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What Did Apple Announce at WWDC? A Guide to iOS 6

This week in scenic San Francisco, Apple is wowing both companies and developers that make software and apps for Apple’s various platforms at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).


Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook gave WWCD’s keynote address on Monday. This was the first time WWDC was not addressed by Steve Jobs.

It’s a conference that often telegraphs Apple’s game plan for the rest of the year. In the past, the conference has been the forum where two iPhones and various Macs have been introduced. On Monday morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage, giving the conference’s keynote address.

Numbers Game
Cook started his Monday morning keynote by dazzling the crowd with some spectacular numbers:

  • Apple largely owns the digital marketplace. Apple has paid out an estimated $5 billion to app developers since the App Store was started just four years ago.
  • There are now more than 66,000 apps, resulting in more than 30 billion downloaded apps.
  • Some 400 million consumers have their credit card information on file with Apple.

One of today’s major announcements involved Apple’s latest iOS (the iOS is what developers use to make apps for the iPad or iPhone). In a nutshell, the iOS powers Apple iDevices…and it’s about to change dramatically:

Driving Developments
For years, Google Maps has been the default mapping app for Apples iDevices, but that’s about to change. Apple’s iOS 6 will introduce its own tweaked-up version of Maps, and it promises to offer some capabilities that Google Maps can’t match. This includes turn-by-turn navigation, voiced by Siri, Apple’s personal assistant program.


Apple’s new Maps app will help you find your way.

Not only will Siri guide drivers to their destinations, she’ll also provide estimated trip times, and when the speed limit changes. If traffic slows (because of an accident or other event), she’ll  suggest an alternate route. Siri will also help you find gas. Finally, the new Maps app will feature a photographic 3D view of numerous cities called “Flyover,” in addition to offering a traffic view so you can visually plan the best route for your drive.

Siri-ous Improvements
Siri will be updated with iOS 6, too – and she’ll be featured on the new iPad. For most users, the biggest improvement will be the ability to launch apps with a single voice command, which many users have been vocal about desiring. Siri will also be given a new “Eyes Free” mode that will work in conjunction with your car by simply pressing a button on your steering wheel. (To make this a reality, Apple is already partnering with numerous auto manufacturers, including Toyota, Honda, GM, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.)

And not only will Siri become more convenient to access; the program will become smarter and know more about a wider range of subjects. For example, if you’re looking for sports scores and schedules (and even stats), Siri can now be your go-to expert. The same applies to other entertainment, such as movies (with Siri able to serve up reviews, showtimes and trailers).

And when it comes to grabbing a bite to eat after a game or before a movie, Siri will have you covered there, too. The personal assistant will soon be able to give you a sneak peek at restaurant menus and even help you make dinner reservations.


Attendees are flocking this week to San Francisco’s Moscone Center (West) from around the world. The conference will last through Friday. 

Social Affairs
It’s a social-media world, a fact not lost on Apple. So iOS 6 will fully integrate Facebook, just as iOS 5 brought system integration for Twitter users. With iOS 6, once you log into your Facebook account from the Settings app, you can remain logged in…even if you open different apps, and (here’s the best part) you won’t be required to log in multiple times.

With this new integration, Facebook events will appear in the Calendar app. And let’s say you use both Facebook and Twitter. With iOS 6, both social media sites will be included within the notification dropdown. So if you need to post a new status, you can do it once in this location and the change will be made to both the Facebook and Twitter accounts. iOS 6 enables all of these improvements, not to mention the ability to post photos and preferred apps directly to Facebook.

“Pass Go” with Passbook
iOS 6 will feature a new app called “Passbook.” It works like Google Wallet. Passbook stores a wide variety of items (such as movie tickets, gift cards and airline tickets) in one convenient app. Passbook works in conjunction with the notification center, helpfully reminding you if you arrive at a location where you might be able to use one of the items stored in the app.

Silence-is-Golden 
Another improvement? A “Do Not Disturb” feature for iPhones that keeps things on the down-low. Don’t worry; you’ll still receive notifications when they come but you just won’t have to hear about each and every one of them.


The Do Not Disturb feature lets you customize interruptions, such as when to activate and who to accept calls from.

