MacCast 07.10.2009 - Show #271
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
* Band's MySpace page
V Sponsor
V Circus Ponies
* Notebook
V Diagrams with drawing tools
* Orgcharts, flow charts, site maps, etc.
* Shapes and lines with arrow heads, etc.
* Freehand people can sketch and use tablets, will even do handwriting recognition if you want.
* Free 30-day trial
V News
V iPhone OS 3.1 update seeded to developers
* Also came with a new 3.1 beta SDK update
V According to AppleInsider upcoming features include
* Save a copy of a video after trimming. (non-destructive editing)
* Save videos to photo albums that were sent to your iPhone as email attachments.
* Voice Control works over Bluetooth headsets
* Improved battery life on iPhone 3GS
* MMS is now enabled by default
* Updates AT&T "carrier" profile from 4.0 to 4.2 and baseband has been shifted to to v5.08.01.
* Vibration feedback when icon "jiggle" mode for rearranging is enabled.
* Access to the iPhone's video recording and editing functions for developers.
* New extensions for the OpenGL ES graphics library to allow developers to improve graphics performance. Also Quartz improvements.
* "Fraud Protection" toggle in Safari settings.
V Something that bugs me about videos on the iPhone...
* The experience wasn't thought out.
* A listener pointed out that they aren't handled like photos are by iPhoto.
* Can designate them to sync back to the iPhone after they are imported.
* You can export them into iTunes, Drag and drop into library. Then sync to the movies section of the iPod. Portrait shot videos then playback in landscape mode on the iPhone, small and letterboxed on the side. Rotate doesn't work.
* Also can't play videos from the Photo library in iPhoto, have to open in Quicktime and they don't play on the Apple TV.
* Seems video should just sync straight to the movies section in iTunes.
V Mac sales tick up at end of quarter
* Citing a report by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, Apple Insider reports Mac sales appeared to be on the rise in May.
* New lower prices on the Macbook and Macbook Pro lines, plus Apple's free iPod Touch back to school programs are cited as a main factor in contributing to the rise.
* Mac shipments were up 25% month over month in May. Average PC month over month growth was just 1%
* Huberty raised her Mac unit sales prediction for the 3rd quarter to 2.5 million Macs up from a prior estimate of 2.4 million. That would represent a 12% quarterly growth.
* An ArsTechnica report says that Gene Munster is also noticing brisk sales of the 13" Macbook Pros and while not as bullish as Huberty, predicts that Apple will ship 2.2 million Macs for fiscal Q3.
V Mobile Me gets some sprucing up
* According to MacUser, Mail, Gallery, iDisk, Account, Back to My Mac, and Push services were all updated.
V Mail
* unread message counts now appear on all folders and the inbox
* Forwarding and replying to HTML messages retains formatting.
V Gallery
* Can publish iPhone 3GS video to an album
V iDisk
* Progress bar indicator when uploading to a public folder in the web interface
* iPhone contacts maintain ringtone associations after syncing with MobileMe.
* New icons for iDisk and Account
V Apple and NVidia, off again, on again
* Mid last week Electronista and others reported that Apple and NVidia were at odds over talks for renewed deals to keep NVidia chips in Macs.
* The report claimed Apple felt NVidia's terms were arrogant.
* Apple was also apparently not happy with the overheating and failure issues associated with the GeForce 8400M and 8600M chips for which Apple had to extend Macbook Pro warranties for up to 3 years to deal with.
* ArsTechnica added fuel when they reported that AMD has plans to release a chipset, dubbed RS880, with integrated Radeon 4200M graphics around August. Implying Apple had a possible supplier to move to if they left NVidia.
* Last Friday NVidia made an official statement saying everything was fine.
V iPhone has nice holes for hackers
V MacNN says Security researcher Charlie Miller at the SyScan conference in Singapore said he has told Apple of a serious vulnerability in the SMS functionality of the iPhone and they are working to patch it.
* The vulnerability might allow a hacker to run exploits on a remote phone, using code sent through SMS.
