Monthly Archives: April 2019

Boot Camp 1.2 expires, 1.3 and up live to boot another day

It's a shame that our readers only see one part of what we do here at Infinite Loop: bringing you the Apple news. What you don't get to see is how hard we work at not bringing you non-news at times. Case in point: version 1.2 and older of Apple's install-Windows-on-your-Mac tool Boot Camp were set to expire on September 30, 2007 (that would be yesterday). Remembering this important date, the Infinite Loop team carefully reviewed the latest versions of Boot Camp (1.3 and 1.4) and found that those have a little more shelf life left: HangZhou Night Net

3. Term of License. The term of this License shall commence upon your installation or use of the Apple Software and will terminate automatically without notice from Apple upon the next commercial release of the Apple Software, or December 31, 2007, whichever occurs first.

(This text is in the license agreement that you must agree to when you try to install the Boot Camp Assistant.)

We assumed that this was nothing to write home on Infinite Loop about, but that didn't stop Apple: the company recently updated its article, "When does Boot Camp Beta expire?" Apple stresses that you're in the clear if you run Boot Camp 1.3 or 1.4 for now, but that it will "expire" once Leopard hits the shelves. The nature of the expiration is left unclear, although for version 1.2 and earlier, it means that Boot Camp Assistant Beta will no longer open.

Earlier this year, Apple told CNET that "the Windows installation on a user's Mac will continue to work after the Boot Camp license expires." So your Windows partition is safe… for the time being.

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Sony launches world’s first 11 inch OLED screen for consumers

Feeling a bit jealous because your neighbor just nabbed a brand new widescreen LCD? Have no fear, the OLED (organic light-emitting display) is here! Today Sony announced the XEL-1, the first OLED TV that will be publicly available to consumers on December 1. HangZhou Night Net

So what is OLED, or "Organic Panel" as Sony advertises it? To put it briefly, unlike LCDs, OLED displays don’t require a backlight in order to display a bright, rich, image. Without the need for a backlight, the displays can potentially be much thinner, since they also don't require as much power as an LCD display. In a sense, you can think of the technology as a much more advanced version of the phosphor-based electroluminescent backlight on your watch; organic materials in the display light up when an electric current is passed through them. Today, smaller products like the Sansa Express use OLED technology also.

Sony claims the 1080p capable XEL-1 is just 3mm thick has a contrast ratio that exceeds 1,000,000:1. On the other hand, XEL-1 will only sport an 11 inch screen with a 960×540 resolution. It also has an HDMI input, 1 USB port, a headphone jack, and a 10/100 Ethernet plug. The TV also has a "browser function", which combined with the Ethernet jack, has me wondering whether it's a possible future Windows Media extender contender.

The XEL-1 looks pretty freakin' sweet, but it looks like it'll sit perched on an arm above a base, so it doesn't look like it'll mount on your wall. Still, it would be a pretty awesome office-desk accessory. The XEL-1 (Japanese) is priced at 200,000 Japenese Yen, and will be available in Japan only (translated). We assume the technology won't take much longer to come stateside.

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Deceptive EULA, spyware bring down the wrath of the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission has ended its war against the makers of Media Motor, a company that purported to offer free screensavers and videos for Windows users but secretly installed spyware onto the user's machine. Media Motor's parent company, ERG Ventures, has been ordered to give up at least $330,000 it has made as a result of its spyware. The company was also barred from continuing to install any software onto users' computers without explicit consent from the customer and from installing any software that interferes with anyone's computer use. HangZhou Night Net

The case goes back to October of 2006, when the FTC first began investigating Media Motor. It charged that ERG Ventures and its affiliates with "tricking" consumers into installing the screensaver software, which seemed innocent enough on the surface. But the software also came with various flavors of spyware and malware—it changed consumers' home pages, added toolbars and displayed pop-ups in users' browsers, tracked Internet activity, displayed porn ads, put advertising on users' desktops, and, best of all, disabled anti-spyware and anti-virus software on the machines. The FTC said that the programs were either extremely difficult or just downright impossible to remove.

The FTC also said that the company used a deceptive EULA in its Media Motor software, which gave users the option to not install the software but did so regardless of whether the users accepted or rejected the agreement. These were violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act, said the FTC, which barred unfair and deceptive business practices.

Judge Howard McKibben agreed and ordered ERG Ventures and its affiliates from installing the spyware on users' computers late last week. McKibben also ordered the companies to pay damages in addition to payments to the IRS to cover their 2006 tax liabilities. That number, however, will increase to over $3.5 million if the court finds that the companies have misrepresented their financial status.

