Apple faces dumb lawsuit over the size of iOS 8

iOS 8 has had its share of problems, and now we can throw one more on the pile: a lawsuit. Two plaintiffs have filed a suit claiming their 16GB iPhones and iPads don’t actually come with 16GB of storage, and iOS 8 takes up too much space—and Apple should make that clearer, in case we are all idiots who don’t get that operating systems do use storage.

Ars Technica’s iOS 8: Thoroughly Reviewed includes a look at how much more storage space iOS 8 consumes, versus a clean install of iOS 7.1.2, and it does gobble a significant chunk: about 740MB on iPhones and 1.03GB on iPads. If you’re using a 16GB device, that’s 4.5 to 6.4 percent. Which doesn’t sound like a ton, but 740MB can hold a lot of photos.

This lawsuit is still pretty silly on its face, for a couple of reasons. The plaintiffs want the class to include not just people who upgraded their devices to iOS 8, but people who bought new devices with iOS 8 preinstalled on them. But those people didn’t “lose” anything—they never had that storage space, because every computing device that ships with an operating system works the same. Some of the advertised space is taken up by the OS. That’s baseball.

The complaint comes with its own table of capacity figures, sort of like Ars Technica’s…except that the data displayed is “represented capacity” of 16GB versus the actual capacity with iOS 8 installed. So that particular table isn’t showing that iOS 8 hogs more space than iOS 7—just that it uses capacity, period.

ShellShock Bug

Apple’s OS X is vulnerable to the Shellshock bug, but it’s not that easy for attackers to take advantage of it, according to Intego, which specializes in security software for the operating system.
Shellshock is the nickname for a flaw in the Bourne Again Shell, or Bash, which is a command-line shell processor widely present in Unix and Linux systems. The flaw in Bash, which has been present for two decades, could allow an attacker to take complete control of a computer.

What Is Shellshock?

The bug stems from coding mistakes in bash, a low-level computer program that’s been part of many, but not all, Unix-related systems for decades. That makes the bug mostly a problem for servers that run Unix, Linux or other similar operating-system variants, although Mac users might also have something to worry about.

The name “Shellshock” is a bit of wordplay based on the fact that bash is a “shell,” a type of program used to execute other programs. Bash, like many other shells, uses a text-based, command-line interface. (If you’re on a Mac, you can see this by opening your Terminal program.) Programmers can use bash to access another computer or computer system remotely and feed it commands.

Bash is short for “Bourne Again SHell,” a pun on Stephen Bourne, the computer-scientist author of an earlier Unix shell known simply as sh. It is compatible with every version of Unix, which made it an obvious choice for the default shell for Linux and Mac operating systems.

Bash is several decades old, and security researchers believe the Shellshock bug has lain undetected in bash for at least 22 years.

So Who’s Vulnerable?

Technically, any computer or system with bash installed is vulnerable. Since bash is installed by default on Unix systems, that includes a lot of computers.

Windows computers are safe; they don’t use bash. But if you’re using a Mac or running Linux, Ubuntu, or some other Unix flavor where bash is the default interpreter, then you could be at risk.

Just because your computer is vulnerable to Shellshock, however, doesn’t mean hackers can target it. For them to do so, they’d have to be able to access your computer’s bash program via the Internet.

If your computer is connected to the Internet through a password-protected wireless network—or physically via an Ethernet cable—you’re still basically safe. If you’re using an open, untrusted Wi-Fi connect, though, you could theoretically be vulnerable to a Shellshock exploit.

Even that’s extremely unlikely, though. The most likely targets, according to cyber security firm FireEye, are Internet servers and related large computer systems.


Yosemite Beta

Take Control helps you beta test OS X Yosemite with confidence

Good day!

Apple today released the public beta of OS X 10.10 Yosemite!

Simultaneously, we’ve published “Take Control of Beta Testing Yosemite,” by Joe Kissell. You can buy it for a suggested price of $5 from Leanpub. Read on for all the details, or just click the link to get your ebook:

The Yosemite beta is exciting stuff, at least for those of us who love poking around in new software to see what has changed. But the rewards of beta testing come with risks and responsibilities, so in “Take Control of Beta Testing Yosemite,” Joe Kissell draws on years of experience with testing every version of OS X since 10.3 Panther to make sure you know what you’re getting into. Follow Joe’s advice and you can be confident that you won’t mess up anything as you switch to and from the beta.