Making the “VIP” List
The new iOS also gives you a way to prioritize the Mail app with special instructions based on the names of your inner-posse members. By accessing the “VIPs” feature, you’ll be able to receive special notification when you receive messages from those you’re tight with. The feature will also let you batch all incoming messages from the crew with a single tap. Mail will now let users add pix and flix to message, as well as view marked messages.

Setting the Pace
The announcements made at Apple’s WWDC often have a global impact, and influence the world of personal computing for the next year. Coming up in Part Two: We look at new changes coming to the MacBook line.

Are you ready to learn app development for the iPhone and iPad? We are! iOS makes the world’s coolest gadgets even cooler!

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posted by DMA Jordan in Apple,News Blog and have No Comments

Step by Step: How to Remove a Mac Virus

The differences between Mac and PC computers are generally well-understood by this point in the Platform Wars. One of the prime selling points for Macintosh has traditionally been its relative immunity from computer viruses. Unfortunately, however, that changed recently when a Trojan virus called Flashback attacked more than 500,000 Macs.

Unhappy Mac’s (and Mac users) are fighting the Flashback virus.

And although it was pretty much a first-time occurrence, it was an event that’s now giving Mac users plenty of cause for concern. As a public service to those Mac users, we’re offering the following tips on how to find out if your Mac is hosting the Flashback virus, and what to do about it if your computer is infected.

Know Your Enemy: How to Find Out if Your Mac Has a Virus
Flashback (which spreads malware) is a very insidious virus, partly because it can get under your computer’s skin even without first gaining an administrative password. It gets “in” by targeting a weakness in Java. That’s not news to Oracle, Java’s creators, which has been proactive in dealing with the matter.

In February, Oracle came up with a fix for the Java problem. And that would have taken care of Flashback altogether, except for the fact that Apple has its own version of Java and Oracle’s patch would not solve the problem for Apple’s version. And although Apple got its own patch out recently, there was a time delay that gave Flashback the chance to do its worst. Consequently, the die had already been cast for a half million Mac users, whose machines became infected with malware initiated by Flashback.

Section 1: Running Diagnostic Tests
First things first: You need to determine if your CPU is carrying the virus. The quickest and best way to do this is to use Kaspersky Lab’s Flashbackcheck. But there is one caveat to following this method: you must first know the universally unique identifier (UUID) for your particular Mac.


Don’t worry…Fortunately, finding your UUID is a painless process…

How to Find Your UUID

  1. Go to Finder and choose the menu item called “About This Mac.”
  2. Next, locate the “More info” option and select that.
  3. In the next window you see, locate “Hardware UUID.”
  4. Copy the Hardware UUID, which is a lengthy series of 32 numerals and letters.

In the event you’re running a MacBook Air, the procedure for locating the UUID is roughly the same:

  1. Go to Finder and choose the menu item called “About This Mac.”
  2. Next, press the button labeled “System Report.”
  3. Within the Hardware Overview, you’ll find the UUID.
  4. Copy the Hardware UUID to your clipboard.

 
At this point, if you’ve got the UUID, you’re pretty much set. All you need to do is go to Flashbackcheck.com, follow the prompts and enter the UUID when requested. That’s it. Flashbackcheck will then tell you whether or not your computer is carrying the virus.

There are also other ways to find out if your Mac has the virus, if you don’t like the idea of giving a sensitive piece of data (such as the UUID) to an external website.

Option 1: Download FlashbackChecker onto your Mac and then simply run the program.

Option 2: If you don’t like Option 1, you can also find out if your machine is infected by using your Mac’s Terminal app. This isn’t terribly complicated but does require some additional maneuvers.

  1. Go to your Applications folder.
  2. Open the Terminal application.
  3. Paste the following line of code within Terminal:    defaults read ~/.MacOSX/environment DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES
  4. Hopefully, you’ll get the following response: The domain/default pair of (/Users/<yourusername>/.MacOSX/environment, DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES) does not exist
  5. The key words you’re looking for are “does not exist.” If you get that message, you can relax because it means your Mac is not carrying the Flashback virus. If you don’t get that message, don’t worry…but your machine is probably infected. Assuming you’re not infected, let’s run a double check to make sure your CPU is clean.
  6. Type and run this line of code: defaults read /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironment
  7. With any luck you’ll again receive a message saying that it “does not exist.”
  8. As a further check, type in: defaults read /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironment
  9. Once more, you should see a “does not exist” response. If so, go on about your business, because your Mac is clean. On the other hand, if you don’t get that message, move on to our next section.

