Category Archives: technology
So many people boast and brag on how invincible mac computers are and how they never receive any viruses. Well, this is not true and I stumbled upon a recent virus that has been infecting macs for a long time now and apple has just recently released a fix. Of course they will not tell you about this but it just appears as an update patch.
The virus is known as the Flashback Virus and it has currently infected more than 600,000 users. So how did this virus come about? Well, Apple as you know likes to keep all of their products in a closed environment to provide stable and reliable products. This means they rely as little as they can on outside vendors to provide for them. Because of this Apple has developed their own Java SDK and has not updated it in the longest. Most PCs usually run on Sun Java and receive updates constantly. I know because it annoys me every time I turn on my windows 7 laptop there is a Java update. So what we have here is a scenario where Apple’s closed eco systems has failed.
The virus itself has been out since September of 2011 and this entire time Apple has been silent and has not told any of the users. The following has been quoted from Larry Dignan at CNET:
Apple doesn’t allow Oracle to patch Java. The latest round of malware could have been avoided with faster patching. Since Apple likes to control its patching it is often behind. The window of exposure on the Mac platform is longer. The easy fix here is to let Oracle do the patching.
Apple has a rudimentary antivirus update utility that’s updated with signatures only when there’s a big enough threat. Apple knew about Flashback, which has been pointed out by security researchers, but didn’t ship an update.
Apple users have no idea if they are infected and don’t know how to search. Why would they know? Apple has told them there are no viruses on the Mac. This false sense of security is the primary reason Apple needs to start talking. Apple users are smug about security.
Anti-virus vendors can’t provide protection to the Mac because users don’t think they are needed.
So why has these sort of issues not happen to Macs before. Well, there is a simple explanation to that and it has been said for years. The only reason you see more windows pc viruses and none on macs is because the PC is the more popular machine. Why would a hacker try to hack something that would only affect a small population? What we see happening now is the Macs are becoming increasingly popular so there areas now more incentive to create viruses for it.
So mac users must be wondering how do you detect this virus when it presents itself? Well, this virus will appear as an Adobe Flash Player but it is fake. Once clicked the virus will infiltrate your system.
There is currently no fix for the virus if you are already infected, but to avoid the virus you should look for a Mac update to the Java SDK as shown below:
Let this be fair warning to all those who are seeking to buy a mac to avoid viruses. I expect more viruses and trojans to appear in the mac environment as they begin to get even more popular. Pretty soon Apple will find themselves in the same scenario as windows was a few years ago where they will have to truly put a lot of time and energy into security measures. Hopefully they will do it before their name is tarnished for it.
First I would like to be completely hypocritical by saying I am a fan of the cloud. I use it on a daily basis. From typing up documents through google docs to saving notes through the Evernote software and phone apps. In fact, many of the things I use daily exist in the cloud. I have a high dependency on the availability of the cloud especially when it comes to google. So why would I tell you not to trust the cloud. Well here’s my story:
As I said before I handle everything in the cloud. My phone contacts are synced with google contacts as well as my phone calendar. I also sync my notes with Evernote and I was an avid user of google groups. I loved the ability to add a dentist appointment on my laptop and instantly it would appear on my phone. I would also add an e-mail to a phone contact and instantly I could pull up their email address in gmail. Even in school, I along with some of my classmates would be working on the same paper at the same time through google docs and you would instantly see what the other person was typing. I was really in love with the cloud!!! Well at least until I had a week of cloud fail.
Without notifying anyone, google removed the pages and documents from google groups so I lost a ton of my papers and group pages that I had in my google groups accounts. This included meeting minutes for organizations I was a part of and even personal documents that I wanted to use later on. All of my documents I had stored in the cloud were gone just like that, and it did not end there either. Apparently google also decided to change the way they did account authentication with active exchange for mobile devices without notifying customers so out of no where I lost all of my contacts from my phone and all of my events from my calendar. Many of my apps were centered around my contacts so I was even having issues with my apps. I had no time to really research why this had happened so it took me a week to even get my phone back up and running in working order. I used to think that the cloud was the ultimate form of backup for data because the information would always be there. I was so very wrong.
I say all of this to point out two things:
1. The cloud is not always reliable
– The cloud can be just as fragile as any form of media that you would use to store data whether it be a hard drive or a dvd-r.
2. The cloud is new technology and with all new technology it takes time to mature into a reliable platform.
I would encourage people to use the cloud but with discretion and make sure you back everything up locally on occasion because there are no promises. Just the other day many of amazon’s cloud servers and Microsoft’s cloud servers failed and there were many disgruntled customers. Imagine if you were using their cloud platform to run a business like many of their customer’s probably did. You would have lost hours of potential revenue and possibly even current and potential customers.
Many companies today are looking toward the cloud as a viable option to do business. Some companies are actually running entirely in the cloud. I would not recommend that but I believe there are some excellent cloud options for companies such as Office 365 (Microsoft Office and Exchange server in the cloud), cloud ways for app deployment and project management and even Salesforce.com (Provides the ability to run many company functions if not all completely in the cloud).
So let me concluded by going back to my hypocritical stance encouraging you to pursue cloud technology, but urging you not to put all of your trust in the technology. I will probably write a more in depth post regarding cloud technologies in the future including business use cases where the technology should be utilized and where it should be avoided, but I thought I would just start it off with my week of cloud fail and why we can never truly trust the cloud.
Obviously we all know that mobile technology is booming and many users are getting away from the traditional PCs and laptops and are wanting more smaller devices such as smartphones, net books and tablets. Even net books are reaching extinction. So what does this mean for developers.
I believe this means that application development will have to be more adaptable to the different technologies. Eventually the tools at our disposal will evolve to a more universal framework that will work across all platforms. HTML5 is a prime example of this. If HTML5 is used properly it will make an application device agnostic so no re-coding will have to be done and the same application can run on iOs, android, windows 8 ARM and every browser with HTML5 support. One of the tools that is very useful today is the mono-project development IDE that allows developers to develop in iPhone, android and regular applications in C# against the .Net framework. If coded properly using a 3 tier design (Data Layer, Application Layer and Logic or Business Layer) the core functionality in your application can be carried across the different devices without any code change.
I also believe that the traditional operating system will eventually go away and Microsoft is proving this prediction with the complete re-transformation of the Windows 8 operating system. Windows has completely re-architected their operating system to be a tile based metro experience similar to the windows phone experience. This allows the operating system to be used not only for PCs and net books but with the potential to be used for tablets. There is also talk about a windows 8 ARM version (a tablet version of windows 8 that can run on the current tablet technology available).
I have also noticed that some of the new features in Visual Studio 11 beta is centered around the new Windows 8 operating system and mobile devices. If you notice from the screenshot below there is a Metro style Bing Maps SDK template available and one of the template categories is for Mobile Devices. Microsoft is usually behind the curve on innovation but the fact that they are taking such a drastic approach to the Windows 8 platform shows that such a platform will most likely be the wave of the future.
Now for developers this may seem like you will have to re-learn everything when it comes to UI (User Interface) design, but I believe this approach will make it easier for developers to change platforms. I see a future where I can develop an application for Windows 8 and easily convert it to an iOS application or a Android OS application. I am not sure how long it will take before this happens but I already see tablets being used as primary devices in corporate america, speakers and preachers pulling out tablets to deliver a message and schools beginning to incorporate tablet technology into their curriculum.