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February 23, 2016

Apple answers some questions about their customer letter

Apple released a follow-up response to CEO Tim Cook’s open letter to customers this week. This release seeks to clarify Apple’s intentions behind their rationale for object the U.S. government’s request (via the FBI) to unlock the phone used by one of the shooters in San Bernadino last December.

Specifically, the government is asking Apple to:

“The government asked a court to order Apple to create a unique version of iOS that would bypass security protections on the iPhone Lock screen. It would also add a completely new capability so that passcode tries could be entered electronically.”

Apple objected to the order due to what it calls “two important and dangerous implications.”

“First, the government would have us write an entirely new operating system for their use. They are asking Apple to remove security features and add a new ability to the operating system to attack iPhone encryption, allowing a passcode to be input electronically. This would make it easier to unlock an iPhone by “brute force,” trying thousands or millions of combinations with the speed of a modern computer.”

“Second, the order would set a legal precedent that would expand the powers of the government and we simply don’t know where that would lead us. Should the government be allowed to order us to create other capabilities for surveillance purposes, such as recording conversations or location tracking? This would set a very dangerous precedent.”

For more information and for a list of the other questions addressed in the press release, check out this link from Apple.

February 17, 2016

Apple’s Customer Letter: the US Government is requesting overreach

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, released a letter to his customers today following the request by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to have data decrypted from an iPhone formerly belonging to the gunman who instigated a shooting spree in San Bernadino, California last December.

In response to the request by the FBI, Cook asserts that Apple complied with the subpoenas and search warrants issued in the investigation process for this case. Cook goes further:

We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.

Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.

The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.

Cook goes on to say that the FBI is circumventing Congressional action by invoking the All Writs Act “in an unprecedented use” to justify its request to expand its authority on future matters of similar nature. Apple will oppose the order due to what Cook sees as “an overreach by the U.S. government” citing its purpose is with “the deepest respect for American democracy and a love for our country” in mind.

For the full letter to Apple customers, click here.

March 18, 2015

USB-C vs. USB 3.1: What’s the difference

usb-c and 3.1

Article originally posted by ExtremeTech.com

With the launch of the Apple MacBook and Google’s Chromebook Pixel, USB-C (also called USB Type-C) and the accompanying USB 3.1 standard are both hitting market somewhat earlier than we initially expected. If you’re curious about the two standards and how they interact, we’ve dusted off and updated our guide to the upcoming technology. The situation is more nuanced than it’s been with previous USB standard updates — USB 3.1 and USB Type-C connectors may be arriving together on the new machines, but they aren’t joined at the hip the way you might think.

For more, go to ExtremeTech.com’s article.

 

April 12, 2013

Scripts to get computer information

CASIT Desktop services inventories a lot of computers and to help I had written a Java app that pulls a computer’s information and sends the data to the CASIT inventory site. With Java suffering from major exploits, I decided to convert the app from Java to AppleScript for Macs and PowerShell for Windows. The coding for the scripts was pretty easy to write after I figured out the syntax, and I also found some helper functions from online sources that helped quite a bit. The scripts run really fast and are also easy to edit by just opening them in AppleScript Editor or Windows PowerShell ISE on any computer.

AppleScript

Here is the code. To execute it, just open it in AppleScript Editor and hit ‘Run’.

Screenshot

Computer Info AppleScript

Links

PowerShell

Here is the code. To execute the script either right+click and select ‘Run with PowerShell’. To execute the script you might need to set PowerShell execution to unrestricted with this command: Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted

Screenshot

Computer Info PowerShell

Links

September 24, 2012

Apple releases OS X 10.8.2 update for Mountain Lion: Facebook integration, iMessage fixes and more

OS X 10.8.2 update detailsLooks like one major software update wasn’t enough, as Apple is following its push of iOS 6 with OS X 10.8.2. Weighing in at 697.54MB, it’s a pretty substantial update for Mountain Lion users, with that long-awaited Facebook integration chief among the changes. As Twitter presently operates within the OS, Facebook will now too enjoy single sign-on simplicity, and all of OS X’s sharing portals will now include Facebook as an option. You’ll get Facebook notifications in Notification Center, and you can share Game Center scores with your Facebook pals. It’s also being reported that this build restores laptop battery life levels to those seen with Lion.

Read more at Engadget.

September 17, 2012

How to Make the Switch from Android to iOS

IPhone 5 imageAndroid is a fine OS, but the lure of a new iPhone may be too much to resist. If you’re going to make the switch, you won’t want to leave any scrap of your precious mobile identity in Android’s cold robotic embrace. Here’s how to pack up everything you’ll need to bring to your new life in Apple’s walled garden.

Read more at Gizmodo.

August 23, 2012

Apple posts OS X 10.8.1 update, mends your Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion update 10.8.1There’s a special moment in every operating system’s life when it loses its innocent .0 status and grows up. It’s OS X Mountain Lion’s turn to mature, as Apple has just pushed out the 10.8.1 update for early adopters. Most of the fixes are for issues that plague specific use cases, such as audio output from a Thunderbolt Display or crashes in Migration Assistant. There are a few remedies that a wider audience might appreciate — a fix for iMessages that don’t send and an improvement to Exchange compatibility in Mail, for example. We don’t yet know of any surprises lurking underneath, but it can’t hurt to have a smoother-running Mac while we investigate.

Read more at Engadget.

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August 10, 2012

Please Turn On Two-Factor Authentication

You should read Mat Honan’s heartbreaking tale of a hack attack and the ensuing discussion on Techmeme. Much of the story is about Amazon or Apple’s security practices, but I would still advise everyone to turn on Google’s two-factor authentication to make your Gmail account safer and less likely to get hacked.

Read more at Lifehacker.

August 1, 2012

Mac OS X Mountain Lion is out

Mountain Lion imageReview of Mountain Lion is here.

CASIT recommends that you wait for two weeks before upgrading your computer so serious bugs with OS X Mountain Lion and other software can be ironed out. CASIT is currently working on testing Mountain Lion as well as other software that is used at the University.

For those of you who have purchased Mac computers after June 11th you are eligible for a free upgrade to Mountain Lion http://www.apple.com/macosx/uptodate/. Please contact us if you want help with this upgrade.

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October 24, 2011

Apple upgrades MacBook Pro line with faster processors, graphics cards, and more storage


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