years. It is not gospel, and you are welcome (encouraged, if you like) to disagree… It's not all that long ago that brand loyalty was a given; it was almost the default setting for many people. If you got into computing -- and it was something you "got into" rather than just having as part of your life -- you stuck loyally to whatever brand you chose at the start. We could go back to the 70s and look at the birth of personal computing, but as this is my personal account, we'll have to start in the 80s.
I did just manage to sneak into the 70s -- being born in 1979 puts me in the difficult-to-comprehend position of being 34 years old but having seen five decades -- but an interest in computing didn't emerge until some time in the late 80s. I remember there being several computing camps: BBC, Amstrad, Spectrum, Vic and Commodore to name a few. My decision was made for me at an early age when my dad decided to invest in a Commodore 16 Plus 4 (the Plus 4 referring to the fact that the OS featured four built-in applications including a spreadsheet tool, the absurd simplicity of which was not lost on me even at a young age).
There are few people who like ads. Sure, they can be works of art -- certainly there are some advertisements that are infinitely better than a lot of the dirge pumped out by television networks -- but while advertisements on television can be fairly easily avoided (thank you TiVo -- other PVRs are available!) it is a different matter on a computer or mobile device. "Opting" to watch a mindblowing ad for Apple, Guinness or Honda is one thing, but to have unavoidable -- and usually crappy -- advertisements forced upon you whilst browsing the web or using an application is an entirely different matter.
There are groups of people who are happy to endure these adverts because they fund apps, and make it possible for developers to provide their hard work free of charge -- you may fall into this group and have perhaps been able to configure an automatic ad filter for your eyes. But there are larger legions for whom ads are just plain, damned irritating. In some instances it is possible to pay to avoid them, but this is not always the case. If BlackBerry and Yahoo get their way, advertisements are going to become rather more noticeable.
The tablet market is showing strong, continuous growth year-over-year. Research firm Gartner today announces that slate sales in 2013 increased by 68 percent compared to the year before. Android takes the market share crown after more than doubling its sales, iOS came second and Windows follows in third place.
Of the three, iOS was the only platform that did not post tremendous year-over-year growth. Android increased its sales, and lead over Apple's iPads, to 120.96 million units in 2013, up from the 53.34 million units sold in 2012. Meanwhile, Windows grew to 4 million units, which is, again, considerably higher than in the previous year when sales topped 1.16 million units. In contrast, iPad sales came in at 70.4 million units, marginally more than the 61.45 million units sold in the year before.
It’s been rumored for a while, but today Apple announces its new in-car interface that will let iPhone users make calls, use Maps, listen to music, and access messages with just a word or a touch. It will debut this week at the Geneva International Motor Show.
"CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car," says Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing. "iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we’re thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva".
Webcam porn! Spying! Cell phones! Bitcoin controversy! Just another normal week in the world of tech news! Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox disappeared offline amid concern about missing millions and then filed for bankruptcy. After panic spread through Mac users following the discovery of a serious SSL bug in Mavericks, Apple released an update that plugged the hole -- but it was also discovered that iOS 7 has a keylogging vulnerability. Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for Office 2013, but anyone using Office 365 will need to force the installation of newer updates in order to reap the benefits.
Security updates are all well and good for operating systems and applications, but it will do little to protect you against the wandering eyes of government agencies. As if everything we have already learned about the activities of the NSA et al, this week's revelations about what the UK's GCHQ has been getting up to is sure to raise ire. Not content with logging emails and web searches, the UK intelligence agency apparently spent a number of years tapping into the webcam chats of millions of Yahoo users. There may be little good news in this revelation, but it was at least slightly amusing to find that the surveillers were rather taken aback by the amount of pornographic content they encountered. It makes ya proud!
Once dismissed as little more than a hobby for Apple, Apple TV seems to have quietly gathered momentum. Talking at a shareholder meeting in Cupertino, CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company has managed to net over $1 billion through the devices, leading him to quip "it's a little more difficult to call it a hobby these days." It's difficult to tell just how many sales this translates into as the figure includes content sales as well as device sales.
But while $1 billion may sound impressive, it is a drop in the ocean compared to the billions that Apple rakes in from its other product lines. The last figure released suggested that over 13 million apple TV boxes had been sold by May last year, but the sales figures released today relate to the fiscal year that ended in September. For anyone thinking about jumping on the bandwagon, Apple has a new incentive -- a $25 iTunes gift card for anyone who buys a set-top box by 5 March.
