Users of iOS file management apps File Lite and File Lite Pro might want to delete the apps from their iOS devices for now (or at least turn off Wi-Fi sharing). That's because the Vulnerability Laboratory has discovered three vulnerabilities in the latest versions of the apps, according to iMore.
The worst vulnerability allows an attacker to upload files to a user's account without any interaction, while the other two permit code injection in the user's browser while they are viewing file listings. All three exploits require that a user has the apps' Wi-Fi sharing option turned on.
Since the vulnerabilities were discovered on May 17th, the app has not been pulled from the App Store, nor has it been updated. Until an update is released fixing the vulnerabilities, users should at the very least disable Wi-Fi sharing within the app.
File Lite, File Lite Pro for iPhone shown to have vulnerabilities originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 20 May 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The last time I talked to the guys from Happy Owl Studio, they were busy cranking out great-looking leather bags for Apple devices. Now the company is producing the Cashbox (starts at US$750 - $1,500, depending on the payment solution selected for the register), a product that was still in planning back in early '12 and is now ready to give your iPad cash register a solid and sustainable home.
As you'll see in the video at the bottom of this post, Happy Owl uses sustainably grown and harvested bamboo wood that is then cut to precise measurements with a CNC milling machine, laser-etched with a logo of your choice and hand-finished. The guts of the Cashbox are all industry-standard -- an iPad, of course, as well as a Star receipt printer and a Vasario cash drawer.
The Cashbox can not only accept credit and debit cards through Square, PayPal or any of the other common iPad payment solutions, but also has a cash drawer for taking the old legal tender as well. One unique feature is the tilting iPad holder that flips from letting a clerk enter an order to a customer's view of the transaction for signature.
The Cashbox certainly appears to be a lot more sturdy and usable than the upcoming "Stand" or the existing Business in a Box solutions from Square. If you're looking at an iPad-based register solution for your business, the Cashbox is definitely worth a look for a solid custom register.
Happy Owl Studio Cashbox: a beautiful hand-crafted iPad cash register originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 20 May 2013 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Museum buffs and tourists might want to download Google's Field Trip app right now. As we've told you before, the location-based app shows you cool things to do while on a trip. For a limited time, the app will also get you into 13 major US museums for free, as Google announced on the Field Trip Google+ page:
Rumor has it you can visit 13 museums in 6 cities for FREE with Field Trip...
RUMOR CONFIRMED!!! For a limited time you can walk into any of these for free:
Conservatory of Flowers, SF
California Academy of Sciences, SF
Walt Disney Family Museum, SF
Museum of Contemporary Art, LA
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Adler Planetarium, Chicago
The Field Museum, Chicago
Museum of the city of New York, NY
Museum of Arts and Design, NY
National Building Museum, DC
Portland Children's Museum
Portland Art Museum
Pittock Mansion, Portland
If you are around one of the following 13 museums, you will get a Field Trip card with "Free Entry" in the title (check the 'nearby' tab). Show the card on your phone to the admissions staff and they'll take care of the rest.
Enjoy your Field Trips!
Living in Europe I'm pretty spoiled, as almost every major museum is free. But looking at the list above -- especially seeing three of Chicago's best museums (my old stomping grounds) -- leaves me feeling a little envious of my US friends at the moment.
Field Trip is a free download for iOS and Android.
Google's Field Trip app gets you into 13 museums for free right now originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 20 May 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was seen visiting Apple's headquarters in Cupertino over the weekend, reports The Hurriyet Daily News. The visit was part of a series of stops to major technology companies in Silicon Valley, including Google and Microsoft. The visit wasn't just out of casual interest on the PM's part, however. Turkey is seeking to purchase 10.6 million tablet computers for use in its schools.
Even for a company as large as Apple, an additional 10.6 million iPads sold would be massive. It's unknown who Erdoğan met with at Apple, but this was not the first time a Turkish government official stopped by. Way back in 2011, Turkish Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan visited Apple to discuss the same tablet education program.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
After less than 10 days on the App Store, Apple this past week gave the boot to "Bang With Friends", an app that seemingly runs afoul of Apple's efforts to keep the App Store as reasonably wholesome and free of smut as possible.
In case you're unfamiliar, "Bang With Friends" is an app that seeks to match up Facebook users with friends who share a common interest in, oh, how shall I phrase this, amorous relations.
This past weekend, "Bang With Friends" co-founder and CEO Colin Hodge confirmed the app's removal with Valleywag. Hodge did, however, note that he's currently working with Apple to get it back in the App Store.
