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Apple opens OS X betas to everyone

The OS X Beta Seed Program gives users the opportunity to run pre-release software. Test-drive beta software and provide quality and usability feedback that will help make OS X even better.

Join the OS X Beta Seed Program and accept the Beta Seed and Confidentiality Agreement. Apple will provide a Beta Access Utility for your Mac, which gives you access to pre-release versions of OS X in the Mac App Store Updates panel.

Basically anyone could do this, but they had to pay $99 a year to get access to the developer builds. So, now everyone can play around with the latest versions of OS X, apparently. It will be interesting to see if they extend this to OS X 10.10 and also if iOS will be opened up.

One big issue I can see is there will be a lot of added pressure on developers to fix issues which may not even be their problems. Also, it seems obvious, but beta a OS shouldn’t be installed on a production machine that needs to be reliable.



Apple patches triple handshake, other vulnerabilities

Apple Tuesday pushed out security fixes for iOS and OS X that address a number of security bugs and vulnerabilities. One of the bigger issues is dubbed "triple handshake.”

Apple describes it in its security bulletin that covers OS X 10.8 and later, iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, and iPod touch 5G and later.

An attacker with a privileged network position may capture data or change the operations performed in sessions protected by SSL Description: In a 'triple handshake' attack, it was possible for an attacker to establish two connections which had the same encryption keys and handshake, insert the attacker's data in one connection, and renegotiate so that the connections may be forwarded to each other. To prevent attacks based on this scenario, Secure Transport was changed so that, by default, a renegotiation must present the same server certificate as was presented in the original connection.




Apple TV ad Powerful shows off iPhone 5s prowess

Tagged More Powerful than You Think, Apple's new iPhone 5s ad touts a number of great apps that enhances the iPhones capabilities.






1Password gets significant updates to iOS, OS X

1Password 4.3 for the Mac App Store is a *massive update* that includes all the features from our v4.2 update for our website version. There’s great new stuff here that you’ve been asking for, such as: updating existing items right in the browser when you change passwords, editing items right in 1Password mini, lots of new keyboard shortcuts, USB drive support, sync improvements, and much more!

These updates follow right on the heels of the massive Heartbleed vulnerability. I’ve been a big fan of 1Password for years and Heartbleed exemplified the problems of using the same password on multiple sites. Even if a site is secure, your account and information is compromised if you use the same credentials on a site that is vulnerable. Keeping track of all these passwords is a challenge, which is where 1Password comes in. The software also has great tools to help you keep track of old and weak passwords that may need updating.



Proposed Thunderbolt standard promises to support dual 4K displays

Andrew Coningham for Ars:
Doubling the available bandwidth will enable next-generation Thunderbolt controllers to drive two 4K displays simultaneously, where current controllers can only drive one. The new controllers will allegedly be compatible with a variety of other protocols as well, including DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0, and HDMI 2.0.


This info comes on leaked slides from Intel. This could all change, but offers a window into what could be in the works. One would assume Apple would adopt any new standards as it’s pretty invested in Thunderbolt.

The proposed standard would require a different connector, so that’s kind of a bummer. If Apple adopts this, that probably means another round of little white dongles. The good news though is the protocols will be backwards compatible with existing Thunderbolt devices and also maintain support for DisplayPort, USB 3.0, and HDMI.

No real idea when controllers will be made available for manufacturers. One guess is next year some time and then there will be a wait for them to come to market.



A&E, The History Channel, and Lifetime channels now available on Apple TV

Apple TV keeps growing. This week A&E Networks brought three of its properties to Apple’s set top box. A&E, The History Channel, and Lifetime appeared on user’s grid programming options. The introduction follows recent updates to iOS apps to allow live streaming of content.

As with most other Apple TV channels, these options will require authentication through a user’s cable operator. If you subscribe to a package containing one of these conventional channels, you’ll be able to access it on the Apple TV. If not, preview content is only available.

