An anonymous reader writes in with news of the continuing saga of Java patches and exploits. "If you're a Mac user who suddenly can't access websites or run applications that rely on Java, you're not alone. For the second time in a month, Apple has silently blocked the latest version of Java 7 from running on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or higher via its XProtect anti-malware tool. Apple hasn't issued any official statements advising users of the change or its reasons, but it's a safe bet that the company has deemed Oracle's most recent update to Java insecure. That's why the company stealthily disabled Java on Macs back on Jan. 10, the same day a Java vulnerability was being exploited in the wild."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
MojoKid writes "It has been over six years since Apple introduced the iPhone. Millions of apps have been written for the platform in that time, with collective downloads into the billions. Apple's App Store is a thriving marketplace with a huge amount of software available, except Microsoft Office. There's a version of Office for iOS supposedly in the works, but Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer threw cold water on the idea when asked about upcoming events for the Office suite after launching the new Office 2013 / Office 365 products earlier this week. Revenue sharing is reportedly a major sticking point. Microsoft is trying to push people towards yearly subscriptions with Office 2013 and Office 365, but Apple requires a 30 percent profit share on sales of any app in their store. Microsoft reportedly isn't thrilled at the idea of sharing that much revenue. It's ironic — when Bill Gates agreed to port Office to the Mac nearly 20 years ago, it was seen as a lifeline for the beleaguered manufacturer. Now, Microsoft is knocking on the door of Apple's business and Cupertino seems disinclined to answer."
coondoggie writes "When it comes to relatively new technologies, few have been developing at the relentless pace of mobile. But with that development has come a serious threat to the security of personal information and privacy. The Federal Trade Commission has issued a report (PDF) on mobility issues and said less than one-third of Americans feel they are in control of their personal information on their mobile devices. 'The report makes recommendations for critical players in the mobile marketplace: mobile platforms (operating system providers, such as Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, Google, and Microsoft), application (app) developers, advertising networks and analytics companies, and app developer trade associations. ... The report recommends that mobile platforms should: Provide just-in-time disclosures to consumers and obtain their affirmative express consent before allowing apps to access sensitive content like geolocation; Consider developing a one-stop “dashboard” approach to allow consumers to review the types of content accessed by the apps they have downloaded; Consider offering a Do Not Track (DNT) mechanism for smartphone users.'"
An anonymous reader writes "All software has bugs, but this one is a particularly odd one. If you type "File:///" (no quotes) into almost any app on your Mac, it will crash. The discovery was made recently and a bug report was posted to Open Radar. First off, it’s worth noting that the bug only appears to be present in OS X Mountain Lion and is not reproducible in Lion or Snow Leopard. That’s not exactly good news given that this is the latest release of Apple’s operating system, which an increasing number of Mac users are switching to. ... A closer look shows the bug is inside Data Detectors, a feature that lets apps recognize dates, locations, and contact data, making it easy for you to save this information in your address book and calendar."
jones_supa writes "Apple has been forced to remove the Mac Pro from sale in the European Union after an amendment to a safety regulation left the machines non-compliant. The updated electronics safety standard IEC 60950-1 increases requirements around electrical port protection (PDF) and the fan guards in the system. Apple does not plan to modify their machines and will simply pull them from market in the EU. Apple wishes to warn customers and partners about the change so that they would have sufficient time to order Mac Pro units and meet any needs prior to 1 March, when the amendment comes into effect."
Nerval's Lobster writes "To give the Mars Rover Curiosity the brains she needs to operate took 5 million lines of code. And while the Mars Science Laboratory team froze the code a year before the roaming laboratory landed on August 5, they kept sending software updates to the spacecraft during its 253-day, 352 million-mile flight. In its belly, Curiosity has two computers, a primary and a backup. Fun fact: Apple's iPhone 5 has more processing power than this one-eyed explorer. 'You're carrying more processing power in your pocket than Curiosity,' Ben Cichy, chief flight software engineer, told an audience at this year's MacWorld."
silentbrad sends word of a recent lecture given by Valve's Gabe Newell to a college class. He had some interesting remarks about the future of games in the living room: "The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform," Newell said. "I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging — I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room? ... We're happy to do it if nobody else will do it, mainly because everybody else will pile on, and people will have a lot of choices, but they'll have those characteristics. They'll say, 'Well, I could buy a console, which assumes I'll re-buy all my content, have a completely different video system, and, oh, I have a completely different group of friends, apparently. Or I can just extend everything I love about the PC and the internet into the living room.' ... I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together." There's another hour-long lecture from Newell posted on YouTube talking about productivity, economics, and the future of corporations. Speaking of Steam, reader skade88 points out an article at Linux.com about the current state of the Steam for Linux beta.