While it stands to reason that the app was removed due to its mature nature, Hodge says that Apple hasn't yet given him a reason as to why the app was removed.
Interestingly enough, TechCrunch this past Friday ran an article detailing how Zynga -- the purveyors of the ever popular "Words With Friends" app -- recently served the developers of "Cupid With Friends" with papers indicating that the name of their app infringes upon Zynga's trademark.
Zynga's letter reads in part:
Zynga has consistently used and promoted the 'WITH FRIENDS Family of Trademarks together as a family and, as a result of Zynga's extensive marketing efforts and commercial success, the 'WITH FRIENDS Family of Trademarks is strongly identified by consumers with Zynga's reputation for quality.
That being the case, perhaps its also possible that the removal of "Bang With Friends" has something to do with Zynga's efforts to protect its intellectual property.
That theory is somewhat flawed, however, to the extent that the app is still available for download on the Google Play store.
In any event, while Apple's App Store rejection and approval process is no longer the hot button controversy it once was, every so often Apple gives us a little reminder of its desire to keep the App Store clean. For instance, Apple this past January temporarily removed the popular photo-based 500px app due to concerns that users could too easily use it to search for nude photos. One week later, the App was reinstated after developers added a new feature enabling users to flag inappropriate content for removal.
Apple removes "Bang With Friends" from the App Store originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 20 May 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
In a recent interview, outgoing Intel CEO Paul Otellini explained how he passed up on an opportunity to get Intel chips inside the original iPhone.
According to Otellini, Apple and Intel couldn't come to terms regarding cost. Further, Otellini explained that he simply had no way of knowing how successful and ubiquitous the iPhone would go on to become.
While there's no way to know for sure just how seriously Apple was considering Intel as a partner for the iPhone, I couldn't help but laugh at the notion of an iPhone sporting an "Intel Inside" sticker on the back. Of course, Apple would have never allowed such a thing in a million years, but the thought reminded me of an old video where Steve Jobs is asked why Apple doesn't put "Intel Inside" stickers on its Macs.
The video is from August, 2007 and is of a Q&A session that followed an Apple special media event where the first aluminum iMac was introduced.
The pertinent part of the video begins at about 32 seconds in.
Comically, the very premise of the question elicits laughter from both Tim Cook and Phil Schiller.
Jobs, always masterful when put on the spot, evokes laughter and applause from the audience when he responds sharply, "What can I say? We like our own stickers better."
Jobs, of course, follows that up with praise for Intel.
Don't get me wrong. We love working with Intel. We're very proud to ship Intel products in Macs. I mean, they are screamers. And combined with our operating system, we've really tuned them well together, so we're really proud of that. It's just that everyone knows we're using Intel processors, and so I think putting a lot of stickers on the box is just redundant. We'd rather tell them about the product inside the box, and they know it's got an Intel processor.
Makes sense to me.
Video Flashback: Steve Jobs explains why Macs don't sport "Intel Inside" stickers originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 20 May 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Once more we come to that point in the week where we practice a time-honored tradition, the Sunday Talkcast.
Tonight's show is a special one, as we are going to be joined by The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Jim Dalrymple, of Loop Insight. We'll be talking about The Magazine, among other things. I have heard tell The Beard may be joining us as well, so if you join us, do be on your best behavior. When The Beard is frightened, it doesn't end well.
As usual, the Kelly Show means Aftershow, so you should come by for that as well.
Since it's really all about you, the community, do see if you can join us, won't you? To participate live, you can use the browser-only Talkshoe client, the embedded Facebook app, or download the classic TalkShoe Pro Java client; however, for +5 Interactivity, you should call in.
For the web UI, just click the Talkshoe Web button on our profile page at 4 HI/7 PDT/10 pm EDT Sunday. To call in on regular phone or VoIP lines (Viva free weekend minutes!): dial (724) 444-7444 and enter our talkcast ID, 45077 -- during the call, you can request to talk by keying in *8.
Talkcast tonight, 7pm PST/10pm EST: Beard Edition! originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 19 May 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
There will come a time when you would like to simply transfer a file from one iOS device to another or to a Mac; it's inevitable. When the time arises, you will discover as most of us already have that the process is not as straightforward as one would think, considering how powerful these devices are. The most common methods used up to this point have been emailing oneself, cloud services like iCloud or Dropbox, file sync with the USB cable and iTunes or pleading with the always capricious Camera Connection Kit.
Instashare for iOS is like AirDrop for mobile devices as it quickly and painlessly copies any file from one device to another over WiFi or Bluetooth without a direct connection to the internet.
