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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 13 declined, 3 accepted (16 total, 18.75% accepted)

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Submission + - HomeKit Would Have Prevented DDOS IoT Botnet

macs4all writes: According to an Article in Appleinsider.com, the security measures built-into Apple's HomeKit home-automation protocol would most likely have prevented the widescale takeover of IoT devices that enabled the DDOS attack on Dyn.

"To prevent another Mirai attack, or a similar assault harnessing IoT hardware, offending devices might require a recall, Krebs says. Short of a that, unplugging an affected product is an [likely the only --ed.] effective stopgap.

By contrast, as detailed in this Security Brief, Apple's HomeKit features built-in end-to-end encryption, protected wireless chip standards, remote access obfuscation and other security measures designed to thwart hacks. Needless to say, it would be relatively difficult to turn a HomeKit MFi device into a DDoS zombie.

Apple uses the Secure Remote Password (3,072-bit) protocol to establish a connection between an iOS device and a HomeKit accessory via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Upon first use, keys are exchanged through a procedure that involves entering an 8-digit code provided by the manufacturer into a host iPhone or iPad. Finally, exchanged data is encrypted while the system verifies the accessory's MFi certification.

When an iPhone communicates with a HomeKit accessory, the two devices authenticate each other using the exchanged keys, Station-to-Station protocol and per-session encryption. Further, Apple painstakingly designed a remote control feature called iCloud Remote that allows users to access their accessories when not at home.

Apple's coprocessor is key to HomeKit's high level of security, though the implementation is thought to have delayed the launch of third-party products by months. The security benefits were arguably worth the wait.

At its core, HomeKit is a well-planned and well-executed IoT communications backbone. The accessories only work with properly provisioned devices, are difficult to infiltrate, seamlessly integrate with iPhone and, with iOS 10 and the fourth-generation Apple TV (which acts as a hub), feature rich notifications and controls accessible via Apple's dedicated Home app. And they can't indiscriminately broadcast junk data to the web.

The benefits of HomeKit come at cost to manufacturers, mainly in incorporating Apple's coprocessor, but the price is undoubtedly less dear than recalling an unfixable finished product."

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Starting iOS Development - Learn Swift or Objective-C First?

macs4all writes: I am an experienced C and Assembler Embedded Developer who is contemplating for the first time, beginning an iOS App Project.

Although I am well-versed in C, I have thus-far avoided C++, C# and Java, and have only briefly dabbled in Obj-C. Now that there are two possibilities for doing iOS Development, which would the Slashdot Community suggest that I learn, at least at first? And is Swift even far-enough along to use as the basis for an entire App's Development?

My goal is the fastest and easiest way to market for this Project; not to start a career as a mobile Developer.

Another thing that might influence the Decision: If/when I decide to port my iOS App to Android (and/or Windows Phone), would either of the above be an easier port; or are, for example, Dalvick and the Android APIs different enough from Swift/Obj-C and CocoaTouch that any "Port" is essentially a re-write?

Submission + - Roger Boisjoly, 73, Dies - Warned of Shuttle Danger (nytimes.com) 1

macs4all writes: Six months before the space shuttle Challenger exploded over Florida on Jan. 28, 1986, Roger Boisjoly wrote a portentous memo. He warned that if the weather was too cold, seals connecting sections of the shuttle’s huge rocket boosters could fail. “The result could be a catastrophe of the highest order, loss of human life,” he wrote.

The memo was meant to jolt Morton Thiokol, the company that made the boosters and employed Mr. Boisjoly. The night before the Challenger’s liftoff, the temperature dipped below freezing. Unusual for Florida, the cold was unprecedented for a shuttle launching, and it prompted Mr. Boisjoly and other engineers to plead that the flight be postponed. Their bosses, under pressure from NASA, rejected the advice.

The shuttle exploded 73 seconds after launching, killing its seven crew members, including Christa McAuliffe, a high school teacher from Concord, N.H.Mr. Boisjoly’s memo was soon made public. He became widely known as a whistle-blower in a federal investigation of the disaster. And though he was hailed for his action by many, he was also made to suffer for it.On the night of Jan. 27, 1986, Mr. Boisjoly and four other Thiokol engineers used a teleconference with NASA to press the case for delaying the next day’s launching because of the cold. At one point, Mr. Boisjoly said, he slapped down photos showing the damage cold temperatures had caused to an earlier shuttle. It had lifted off on a cold day, but not this cold.

