• Monday Morning News

    When news of Apple releasing iOS 7.0.6 and iOS 6.1.6 to patch an SSL issue dropped over the weekend, I didn't think much of the minor point release. The release notes were, as per usual, light on information about what changes the release actually contained. They said "this security update provides a fix for SSL connection verification", with a link to this Apple support document, which is a general article on security content of all iOS and OS X updates.

    The implications, however, were much more serious than Apple's copy would have you think. SSL is the technology that ensures your communications on the web are known only to you and the server you're communicating with, and without it, anyone can potentially listen to what you're doing on the web. Ars Technica has a technical explanation of what's going on, but the worst part about this is that it also affects Macs.

    Over at Daring Fireball, John Gruber speculated on the potential link between the NSA's PRISM surveillance program and this SSL vulnerability. Adam Langley wrote about the issue on his blog, and also pointed to this test website. Browsers such as Chrome and Firefox appear to be unaffected by the issue.

    Following the WhatsApp acquisition by Facebook last week, Burstly have been acquired by Apple. Burstly are the parent company of TestFlight, a popular service for developers to test their apps OTA. TestFlight has announced they'll be terminating Android support in March, and they'll also be shutting down their SDK, though both announcements predated Apple's confirmation of the acquisition. Federico Viticci lets us know what this means for both Apple and consumers.

    For the past few years, Mac product updates have typically followed advances in processor technology. But early versions of Intel's product roadmap for 2014 leaves uncertainty for many Apple laptops and desktops. Many chips are stagnant or show very little room for improvement, although direct successors for the processors used in iMacs shows some promise.

    Apple plans to build a second tactical datacenter at its North Carolina facility, as reported by AppleInsider. I have no idea what a tactical datacenter is, but the structure is around two thirds the size of the main building, with space for offices, a meeting room, and breakroom.

    The latest numbers from NPD say Apple accounted for nearly half of the 120 million smartphones sold in the US in 2013. At 45%, a 1% increase from the previous year, Apple were ahead of Samsung with 26% and LG, with 8%. HTC and Motorola were at 6 and 4%, respectively.

    With WWDC on the (distant) horizon, all Erica Sadun from TUAW wants is… nothing. Instead, she'd rather see Apple work on issues currently plaguing any of their software products than push out a few new features or hardware. I don't think that's going to happen though, what with all the talk about wearables and new product categories from Tim Cook happening every other week. Still, one can dream.

    The latest iteration of the Mac Mini is smaller than any of its predecessors, but it's still pretty big compared to some recently-released barebones PCs, such as Intel's NUC. Apple already cut out the optical drive to make the thing smaller than its predecessor, but there's other places where Apple could cut down, as detailed over at Ars Technica.

    David McKinney, one of the guys behind Discovr, gave himself a month to learn some basic programming skills and built an iOS app from scratch. His post on how he went about it, what happened, and the app he made has a few good links to iOS programming resources, if you're interested in doing the same. A similar post on Medium from last year talks about the OS X equivalent, although I'd argue that iOS would be more beneficial these days.

    Dr Drang talks about the recent mail woes he's experienced with Mavericks. It's not just Gmail that doesn't work properly with Mavericks Mail, but any mail account — messages frequently won't send or be received unless Mail is quit and relaunched, and search is often broken. Rebuilding mailboxes didn't seem to help, either.

    Reporter is a new iOS app that asks you questions during your day to build a picture of the stuff that you might not notice. It might seem intrusive to get a push notification a few times every day to answer a question or two, but you would't be able to get the kind of reporting it offers any other way. $4.49 on the App Store (link opens iTunes).
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