Instashare for OSX currently in beta, adds the ability to send files to and from your Mac and your iOS devices.
Both versions of Instashare are free; however, the iOS version is ad-supported and the ads can be removed by a $0.99 in-app purchase. Instashare for Android and Windows are currently in development.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
What can be more comfortable to a cat than a pillow that blows warm air out of an optical media slot and vibrates ever so gently? That appears to be why Biru (Indonesian for Blue) loves to rest on a Mac mini owned by reader Peter Stagg and his wife.
Peter says, "Biru is my wife's British Short-haired and constant companion, especially when she is working in her study or on her laptop. He has claimed the lives of two laptops so far and is working on the Mac mini, very slowly. When he's not enjoying the warm air expelled from the optical media slot he lies across the front of the keyboard and doubles as a wrist support." Biru also seems to be keeping a Logitech headset nice and warm for his owners!
So there you have it! A cat who not only forces equipment upgrades from his owners, but who is also a working Mac accessory! If you've got a Caturday nominee to share, let us know via our feedback page. For security reasons we can't accept inbound attachments, so you should host the photo (Dropbox, Flickr, iPhoto Journals, etc.) and send us the link.
Thanks, Peter!Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Spark Inspector (US$39.99 single-license) offers an exciting new development tool. Targeting devs looking to refine their user interfaces, it enables you to interactively tweak view properties like frames and layers.
The app centers around an Interface Builder-like experience, with familiar-looking attribute and size inspectors. If you're comfortable in Xcode 4, you'll easily find your way around this tool.
In addition, it provides a custom layer inspector -- one that could (and, honestly should) inspire Apple. It enables you to update layer attributes like shadows and transforms, while viewing the results in real time.
Perfect for devs who otherwise write their interfaces in code (I am guilty as charged), it breaks out of the tweak-build-run loop that takes up so much time and energy in the normal development day. Instead, you apply your tweaks within the app itself, adjusting the interface until it looks just right.
This is the point at which Spark Inspector displays its one big weakness (keep in mind that it's still in development). Instead of producing an updated XIB (which would be okay) or PaintCode-like Objective-C output suitable for re-integration to your apps (which would kick ass), you take responsibility for transferring values back to your Xcode project.
Honestly, It's not a huge deal -- especially when your tweaks change a constant from say 50 to 58.5 -- but it's something that could be a killer feature in future updates. For now, you make notes of what values worked best for you. And no, there's no "bookmark this UI for later comparison" option either, another thing I would have liked to have seen.
One of Spark Inspector's nicest features is its 3D extrusion display. This pushes views out in parent-child hierarchies, letting you explore and select items with more tangible visualization than you get in IB.
Spark Inspector also offers a notification inspector, which may be useful for some devs. If you're already writing your UIs from code, however, you probably know how to set up a listener that logs notifications.
Setup is easy. There's a setup assistant for configuring Xcode projects, or (if you're paranoid like I am) add both the SparkInspector and libz frameworks to your dev builds, making sure to enable the -ObjC flag in Other Linker Flags. Include the SparkInspector header as such:
and enable the inspector in your application delegate, typically in application:didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:
Make sure you test using the simulator, and not (as I first tried) on device. The standalone Spark Inspector app (DMG) must be running. As soon as your app hits the "enable observation" stage, it seamlessly connects to the inspector, and you're ready to test and tweak.
For forty bucks, this promises to be a valuable tool that many devs will benefit from. If you'd like to kick the tires before you buy, there's a free 30 day trial available on the Spark Inspector website. If you do decide to buy, you purchase directly from the vendor.
DevJuice: Spark Inspector offers real time iOS interface inpection originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sat, 18 May 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
On Wednesday, Apple sold its 50 billionth iOS app. TUAW was there keeping track of the excitement and monitoring the iTunes store. Many of our colleagues and readers used this contest as an opportunity to stock up on numerous free apps, to test and explore.
Were you one of them?
What apps did you download and which ones do you love? Here at TUAW, most of our choices were word of mouth -- Megan downloaded Moves while I gave the Target app a try. I managed to convince Steve Sande to pick up Enigma.
Sadly, none of us won.
What about you? Did you discover a really great app while trying to win the prize? Drop a note in the comments and share your discoveries. And take part in our little poll. We're curious as to how many times people "entered" with the intent of winning big.