sfcrazy writes "In a nutshell there won't be a new trial in the Apple V. Samsung case, as Samsung wanted, because the judge thinks that the trial was fair despite allegations that the jury foreman could have been biased. She also ruled that there won't be any more money for Apple as the iPhone maker failed to prove they were 'undercompensated' by the jury. The most important ruling was that she found that 'Samsung did not willfully infringe.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "The company formerly known as Research In Motion—which decided to cut right to the proverbial chase and rename itself 'BlackBerry'—launched its much-anticipated BlackBerry 10 operating system at a high-profile event in New York City Jan. 30. Meanwhile, Microsoft is still dumping tons of money and effort into Windows Phone. But can either smartphone OS — or another player, for that matter — successfully challenge Apple iOS and Google Android, which one research firm estimated as running on 92 percent of smartphones shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012? What would it take for any company to launch that sort of successful effort?"
walterbyrd sends this news from ZDNet: "The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office approved Apple's request to trademark the design and layout of its stores last week, according to patent office records. ... Apple has requested that no store be allowed to replicate various features, including 'a clear glass storefront surrounded by a panelled facade' or an 'oblong table with stools... set below video screens flush mounted on the back wall.'"
An anonymous reader writes "In a February 2013 ACM Queue / Communications of the ACM article, A decade of OS access-control extensibility, Robert Watson at the University of Cambridge credits 2000s-era DARPA security research, distributed via FreeBSD, for the success of sandboxing in desktop, mobile, and embedded systems such as Mac OS X, iOS, and Juniper's Junos router OS. His blog post about the article argues that OS security extensibility is just as important as more traditional file system (VFS) and device driver extensibility features in kernels — especially in embedded environments where UNIX multi-user security makes little sense, and where tradeoffs between performance, power use, functionality, and security are very different. This seems to fly in the face of NSA's recent argument argument that one-size-fits-all SELinux-style Type Enforcement is the solution for Android security problems. He also suggests that military and academic security researchers overlooked the importance of app-store style security models, in which signed application identity is just as important as 'end users' in access control."
noh8rz10 writes "Holy moly! iPad gets a heavyweight sibling, clicking in at 128GB. This places it in range of storage for Surface Pro and ultrabooks. It's clearly targeted at the professional market, as the press release cites X-rays and CAD files as reasons. Should Microsoft be afraid? Methinks so. Best part, pricing is growing by log 2. Just as the 32GB version is $100 more than the 16, and the 64 is $100 more than the 32, this new version is $100 more than the 64!" Update: 01/29 16:00 GMT by T : Here's Apple's announcement itself.
adeelarshad82 writes "Twitter's new iOS-only app, Vine, was prominently featured by Apple as an 'Editor's Pick' in its App Store the day it launched. However, given Apple's policies for adult content, they may have rushed the whole thing since this past Sunday, a number of news outlets ran stories covering the rise of easily-accessible pornography on the new video sharing app. As Joshua Topolsky explains, the situation draws even more attention to the vague and sometimes confusing rules of Apple's App Store guidelines, and more clearly showcases the sporadic and often unusual criteria the iPhone-maker uses to decide the fates of applications. So it will be interesting to see how Apple handles this given that they've never been shy about banning similarly racy apps in the past."
Dupple writes "After settling with the FTC, Google is under pressure again regarding user privacy. From the BBC: 'A group of Apple's Safari web browser users has launched a campaign against Google over privacy concerns. They claim that Google bypassed Safari's security settings to install cookies which tracked their movements on the internet. Between summer 2011 and spring 2012 they were assured by Google this was not the case, and believed Safari's settings to be secure. Judith Vidal-Hall, former editor of Index On Censorship magazine, is the first person in the UK to begin legal action. 'Google claims it does not collect personal data but doesn't say who decides what information is "personal,"' she said. 'Whether something is private or not should be up to the internet surfer, not Google. We are best placed to decide, not them.'"
netbuzz writes "An iPhone case with a built-in cup holder? The designers were looking for $25,000 to make it on the crowdsourcing site Indiegogo. One look at the contraption should have been enough to convince anyone that the thing was a joke, or a publicity stunt, but a number of mainstream press outlets (LA Times, UPI) and bloggers took the bait with little or no realization that that they might be on the wrong end of the hook. Today the Dutch marketing firm behind the effort acknowledged that it was 'a joke.'"