* Apparently the SMS app has some freedoms not afforded to other apps, which are typically sandboxed. the iPhone memory is also hardware-protected, but according to Miller multiple SMS messages in Binary could deliver a full program and root access of the phone is possible.
V Following on Miller's findings, iLounge says that co-founder Max Moser has detailed a wi-fi exploit for the iPhone.
* The issue is that when the iPhone detects a wi-fi hotspot it makes a call to and tries to open a small document if it does it assume s a good open connection
* If not, it assumes there is a "captive-portal" and automatically opens Safari to display the local hotspot pay screens, etc.
* A hacker hotspot could be set up and made to capture cookie data from safari with things like account information, etc.
* Seems like a minor concern to me, but there it is.
V Apple replacing iPhone screens in store
* MacNN and ArsTechnica both confirmed that now Apple is replacing cracked iPhone screens at their retail store location instead of sending them out for warranty repair.
* The process needs a special machine to suck the glass out of the device.
* Screens are not covered by AppleCare and will cost USD $199.00 to replace.
* Service is not available for original iPhones.
V Active packaging keeps iThings charged
* A recently published patent show packaging that would allow devices to operate "in box"
* Providing power while on the shelf.
* Could allow devices to update while still in the box. Also to display advertising beamed wirelessly to the devices.
V iPod and iPhone cameras for "all" models?
* Tech Crunch started it, but everyone piled on.
* TC says a reliable source in Asia claims Apple put in a huge order for cameras of the type in the iPhone 3GS. So huge that it could only mean Apple plans to use them in almost every iPod from the Touch to the Nano.
* They speculate that the Touch would be video capable, but have no idea on the Nano or Classic (I think likely not).
* Several rumors sites have posted supposed new IPod Touch and Nano cases with holes which are allegedly for the new camera sensors.
* Ars Techinica has data from Pinch Media that seems to show the new iPod Touch (supposedly designated "iPod3,1") showing up in their usage logs. Testing?
V I guess to keep the iPhone at a premium, Mac Rumors wants to believe reports from DigiTimes that iPhone manufacture Foxconn's subsidiary Foxlink is developing a Pico project that could be in iPhones later this year.
* I say highly unlikely due to size and battery drain.
V SEC looks at Jobs health disclosures
* TMO reports that the SEC may be investigating if in disclosing info on Steve Jobs health the company may have violated the law.
* They cite a Blooomberg piece and say the scrutiny may have come because a week after Apple reports Jobs health issues "simple" they became "complex" and he took a 6 month leave and we now know received a liver transplant.
* According to lawyers TMo checked with if Apple execs knew things were more serious than a simple hormone imbalance before they first statement the January 5th, they could have a problem.
* So basically had Apple completely kept silent it sound to me like the SEC wouldn't even be poking around, but because Apple said something and then escalated it when things got worse they are checking up on them.
* For now it seems like the SEC is only trying to see if any potential violation happened, they are not actually moving forward with any prosecution.
V Safari 4.0.2 update, "Nitro"!
* Mainly updates to the Nitro Javascript engine with performance and security enhancements
* Also contains a couple other security fixes for WebKit
* Available via Software Update for Mac and Windows or on Apple's website
V Latest tweaks in Snow Leopard
* Apple released Snow Leopard 10A402 beta build late this week and MacRumors has the report on some of the latest tweaks
* Dock contextual menus have a new look, with white text on charcoal backgrounds. Apparently some are calling this the "heads-up display" theme. Looks nice.
* Finder icon view slider now grey instead of blue
* Expose now work with multiple monitors. In past builds items from secondary monitors would recollect on the main screen after activating Expose
* Generally faster with better startup and shutdown times
* 3rd party preference panes are now working
* Battery indicator showing longer battery times than before the update. No word on if battery life is actually improved.
* QuickTime X has been upgraded to Build 10.0 (42)
V Happy belated birthday to the App Store
* Turned 1 on July 6th.
V Sponsor
V Faronics
* Deep Freeze
* Perfect for locations that have shared access Macs. Schools, libraries, small businesses, etc.