Eighth in a series. The app that’s got me most excited this week isn’t even out yet. Audio Defence: Zombie Arena, from the makers of Papa Sangre II, is an audio-only first person zombie shooter that promises to be awesome. If it can hit its Kickstarter target that is.
Of the new and updated apps that have arrived in the store this week, the Professor Layton inspired The Voyage is a great puzzler, and God of Light will similarly tax your gray matter. Parents worried about what their children get up to on the web while using an iPad (or iPhone), will be interested in the MetaCert browser. Google has improved its Hangouts messenger apps, and a chunk of the world's knowledge has been curated into Learnist.
Apple's 'good enough' security response: why it’s not going to change, isn’t fair, but doesn’t matter anyway
Apple’s handling of the recent "goto fail" vulnerability has brought about another round of the usual criticisms that we’ve heard from the security research community for years. In this most recent episode, Apple’s decision to provide security updates for iOS devices while leaving the vulnerability unpatched on Mac OS X for four days and giving no clear sign of the company's intentions has revived the oft-repeated criticisms that Apple isn’t transparent in its security response, isn’t timely, and doesn’t engage with the researcher community positively. Often the criticism will point to Microsoft as an example of what Apple doesn’t do and should.
I’m a ten year veteran of the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC), and I and my colleagues have said much the same things about Apple’s security response. In fact, one of my colleagues, Stephen Toulouse, made news in 2006 by calling on Apple to implement some of the many programs that Microsoft had put together. For us, it was always particularly frustrating to see Apple essentially get a pass on behavior that would lead to huge outcries if Microsoft did it. Think of the outcry if there was an SSL/TLS vulnerability that enables man-in-the-middle attacks affecting Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer that’s unpatched for four days with no information from Microsoft. Now, compare that with what we saw with Apple. Forgive the pun but its Apples to oranges, really and Apple gets off easy every time.
It looks like every company that desperately wants to be in the spotlight -- or win some kitsch award -- is trying to do it by unveiling something in gold. Well, congrats, Alchaemy, you most definitely are the latest winner.
The company took the wraps off a 24 karat gold Mac Pro, that is part of its Shyne series. As if Apple's new powerhouse is not expensive enough, starting at $2,999, be prepared to spend an additional $1597.99 (because, probably $1600 sounded too expensive) to customize it in this trim. Some would say the Mac Pro looks like a trash can. Well, thanks to Alchaemy, you can now make it look like a gold trash can.
Do you rue the day you signed up with your phone provider? Maybe you've found a better offer elsewhere and want to take your cell phone to another company. Now, if you're in the US, you are able to -- legally -- unlock your mobile and take it to whatever network you like. The bill was approved yesterday, having been brought about by a massive petition that gathered over 100,000 signatures. A 2012 ruling made unlocking illegal by closing a DMCA exemption loophole that had been permitted in 2006 and 2010.
In other parts of the world it is common practice to unlock phones and move them between providers, so it's understandable that US residents felt they were getting a poor deal. Now the bill has been approved, handset owners are able "to legally unlock their cell phones so that they can use it on other cellular networks." But this does not mean there is going to be a free-for-all; unlocking must be carried out "without violating anti-circumvention provisions".
When it rains, it pours. Sadly for Apple, it seems the company just cannot catch a break. Most recently, a nasty SSL bug was discovered in both iOS and OSX, which potentially enabled man-in-the-middle attacks and lessened security. While iOS was patched pretty quickly, OS X ws not patched until earlier today.
While that alone is enough to damage a company's reputation on security, yet another Apple vulnerability has surfaced today. Security firm FireEye has discovered a keylogging-like bug in iOS 7, which could allow evil-doers to track all touchscreen and button presses.
While I am a Linux guy at heart, I love OS X. After all, both Apple's operating system and Linux distributions are Unix-like. While Microsoft's Windows is relatively safe nowadays, I still feel safest on OS X or Fedora. Well, at least I did feel safe. While Linux remains rock solid, OS X and iOS have been dealt a huge blow from a trust perspective.
You see, on both of Apple's operating systems, there was a massive bug discovered, which rendered SSL to be virtually worthless. The bug was an honest mistake, any programmer could have made it. However, in a company the size of Apple, with all of its billions of dollars, it should have been caught. The entire fiasco puts a spotlight on Apple's checks and balances. Even if this is a one-off oversight, perception by consumers is everything. While the fruit-logo company was (arguably) quick to patch iOS, Mac users were left in the cold. Today, Apple finally throws its users a blanket, and releases an update to patch the nasty bug.