“How the hell can you ignore this?” he demanded. At first this seemed persuasive, according to commission testimony. Makers of critical components had the power to postpone flights.

Four Thiokol vice presidents, all engineers themselves, went offline to huddle. They later said that they had worried they lacked conclusive data to stop a launching that had already been postponed twice. They thought the naysayers might be operating on gut reaction, not science.

Jerry Mason, Thiokol’s general manager, told his fellow executives to take off their engineering hats and put on management hats. They told NASA it was a go.

The next morning Mr. Boisjoly watched the launching. If there was going to be a problem, he thought it would come at liftoff. As the shuttle cleared the tower, his prayers seemed answered.

“Thirteen seconds later,” Mr. Boisjoly said, “we saw it blow up.”

Mr. Boisjoly (pronounced like Beaujolais wine) died in Nephi, Utah, near Provo, on Jan. 6. He was 73. Besides his wife, the former Roberta Malcolm, he is survived by his daughters Norma Patterson and Darlene Richens; his brothers Ronald, Russell and Richard; and eight grandchildren.


Submission + - Apple Goes To Bat For Developers Against Lodsys (blogspot.com)

macs4all writes: Apple has apparently put its money, and its legal muscle, where its "lawyer letter" is, in the battle of iOS developers against patent troll Lodsys. Apple has filed a Motion To Intervene in the proceedings in East Texas. Apple's motion states that the independent IOS developers-defendants:

"are individuals or small entities with far fewer resources than Apple and [...] lack the technical information, ability, and incentive to adequately protect Apple's rights under its license agreement."

History suggests that Apple's motion will be granted, and then Lodsys will feel the full force of Apple's legal team; which is surely a lot more than they bargained for.

Slashdot readers will remember that Apple had already fired off a "back-off" letter to Lodsys, stating that it was Apple's position that the independent developers were covered under the license that had already been negotiated.

Now the fun begins!


Submission + - Windows Phone 7 To Axe Multitasking (osnews.com)

macs4all writes: Under the "Hmmm, maybe Apple wasn't so dumb after all" department, OS News reports that Windows Phone 7 (a/k/a Windows Mobile 7) will not allow multitasking, and, unlike previous versions of Windows Mobile, will only allow "signed" apps to be uploaded through an online store. This is a radical departure from Microsoft's previous versions of Windows Mobile, and is likely an attempt by the software giant to counter widespread complaints regarding WM's lackluster performance, and to improve security.

Submission + - Apple Tablet To Be Alan Kay's 1968 Dynabook?

macs4all writes: Alan Kay was a researcher with Xerox PARC, and later one of the conceptual contributors to Steve Jobs on the first Mac design. In 1968, he envisioned a precursor to the laptop and tablet computers (in one). Called the Dynabook.

The Dynabook was quite an interesting concept, and some of the capabilites, such as the learning capabilities, still have not been adequately addressed in any existing product.

It is worth noting that Kay and Jobs originally conceived of the Macintosh as a tablet, and in fact, the Dynabook made, er, flesh.

So, is the upcoming tablet to be the final realization of what the Mac was truly intended to be? I think so, and so does this blogger


Submission + - Revising History To Fit The Bible 2

macs4all writes: Not content to mold science class to foment its agenda, this article reports that those ka-ray-zee "educators" in Texas are proposing "revamping the K-12 curriculum to emphasize the roles of the Bible, the Christian faith and the civic virtue of religion in the study of American history. Two of them want to remove or de-emphasize references to several historical figures who have become liberal icons, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall."

Of course, reasoned heads on the Texas Board of "Education" will surely prevail. Those members, hand-picked for their "enlightened" views are exemplified by Board member David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, a group that promotes America's Christian heritage; and Rev. Marshall, who preaches that Watergate, the Vietnam War and Hurricane Katrina were God's judgments on the nation's sexual immorality.

The conservative reviewers say they believe that children must learn that America's founding principles are biblical. For instance, they say the separation of powers set forth in the Constitution stems from a scriptural understanding of man's fall and inherent sinfulness, or "radical depravity," which means he can be governed only by an intricate system of checks and balances.

Submission + - Apple Patches Java Vulnerability

macs4all writes: Apple has (finally!) patched the Java Vulnerability that nearly everyone else has patched already.

Available now through these links for OS X 10.4 and 10.5 and through Apple's Software Update service, this Update patches a flaw in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that could potentially allow a malicious Java Applet to execute arbitrary code on the machine.

Apple had previously advised users to temporarily turn off Java in their web browsers. This patch should allow Java to be turned back on.

