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2013 December

December 19, 2013

Apple Releases First OS X Mavericks Update

Earlier this week, Apple released OS X 10.9.1, an update to its latest operating system OS X Mavericks. The update includes improved GMail support for OS X Mail, an update to the Safari web browser, and other bug fixes.

From the Apple support website:

  • Improved support for Gmail in OS X Mail, and fixes for users with custom Gmail settings
  • Improves the reliability of Smart Mailboxes and search in Mail
  • Fixes an issue that prevented contact groups from working properly in Mail
  • Resolves an issue that prevented VoiceOver from speaking sentences that contain emoji
  • Fixes an issue that prevented iLife and iWork apps from updating on non-English systems
  • Addresses an issue that may cause multiple prompts to unlock “Local items” keychain
  • Addresses an issue that may cause Japanese keyboards to retain a previously used language
  • Includes Safari 7.0.1
    • Fixes an issue that could cause Safari to become unresponsive when filling out forms on,, and other websites
    • Improves Credit Card Autofill compatibility with websites
    • Improves VoiceOver compatibility with
    • Updates Shared Links periodically when open in the Safari Sidebar
December 12, 2013

U.S. Nuclear Security Codes Were Set to “00000000”

Recent interviews and research revealed that Permissive Action Links (PALs) – small security devices that prevent the launch of nuclear weapons without the right code and authority – for US Minuteman nuclear missiles were set with the incredibly simple code of “00000000” during the 1960’s and 70’s.  Just another reminder to choose strong passwords or use a password manager.

Ars Technica has the rest of the story.

December 5, 2013

2014 Tech Forecast: PC Sales Drop, Tablet Sales Skyrocket

Two new forecasts from market research firm International Data Corporation  predict that worldwide PC shipments will continue to drop through 2014 while tablet sales will increase greatly, according to Campus Technology magazine. While PC sales in the commercial market dropped by 5 percent this year, the consumer market saw a drop of nearly 15 percent.

Meanwhile, tablet sales saw a surge of 53.5 percent over 2012 sales this year. The operating system that came out as the winner in 2013? Google’s Android OS, with a market share of 60.8 percent, up from 52 percent in 2012.

December 4, 2013

Printed Books Still Have Appeal with Milliennials

The New York Times Bits technology blog linked to a study by a UK-based research firm that shows that 62 percent of British teenagers surveyed preferred physical books over e-books (and nearly half would rather read magazines in printed form over digital). Two main reasons for the preference: Many said they like the feel of  paper books, and the price of digital books can often equal or be greater than the price of their physical counterparts.

Another report conducted by university researchers in Norway also found that students who read texts in print scored significantly better on a reading comprehension test than students who read the texts digitally.

December 3, 2013

Scams Target Holiday Online Shoppers

The Sophos Naked Security blog reminds everyone to be aware of scams targeting online shoppers during this holiday season. Popular gifts such as Apple products, designer clothing, and next-generation gaming consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, will be used as bait to tempt online shoppers looking for a deal. The blog post offers ten tips from the City of London Police including:

1. Trust your instincts – if an offer looks too good to be true it usually is. Legitimate popular technology and designer items are rarely discounted.

2. Check the URL in the web browser. Don’t be fooled by spoof websites where the address is slightly different.

3. Ensure the website address begins ‘https’ at the payment stage – this indicates a secure payment.

Click here to read the rest.

December 2, 2013

Amazon Introduces Prime Air

On Sunday, introduced Prime Air, a futuristic delivery-by-drone service that features unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) transporting packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

While Amazon’s research and development team is still working on the project, the company hopes to have drones delivering goods as early as 2015, when the Federal Aviation Administration may have regulations for UAVs in place. While there are still many questions about safety, reliability and privacy, it is reasonable to assume that we will see delivery drones for companies ranging from FedEx to Domino’s Pizza flying overhead within the next decade.

(H/T to one of our student techs, Louie)