* Also great if you have kids. Set up an older Mac and give them designated spaces to save their files, but lock down the rest.
* No matter what they do, install apps, add things, even if they delete System files, a reboot will restore the entire system.
* Free trail is available and a standard license is just USD $45.00
V Feedback, Comments and Commentary
V Apple blocks Karaoke app
* Listener last week told me a developer friend had his app, iKaraoke, blocked from the app store citing "duplicate functionality" for duplicating iPod functionality.
* App did have some similarities, but allowed downloading of .kar files.
* MacRumors, cited an Apple patent this week for a Karaoke app on the iPhone that would "listen" to you singing and evaluate your performance, providing feedback in real-time.
V Delicious Library was also pulled from the App store this week.
* It wasn't Apple though, but Amazon.
* Violation of Amazon API terms and conditions which state you can't use their Product Advertising Content (which Delicious Library relies on) with a site or application designed to run on a mobile device.
V Wi-fi issues on iPhone and iPod Touch after 3.0 upgrade
* Listener David reported no wi-fi after paying the $10 to upgrade his iPod Touch (2G) to 3.0.
* Put the call out on Twitter and many responded, including Matt with this voicemail. (Play comment).
* Problems range from drop outs, not keeping WPA2 keys, low signal, slow connections, to can't connect at all.
* TUAW claims there are currently at least fourteen Apple Discussion threads, with over six hundred messages posted on the issue.
V Standard fixes don't seem to work
* Resetting the ipod
* Restoring, one listener said he had success after multiple restores.
V Listener Bob says turning off PUSH may help.
* Settings-->Mail, Contacts, Calendars--> Fetch New Data-->Push=Off
V Mixed success with rolling back to 2.2 to fix the trouble.
* To rollback, fine a copy of the 2.2.1 firmware. Look for the .ipsw files on your computer in ~/Library/iTunes/iPod Software Update folder or use LiveCrunch links and then hold down option +restore (mac) select the firmware file.
* One listener who couldn't get any connection was able to get Apple to replace his iPod Touch.
* Let's hope 3.1 resolves the issue, there are rumors that it will. In the meantime Apple should offer refunds to those impacted.
V Apple has posted a support article with 3 steps to try
V Symptoms
* Shows no wi-fi or Bluetooth address. Settings > General > About and scroll down to Wi-Fi Address or Bluetooth
* Appears to be connected, but services like Safari and Mail don't work
* Wi-fi or Bluetooth icons are greyed out
* Can't pair with Bluetooth Accessories
* When you check Settings > Wi-Fi and then go into the Network details (blue arrow), there are no values for for IP Address, Subnet Mask, Router, or DNS.
V Troubleshooting
* First sync the device with iTunes to get a full backup
* 1) Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. See if the issue is fixed. If so resync.
* 2) Go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. See if the issue is fixed. If so resync.
* 3) Restore the device in iTunes. (This will erase all data on the device). Sync. See if the issue is fixed. If so resync.
* 4) If none of these work contact Apple for repair service.
V Overheating issues also reported
* Hot iPhone 3Gs and 3GSs after the update
* Discolored White iPhones. Plastic or cases?
V Apple does have a support article warning of temperatures
* iPhone should be operated in temperatures below 95℉ (35℃) and stored in areas that do not exceed 113℉ (45℃).
* If you use some apps or iPod features in hot climates or in direct sunlight you might see a warning screen, "Temperture: iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it."
V Other iPhone OS 3.0 and 3GS issues
* Battery performance issues
* oleophobic coating scratching or coming off
V Use an old Mac (or PC) as a 2nd monitor
* At least 3 listeners this week asked me about this.
V Screen Recycler
* USD $29.90
* Put ScreenRecycler on your first Mac and then a VNC client on the second. The site recommends JollysFastVNC.
* I believe it can do spanning and mirroring, although some older Mac's might not support spanning.
V Apple's HTTP Streaming Protocol a Flash killer?