In the 51-page book, Joe teaches you what’s involved with beta testing in general, and he discusses the pros and cons of installing the beta on a startup volume, virtual machine, separate volume, SuperDuper sandbox, or (best of all) a separate Mac. Next up, you’ll run the installer (without letting it delete itself). With installation completed, Joe suggests key post-installation tasks and categories of software you may need to reinstall, plus gives tips on how to look for new features and report any bugs you may find. Perhaps most important, Joe explains how to switch between the beta and your main installation of OS X, how to downgrade from Yosemite if necessary, and how to upgrade to release version when that ships.

You may be thinking, “Really? A book about how to beta test Yosemite?” We won’t pretend that it’s essential, even though there are helpful details you won’t find elsewhere (such as which virtualization program can run Yosemite as a guest OS) and advice that could save you significant headaches (such as the best destination for your installation). And, of course, the lifespan of the book is limited — it’s useful only until Yosemite ships.

So we’re doing something unusual with pricing: we’ve set a suggested price of $5, but you can pay whatever you think it’s worth — whether that’s more or less than the suggested price, or even nothing at all. (That’s why there’s no MUG discount this time. And if you get it for free and later decide it was valuable to you, you can come back and buy a copy.) Paying helps Joe and his wife keep their baby in diapers and gives us concrete feedback that books of this sort are worth doing.

In keeping with the fast and fluid nature of beta testing, we’ve decided to publish this ebook exclusively via Leanpub, which was designed for quick releases. Had we used our traditional method, we wouldn’t have been able to publish the book at the same time as the public beta, and we would need more time to react to new versions (nor would we have been able to do the choose-your-own-price approach). Any updates to the book will be free.

Thanks for your support of the Take Control series and our authors!

cheers… -Adam & Tonya Engst, Take Control publishers

Apple and Google agree to disagree

Apple and Google have come to an agreement whereby neither will cross-license each others patents,  will work together for patent reform and will drop suits mostly involving smartphone technology.

Back in 2010, Apple filed suite against Motorola, which was later acquired by Google. Google later agreed to sell that part of their business to Lenovo.

Motorola had sought to seek an injunction against Apple, for selling the iPhone, because of alleged patent infringement.

Some reading material of interest

Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters

 Connect via HootSuite | An Event About Social Business

Top 10 Social Media Tips for Small Businesses

Want Your Website to be Irresistible? Follow These Tips and Tricks

Twitter talk fits into 6 patterns, study finds

Make Your Marketing Campaign Inspiring by using Animation

Apple’s SSL iPhone vulnerability: how did it happen, and what next?

Inside DuckDuckGo, Google’s Tiniest, Fiercest Competitor

The next big step for cellular networks isn’t 5G. It’s the cloud

Apple purchases Burstly

Following its strategy of acquiring smaller, lower-profile niche technology companies, Apple recently announced its recent purchase of Burstly, for an undisclosed amount.

In simplest terms, Burstly provides developers of iOS software a means for managing downloading and testing applications on devices. Typically, in software development, you would have to add devices to be used for testing, push the application out to the device, make tests, make changes and repeat. The company provides a platform that allows devices to be provisioned and managed, as well as which software each device should be allowed to download and test.

We can probably expect to see a Beta App Store function to be rolled out as Apple finds ways to integrate this with its existing systems.

Pressure Sensing Curved Screens for iPhone 6 or 7?

According to reports, Apple is developing bigger curved screens, and the ability for screens to detect varying amounts of pressure.
The next round of iPhones, presumably to be released in 2014, could feature a glass/sapphire screen with curved edges, and more sensitive sensors might arrive in following models.
The news arrives after an announcement from Apple that it will open a new plant in Arizona for production of components.

May 2013 Meeting

for Mac, iPad, iCloud & iPhone

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David M. Marra
Apple Senior Systems Engineer


About Dave Marra

As a Senior Systems Engineer for Apple, Dave Marra has conducted thousands of technology presentations, keynote addresses and workshops for schools, Mac and PC user groups, businesses and other professional organizations across the United States and Canada. Certified as both an Apple Certified Technical Coordinator and an Apple Certified Systems Administrator, his specialty areas include digital multimedia, internet technologies, accessibility and Mac/PC integration.  For more information about Dave, please visit his web site at