Apple TV is gaining an impressive array of content. It’s not geared towards cord cutters since you do still need that subscription, but it is in competition with other streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and on-demand cable options. Plus it may eat into iTunes sales a bit if people can stream content directly from the provider rather than buying individual shows.





Apple touts environmental efforts for Earth Day

Apple launched a new video and appears to have revamped its environmental site. The video is narrated by CEO Tim Cook and outlines the company’s missions to do its work while minimizing the impact on the environment. The video is entitled Better and is an impassioned message with a commitment to improve the company’s environmental efforts.




Report: Nike looks to get out of fitness tracker game

Nick Statt for CNET:
"As a fast-paced, global business we continually align resources with business priorities," Nike spokesman Brian Strong said in an email. "As our Digital Sport priorities evolve, we expect to make changes within the team, and there will be a small number of layoffs. We do not comment on individual employment matters."


Nike of course brought the FuelBand to market, a wristband fitness and health tracker. The device had its issues, but brought some innovations to the market with its LED readout and fuel point system. It also brought a lot of cache with the Nike brand and retail presence. This move also appears to affect the Nike+ hardware trackers, which have been available for Apple gear for many years.

The obvious conclusion is this may have something to do with Apple’s widely rumored move into health and fitness. iOS 8 is expected to bring a number of new features, in addition to the M7 process that was released with current iOS devices. Also, there’s of course the rumored new Apple wearable device. Could Nike be bowing out knowing what’s around the corner? Tim Cook is on the Nike board. Likely there will be some type of collaboration between Nike and Apple, so perhaps the move will be in favor of supporting Apple hardware? Or simply this all could be unrelated and Nike decided to fold its hand and focus on its strengths.

Regardless, it’s a curious move. While the company says it’s committed to software, the wearable space is just beginning to heat up,. So it’s an odd time to bail, but on the flip side, the market for these gizmos may not be as big as people assume. Services that hook into existing mobile hardware may be a more attractive business.



13 Steve Jobs Quotes

A little inspiration to get your week going



Twelve South launches wooden Macbook stand in BookArc möd


Inspired by mid-century modern classics like the Eames Lounge Chair and Cherner Armchair, the elegant BookArc möd features hardwoods and finishes chosen to complement almost any home or studio.


The BookArc möd is new version of the company’s laptop holder. The idea is the BookArc is a place to either store your MacBook vertically when not in use or to keep it there while connected to an external monitor and keyboard. It’s a pretty stylish system for those who like a place for everything.

The BookArc is kit that includes silicone inserts to fit various sized MacBooks. It fits all versions Apple’s laptops from the MacBook Pro down to MacBook Air. Pricing is $79.99 for the wooden BookArc möd and the regular aluminum model runs $49.99.






Recent Articles

Alpine planning after market CarPlay head units

MacRumors:
Car electronics manufacturer Alpine will begin selling a standalone aftermarket console that will support Apple's CarPlay vehicle integration feature, reports Japanese business newspaper Nikkei. Alpine's offering, which will likely be the first aftermarket device to support CarPlay, is said to hit the United States and Europe this year with a cost of around $500 to $700.

I think there’s a lot of interest in after-market car upgrades to support CarPlay simply because the only other alternative is to buy a new car. This no doubt will be a top-end product with a built-in display. The question is just how much money people will want to put into their old cars vs just adding a nice phone mount to their dash.



Linking Apple TV with IFTTT for evergreen screen saver photos

Graham Spencer:
For example, for the last few months I’ve been using a combination of Flickr, IFTTT and Instagram to create an Apple TV screen saver that cycles through images that I have liked on Instagram and it is far better than seeing the same old National Geographic photos (as great as they are) over and over again.

Cool idea. Basically you can link multiple photo sources to Flickr using IFTTT, and then link that Flickr account to Apple TV as a source for screen saver photos. Right now I use iCloud Photo Stream which basically serves the same job, but my photo stream is polluted with a lot of random stuff. Everything from a product label I wanted to remember to food porn to random photos and screen shots credited to my kids playing with my phone. Using this combo you can have greater control over that screen saver. Neat.