* Chris Foresman at Ars Technica has a great piece on Apple's new HTTP streaming protocol which is supported in the iPhone and in the new Quicktime X that will be shipping in Snow Leopard
* In June Apple sent the protocol to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in hopes of making it a standard.
V How it works vs. the current RTSP standard
* Real Time Streaming Protocol originally developed by Netscape and Real and used for most live streaming today uses special ports that are sometimes blocked by firewalls and routers
* HTTP Streaming would use the web standard HTTP protocol and and can be served from a standard web server, no special streaming server required.
V HTTP live streaming is really more like almost live streaming
* MPEG-2 transport stream is broken into small chunks
* Chunks are placed into a . m3u8 playlist which is simply an extension to the already standard .m3u playlist spec
* The client downloads and plays the small chunks in the order specified in the playlist. For "live" streaming the playlist is updated on the fly as new chunks are added.
* Live streams would require some kind of delay since chunks would need to be in the playlist and referenced before they could be downloaded. Apple's docs recommend 10 second chunks with a 30 second latency.
* Alternate streams (playlists) of differing qualities can also be offered and dynamically switched between.
V An MPEG-2 transport stream, program stream, or audio elementary stream is required
* Apple uses H.264 video with AAC audio, of course.
* Audio-only can be AAC, MP3, or the MPEG-2 elementary stream
* Apple offers Developers a beta stream segmenter.
V So is this why Apple hasn't brought Flash to the iPhone?
* Think about it for mobile video vs. Flash or Silverlight
* No proprietary servers, specialized encoders, etc.
* Massive installed base of portable players in iPhones and iPod Touches. Add Quicktime X and the potential is huge.
V Clean Macs are happy (and better running Macs)
V Chris "Lord of the Hair" Breen posted a nice piece on Mac optical drives that spit out disks and how to troubleshoot them
* Clean the disks, clean the drive, zap the PRAM, replace the drive.
* Notice two of the tips are about cleaning the physical parts.
V Dust, dirt, moisture are not great for Macs.
* I had burning issues on an older Mac and running lens cleaning CD fixed it.
* Overheating Mac, clean out the vents, fans, etc.
* Cleaning screen and case with soft, lint-free, slightly damp cloth. 1 moist, 1 dry. Powered off and unplugged.
* Clean your mouse feet and sensors.
* I generally avoid blowing or compressed air.
V Out of warranty service? It never hurts to ask Apple
V Jonny was having issues with unexpected shutdowns on his 1.5 year old Macbook Pro
* Tried the usual zap PRAM, reset SMU, repair permissions
* The System Profiler said "Check battery", but his had less than 300 charge cycles.
* He didn't have Applecare and his model wasn't under any of the current extended programs for batteries.
* Still he went to the Apple Store to have it checked and expecting to pay for a new Battery. They replaced it for free.
* Friend with 4 hour old new Macbook, cracked screen, $700 repair when she took it in and the Genius just gave her a new one.
* If you don't ask then they can't help you.
* Keys are be humble and honest. Demanding that the "owe" you will get you nowhere.
V Found my iPhone
* Received a great story from Listener Ken in Canada who gave his daughter an iPhone 3G as a gift last year for high school graduation
* He upgraded it recently with the new 3.0 software and turned on the Find My iPhone feature and forgot about it
* She lost her purse and iPhone at a busy bar and was very upset until they remembered the Find my iPhone feature.
* They logged on to Mobile Me and found the phone at a house not far from the bar
* A guy at the house admitted that his girlfriend found the purse and iPhone and returned it.
V Closing
V Podcast Marketplace
V Thanks to my sponsors
* Circus Ponies
* Smile on my Mac
* Faronics, Deep Freeze
V Keep emails coming. Audio comments.
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V "I Choose to Be" by Allison Crowe
* From the Podsafe Music Network (Music Alley)
* Artist's web site
* Buy in iTunes
V EOL: Exploded Mac! No, the good kind.
* Artist Gary Booth has created this great image of an expolded view of a Mac 128K. Available as a poster or a t-shirt (via Cult of Mac).