Weekend Poll: What apps did you discover via the 50 billionth download contest? originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 May 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
One thing that seems to be a common attribute of hard-core Apple fans is that they are connoisseurs of great design. It doesn't matter if it's the sleek curves of a new iMac or the minimalist slab of the iPhone 5, we love how the devices are designed with pleasing dimensions and an enjoyable tactile sensation. That's why I was instantly attracted to the Kenu Airframe (US$24.95), a simple and lightweight smartphone car mount that's perfect for present and future iPhones.Design
Some of the car mounts I've received for review over the years have been expensive overkill. They often use a suction cup mount to stick to the front window of the car, which doesn't work very well in hot dry environments as they tend to pop off when they sit in the sun for a while, dropping your expensive phone to the floor of the car. There's usually a long arm designed to bring the iPhone closer to your hand, which has the undesirable effect of making the phone sway or bounce.
The Kenu Airframe is simplicity defined: it uses a soft plastic clip to attach to an air vent in your car. That clip rotates 90 degrees to properly fit thick or thin grilles on your vent. The idea of mounting the iPhone to your air vent is pure genius as well, as in hot conditions you'll most likely have air conditioning turned on, which will cool the phone and keep it from overheating.
Gallery: Kenu Airframe
An expandable jaw on the Airframe can hold most phones regardless of their width, giving you some semblance of insurance against needing to purchase another car mount should a future iteration of iPhone be a different width.
One other fun thing: if you need an impromptu stand for your iPhone, just grab your Airframe and a business or credit card from your wallet, then pop that card into the clip on the back. Voila! Your iPhone is standing up on its own.Functionality
Installing the Airframe is quite simple. Find a spot in your car with a vent where you'd like to hang your iPhone, and push the clip onto the plastic grille. That's it. Next, grab your iPhone and push it into the jaws of the Airframe, and you're done. One note: if you have a thick iPhone case like the Mophie Juice Pack, the Airframe won't be able to grab onto your phone. It works swimmingly with a lot of the thinner cases.
The way the clip is designed virtually guarantees that the Airframe is not going to fall out of the vent grille. There's a lot of road construction going on near my home right now and it's practically "four-wheeling" territory on one of the main drags with a lot of bumps and dips. Even at the maximum speed allowed in the construction zone, the jarring and swerving didn't move the Airframe or my iPhone a bit.
The travel stand idea with the credit card is also brilliant. It's a perfect way to use a car mount anywhere -- something that you can't do with a "normal" suction-cup equipped mount.
If there are any negatives I can think of, it's that this might not be a good idea in the winter if you have the clips inserted into a vent blowing hot air onto your iPhone. I don't know for sure if this would cause your iPhone to shut off due to high temperatures, but it's worth thinking about.Conclusion
Whether you use your iPhone in the car for entertainment, directions, or just to have your phone at arm's reach when you're driving, the Airframe is a simple, sturdy, and functional car mount that takes up very little room.
- Very compact design and light (less than 1 oz.) enough to carry anywhere
- Doesn't rely on suction cups to mount your phone in your vehicle
- Using the Airframe with a credit card as a travel stand for your phone is sheer genius
- Soft rubber material on the jaws and clips ensures a tight grip to phone and vent without scratching either
- Doesn't work with thicker cases like the Mophie Juice Packs
- Rather expensive when some car mounts are available for as little as $3.57
Who is it for?
- Anyone looking for an unobtrusive and functional car mount for their iPhone
Kenu Airframe: An ingenious car mount for your iPhone originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 May 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
I use my iPhone a lot to listen to music and podcasts in my car -- I connect it right up to my car stereo, and it's my main listening source while driving around LA. As a result, I really wish there were more options to control my music while driving around. Music and podcast streaming app Stitcher has introduced a new feature along these lines they're calling Car Mode, which is basically just a simplified interface with large, clear controls, so you can choose and play your music easily. There are also some other new features added into the app, including a new front page and faster playback. You can download Stitcher Radio for free on the App Store.
Unfortunately, this isn't really what I'm looking for -- this layout still requires you to pick up your phone and press buttons to use it, and that means that you'll still have to pull over to the side of the road to choose your music. (Because as we all know, using your cell phone while driving is illegal; just ask the LAPD.) What I'd really like to see from these streaming apps is Siri integration. I often will be driving around and get an urge to listen to a specific song or artist, and it'd be nice to use Siri to say something like, "Siri, play me some Rolling Stones," or "play me Bohemian Rhapsody," and have it automatically start playing.
I'm not sure that's entirely possible just yet, as Apple's API for Siri can be limited for some developers -- at this point, I think about all you can do is open an app. But hopefully that will change soon. The first streaming audio app to let me start up and control songs in the car with just my voice will definitely have me interested in switching over to it.