More details at Mac Stories.



Funny Samsung sales numbers and the analysts who reported them

And not ha-ha funny. Some new internal Samsung documents came to light in the whole Apple-Samsung legal grudge match. The documents reveal sales figures that grossly overstate sales of devices and seriously call into question the ethics of so-called industry analysts.

Daniel Eran Dilger for Apple Insider pulls out the sharp sticks:
It also calls into question why IDC, Gartner and Strategy Analytics seem to carefully avoid mention of U.S. market share figures that would provide valuable insight into the domestic market for mobile apps and accessories and illuminate the threat iPads might pose to conventional PCs.

It certainly appears that these market researchers, just like every Android tablet manufacturer, doesn't want to talk about specifics because the facts have nothing good to say about the Android or Windows platforms that indirectly pay the bills of said market research groups.




Podcast: Gary Busey, iOS 8 Wishlists, thoughts on iPhone 6 (#109)

This week Mike is obsessed with Gary Busey, but also the latest rumors following the WWDC announcement. Mike and Brian will discuss their wish lists for the iOS 8 and iPhone 6.




List of sites affected by Heartbleed

Mashable has a nice running list of sites that were compromised by the Heartbleed vulnerability. It also tracks which sites have been patched. It would be a good idea to reset passwords on accounts with sensitive information, especially once patched.



iOS, OS X not affected by Heartbleed

Mike Isaac:
“Apple takes security very seriously. IOS and OS X never incorporated the vulnerable software and key Web-based services were not affected,” an Apple spokesperson told Re/code.




A good guide for resolving iOS battery problems

Scotty Loveless is a former Apple store genius who offers "The Ultimate Guide to Solving iOS Battery Drain." It's a good read for diagnosing and troubleshooting the iOS battery usage.
So here's the test: write down your usage and standby time, press the sleep/wake button (or lock button, as some call it) to put the device to sleep, and set the device down for five minutes. When you come back, take note of the change in time. If your device is sleeping properly, then the Standby time should have increased by five minutes and your Usage time by <1 minute . If your Usage time rises by more than one minute, you have a drain problem. Something is keeping your device from sleeping properly, significantly shortening the time it will last.




Dropbox releases Mac email and photo management apps

Dropbox Wednesday announced two new applications that link with the cloud service. First is Carousel for iOS and Android. The app pulls together and organizes photos stored on your Dropbox account.

We’d like you to meet Carousel: a gallery for all the photos and videos from your life. It combines the photos in your Dropbox with the photos on your phone, and automatically backs up new ones as you take them. Carousel sorts all these memories by event so you can easily travel back in time to any photo from any date. And unlike other mobile galleries, the size of your Carousel isn’t constrained by the space on your phone, which means you can finally have your entire life’s memories in one place.

I was a fan of Everpix that was a good effort at wrangling the torrents of photos that funnel through my devices. Apple’s Photo Stream/iCloud does some nice stuff for getting all your photos to all your devices and makes it nice to share, especially with other iOS users. It lacks data management, however. Of course, storing a lot of photos on your dropbox account will likely mean you’ll have to pay for more storage. One nice thing is those memories will be backed/stored and synced on the cloud. Plus using services like IFTTT can automate the process of getting your photos in the right spot.

Dropbox also announced a preview version of its Mailbox app for OS X. Mailbox is currently available for iOS and it attempts to better wrangle the inbox.



Best selling Android app was a scam

Neowin on the successful Android app Virus Shield:
This app costs $3.99, has been on the Play Store for just under two weeks and has already had 10,000 downloads with a 4.5 star review from 1,700 people. 2,607 people hit the Google "recommend" button. This means that the app must be doing something right... right?

Unfortunately for the buyers, Android Police has discovered that all the app does is change a red "X" graphic to a red "check" graphic.


Doh.



