The Haphazard Blog

Tag: apple

Apple Response to iTunes/App Store Hack Seems Dubious

by on Jul.07, 2010, under News, Technology

Over the long weekend, there were reports that iTunes accounts were hacked and fraudulent purchases were made in iTunes and the App Store. Most notorious was a single author having a lot of his books in the top 50 in iBooks. Yesterday, Apple responded with the following:

The developer Thuat Nguyen and his apps were removed from the App Store for violating the developer Program License Agreement, including fraudulent purchase patterns.

Developers do not receive any iTunes confidential customer data when an app is downloaded.

Engadget also reported that roughly 400 iTunes users were affected by this. To me, all of this does not make sense. I still have questions, and as far as I can tell, the press has taken Apple’s word and moved on to other things.

  1. How was a developer able to make fraudulent purchases on other users’ behalf?
  2. Is Apple implying that Apps this developer made were able to do this? If so, what have they done to prevent other developers from doing the same thing? Have they issued a remote kill on his Apps? This would seem to be a very big security issue. (Also, some of the people who reported the fraudulent activity claimed they never purchased anything from that developer).
  3. If they aren’t implying that, what other mechanism was used by this developer?
  4. Apple’s own PR says that over 1.5M books were downloaded in the first 28 days. Since then, over 2M more iPads were sold. It took only 400 iTunes accounts to push 42 books into the Top 50? On the surface, it seems like a very low number of books (assume 400 copies of each) to take over the Top 50. Are sales for popular books that low?

I hope people out there are doing some more digging on this and not just taking Apple’s statement as the full story.

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You Suck Apple

by on Apr.13, 2010, under Computer Hardware, Technology

My wishlist was worthless. Actually, it was more than worthless. I had assumed it was a given that the refresh would have Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 chips and the 13″ MacBook Pro had no such upgrade.

So, my tally: no higher resolution display, no RGB backlighting, no blu-ray, no USB 3 and the same weight.

What did Apple do?

  • Sped up the CPU from 2.26 GHz to 2.4 GHz and left it a Core 2 Duo, one whole speed bin!
  • Doubled the RAM from 2 GB to 4 GB
  • Increased the hard drive size (160 GB to 250 GB)
  • Upgraded the video processor

Every upgrade on that list is useless to me. It’s barely faster. You can buy more RAM for a lot less from anyone but Apple. I was going to get a smaller hard drive (SSD, faster and silent). Not sure what impact the upgraded video would have (I didn’t plan to play games on it and the UI seemed plenty snappy when I played with one at Best Buy).

I shouldn’t be shocked by this. Maybe they’d rather I buy an iPad? That will never happen. If I get a Windows 7 laptop, it’ll be years before I consider a Mac again.

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New MacBook Pro Wishlist

by on Apr.12, 2010, under Computer Hardware, Technology

It’s been a long time since I really used a Mac. Probably going back to grade school and using it for things like Print Shop, games and talking to other students at other schools over 300 baud modems.

I thought about getting a Power Mac a couple years back around the time Apple switched to Intel chips. The most appealing part of OS X was it was built on a Linux core and that provided a very good foundation. Developers (mostly non-Windows) were using it and really liked it.

My laptop is now over 5 years old and it’s about time to get a newer one. I’ve been waiting for the new MacBook Pros to come out for a while. Rumors are they are coming tomorrow. Without an event planned, I wouldn’t expect to see any major changes. With that in mind, I’d like to see the following in the new 13″ MacBook Pro.

  • Higher resolution, 16:9 display instead of 16:10
  • RGB LED instead of White LED backlighting
  • Blu-Ray drive
  • USB 3
  • Lighter (< 4 pounds)

The upside to no major redesign is I’d avoid what seems like early adopter problems that plague Apple. Also, I hope they fix their problem with 3rd party SSD drives (although I’d get an Intel one anyway).