Stitcher Radio announces a Car Mode, but it's not quite what I want originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 May 2013 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Looking for some new games to play this weekend? You're in luck. Developer Gameloft is offering two of its premium titles, N.O.V.A. 3 and Gangstar Rio, for free this weekend in the App Store. Picking up both titles would normally set you back US$12 so jump on this deal quickly.
Gangster Rio is a 3D sandbox game in the spirit of Grand Theft Auto, complete with vehicles, combat, and all the moral ambiguity you'd expect from a crime simulator. With over 60 missions, locations based on Rio de Janeiro, and even an exploding football that as a weapon, Gangster Rio has a lot to offer for exploration.
First person shooter fans should give N.O.V.A. 3 a spin for both single and multiplayer modes. The main storyline takes place over 10 levels of sci-fi combat, while the multiplayer is rounded out by 7 different play modes and support for up to 12 players. Most impressively the game has in-game chat for talking to your friends while you play.
Each game has micro-transaction options for beefing up your bankroll and ammo, so maybe this weekend you will pass some of your savings from the free download into buying new weapons and vehicles. Or just revel in the knowledge that you got two free games. Either way act quickly, as this deal will be over soon.
Pick up Gangster Rio: City of Saints here at iTunes.
Pick up N.O.V.A. 3 here at iTunes.
Download N.O.V.A. 3 and Gangstar Rio for iOS free this weekend originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 May 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
I was lucky. My mom and dad had me while they were finishing up their graduate work in the 1970's at North Carolina State University. My dad was, at the time, a bit of a gadget nut. Of course, back then "gadgets" were more commonly found in the kitchen and came from companies like Ronco. My dad was more into the electronics side, and I remember seeing TAB books about building robots around the house. We never built those robots, but my dad did buy two pieces of tech which changed my life forever. One was an HP programmable calculator, the other was an Apple II.
For those who don't remember, the early programmable calculators from HP had less than 4 kilobytes of memory on them. My dad would program the equations needed to solve various math problems (he was getting his Ph.D in chemical engineering at the time), then he'd let the HP crank away on the math over the weekend. So yes, computers were a little slower back in those days.
While the HP lived at my dad's office on campus, and I only saw it a few times until he graduated, the Apple was a Christmas present for the whole family. He bought it in a bicycle shop, as there were no real computer shops at the time. In the back of this bike shop there was a hobbyist's corner filled with old computers like the Altair, and various electronics kits and projects for the budding "computer" hobbyist. As the Apple II had a keyboard and available software, it was an easy sell.
I still remember plugging it in to our color TV and hearing that beep as we loaded up Integer BASIC and tried out a game of Star Wars using a casette to load the program. We had 2 paddles to play, and Star Wars was hard to play with those paddles; one controlled your X-Wing's X-axis, and the other the Y-axis. That is no way to fly, for sure. More fun was Breakout, and later a Star Trek game where we obliterated ASCII Klingons in turn-based play. Even more fun than that: getting to program our own applications using AppleSoft BASIC, made from a little shop called Microsoft and licensed by Apple for use on the platform (the sad story of why AppleSoft BASIC for Mac never made it to market will have to wait for another day).
Within a few years I was happily using BASIC and fastidiously entering lines of code from books and magazines to make games, "screen art" and other fun things. When we moved to Tennessee I wound up getting a Laser 128, which, along with an external disk drive, allowed me to use some of the best software on the market -- for kids and adults.
Some of the software of the 1980's also had a big impact on me. Bill Budge's Pinball Construction Set featured a visual interface for easily building virtual pinball tables. Music Construction Set similarly allowed the Apple II to turn into a synthesizer. Adventure Construction Set, while primitive, was used to make entire interactive worlds using little sprites and your imagination. All of those were from Electronic Arts, a rambunctious little gaming startup at the time. Then there was Broderbund, who brought me Lode Runner and The Print Shop. Lode Runner (still around today, sort of), had a level editor that allowed total freedom. I made dozens of levels; later, when I taught game design at a technical college, the lessons in game balance I learned from play testing those Lode Runner levels were not lost on me.
Then there was The Newsroom by Springboard (there's an archived review for the Atari here). Of course Broderbund made a killing with The Print Shop -- a simple software package which allowed anyone to easily print (on dot matrix!) posters, banners and other things. Every school in my town had a copy of The Print Shop, and judging from Kodak Disc photos of birthdays back then, I think most of the parents had a copy as well. But The Newsroom was like an advanced version of Print Shop. It was basically a desktop publishing package, complete with layout options, text editor, "image" editor, plus a couple of floppies worth of clip art. The Newsroom used the metaphor of an actual newspaper, complete with layout room and copy desk, to guide kids through the process of making newsletters. It was a powerful piece of software, and required several floppies (front and back!) to create and print your work.
