Apple Macintosh viruses reported

April 1st – the day when all sorts of jokes, stories, and elaborate hoaxes are played on the public by venerated news organizations, manufacturers, the government, and of course from the Internet.  Our friends at Google launched a fantastic new product based on Morse Code.  NOT!!

However, this past April, an issue that has been around for a while created quite a media stir and wasn't a joke.  Apple Macintosh computers getting viruses or more precisely a thing called a “Flashback Trojan Horse”.   Thousands of words were written about over 600,000 Mac computers being attacked by malicious malware code.  We had quite a few clients call us and bring-in their Macs – just to check.

So, is this real, a big deal, or not?  Some facts and suggestions:

The first thing to understand is yes, this particular issue is real.  However, the infection of 600,000 computers is actually quite small.  There are literally millions of Apple OS X licenses out there.  Not as many as PCs, but as these things go, this infection is pretty minor.  Our shop checked a number of client Macintoshes and we checked all of The Computing Center’s own machines.  Not one of them had the Flashback Trojan.

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Apple releases the "New iPad"

Apple released the third iteration of the iPad during March.  (See the entire Apple press below.)   In in less than two weeks, over 3 million of the new units were sold.  Quite a feat for a device which is essentially created the "pad" category only two years old ago.  I've seen the "new iPad", haven't gotten one yet.  I'm still using the iPad 2, but my wife will be inheriting it soon.  More on why I'm making the change in a moment.

I was an early adopter of the iPad having gotten it for use in aviation.  Being a private pilot meant carrying several pounds of charts and airport approach diagrams in the plane, not to mention managing the charts and keeping track of the books.  Clutter in the cockpit was very common.  The iPad changed all that. Now all the charts, approach plates, the entire federal air regulations, the airman's information manual, several weather reference manuals, and other assorted aviation documents are all contained in just ONE app.  And the cost for all that information PLUS the iPad is less than one year's subscription to the paper documents.  Many airlines have adopted iPads for exactly the same use. The reduction in weight will save them several thousand gallons of fuel each year.  And that's in just one industry. 

As I've written previously, the iPad has become my go-to device for the consumption of content. It's great for reading emails, online newspapers, social media sites, and tons of other content.  There are dozens of apps, particularly for aggregating information.  Longform has become one of my favorite apps for selecting and reading longer magazine articles.  With it, you can select the magazines you which to review, then pick the individual articles to be read right then or saved for later.  A few times each week (but still not enough), I can be found at the gym riding a stationary bike reading selected articles from a dozen different magazines on my iPad, all from one app.  I still don't write much on the iPad itself, just to answer emails, etc.   You certainly can and real keyboards are readily available for it.  Personally, I've chosen to continue using regular PC computers and laptops for writing.  

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Apple iBooks author can create iBooks textbooks

In late January, Apple announced a fascinating new app for the iPad, iBooks 2.  It can be used to create and maintain interactive textbooks.  For this community which is tied very closely to eduction, there are many opportunities for local authors to quickly and efficiently create, maintain and publish electronic textbooks on virtually any subject.  Below is Apple's news release.

NEW YORK—January 19, 2012—Apple today announced iBooks 2 for iPad, featuring iBooks textbooks, an entirely new kind of textbook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive. iBooks textbooks offer iPad users gorgeous, fullscreen textbooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, unrivaled navigation and much more. iBooks textbooks can be kept up to date, don't weigh down a backpack and never have to be returned. Leading education services companies including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson will deliver educational titles on the iBookstore with most priced at $14.99 or less, and with the new iBooks Author, a free authoring tool available today, anyone with a Mac can create stunning iBooks textbooks. 

“Education is deep in Apple’s DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love.”

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Apple's Steve Jobs dies

It's odd how when someone who has "changed the world" dies and at the same time, very few of us actually knew or even met him, that it still affects us.  Rest in peace Steve.   www.apple.com

From Steve Jobs' speech at the 2005 Stanford University commencement:

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true."

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

 

Apple introduces iCloud

Free Cloud Services Beyond Anything Offered to Date

SAN FRANCISCO—Apple® today introduced iCloud®, a breakthrough set of free new cloud services that work seamlessly with applications on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all your devices. When anything changes on one of your devices, all of your devices are wirelessly updated almost instantly.

“Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it’s integrated into our apps you don’t even need to think about it—it all just works.”

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