The judgment carries implications for other spyware makers and distributors, as they are now much more likely be held liable if they install software with misleading EULAs and without the user's explicit consent. The biggest problem will be tracking them down if they're not based in the US.

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iPhone Bluetooth audio “bug” isn’t new

Sites across the Mac web have been reporting over the last few days that a "bug" (or un-polished feature?) in the iPhone 1.1.1 firmware allows for streaming any audio—including music from the iPod app—to any Bluetooth headset, A2DP-friendly or otherwise. While this quirk is indeed interesting (despite the drawback of audio continuing to play from the iPhone's speakers while streaming), it isn't anything new or exclusive to the 1.1.1 firmware. It was discovered by some eagle-eyed observers in early August during the 1.0.1 firmware days, and I wrote up a walkthrough of the "bug" back during my time at TUAW. HangZhou Night Net

The gist of the trick involves connecting a paired Bluetooth headset to your iPhone and ensuring that they're talking to each other (the iPhone's Bluetooth icon is solid blue). Then, access the Phone app and go to the Visual Voicemail screen where you will see an Audio button in the upper right. From there, you can select from a number of outputs to send audio—including your Bluetooth headset. While this feature is obviously there to allow the customization of which audio device to use for your phone calls (iPhone, speakerphone, or headset), it has the adverse affect of sending any other audio out to the Bluetooth headset. The only problem—and the reason most consider this to be a bug—is that audio from the iPod part of the iPhone will simultaneously play out of the iPhone's speaker as well, with apparently no way to shut that particular device off while implementing this trick.

While it would obviously be great to see this feature polished up so iPhone owners can use any generic Bluetooth headset for streaming audio, it is far more likely that Apple simply has yet to discover the issue and, in the words of the immortal Bob: "fix the glitch."

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Mac OS X and Safari market share up again

If you feel the need to get your two-minute hate on over a post using data from Net Applications, let the screaming commence. Meanwhile, for those who don't know or care, Net Applications is a web metrics tracking firm whose methodology is somewhat of a mystery. HangZhou Night Net

We collect data from the browsers of site visitors to our exclusive on demand network of small to medium enterprise live stats customers. The sample size for these sites is more than 40,000 urls and growing.

Keeping in mind that we are only looking at what Net Applications sees—which may or may not be applicable to whatever frothing viewpoint is held by the reader—it is nonetheless possible to follow trends over time. Two of those trends, OS platform and web browser, are looking pretty good for Apple these days.

Source: Net Applications

For the month ending in September, the combined market share for the Mac platform is 6.61 percent according to Net Applications, divided between Mac OS (presumably PPC Macs running OS X) at 3.38 percent, and Intel Macs at 3.23 percent. This total is up around a quarter since last year, and nearly 15 percent since last month. As the trend lines clearly show, PPC users are the new graybeards. By next month, the majority of Mac users will be on the Intel platform, so expect a "Transition Complete!" keynote slide at Macworld in January. On the other hand, there may be no Mac OS X 10.6 for PPC users—life in the technology fast lane and all that.

Source: Net Applications

As for Safari, the good news is best delivered by the folks at the Surfin' Safari weblog.

For the first time, Safari has crossed the 5% threshold in the Net Applications browser market share survey to reach an all time high of 5.07%. Wow! It’s been a long, bumpy ride from the 2.15% share in 2005, when the WebKit Open Source project launched. With Safari 3 coming soon, we can only expect more growth. Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen, and keep on using Safari and other WebKit-based browsers.

Doubling market share in two years is indeed impressive—go Safari Team—roar! How exactly that 5.07 percent is broken down among Safari users is not known, as Net Applications gets a little cryptic: Safari 3.0, Safari 31, Safari 42, and so on. Safari on the iPhone is not broken out, nor is Safari for Windows. But since the latter is such a buggy mess, the number is probably pretty small—go Safari Team—roar!

However, as long as we looking at trends based upon data that makes the heads of NPD and IDG fanboys explode, we ought to make an effort to look as honestly as possible. For 2007, every peak has been followed by a dip, which leads to the question of whether October will see another falling back of Mac market and browser share. Almost assuredly it will, since Leopard will likely be released at the end of the month, but then comes the holiday shopping season with a new OS that is not a beleaguered Vista.

Ten percent in 2008, anyone?

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