Kanex introduces Thunderbolt to eSATA/USB and Ethernet/USB adapters

Kanex is teasing a couple new Thunderbolt adapters. Both adapters add on a USB 3.0 port in addition to Ethernet and eSATA. Similar to Apple’s Gigabit Ethernet adapter, the Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet + USB 3.0 adapter allows Ethernet connectivity via Thunderbolt. The second is the Thunderbolt to eSATA + USB 3.0, which lets you add on an external SATA device via Thunderbolt.


The later seems particularly useful, although you can get USB 3.0 to eSATA. The big advantage here seems to be the added throughput speeds of Thunderbolt, plus adding on that extra USB 3.0 port for additional gear. These would seem particularly handy for MacBook Air which only ship with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports.


Both devices are expected to ship later this summer. No pricing is currently available.



Nest halts sales, disables wave feature

At Nest, we conduct regular, rigorous tests to ensure that our products are the highest quality. During recent laboratory testing of the Nest Protect smoke alarm, we observed a unique combination of circumstances that caused us to question whether the Nest Wave (a feature that enables you to turn off your alarm with a wave of the hand) could be unintentionally activated. This could delay an alarm going off if there was a real fire.


So, apparently people may wave their arms in a real fire. The company is suspending sales until they come up with a fix and will disable the feature on existing devices.

This is one of the cooler features of the Nest to silent alarms out of reach on the ceiling. Seems a little weird, frankly. If you waving your arms in a fire induced panic, would you just go back to bed if the alarm goes off?



WWDC set for June 2nd

Developers can apply for tickets via the WWDC website now through Monday, April 7 at 10:00 a.m. PDT, and tickets will be issued to attendees through random selection. Developers will know their status by Monday, April 7 at 5:00 p.m. PDT. There will also be 200 Student Scholarships available, giving students around the world the chance to earn a free ticket . This year the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and its alliance partners will help promote scholarships to female engineers and coders.

This year they're going to do a lottery for tickets. Past few years it was first come basis which meant last year it was sold out in two minutes.



Apple gives iWork for OS X, iOS, iCloud a big update

Apple Tuesday pushed out a significant update to its productivity suite on both OS X and iOS. Keynote, Pages, and Numbers all got some needed attention. The suite also gained some additional iCloud features. The individual features are too numerous to outline, so best to check your app updates and see for yourself.

Highlights include better Retina display support, new templates, and improvements specific to each application. Some functionality appears to be coming back after Apple released a retooled suite of apps. The new apps lost some functionality presumably to get OS X, iOS, and web-based iCloud working together.



Apple updates Safari for Mavericks and Mountain Lion

Apple posted a security and bug fix update for Safari. Version 7.0.3 is now available for OS X Mavericks and 6.1.3 for Mountain Lion.

- Fixes an issue that could cause the search and address field to load a webpage or send a search term before the return key is pressed
- Improves credit card autofill with websites
- Fixes an issue that could block receipt of push notifications from websites
- Adds a preference to turn off push notification prompts from websites
- Adds support for webpages with generic top-level domains
- Strengthens Safari sandboxing
- Fixes security issues, including several identified in recent security competitions



OWC offers CPU upgrade solution for new Mac Pros

Other World Computing announced a turnkey solution for those looking to upgrade CPUs in the new Apple Mac Pro. Similar to upgrades to iMacs, the retailer is offering an upgrade service for more complex computer surgery. The system basically entails includes two-way paid shipping. These Xeon CPUs are by far the most expansive component in the Mac Pros, so these will be pricy upgrades, but the pricing below includes trading in the old CPU. If customers wish to retain their CPU, that’s also an option.

While upgrading your system, users also have the option to upgrade memory and external Thunderbolt storage.

Intel Xeon E5-2650 v2 8-Core 2.6GHz* with 20MB Cache, 25% faster**, $1498
Intel Xeon E5-2667 v2 8-Core 3.3GHz with 25MB Cache, 41% faster**, $2448
Intel Xeon E5-2690 v2 10-Core 3.0GHz* with 25MB Cache, 45% faster**, $2396
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2 12-Core 2.7GHz with 30MB Cache, 46% faster**, $2978






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