All in all, I want a light and silent laptop. If this refresh is crappy, I’ll be giving the Dell Vostro V13 a hard look. I thought I’d see a lot of people try and turn them into Hackintoshes by now. Why hasn’t anyone tried?

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Tablet Follow-Up

by on Feb.06, 2010, under Computer Hardware, Technology

Following up on my last post on the iPad, I came across some tablet related items that I liked.

The first was an announcement of an iPad look-alike that runs Windows 7 from a company called ExoPC. The slate is quick to point out that it will have “full support of all formats including Flash and Silverlight”. I’m not sure how the performance of it will be, but if it is smooth, I think it will deliver a good experience. The screen resolution is lower, which does hurt it. Fortunately, it is only reduced in one direction, so it should not hurt the web experience. The integrated web cam makes a lot of sense but it doesn’t mention a microphone. If it includes that, then you can run Skype on it. Weaker battery life and no 3G, but it has USB. Since it is running Windows 7, you will have full control of the tablet and won’t be locked in to Apple everything.

The second was a semi-critique of the iPad. I thought it was a good way to explain why the product seems like such a disappointment. I also like the simplicity in the statement “”With this, you can finally…” to determine how innovative a product is.

The final item was concept UI that Google put up a couple days before the iPad announcement. After the ipad announcement, my brother and I felt that Google was best positioned to directly challenge the iPad because they have their own mobile OS (Android) and are working on their own Chrome OS. A couple days later, it was reported Steve Jobs said “We did not enter the search business. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone.” in reference to Google during a company town hall meeting. He then tossed in “I want to go back to that other question first and say one more thing, he says. This don’t be evil mantra: ‘It’s bullshit.'” for good measure. I don’t think he’d waste his time talking about Google if he didn’t see them as a real threat.

All this talk of tablets also has me thinking. Multi-touch is not the best friend of people with physical disabilities. The gestures should really have an ability to be customized to allow those with limitations to decide what gestures are most important or maybe even different ways to perform the gesture to enable the same action.

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Apple iPad

by on Jan.30, 2010, under Computer Hardware, Technology

A couple people have asked me what I thought about the iPad, so I figured I’d throw my thoughts out here.

  • While keeping up with the live event through Engadget’s live blog of the event I was underwhelmed and just got a general feeling that Apple (and Steve Jobs) thinks everything they do is revolutionary and amazing. I think it’s a trait you certainly want a company and CEO to have, but a sense of reality would be good too. You can introduce a new product with the proper amount of enthusiasm.
  • My immediate impression was it is a big iPhone. After further reflection, it’s a big iPhone without calling features.
  • I think it is essentially Apple’s netbook. They aren’t going to be making a laptop below $1k.
  • I think it is an OK product. The weight at 1.5 lbs and battery life of 10 hours are excellent features. The simplicity of use is also very good. I’m assuming the keyboard will be very well engineered like the iPhone keyboard.
  • It seems to be perfect for people to use around the house or on the go. Web surfing, e-mail, calendar and applications. I assume you can put it in standby instead of having to shut it down which basically gives you instant on access. Want to check something online real quick, it’s ready right away.
  • Apple decided to use the iPhone OS instead of OS X. Without “jail breaking” it, you have a limited world. App Store programs and built-in programs. There is no flash support (likely because Adobe hasn’t decided to make the resource usage anywhere near reasonable for its functionality). Everyone isn’t going to make their site work with the iPhone like YouTube did. This does open the door for Microsoft’s SilverLight.

I decided it wasn’t for me pretty fast. I’d rather have something running a real OS. In the $500-$830 range, you’re looking at Windows 7 or you can build a Hackintosh. However, you’re not going to find anything nearly that light or with that kind of battery life. There are some trade-offs in either direction. From my standpoint, the iPad would’ve been a much better product if it ran OS X instead of the iPhone OS. However, this is also why the iPad is different from tablet PCs. Tablet PCs run Windows instead of a mobile OS. The only difference from a laptop is a user interface that wasn’t designed specifically for a tablet PC.

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