Macs mostly safe from Bash vulnerability, but be ready to patch

TidBITS:

The disclosure this week of a major bug in a common Unix tool set of an earthquake in the security community. Not only was nearly every version of Unix vulnerable, including Linux and OS X, but most of the initial patches are not completely effective at blocking the hole. It’s a near-worst-case scenario where we have a piece of software on nearly every non-Windows server on the Internet — and plenty of personal computers (thanks to Apple’s market growth) — that is vulnerable to multiple kinds of remote attacks, all capable of completely taking over the system, with no way to completely stop it.

Despite the severity, a combination of Apple’s design decisions and how we use Macs dramatically reduces the risk, but you still need to be careful and ready to patch.

While we got a statement from Apple earlier today, I always feel better when Rich Mogull weighs in on any matters Mac security related.

Inside the building where Apple tortures the iPhone 6

The Verge:

A few blocks away from Apple’s bustling campus in Cupertino is a rather nondescript building. Inside is absolutely the last place on earth you’d want to be if you were an iPhone. It’s here where Apple subjects its newest models to the kinds of things they might run into in the real world: drops, pressure, twisting, tapping. Basically all the things that could turn your shiny gadget into a small pile of metal and glass.

I got a tour of this part of Apple’s operation many years ago and was very surprised to see just how much stress testing Apple did in-house on everything.

How does the iPhone 6 camera compare to previous iPhone cameras?

Lisa Bettany:

I present an eight iPhone comparison (with) all iPhone versions taken with Camera+ including the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, and the new iPhone 6 in a variety of situations to test the camera’s capabilities.

I taught a beginner digital photography seminar this past weekend and got lots of questions from students about how good the camera was in the new iPhone 6. This articles shows that, in many cases, the increase in quality is very noticeable.

The human factor

Vanity Fair:

Airline pilots were once the heroes of the skies. Today, in the quest for safety, airplanes are meant to largely fly themselves. Which is why the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447, which killed 228 people, remains so perplexing and significant. William Langewiesche explores how a series of small errors turned a state-of-the-art cockpit into a death trap.

I waited to post this article until after The Publisher had arrived safely in London, England.

Why do leaves change color?

Now that Fall has officially begun here in the Northern hemisphere, many of us are seeing or have seen the leaves changing to their beautiful Fall colours. This video explains why it happens. Share it with your kids!

Brave new phone call

Steven Levy:

How can an app displace 135 years of telephony?

The first step is by being an app and not a facsimile of a desk phone. Unlike the “dialer” on your mobile, or even the call button on your contact list, Talko presents the opportunity to begin a conversation by simply touching on the image of the person or team you want to talk to, whether they are ready to join right now or sometime in the future.

Going to be very interesting to see if this takes off in any appreciable way.

“Re-staging” Raiders of the Lost Ark

Steven Soderbergh:

I’ve removed all sound and color from the film, apart from a score designed to aid you in your quest to just study the visual staging aspect.

I am usually vehemently against “messing with” someone else’s movie but Soderbergh’s experiment really enhances (but doesn’t replace) the classic “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

Manual for iPhone

One of the huge advantages DSLRs and many point and shoots have over the iPhone or other smartphones is the ability to adjust, manipulate and control Shutter, ISO, White Balance, Focus and Exposure Bracketing.

Manual from Little Pixels is just such an app. It has the advantage of having a funny video to go along with it.

Desktop PC customer satisfaction surpasses tablets and laptops

ACSI:

Customer satisfaction with computing devices continues to slide but desktop computers do better than laptops and tablets, according to a new report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The annual measure of personal computers falls 1.3 percent to an ACSI score of 78 (on a 0-100 point scale). Laptops deteriorate the most (-4% to 76), while tablets dip slightly (-1% to 80), but desktops gain 3 percent to take the lead at 81.

Even though Apple “dropped 3% to 84″ it continues to “maintain a sizable lead over its major competitors”. It would be interesting to understand the reasons for the overall increased in desktop PC satisfaction. Perhaps people who have switched to laptops and tablets have discovered they are not as powerful as they need or want.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: preliminary results

AnandTech:

Some basic performance data and battery life, which include browser benchmarks, game-type benchmarks, and our standard web browsing battery life test. There’s definitely a lot more to talk about for this phone, but this should give an idea of what to expect in the full review.