Submission + - Microsoft Patents PageUp/PageDown

macs4all writes: This article in ITWire details the latest in the abomination that is the Software Patent.

If patenting the obvious is considered something of an art form in the world of IT, then Microsoft is undoubtedly an old master. The Page Up Page Down patent it has been granted would seem to confirm this...

US Patent 7,415,666 goes under the snappy title of: "Method and system for navigating paginated content in page-based increments" and is the latest to be granted to that serial patent application junkie better known as Microsoft.

Anyone who has ever looked at technology patents will know that there is a trick to quickly scanning these application titles in order to weed out the genuine ones from those that are, to be fair, just attempting to patent something that already exists.

So what could a method of navigating paginated content, or stuff on the page, using page-based increments possibly refer to? Ding! Of course, the PgUp and PgDn keys.

Look at the abstract description on that patent and you will see that what Microsoft has cleverly managed to grab ownership of is:

"A method and system in a document viewer for scrolling a substantially exact increment in a document, such as one page, regardless of whether the zoom is such that some, all or one page is currently being viewed."

Which sounds remarkably like using the Page Up and Page Down keys...
Media (Apple)

Submission + - Apple Files Suit Against Psystar

macs4all writes: According to this article, Apple has begun legal proceedings against Psystar, documents confirm. The suit is actually noted to have been filed on July 3rd, through the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The suit accuses Psystar of license, copyright and trademark infringement, as a result of selling its $400 OpenMac computer.
Portables (Apple)

Submission + - Jobs offers $100 Credit to All iPhone Owners

macs4all writes: In an open letter to iPhone owners, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that all iPhone owners that have not received other compensation, would be given a $100USD credit as a gesture of good-will.

This should help quell the bad press that early adopters of the iPhone have been generating, and is a sign that Apple does listen to, and value, its customers.

Submission + - DRM Free iTunes Plus Launches Today

macs4all writes: MacNN is reporting that following the early morning release of iTunes 7.2, Apple on Wednesday launched iTunes Plus, which brings support for new DRM-free music tracks featuring high quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for higher audio quality. The new higher-quality, DRM-free songs are available immediately for $1.29 per song. iTunes Plus currently includes EMI's digital catalog of outstanding recordings, including singles and albums from Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Joss Stone, Pink Floyd, John Coltrane and more than a dozen of Paul McCartney's classic albums available on iTunes for the first time.
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Boing Boing: Apple Drops Trusted Computing

macs4all writes: "Amit Singh has a fascinating technical article on Apple's use, non-use, and ultimate abandonment of the Trusted Platform Module (TPM). This is the core of the Trusted Computing initiative, a chip that can, depending on implementation, be used to lock you out of reading your own data on "unauthorized" applications, to allow network service providers to discriminate against users of alternative software (e.g., "You're using Firefox — go get Explorer and come back") and enforce DRM — Singh reports that Apple has dropped the TPM from its motherboard designs, with the new MacPros. Singh had created a free software driver for the TPM under OS X that allowed users to exploit its privacy features."

Submission + - Apple Announces Set-Top Box, Gapless iTunes

macs4all writes: "At today's long-awaited "It's Showtime!" Media Event(tm), his Steveness announced some spiffy updates to the iPod line, including an entirely revamped Shuffle. Also, of course was the strongly-rumored addition of downloadable (progressive download) feature-length movies from the iTunes Store. Pricing will be $12.99 for movies pre-ordered, or in the first week of release, and $9.99 for all others. Movies will be able to be viewed while downloading, with only a 1 minute delay to start.

But for me, at least, the two biggest announcements came in the form of the release of iTunes 7, which will (finally) offer "gapless" playback for songs (even those already encoded) in MP3, AAC and Apple Lossless formats.

And, last but not least, Stevarino teased the audience with a preview of Apple's Set-top Box, which Steve says will be shipping in Q1 of 2007 (think MacWorld!), and will be "wireless"

Yes, it is going to be another banner year for Apple, folks. Watch the stock go up now!"

Submission + - Key MS exec resigns amidst Vista doubts

macs4all writes: "This MacNN article claims Microsoft executive Brian Valentine, senior vice president of the Windows Core Operating System Division has resigned as the software giant's Windows Vista operating system heads toward completion, and will take up a position at Amazon.com.

Valentine was known for his ability to galvanize Windows-related software development in the critical final stages, and his resignation casts further doubt upon the viability of Microsoft's planned October release to manufacturing partners of Windows Vista,"

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