I was also fortunate to grow up in a small East Tennessee town with a couple of taxpaying big companies located there. Eastman Kodak and Mead Paper had operations where I grew up, and because they paid so much in local taxes our schools were quite good. I remember attending computer programming camp where we worked on the Apple IIe at a local elementary school one summer -- apparently this was not common, and certainly rare in an otherwise agrarian locale. Along the way I got Microzine, a brilliant digital magazine available on floppy disk from Scholastic.
When my dad got our first Mac, it was an SE/30. The SE/30 was a great machine, but more importantly we got our first modem with it. Naturally, I was the first in my family to infect our computer with a virus. The virus came from a downloaded sound pack (remember when you could customize sounds on Mac OS?) featuring Monty Python noises. Virus writers definitely knew their audience. If you were on the Internet back then you'll also fondly remember how it was primarily a text interface, and "finding" stuff was largely done via print or word of mouth. Ah, BBS -- back when trolls were smote daily by mods.
I recall a youth filled with electronic toys, too. I still have a Speak & Spell, and a Entex Electronics Soccer game, briefly seen in TRON: Legacy. My dad was nice enough to get me several Erector and Capsela kits, and those awesome 100-in-1 electronics project kits, the old ones with springs and a million colored wires which inevitably became tangled up. Perhaps my most prized possession was Verbot from Tomy, a voice-recognizing robot which you could order around the house by shouting commands into a microphone. Verbot worked almost as well as Siri, so there you go.
In high school I helped our yearbook staff modernize. Mine was the first class to skip the old pasting methods, creating the yearbook digitally with Pagemaker (from Aldus at the time) and Freehand. I still have Freehand 1.0 on a disk somewhere. We also bought one of the first affordable color printers, which used thermal paper, and I remember being disappointed by the quality of the images.
One big side project in high school involved taking correspondence classes in electronics from NRI. My specific degree was to be in electronic music technology, but I only took the courses up until I made a mixer and a really terrible PC. The mouse was so cheap as to be non-functional by design. Building your own PC way back then gave one an appreciation for the fit and finish of Apple products.
It was also during high school that I continued my fascination for building things in software. I was never very good at it, but when HyperCard came along I churned out dozens of choose-your-own-adventure games. Often I was the only one playing them, but it further ingrained a sense that computers were the fastest way from thought to created reality.
By the time I was in college, and after switching from Electrical/Computer Engineering to Communications, Apple had started cranking out lots of Mac models. My first personal Mac was a Centris 610, the "pizza box" variety. I wanted a Mac TV, but had to wait until I treated myself to a graduation present of a PowerMac 8500. Until then I was an active member of several boards on Prodigy, took some time to make a fake ID with my Mac, and published a 'zine using, again, PageMaker. I remember not having enough RAM to load some of the photos.
The early-to-mid 90's were not exactly kind to Apple, but there were some important innovations. I watched my first QuickTime movie on a double-density disk in my Centris on afternoon in my dorm room. It blew my mind. That's also what got me into the video streaming business way back in 1999, at a now-defunct dot com startup. By then I had enough experience to know that if you could create something in the computer, you could *publish* that content in any form.
Now that video could be shown on a personal computer, the final wall had been broken. Of course I didn't consider bandwidth concerns, etc. but that was the origin point for my former stab at a multimedia shop, Superpixel.com. I founded Superpixel having grown up making stuff in computers, either in BASIC or hand-coded from a book, or in a construction set. Using software like HyperCard, and building electronics, printing yearbooks and editing video on a computer early in life also prepped me for the work I was to do later in life, both in education and blogging.
With a PowerMac 8500 under my arm, and After Effects 3.0 and Premiere 4 loaded onboard, I set off to film school. The 8500's analog output resulted in some hilarious attempts at visual effects. I spent far too much time painting fire and lightning effects frame-by-frame in Painter, and not nearly enough time writing scripts in Final Draft (still one of my favorite word processors ever). Still, by the time my final year rolled around the blue and white G3 had become available, so I grabbed one of those, a Canon XL-1 and an ultrawide SCSI hard drive with a whopping 8.5 GB of storage on it. With this setup I shot my final project, a sort of live action Robot Chicken, with a slight touch of Tim and Eric Awesome Show.
I briefly worked in the video industry, assisting AVID editors (who used Macs) and making labels and other assistant-editor duties on an ever-evolving lineup of candy colored iMacs. By the time I left that industry Apple was on the verge of releasing the first iPod.