AnandTech’s prelim results are interesting. I look forward to their full detailed review.

Tim Cook Q&A: the full interview on iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch

BusinessWeek:

Tim Cook was jubilant. It was Sept. 10, a day after the introduction of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch at the Flint Center in Cupertino, Calif., and Apple’s chief executive officer couldn’t have been happier about reactions from the audience and the media. Cook sat down for an hour-long chat with Bloomberg Businessweek’s Josh Tyrangiel and Brad Stone.

I love how the interview ended.

USA, Canada “iPhone Availability” pages

Haven’t picked up a new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus yet? Apple has posted these to help you see if there are even any in your neighbourhood.

Canada iPhone 6 Availabilty page

USA iPhone 6 Availabilty page

For the USA page, you’ll have to make your choice of iPhone and then scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on the link for “Available for pickup: Check availability”. If you know of similar links for other countries, please post them in the comments section.

Thanks to Sly Marton for the Canada link and Brian Monroe for the USA link.

VSCO Cam 3.5 for iOS 8 now available

Visual Supply Co:

Advanced camera controls are now available for iOS 8. New features include:
- Manual focus
- Shutter speed
- White balance
- Exposure compensation

VSCO Cam is the first app I’ve seen that takes advantage of the new capabilities of iOS 8 in letting photographers take more control over the camera in the iPhone. Even better, it’s a free app.

The surprisingly short history of the Pony Express

Today I Found Out:

Given that most have still heard of the Pony Express today, unlike so many other messaging companies long gone, you may think that the Pony Express was once an integral part of communication between the East and West in the United States. It turns out, this was never the case and the Pony Express was around only for an extremely short amount of time.

I love these stories of how things were done “in the old days”. One of my favourite non-fiction books is “American Road: The Story of an Epic Transcontinental Journey at the Dawn of the Motor Age” about the first US government sponsored cross country trip. Future President Eisenhower was a member of the group.

Free ebooks from Apple

Apple:

Get started with these great free books.

Ten ebooks from Apple, ranging from crime fiction to comic books to Young Adult to classics. Thanks to Rob Griffiths for the link.

A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to privacy

Apple:

I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.

Our commitment to protecting your privacy comes from a deep respect for our customers. We know that your trust doesn’t come easy. That’s why we have and always will work as hard as we can to earn and keep it.

I await similar letters from every other company we trust with our data.

Your iOS 8 enabled iPhone can ditch Google for DuckDuckGo’s private search

Fast Company:

The mobile version of Safari will now let you change the default search engine to DuckDuckGo, the privacy-obsessed Google alternative that has seen a sharp uptick in activity since Edward Snowden became a household name. By default, DuckDuckGo does not track its users’ search activity or even log their IP addresses.

Choice is always good and this is a pretty easy switch to make.

Goodbye Macworld

The Verge:

Over the last decade we all made an enormous effort to transform Macworld editorial from a magazine mentality to a web site mentality. And honestly, it worked: By the end, the magazine was essentially a curated collection of the best stories from the web site, cut down and copy edited and with nice photographs. The economics of the business just didn’t make it possible to continue.

The demise of print is a sad but understandable result of the age we live in. That being said, the demise of Macworld is sad in a completely different way.

Don’t pull the trigger on upgrading to iCloud Drive just yet

Macworld:

If you’re upgrading to iOS 8 on Wednesday, you must resist the urge to upgrade to iCloud Drive if you want to continue to sync your phone to your Mac. Why? Well, iCloud Drive only works with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. And you all know which OS we’re still waiting on.

You can go back and upgrade at any time, but unless you want a file-syncing nightmare on your hands, you’ll wait for Yosemite’s official release.

Good advice.

Move content from your Android phone to iPhone

Apple:

Ready to make the switch to iPhone? Here are some tips for moving your photos, music, documents, and more from your Android phone to iPhone.

Awfully helpful of the nice boys and girls at Apple to assist Android users like this. Samsung should be copying this in about 15 minutes.

‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ is getting a DVD release with its original music

Entertainment Weekly:

Thanks to the way music licensing contracts were written at the time, the show lost its rights to use the original versions of the songs it had so deeply woven into its fabric, and was forced to replace them with generic knockoffs while it was still in broadcast syndication. Later, when it moved to cable and home video it did so with the same soundalikes.

On Oct. 28, Shout! Factory will release the first complete series-spanning WKRP DVD set, with its original soundtrack gloriously restored.

As pointed out in the comments, about 98% of the original music will be included. Some of you may never have even heard about this show but for many of us, we loved and enjoyed a wonderful ensemble cast that created what I believe is the single greatest punchline in the history of television – “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

Inside the world of longsword fighting

New York Times:

Longsword enthusiasts are resurrecting ancient sword technique as a modern, organized sport, with timed bouts and complex rules.

This isn’t LARP but a whole different aspect. I’d love to see one of these tournaments on TV or in person.

The promise of the air bag

Retro Report:

How did cars become “computers on wheels,” so automated that some are about to start driving themselves? The story begins forty-five years ago with a quest to make cars safer and the battle over the air bag.

The piece starts off talking about the fight to get air bags into cars but ends with some chilling thoughts on “cars of the future” and how they will collect, collate and disseminate data.

It costs 1.6 cents to make one penny because of the rising price of zinc

Quartz:

It now costs 1.6 cents to produce each US one cent coin due to the high price of zinc, which makes up 97% of each coin, according to the Wall Street Journal. President Obama has proposed phasing out pennies and nickels (5-cent pieces) on numerous occasions, including in the 2015 budget, but Congress has yet to bite.

It’s one of those things we all know but inertia seems to keep America from getting rid of this useless coin.

A closer look at the space shuttle that never got to space

Ars Technica:

The space shuttle Enterprise has been ensconced aboard the USS Intrepid for just over two years. It sits in a silent warehouse, dramatically lit so it appears to be cruising in a dark vacuum. Tourists can wander around or under it at the exhibit; they can even walk up some stairs and get nose-to-nose with the Enterprise, staring down its long axis through a thick layer of glass.

While the whole thing evokes space exploration, the Enterprise has never actually made it out of Earth’s atmosphere.

I saw the Enterprise at The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution years ago and, even though I’m not a Star Trek geek, I was sad a ship named “Enterprise” never made it into space.

Guy Oseary on U2′s $100 million deal with Apple

Billboard:

With lead single “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” set to be featured in a massive media campaign from Apple, valued at $100 million by multiple sources, U2 has already scored arguably the biggest launch in music history. And it’s one that’s already fraught with a little controversy, from angry retailers to Grammy and SoundScan guidelines.

Oseary (U2′s manager) rang Billboard on Sept. 11 to address the many questions about the launch, and what’s next (another album?) from this landmark deal with Apple.

For a band that many (not me) consider to be irrelevant to today’s music, this campaign is a concerted effort to market and reinvent what was once called “The World’s Greatest Band”.

Do you want to remove Songs of Innocence from your account?

Apple:

If you would like U2’s Songs of Innocence removed from your iTunes music library and iTunes purchases, you can choose to have it removed. Once the album has been removed from your account, it will no longer be available for you to redownload as a previous purchase. If you later decide you want the album, you will need to get it again. The album is free to everyone until October 13, 2014 and will be available for purchase after that date.

Here you go.

Banks did it Apple’s way in payments by mobile

New York Times:

JPMorgan Chase’s chief financial officer, Marianne Lake, took the stage at a financial conference on Tuesday under strict orders not to mention her company’s involvement in Apple’s new payment system.

But when Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, at a news conference in California at the same time, finally brought up Apple Pay, one of Ms. Lake’s deputies in New York took a green apple out of her bag and put it on a table on the stage, signaling that Ms. Lake was free to discuss the service.

“So we are very excited about Apple Pay, and Chase customers will be able to participate in that,” Ms. Lake said, noting the appearance of the apple with a nod of her head.

The elaborate measures that Ms. Lake took to keep Apple Pay under wraps until the chosen time underscore the degree of preparation — and investment — that went into a partnership that has the potential to transform one of the banking industry’s most fundamental business lines.

I love these insider stories about how Apple cajoles, forces, convinces and beguiles companies into doing the things Apple wants to do in the ways Apple wants to do it.