 

Get ready to squash some bugs with our step-by-step virus removal instructions.

Section 2: Removing the Virus
If you’re still reading, we’ll assume that our diagnostic testing has revealed that your machine is indeed infected with Flashback. Here again you have a couple of options you can follow in order to eradicate the menace.

As before, the easiest way is to let the pros handle it. There is a special app created by Kaspersky Lab that can manage the entire operation. All you have to do to follow this method is to download the app (which is called the Flashfake Removal Tool) and then run it on your system. When you’ve done so, your machine should be clean as a whistle…although it wouldn’t hurt to re-run the diagnostic procedure we’ve already performed so you can confirm that Flashback’s gone.

For the more adventurous DIY types among you, we’ve got a procedure you can use, although it comes with a warning: If you’re not a skilled computer user who is comfortable working with CPU’s operating system, it may be better to use the Flashfake Removal Tool. (Otherwise you could casually derail your system by entering something incorrectly in your Mac’s command line.)

Still with us? Good, let’s go:

  1. Within the Terminal app, type and run this command: defaults read /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironment
  2. Notice the value given with the response “DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES.” Is there only one entry here? (You’ll need to use this info later.)
  3. In the event you then receive an error message stating: “The domain/default pair of (/Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info, LSEnvironment) does not exist,” move directly to Step 8.
  4. Provided you didn’t receive the error message mentioned in Step 3, type and run this command within Terminal: grep -a -o’_ldpath_[- ~ ]*’ %path_obtained_in_step2%
  5. Notice the value given after “_ldpath_”. (You’ll need to use this info later.)
  6. Provided you only saw one entry back in Step 2, you’re ready to type these commands, still within the Terminal app: sudo defaults delete /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironment sudo chmod 644 /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info/plist
  7. Remember back in Steps 2 and 5 when we asked you to notice the values (files)? Now you should delete those files.
  8. In Terminal, type this command and run it: defaults read ~/.MacOSX/environment DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES
  9. Now at this point, you may see the following: “The domain/default pair of (/Users/joe/.MacOSX/environment, DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES) does not exist”. If this is the case, congrats! You’re done! On the other hand, if you don’t get the message, keep pressing on with the rest of our steps, and take note of whatever file information is specified. (You’ll need this info later.)
  10. Within Terminal, type and run this command: grep -a -o’_ldpath_[- ~ ]*’ %path_obtained_in_step9%
  11. Notice the value given after “_ldpath_”. (You’ll need to use this info soon.)
  12. Still within Terminal, type and run these commands: defaults delete ~/.MacOSX/environment DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES launchctl unsetenv DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES
  13. Take those files you got in Steps 9 and 11 and delete them.
  14. In Terminal, type and run this command: ls -lA ~/Library/LaunchAgents/
  15. Notice the file name displayed and remember it for later use. If you have one file, move on to the remaining final steps. (However, if you don’t see a file name displayed, go ahead and contact Customer Support so a trained tech can help you finish up the procedure.)
  16. In Terminal, type this command: defaults read ~/Library/LaunchAgents/%filename_obtained_in_step15% ProgramArguments
  17. Notice the path, which you’ll need during the final step. Does the file name begin with this: “.”? If so, you’re probably no longer infected. Otherwise, proceed to Step 18.
  18. Delete the files you got during Steps 15 and 17.

 
And that should just about do it. To repeat, it’s our recommendation that instead of stepping through a fairly tricky computer procedure, you check out the offerings from Kaspersky Lab. Both Flashbackcheck.com and the Flashfake Removal Tool are designed expressly to keep you from having to monkey around with your computer’s core functionality. But either way, now you should be able to resume your normal Mac activities, secure in the knowledge that all manner of malicious malware isn’t working away, deep within your computer.

Finally, it’s important to note that if you own a Mac, you’re probably going to need to take some proactive measure to defend the machine against Flashback. Why? Because the usual antivirus utilities won’t sniff this particular virus out, so it’s up to you to remain on guard.

Keeping Your Computer Heathly
The world of computing is constantly evolving. Learning more about computers and the code that makes them run can not only be a lifesaver when you’re trying to keep your computer healthy but it can also be a life changing career. Learning C+++ or Java programming for example, these programming languages power smartphones, ATMs and a whole host of other electronic devices. Get the skills to fight the hackers – and squash nasty bugs like the Flashback virus too, while you’re at it.

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posted by DMA Jordan in Apple,News Blog and have No Comments

When Will Siri Work on iPad?

Siri, the helpful female voice Apple created to serve as an all-purpose Help desk, has captivated technology maniacs since she was introduced. Now Apple intends to extend Siri’s influence - allowing her to control other devices.


It’s sort of official: Siri is being prepped to work on other devices besides the iPhone.

Apple Talks Patents
Apple hasn’t made any announcements yet, but tech insiders point to recent patent filings that support the claim that Siri could be used to control more devices. The patent application filed by Apple in late March suggests a scenario wherein iPhones might be used to control digital media players with voice commands (potentially for use with Apple TV). Likewise, Siri could be used to provide remote-control operation of digital cameras. It might even be used in the future to control various devices via Mac computers – or your iPad.

Apple’s patent filing stated that “Portable electronic devices, such as digital media players, personal digital assistants, mobile phones, and so on, typically rely on small buttons and screens for user input. Such controls may be built into the device or part of a touch-screen interface, but are typically very small and can be cumbersome to manipulate.”

The patent application then tips Apple’s hand a bit: “What is needed is an electronic device that includes a voice user interface for executing voice or oral commands from a user, but where voice recognition is performed by a remote device communicatively coupled to the electronic device, rather than the electronic device itself.” Hmmm…Sounds like Apple foresees a future in which machines – like a TV – are controlled by voice. We agree, but Apple needs to catch up, since you can already control your TV with Microsoft’s Kinect system.

The Future of Tech
Apple is clearly shaping the new technological landscape and you can be part of it by learning more about Apple’s iOS. App development and programming courses like those taught by Digital Media Academy could help you become the one that’s creating the future. Held on some of America’s most respected college and university campuses (such as Harvard and UCLA), DMA summer camps enable motivated youngsters to pursue their technological dreams.

The future includes voice control and a whole host of other technology we haven’t even thought of yet…”Siri show us the future!”

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posted by DMA Jordan in Apple,News Blog and have No Comments

Steve Jobs Action Figure Cancelled

The toy company that announced the Steve Jobs Action Figure has cancelled plans to release the figure. In an announcement posted to their website, inicons explained the genesis of the idea and the action figure.


This announcement greeted visitors to inicons site, and explained the Steve Jobs would not be produced.

inicons announced a Steve Jobs action figure just before the end of 2011 and expected to ship the figure in late February 2012 for $99.00. The figure was a fully detailed 12″ Steve Jobs, right down to his black turtleneck and New Balance sneakers. Other accessories were also included with the figure including, extra hands, a stool (like the one used during the Apple presentations Jobs gave) – and apples.

Apple Approval
The announcement to cancel the figure was not a surprise, as many figured, without the approval of Steve Jobs’ family the figure could not be produced. inicons spoke directly to the copyright issue in a statement they released on their site and defended their position – one that came from a fan perspective.


The incredible detail of the action figure is seen closeup. 

“I created a single figurine of Steve which I placed on my desk next to my Mac,” the toy maker commented. The announcement also explained why there would be no figure:

“Though we still believe that we have not overstepped any legal boundaries, we have decided to completely stop the offer, production and sale of the Steve Jobs figure out of our heartfelt sensitivity to the feeling of the Steve Jobs family. We understand that this decision will cause many of the fans’ disappointment, but please forgive us as there is no other alternative unless to have the blessing from Steve Jobs family…”

The announcement ended with inicons promising refunds to buyers who pre-ordered and thanking all the fans for their support and one last apology.

Apple Toys
The Steve Job action figure would have adorned cubicles and fanboy shelves all over the world. But for now, the only “official” Apple toy fans will be able to get their hands on are apps like Garageband and others created by app development for iPhone and iPad.

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posted by DMA Jordan in Apple,News Blog and have No Comments