After a brief stint making commercial websites and internal software solutions, all on Windows machines, I wound up teaching multimedia, then game design, again mostly on Dell computers. Still, 3ds max only runs on Windows, so I was quite fortunate to graduate from Bryce, Poser and Ray Dream Studio on my Mac to a "big boy" 3D toolset. While teaching I honed my skills in Photoshop, Director and Flash. Yes, this was back in the earlier part of the century when Flash was actually useful.
While teaching is awesome, there are times when you're sort of waiting around. During those times I would log in to Slashdot, or dial up a new site called Engadget. Phillip Torrone was a podcast host at the time, and I remember going from Phil's Flash hacking blog to Engadget. Through Engadget I discovered TUAW, where I wound up becoming the top-ranked commenter -- go figure! In 2004, Ryan Block wrote up my iPod case made from a milk jug (which hack-a-day had posted first). I also wound up writing a concept for a Mac mini-based home studio, much as Barb Dybwad did on Engadget, and that's how she and I met.
Eventually, the company then known as Weblogs, Inc. decided to launch a software blog, so Jason Calacanis asked David Chartier and I, along with Jordan Running and Marc Perton, to write for the new site. I learned a lot from or first lead, Marc, who went on to work at Consumer Reports before landing at gdgt. Funny how things come full circle, as gdgt is now also part of AOL!
Anyway, Download Squad was a sincere effort to find and review the best software out there, and report on the industry. What we didn't realize was that the industry would be forever changed as the concept of "software" became more mobile, more pervasive, ultimately morphing into "apps" with a huge growth curve in mobile. Download Squad was closed by AOL just a couple of years ago, but I like to think there's still a market opportunity in quality software reviews, covering all platforms that matter.
Once AOL acquired Weblogs (not long after the launch of Download Squad, incidentally), I started full time as a programming manager, in charge of several sites at once. I assisted in the administration of all of the foreign Engadget sites. I oversaw BBHub (a BlackBerry blog, can you imagine?), DVGuru and some of the rogue, hyper-niche sites we used to have -- like a site about web radio, and The Unofficial Yahoo Weblog (yep, that was a thing).
The rest is history, I suppose. As AOL shifted focus and CEOs, I kept working on making the sites great. We launched DIY Life at some point, with an eclectic and somewhat geeky bent, but that was folded into Lifestyle and is more home-focused now.
I'm incredibly proud of the team at TUAW, as many of us have been here for several years. Dave Caolo was at TUAW before me, in fact, and now he's full-time with AOL to make sure the trains run on time every morning. We were fortunate to have Laurie Duncan introduce us to Mike Rose, as his editorial love, deep knowledge and brilliant mind consistently bring clarity to the team and the site. (Mike's a damn fine writer, too. This farewell tribute to Steve Jobs is one of the best things I've ever read.) Steve Sande just joined AOL full-time as well, although I sometimes think he was installed as a patch during some overnight update -- the guy knows his Apple tech!
Oh, I also made a fart app video.
I've also been lucky to have worked with some amazing TUAW talent, now elsewhere. Brett Terpstra is now a developer with AOL Tech, but he produces a podcast and writes some amazing software. Drew Olanoff is kicking ass with TechCrunch. Christina Warren is with Mashable, but before she was big time, here's her interviewing David Pogue. I practically watched Nik Fletcher grow up! All amazing people, and there plenty of other, equally amazing ones I haven't listed because I'm afraid I'll forget someone -- it's been that great a ride.
Over the coming months I'll let the rest of the team tell their origin stories as well. Stay tuned for those, and lots more good stuff to come here on TUAW.
Permalink | Email this | Comments
Zoombies is a fascinating little game. It's made by a company called High Voltage that is probably best known for the Conduit shooter series, though they've been making licensed games for years (I remember visiting the studio for a tour back when I lived in Chicago -- they were based out in the Hoffman Estates suburb back then). Zoombies is a title that's been in development there for a while -- it was first considered for the Wii, then possibly for Xbox Live Arcade, and finally has seen release on Apple's iOS.
It's easy to see why High Voltage was trying to make this game as a motion control title -- the idea is that you're a kid trying to fight an army of invading undead zoo animals ("Zoo-mbies," get it?), and you are armed with a weapon that you can toss according to a line you've drawn on the screen. Control on the Wii or Xbox would probably have been more direct, but on the iOS touchscreen it means you swipe your finger around, and then the weapon will follow your path. This creates some interesting timing issues -- you want to throw where an animal will be, not where they are. And once you've thrown your weapon, you can't throw it again until it finishes the path, which requires you to keep things as compact as possible.
