news of 2004-12-17

That iPhone rumour

Sadly, it's not gonna be the long-rumoured iPhone from Apple. It's gonna be a 'good old' (debatable) Motorola phone with some iTunes like software add-on and probably iSync support. Sure, the phone's gonna make synching some 'tunes to the phone simple enough, but it won't be the smartphone from Apple that once was rumoured to surprise the heck out of Nokia, Motorola, SonyEricsson and the likes. So: Take it as it is. It's sure going to be a nice phone and all. But not 'the iPhone'.

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-12-17 at 22:43 CET ]
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The Days of Panther

While we don't know for now, whether there'll still be a 10.3.8 update in the coming months until Tiger's released, it's about time we take a look at Panther's history. Sure, the big cats only live for 1 year (or 1.5 now), but they all have their ups and downs. And we, sadly, must admit, that the Panther era (so far) wasn't all good. In fact: It started with probably the biggest hickup in OS X history.

That hickup, of course, was the original FireWire bug that killed thousands (we don't have exact numbers, of course - could be millions, but we doubt that...) of external harddrives. This happened just by installing Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther, released 2003-10-10) and rebooting without taking off the FW drives. Okay, only some FW drives were affected (one particular chipset, IIRC) and mostly FW800 drives. Although those of course are used mostly in professional environments, so this was really bad, bad, bad for a start. Strangely, it seems that no developer from ADC with access to Panther seeds had tried Panther with such a drive. Or at least the makers of the FW chipset (or external harddrive makers) had not tested Panther. At all. Or the bug simply only turned up in the very last stage of Final Candidating. Either way: Apple said that the cause for the bug was in the chipset, which was using stuff which was not intended to be used in FireWire devices in the first place. However, the public of course pointed the finger at Apple (probably the middle finger quite often, too), and Apple soon released 10.3.1 (2003-11-10), which solved the problem, but the user still had to install new firmware onto their drives. From within Jaguar, of course.

On 2003-12-17, Apple already issued 10.3.2, which again fixed FW 800 drives. *Cough* --- On 2004-03-15, Apple released 10.3.3. And Apple did not take that much time because of 10.3.2's stability, but rather to release a really, really good build this time. On 2004-05-25, 10.3.4 came along, and with this release, Apple 'did' it. This was the first Panther build that most people could simply live with. It also was the last version that did not have sound troubles on Apple's MDD G4s. So sound pros today are either updating their Macs to G5s or they're living with 10.3.4. Come 2004-08-09, Apple brought us 10.3.5 and made things worse. Not only did that update bring the mentioned sound bug, but it also brought video glitches to some people's machines, some CDs suddenly didn't show up on the desktop anymore and others reported deep problems with disk images (they simply didn't work any more). Basically, it was 'back to 10.3.4' for many people. The same happend, when Apple released 10.3.6 on 2004-11-05. Many troubled people went back to 10.3.4 immediately.

And then, Apple released Mac OS X 10.3.7 7S215 (the build number alone means there went a lot of work into this) on 2004-12-15, just two days ago. So 2004 wasn't all bad. And Panther wasn't (and isn't) all bad. Sure, we're all looking forward to Tiger for one or the other reason (or many reasons), but with 10.3.7, Apple has released a Panther build that works. (Unless you're using an MDD tower and want to work with audio, that is. That problem still isn't solved, so it's back to 10.3.4 for those poor guys.) So let's just say that Panther had a lot of trouble right from the beginning. Sure: There are many people (like myself), who were quite lucky. Never had any problems, every update went without a hitch. But compared to Jaguar's update history, Panther was bad. I guess the initial FW800 bug just wasn't a good omen for Panther's era. But on the bright side, there's 10.3.7 now, which fixes many, many of the bugs earlier versions had - and Tiger is only a few months away now. We'll make sure to update this story, should problems arise with 10.3.7 or should there be 10.3.8 before Tiger. And when Tiger's here, we'll take another look at the days of Panther. Yep, that was a bit long, but it's that time of the year, isn't it. Looking back and everything... ;) Btw.: If we forgot something BIG or you have a correction to make, please use the contact link below...

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-12-17 at 13:36 CET ]
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Samba: Again a vulnerability...

We've covered Samba (and Apple's inability to update to later versions...) quite a few times lately (here, here and here). Now, there's another vulnerability - and only a patched 3.0.9 version or the fixed 3.0.10 are safe. Apple, as of now, uses 3.0.5 in Mac OS X, so it seems they did in fact update to later versions over the past few months. But unbelievably, almost, not to a 'safe' version, but to one which in October still was affected (and of course is affected by this new vulnerability).
This leads us to believe that, basically, keeping Windows FileSharing (which is Samba) accessible on Mac OS X just isn't very safe. Both because of Samba's vulnerabilities, but even more because Mac OS X' Samba isn't kept up to date by Apple.

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-12-17 at 01:12 CET ]
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