Fairly significant data loss bug found and illustrated in Leopard

Slashdot sends us to Tom Karpik who illustrates very plainly a significant bug in Leopard.  It turns out that if you are moving data to an SMB (Windows) Share and the connection to that share is lost, the data you are moving which hasn’t already been copied is gone forever.  It isn’t on the Mac and isn’t on the Share. (Update – it turns out that this is true for a lot of shares – USB/Firewire etc – and has been the case in previous Mac OS’s)

Tom does an excellent job of demonstrating why this happens – which is basically that Apple deletes the data as it is being copied. 

It is possible that this is due to the last minute changes in Time Machine which originally allowed users to set a Windows share to be the backup partition in Leopard Beta but in the final version was turned off.  Since this is a pretty significant bug and Apple is fairly good at quashing serious issues we’d expect the next update (10.5.1) to fix this.

Until this is updated, be extremely wary of moving data to SMB shares.

MacBook Updates. Yawn.

Apple is doing a silent (and slight) refresh of it’s MacBook and MacBook Pro line as supplies of the new machines hit retailers.  While processor speeds, HDs and RAM specs remain mostly unchanged on the MacBooks, the motherboard chipset is being updated to include a 800Mhz bus and the GMA X3100 video card whose drivers had previously been spotted in Leopard (har).   The updated motherboard also includes better power management and Pre-N wireless.  

Unfortunately, it still comes with a combo (no super-) drive standard.  :(

The MacBook Pros now offer the option of a 2.6Ghz chip at a $250 premium and still top out with 4Gb of RAM and 250Gb hard drive options.

This refresh is similar to the silent Mac Mini refresh earlier this year which was made with little fanfare.

Obviously, much bigger announcements are on the horizon in the portable space from Apple.  If we had to guess… we’d say Macworld is looking like a pretty likely time frame…but our timing sucks.

Getting Time Machine to work as advertised

Obviously,  Time Machine is a very complex and ground-breaking application.  Unfortunately, it looks like Apple wasn’t able to get it completely running the way it would like in time to get out the door in time for Leopard GM.  It does really great work to a local USB or Firwire disk drive.  However, you won’t be able to back up to network drives at all whereas you (in the Leopard Betas) were able to back up to Airport Extreme USB disks as well as other SMB and AFP shares.  A@ron at Macrumors forums was able to revitalize this functionality by doing the following:


1) disconnect airport disk and plug into computer as a USB drive directly.
2) Set up time machine to use this volume.
3) In terminal cd to volume "cd /Volume/HDD"
4) In terminal "touch .com.apple.timemachine.supported" this will create an invisible file.
5) In terminal "sudo chown root:admin .com.apple.timemachine.supported"
6) In terminal "sudo chmod 1775 .com.apple.timemachine.supported"
7) In terminal "ls -l -a" the .com.apple.timemachine.supported file should be -rwxrwxr-t
8) eject disk, unplug from mac, plug into Airport.
9) mount at mac using connect to server in finder (command k) and afp://airportname.local./HDname
10) see if time machine now sees the drive and tries to use it.

We were able to do this as well.  In fact, we were able to do this and got our NAS SMB share working again as our backup space for Time Machine.

Obviously this is a hack and not something you want to be relying on for real backups.  Most likely Apple will continue to work on reliability issues and re-enable the functionality that the Beta included in a 10.5.x release.  This was one of the coolest features advertised about Time Machine, however, and Apple simply trying to brush the loss of the functionality under the rug is a bit of a letdown.  We’ll be waiting somewhat patiently for updates.

EDIT: While it thinks it works, the time machine backups to the SMB share are not actually moving any data.  More. Work. Needed.

Will Apple Soon be Forced to Unbrick All iPhones?

As the current iPhone 1.1.1 locking proves, there is a VERY dangerous flaw in the current iPhone and iPod touch software. A malformed TIF file can be used to get root access to the device. Obviously that is good if you want to install some useful applications on your iPhone/iPod, however that is extremely bad if you are worried about someone taking over your iPhone. Ironically, this might be a good thing for those who accidentally let Apple Brick their iPhones – try to stay with us here…

Theoretically, the malformed TIF file could be used for more nefarious tasks than updating than installing useful apps or updating the modems firmware…stuff like making a 900-number dialer($$ cha – ching $$), a bot installer (iPhone Spam-bot?), a baseband modem crippler or just good old-fashioned bricking the iPhone….

Hypothetically, one of these malformed tif files could even have the same effect as the “bricker” 1.1.1 update. However, this time Apple’s Safari security will be to blame, not the users who are trying to assert their legal right to move the phone to other carriers. The only recourse Apple will legally have is to unBrick all of the iPhones that their update has caused and reset the baseband modem to factor settings.

One has to wonder if the malformed tif file vulnerability would have been discovered and applied to the iPhone had Apple not closed the Intaller.app development community out of the iPhone originally. Perhaps it is better to have these incredibly intelligent people on your side?

Blu-Ray for MacBooks (finally)

No, Apple hasn’t finally caved into their high end users’ demands and offered a Blu-Ray option on their portable line. Aftermarket specialist Fastmac has, however, and is offering the 50Gb Optical Disc upgrade on some of Apple’s recent laptops and consumer desktops:

- iBook G4
– iMac G5
– iMac Intel
– MacBook Pro (17-inch)
– Mac mini
– PowerBook G3 Pismo
– PowerBook G4 Titanium (667 Mhz or higher)
– PowerBook G4 Aluminum

The $1000 pricetag is hefty for the average Joe, but if you are in the making-movie biz and need to do work on a laptop, this is almost a no-brainer.

We are not sure we’d want to drop a G on Blu-Ray for an iBook but we can’t wait to see the 17 inch HD screen enabled playback version of the device!

From the company’s press release:

http://fastmac.com/press/pr_42.php

Fastmac Announces 2X Blu-Ray Optical Drive Upgrade for Laptops; Low Profile Slot Loading Drive Provides 50 GB of Storage on 1 Disk for Apple PowerBook, iBook, MacBook Pro, iMac & Mac mini; New Drive Cuts Burn Times in Half

October 05, 2007
Salinas, CA – Fastmac today announced the first & only 2X Blu-Ray optical drive upgrade for Apple’s PowerBook, iBook & MacBook Pro computers. The new slimline, slot loading drive uses the fastest & most compatible Blu-ray mechanism available to provide up to 50 GB of storage on 1 disk, without sacrificing compatibility with standard DVD & CD recordable media. Fastmac’s Blu-Ray optical drive upgrade is scheduled to ship within 30 days and is available for pre-order from http://www.fastmac.com for a special introductory price of $999.95. Each drive carries a 1 year warranty and a 30 day money back guarantee .

Fastmac’s new Blu-ray slot loading drive gives photographers, videographers & musicians the ability to save anything, anywhere- now twice as fast. System and database administrators can archive and retrieve large amounts of data on 1 convenient disk. And consumers can now watch today’s latest HD content in true high definition with surround sound anytime & anywhere they happen to be. Blu-ray is the next generation of storage technology & entertainment and it’s available today, only from Fastmac.

Fastmac’s new Blu-Ray slot loading drive has been tested and certified compatible with Adobe’s Premiere Pro CS3 video production software that includes Adobe Encore CS3 and is part of the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium Collection. Adobe Encore CS3 integrates with Adobe Photoshop & Adobe Premiere to provide a rich set of creative tools for the production and output of full-featured, menu-driven DVD and Blu-Ray Discs. It is the only video production and editing software available for the Mac OS that supports built-in Blu-Ray Disc authoring for playback on stand-alone Blu-Ray DVD players & the Sony PlayStation 3.
About Blu-ray
Blu-ray, also known as Blu-ray Disk (BD), is the name of a next generation optical disk format developed by a consortium of electronics and computer manufacturers including Apple, Dell, HP, JVC, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony & TDK. The format was designed to enable the recording and playback of High Definition (HD) content and to allow storage of large amounts (up to 200 Gb) of data. While current optical drive technologies rely on a red laser to read and write data, the new format uses a blue-violet laser (hence the name, Blu-ray). The blue-violet laser has a 38% shorter wavelength (405nm) than a red laser (650nm), allowing the drive’s optical pickup unit to focus more precisely than ever before. Data can then be packed more densely on standard sized disks. Despite using a new type of laser, Blu-ray drives are compatible with standard DVD and CD media through the use of a combined red, blue & violet optical reader and writer.

In addition to broad support from the electronics, music, computer & video game industry, 6 out of 8 of the major Hollywood film studios support Blu-ray media and 5 out of those 6 (Disney, Fox, Lionsgate, MGM & Sony) have decided to release their movies exclusively in the Blu-ray format. With its forward and backward integration with new and old media, Blu-ray is destined to become the successor to today’s DVD format.
Specifications
Fastmac’s slimline Blu-ray slot loading optical drive supports reading, writing and re-writing to single and dual layer Blu-ray media at up to 2x speeds. The drive is also compatible with standard DVD and CD media and can write to DVD-R and DVD+R media at 8x speed in single layer and up to 2.4x speed in dual/ double layer mode. It can rewrite to DVD-R and DVD+R media at 4x speeds. The drive also supports DVD-RAM reading and writing at up to 5x speeds and standard CD-R and CD-RW burning at 8x speeds.
Compatibility
Fastmac’s slimline Blu-ray slot loading optical drive upgrade requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or higher and is compatible with the following Apple computers:

iBook G4
iMac G5
iMac Intel
MacBook Pro (17-inch)
Mac mini
PowerBook G3 Pismo
PowerBook G4 Titanium (667 Mhz or higher)
PowerBook G4 Aluminum

Blu-ray burning requires 3rd-party software such as Adobe Premiere CS3 or Roxio’s Toast 8 Titanium, which enables Blu-ray disk support in the Mac OS Finder. Native support for Blu-ray burning within iLife & iTunes is expected in the future via Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, but cannot be guaranteed at this time.
About Fastmac
Fastmac is an OEM designer and manufacturer of innovative upgrade products that add value and extend usability of Apple computers & iPods. Fastmac’s award-winning product line-up includes drive, CPU, LCD and battery upgrades, including the world’s longest lasting PowerBook & iPod batteries & the only replacement batteries for Apple’s latest MacBook portables. More information about Fastmac is available via http://www.fastmac.com/company
Press Contact
Michael Lowdermilk (Mlowdermilk at Fastmac dot com)
Business Development Manager
Fastmac Performance Upgrades
1172 S Main St., Suite 243
Salinas, CA 93901-2204
Tel: 408-850-6233

Pocket Sized Projector Seems like a Perfect Fit

Nobody sent us a flyer and we aren’t getting paid to post this (though we’ve provided an easy link to our Amazon Store), but we just got ourselves a crush on the Mitsubishi PK20 LED DLP Pocket Projector. Why? Several reasons:

  1. It is LED powered so very low power consumption compared to bulbs
  2. Power Consumption is so low that it includes a laptop-sized battery that lasts for up to 2 hours. – a normal projector would require 2 car batteries for that
  3. LEDs are cool – temperature cool – so they don’t heat up your space
  4. SD card slot reader
  5. SO SO Small and getting smaller. The design of the device fitting on the palm of a woman’s hand below says it all. As the Tech gets better we could see much smaller devices and even *gasp* built into laptops
  6. A nice, simple remote for easy access


All of this efficiency of course comes at a price. The device can be found under $500 at certain shops which is a bit higher than the equivelent powered bulb projectors. Of course with LED projectors, the projection isn’t nearly as bright – so you will need to dim the lights. Also, this device being ultra basic, it doesn’t have the finer controls that you need for focus and resizing. Also it is native 800×600 with the ability to do an interpolated 1024×768.

Still though, with Component AV in and a tripod adapter and at such a low price, we can’t help but think this would be a great addition to our gadget gear.

-Even with an iPhone component cable (yeah we tried! We can’t stop talking about it)

From an Owner/Amazon Reviewer:

Pros:

  • -no need to replace lamp (ever)…this feature is worth the price of the projector alone
  • amazingly small
    – 7’x5′ (or smaller) image
    – simple menus
  • tripod mountable makes it very portable & easy to adjust size & position
  • excellent for DVD movies
    – project image on walls (don’t need the hassle of having a screen)
  • very silent
  • auto shut-off if no signal detected

Cons:

  • can’t adjust size of the picture to fit screen, except by moving unit
  • Lights overwhelm the picture
    – no standby mode…will not turn on automatically if signal detected
  • pain to fit to a screen

Wishlist:

  • more powerful/multiple LED
  • more adjustments

Navizon iPhone GPS: the Amazing Hacker Development Continues

Navizon

I feel like it is Christmas every time I open my iPhone installer.app lately.  Along with VNSea, NES and MobileChat, here comes another AMAZING developer-hacker application.   I don’t see Apple having 1/2 of this stuff by the time the next release is out. AS a matter of fact, I don’t see a lot of hacked iPhones going legit any time soon.

Back to Navizon:  Using both cellular triangulation and a DB of Wifi hotspots and ISP IP addresses, Navizon is able to provide a semi-accurate view of where you are at a much faster rate than most GPS systems.  Granted the accuracy of the device depends on a lot of factors, and your results may, of course vary. 

The Navizon.app also just throws your coordinates into the Maps application and puts a little pin where it thinks you are.  So, so clever.  In my informal tests, it was about 500 Meters off at my home and about 200 meters off at work.  Each of these results used cellular data and got the information in just seconds.

The number of applications to deliver content using geograhic location on the iPhone are virtually limitless.  I am sure developers are hard at work on more applications that take advantage of this knowledge.  If Google Adsense isn’t all over this then someone needs to get fired, yesterday.

I can’t wait to see where this application goes, how exciting!  Get hacking!

OH, btw, it DOES work in Europe - at least France.

VNC for iPhone, Now it is Getting Interesting

A very interesting application just hit my iPhone’s installer.app repository.  VNSea, the port of the venerable VNC Client that is used in many remote desktop installations, including Apple’s own Remote Desktop.  Although the application doesn’t appear to be working too well – we got just a flash of the desktop before the application crashed – the possibilities are endless for VNC client like this.  

Controlling a home computer or server from the road would give access to unlimited amounts of applications and data.  This is definitely something to look out for.

From the website:

VNSea is a graphical (duh) VNC client for the iPhone and presumably the iPod touch, based on Chicken of the VNC for Mac OS X. CotVNC is also hosted at SourceForge.

Please note that server passwords are currently stored in plaintext in the
preferences file and shown unprotected on screen. This will be fixed as
soon as the client is mostly functional. Right now, functionality takes
precedence over local security.

16 Sep 2007 - Source has been added to the repository.

16 Sep 2007 – The 0.2 release is now available in the project downloads. This release adds and fixes quite a few features:

  • Vnsea now has very basic mouse control. Scrolling is now done with two fingers, while a single finger controls the mouse.
  • Support for all encoding formats supported by CotVNC, including JPEG.
  • You can control the desired pixel depth from the server settings to cut down on bandwidth.
  • Better error reporting (i.e. no crash) if a connection cannot be made.
  • Shimmer is included so future updates can be performed automatically.

Carbon Copy Cloner 3 Released

Mike Bombich has been making OSX software and instruction guides since there was OSX. In the early days of Macintosh OSX administration, his software was a lifesaver to many a Macintosh administrator.  As Apple started to catch up, his software releases started to slow down and (I think?) he got a much deserved job at Apple.

If you haven’t used his software, guides or fourms, you may want to familiarize yourself with them: 

NetRestore

NetBoot Across Subnets

LoginWindow Manager

Apple Remote Desktop Database Access Manager (ADAM)

Carbon Copy Cloner

The purpose of Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) is to assist
you in moving your entire Mac OS X installation or selected folders from
one partition to another as easily as possible. CCC can copy all the system
files necessary, maintaining Unix permissions and ownership, to create
a bootable backup of your drive. Moving your X installation to a larger
hard drive? CCC is right for you!

So back to the news: Carbon Copy Cloner get’s its 1st upgrade in like 5 years.  We can’t wait to try it!

From the Website:

Clone, synchronize, backup. Schedule and forget it. Try it ’til you trust it.

The key to a successful backup plan is to actually do the backups regularly. When left to a human, the task often gets tacked on to the end of a very long list of other things to do. When you eventually have a catastrophe, the data is simply gone. You know that feeling — you
just lost six years of family photos. Your kids being born, their first
birthdays, their first everything. The answer to this is consistent and
regular backups, placed on a schedule and handled automatically by your
computer.

CCC 3.0 features a new interface designed to make
the cloning and backup procedure more intuitive and more responsive.
Users have better control over what gets backed up, and are provided
with detailed information about the progress of their backup. In
addition to general backup, CCC can also clone one hard drive to
another, copying every single block or file to create an exact replica
of your source hard drive. CCC’s block-level copy offers the absolute
best fidelity in the industry!

Among the new features are:

  • Support for block-level disk-to-disk clones.
  • Synchronization built-in, not bolted on.
  • Support for backing up across the network to another Macintosh.
  • Advanced
    scheduling capabilities — Backup tasks can now be scheduled on an
    hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis, or you can indicate that a
    backup task should run when the backup device is attached (e.g. an
    iPod).
  • CCC recognizes iPods specifically, allowing time for the iPod:iTunes synchronization to complete.
  • The ability to drill down into folders to select exactly what gets copied and what doesn’t (you can drill down indefinitely).
  • Built-in software update feature notifies you when updates are available.

Carbon Copy Cloner is now available as a Universal binary. As with previous versions, Carbon Copy Cloner is labeled “Uncrippled shareware”

Google Presentations at Last

Google spreadsheet

Google today announced their Online presentation application. It isn’t going to win any awards for beauty (baaad templates!) and it is next to useless in the Safari Browser – much better in Firefox – but it is a huge step in the right direction.  

The chat and collaborative features in Google Docs and Spreadsheets are there which opens the possibility of online presentation building and “presenting.” However, it has obvious downsides as well.  It is certainly not as full featured as current presentation tools like Powerpoint and Keynote.  

It doesn’t do:

  • Animations of any kind
  • Advanced image manipulation
  • Advanced text formatting
  • Sound
  • Video
  • Exporting PowerPoint files

What it does:

  • Imports PowerPoint files
  • Exports HTML file
  • 15 built-in themes
  • Text formatting
  • Basic image manipulation functionality (adding, resizing)
  • Versioning
  • Collaboration
  • Online presentation sharing

However,  it doesn’t work too well on Safari – which means it doesn’t work too well on the iPhone either(thought we could write a post without mentioning that?).  Yeah we tried it – it doesn’t work at all – just gives an error message – for now.

So back to industry implications.  It certainly may help break up the Microsoft monopoly on office software (not that Powerpoint was anything impressive) and makes the OS a bit less important.  It really doesn’t effect Apple’s Keynote too much because Keynote’s audience is the aesthetically capable and Google is promoting a bare bones solution (at least now).  It will certainly hurt Zoho Office’s offering.

Really, though, we are waiting for Google’s Wiki tool to come out.  They bought Jotspot like 200 years ago – what are they waiting for already?!  Is it us or is Google’s innovation machine slowing to a crawl?

iPhone GUI Unlock Released

When it rains it pours! 

Not much else to say
but if you have to unlock your iPhone (like us tomorrow) you now have like 10 less steps to do – Amazing work at http://www.freeiphoneunlock.com/unlock/

It is in Beta still and the coders are off to bed for some much deserved sleep.  Perhaps tomorrow it will be more stable – it looks good enough for us!

Download the application in its current state here.