Zoombies' real charm, however, is in the tone and the art style. The whole game, as you can tell by the subtitle, is done in a joyous sort of Mexican mariachi style, and it just oozes fun. The animals are menacingly cute, the kids are great, and every level has plenty of "skull goals," which are super satisfying to complete. Even if you don't like that core line drawing mechanic, this game is totally charming anyway. Clearly, this was a labor of love for High Voltage, and you can tell they had a lot of fun making the game.
Zoombies is available for US$2.99 on the App Store now, though there are a lot of in-app purchases included, so I wouldn't be surprised to see that price come down sooner if not later. Still, $3 is cheap, so if Zoombies interests you, you might as well grab it right away.
Daily iPhone App -- Zoombies: Animales de la Muerte is cute, arcade fun originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 May 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
It's the TUAW Daily Update, your source for Apple news in a convenient audio format. You'll get all the top Apple stories of the day in three to five minutes for a quick review of what's happening in the Apple world.
You can listen to today's Apple stories by clicking the inline player (requires Flash) or the non-Flash link below. To subscribe to the podcast for daily listening through iTunes, click here.
No Flash? Click here to listen.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
It's clearly not the best time to be looking for a MacBook Air. 13-inch versions are in especially short supply. The reason for the shortage will be obvious to those who follow Apple closely -- it's almost time for the Apple World Wide Developer Conference starting June 10, and Apple is likely going to refresh the popular laptops with the next-generation Intel Haswell Processor.
Apple Insider reports that the only reseller with any significant inventory of the best selling model -- outfitted with a 1.8 GHz processor and 256 GB solid state drive -- is Best Buy. Typically, a constrained supply means new products are in the pipeline. 11-inch MacBook Airs are showing up as available at resellers.
Supply chain rumors have stated a new MacBook Air is on the way with the new Intel processors, with availability predicted for next month. The new chips from Intel promise to generate less heat, consume less power and allow longer battery life. The chips also have a new integrated graphics processor, claiming a 50% hike in performance.
Steve Jobs introduced the first MacBook Air in 2008, and promoted at the time as the world's thinnest notebook. Since then Apple has added new models, increased performance and battery life, and added new features such as USB 3 and Thunderbolt support.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
Earlier this month TUAW reported that iOS 6 had obtained FIPS 140-2 certification, "opening the door to more government use." It didn't take long for that door to swing wide open, as the Pentagon has now officially approved iPhones and iPads running a version of iOS 6 for use on secure government networks.
Two weeks ago, Samsung devices running the Knox security layer and BlackBerry devices including the BlackBerry 10 smartphones and PlayBook tablets were given the nod by the US military. Adding Apple's iOS devices to the mix was part of the platform agnostic plans of the Pentagon revealed in February. Those plans detailed adding wireless voice, video and data capabilities for classified and unclassified communications by October of 2013. The approved devices will begin to be used more widely in the military and intelligence communities late in 2013 or in early 2014.
iPhones and iPads already have a home in some parts of the government that don't require such strict security, but the new Pentagon certification should make for more widespread adoption of iOS.
US Pentagon grants security clearance to iPad, iPhone originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 17 May 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The next time you wish to hack into a Mac, it may help to grab your wand and book of spells. At the NoSuchCon security conference this week, security architect Alex Ionescu presented a talk where he revealed that special undocumented code on a Mac's SMC (system management controller) can be invoked by entering a secret spell used in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
That spell is "SpecialisRevelio," the words used by a wizard to "reveal charms and hexes that have been cast onto a target" or "reveal the ingredients of a potion." In an Ars Technica post about the secret spell, blogger Dan Goodin notes that "While most details are far too technical for this article, the gist of the research is that the SMC is a chip that very few people can read but just about anyone with rudimentary technical skills can 'flash' update."
One of the possible attacks that Ionescu pointed out is infecting the SMC with code to pull out the FileVault key used to encrypt a Mac drive, although to implement this an attacker would have to know details of the Mac like the model, year and screen size in advance.
Much more likely attacks provided by the spell backdoor include marking targets. The SMC could be programmed to emit audible or visual alerts through the fans or LED displays, which could point out a specific Mac to an attacker. A Mac could even be programmed to turn off at a certain time and refuse to boot again.
There's good news in all of this scary talk: to reflash the firmware an attacker has to have physical access to the Mac. Ionescu also reported that many of the SMC security holes were plugged in OS X Mountain Lion. A full copy of the presentation can be downloaded here (PDF file).Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments