Servers Stories June 2, 2016

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Update 2: Apple is reporting that the iCloud.com services have also been restored.

Update: Apple is reporting that the availability of some services has now been restored but several features of iCloud are still down and undergoing maintenance.

As noted by Apple’s system status page, a multitude of Apple services are currently experiencing instability and downtime for some users. The affected services include the App Store, Mac App Store, Apple TV services, iTunes In The Cloud and critical features like Find My iPhone. We have also had a few reports of Apple Music downtime, seemingly repeating the outage yesterday, but Apple’s official status report does not mention any problems with Apple Music at this time.

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Servers Stories March 23, 2016

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Following two reports earlier this month detailing Apple’s deal to move iCloud partly to Google’s Cloud Platform, as well as the company’s efforts at building out its own cloud infrastructure, The Information today offers new details on the projects.

Adding to a report from VentureBeat earlier this week, today’s report offers more details on what Apple is doing with“Project McQueen” that could see the company replacing third-party vendors with more of its own cloud infrastructure. The Information reports that Project McQueen is actually just one of at least six internal efforts at Apple including building its own servers, networking equipment, and “systems that could one day help developers to power their apps.”

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Servers Stories March 16, 2016

icloud Google Cloud Platform

According to CRN and other sources, iCloud will soon be partially powered by the Google Cloud Platform by way of a deal that could also be used as leverage to cut its cloud costs with Amazon and Microsoft. Such a move is a big win for Google’s burgeoning cloud enterprise business.

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Servers Stories October 30, 2013

CloudMagic brings cloud-powered email search to the iPhone

A brand-new mail client called CloudMagic launched today on the App Store. The app supports most email services and has all of the basic features you’d expect from a mail app. One CloudMagic feature blows most other apps away, though: search.

Rather than searching on your phone for a certain email and then remotely searching each individual mail account to find what you’re looking for, CloudMagic caches your entire mail account on their server and uses server-side search to find any message almost instantly. The search is powerful and intelligently suggests words and phrases that I found to be exactly what I was looking for.

Servers Stories September 14, 2013

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With the iPhone 4S launch nearly two years ago, Apple introduced the Siri voice control system to its customers. At launch, Siri was a gimmicky feature at best, being released with bugs, a highly-computerized voice, sluggish content loading, and unreliable servers. In addition, Siri of 2011 was short on user compatibility, only launching with knowledge of English, French, and German. Apple certainly did not deny the early issues with Siri: the company launched the product in “beta,” a tag that has remained on the software ever since.

Since 2011, Apple has been slowly improving the service. In early 2012, Siri gained support for Japanese, and with iOS 6 in late 2012, the service added support for several new languages and capabilities. With iOS 7, Siri has been given a redesigned user-interface, new functionality, and all-new voices. Many of the server errors and lengthy processing time issues that riddled the product in its early days have now disappeared; and it seems that Apple agrees. With the upcoming launch of iOS 7, it appears that Apple will finally be taking Siri out of “beta.”

Late this past week, Apple updated its Siri webpages to drop all references to the product being in beta. Prior to this past week, the bottom of the Siri informational page read:

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Servers Stories July 26, 2012

Apple accidentally issues OS X Server codes for Mountain Lion Up-to-Date program

Apple officially enabled its Up-to-Date program after launching the new operating system, but some who tried to receive their free upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion immediately ran into problems. Many redemption codes were apparently coming up invalid, so Apple said it would replace the invalid codes over the next three days.

At least a half dozen commenters in the MacRumors Forum claim Apple sent the replacement codes today, but, unfortunately, the codes are for the “OS X Server components of Mountain Lion rather than Mountain Lion itself.” One commenter specifically said an error message appeared that warned the “OSX Server cannot be downloaded”:

[tweet https://twitter.com/snackdog/status/228534270673698816]

Servers Stories July 16, 2012

On Friday, we broke the news on some worrying tips we received about an “in-app proxy” hack that allowed even novice users to illegally install paid in-app purchase content for free. In updates to our original story, we noted the hack’s developer, Alexey V. Borodin, said in an interview that Apple’s method of validating receipts for developers would not protect apps from the hack. Apple followed up with a statement that claimed it is investigating the issue. Today, we get an update from The Next Web that further claims Apple began taking action over the weekend:

Over the weekend, Apple began blocking the IP address of the server used by Russian hacker Alexey V. Borodin to authenticate purchases.

It followed this up with a takedown request on the original server, taking down third-party authentication with it, also issuing a copyright claim on the overview video Borodin used to document the circumvention method. PayPal also got involved, placing a block on the original donation account for violating its terms of service

Unfortunately, the service is reportedly still operational with Borodin apparently moving the server to a location outside of Russia. He told The Next Web that the new service has been “updated and cuts out Apple’s servers, ‘improving’ the protocol to include its own authorisation and transaction processes. The new method ‘can and will not reach the App Store anymore, so the proxy (or caching) feature has been disabled'”

While Borodin also claimed he has changed the process to force users to sign out of their iTunes account (to ensure users he is not stealing personal/credit card data), there are more than a few reasons to still be concerned. Developer Alastair Houghton told us that he thinks Borodin’s method could be used “intercept traffic intended for any other secure website”:

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Servers Stories July 5, 2011

Why run a family pictures website, DNS or any other low CPU-use server on power-hungry Intel-based hardware when an AppleTV2 does the trick?  The folks at MacMinivault.com have set up a webpage on a AppleTV 2 (go ahead, try to take it down) jailbroken with httpd as an example of what can be served off of the little 6 watt, A4-powered dynamo.  Put 10 of these together and you’ll be using the same power as a single 60 Watt light bulb.

The Apple TV is running iOS 4.2.2 (obviously jailbroken) with lighttpd for a web server. You can see the webpage we set up by visiting atv.macminivault.com. We’ll keep an eye on the CPU load and watch the analytics to record how much traffic the Apple TV receives.

They say this won’t be a cost effective solution for their customers (8 GB of storage won’t cut it) but is a ‘fun experiment.’

What’s interesting is that Apple likely has an dual core A5-platform AppleTV coming out shortly which may push a little more into the Intel server space.  Perhaps more interesting is that the A5 chips could also make nifty little ChromeOS-busting terminals or even cheaper laptops.

If you want to create your own little AppleTV 2 server, they recommend the following: expand full story

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