The three-year itch: Why Apple needs to do more to keep older systems secure

Apple recently introduced software updates and a removal tool for the “Flashback” threat on Macs. Users of Apple’s current desktop OS, Lion 10.7.3, and the previous Snow Leopard 10.6.8, Apple’s got you covered. For anything older, Apple’s recommendation is disabling Java. That’s wrong, and here’s why.

What developers need to know about OS X Mountain Lion

OS X Mountain Lion looks to improve on Lion with UI refinements and some significant changes for developers. Most of those changes appear to be out in the cloud. Here’s a list of changes that Apple is rolling out, and how they will affect developers.

Mac OS X Lion installation stats bode well for digital distribution

Apple’s latest operating system, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, is doing well in its early days, nearing OS X 10.5 Leopard in popularity according to new OS market share numbers. Lion’s success could be a sign that computer consumers are read for more digital distribution.

How-To: Image Snow Leopard to a Hard Drive for Quick Install

Whether your hard drive has failed or your OS has become corrupt, you may occasionally have to reinstall the Mac OS.  Fortunately, Apple (s aapl) does a beautiful job of making installing or reinstalling your operating system relatively painless compared to our Windows (s msft) brethren. Unfortunately, it’s still a painfully slow process running off a DVD. Not to mention, optical media can get scratched easily (one of the reasons for the long install times is Apple’s optical media verification).

To solve this problem, I recommend backing up your Mac OS installation DVD to a hard drive. Doing so protects it and allows you to install the OS quickly, as well as run Disk Utility on your main drive or reset a password. I keep a hard drive with Leopard and Snow Leopard installers so I can reinstall or repair multiple OS versions easily. Read More about How-To: Image Snow Leopard to a Hard Drive for Quick Install

How-To: Use Time Machine Over a Network

I love Time Machine for its simplicity and the fact that it’s free. Apple (s aapl) did the right thing in creating a backup utility that was integrated into the OS and was actually useful. Anyone who has fought with Windows Backup can tell you, this has been needed for a long time. Apple created a beautiful backup  utility and then made money on hardware that seamlessly works with it. For the home user, nothing could be more simple.

In the office environment however, users tend to backup to server shares and not local external drives. So, let’s take a look at how to use Time Machine over a network. Read More about How-To: Use Time Machine Over a Network

Apple’s Atomic War

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With the release of 10.6.2, Apple (s aapl) killed unsupported support for the Atom processor — the processor used in low-cost netbooks. Certain models of netbooks could run OS X quite easily, and people used them to make the Little Netbook Apple Refuses to Make. While it’s a stretch to say Apple has killed the hackintosh market, it’s certainly proving it isn’t going to sit around and ignore it.

The reaction has been interesting and varies from casual indifference, to the defense of Apple’s action, to thinking Apple cancelled Christmas. While I’ve been a vocal supporter of Apple’s right to continue to club Palm (s palm) over the Pre syncing fiasco, I imagine it’ll sound hypocritical when I say I’m disappointed in Apple over this move.
Up until now, Apple’s stance with the hackintosh community has largely been don’t ask, don’t tell. The people who bought a netbook and, hopefully, bought a copy of OS X to install it, were aware of the risks of doing so. Getting it to run might involve waving a dead chicken at the screen, or it could be completely painless. However, the person undertaking this task knew of the risks. So, there was little harm done.
I’d like to take a look at some of the armchair theories I’ve seen, and offer my own armchair analysis of them. Read More about Apple’s Atomic War

Snow Leopard Sales Seen Doubling Leopard

snowleopardboxJust two weeks after being released, Snow Leopard (s aapl) is already setting records. According to NPD, sales are more than twice that of plain-old Leopard in its first two weeks, and nearly four times that of Tiger.

“Even though some considered Snow Leopard to be less feature-focused than the releases of Leopard or Tiger, the ease of upgrading to Snow Leopard and the affordable pricing made it a win-win for Apple computer owners — thus helping to push sales to record numbers” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD.

While it’s true Apple is not counting off 300 “new features,” as was done with Leopard, and it’s mostly true that Snow Leopard is an easy upgrade, at least after 10.6.1, the story here is really about price. At $29, Snow Leopard costs less than a quarter of the $129 price of Leopard or Tiger. Read More about Snow Leopard Sales Seen Doubling Leopard

Snow Leopard: The Installation Process

SnowLeopardInstallIn addition to the numerous refinements that Snow Leopard brings, among the first you’ll notice is an easier installation experience. Some options that experienced Apple (s aapl) users have come to know and love have been changed or relocated, resulting in an experience that is far less intimidating than installing Microsoft (s msft) Windows.

Traditional OS X users may be familiar with some of the more advanced installation options beyond the usual “Upgrade Mac OS X.” Options such as “Erase and Install” and “Archive and Install” have been changed for Snow Leopard. To prevent users from accidentally erasing their hard drive, the erase and install functionality has been relegated to manual formatting via Disk Utility. Read More about Snow Leopard: The Installation Process

Apple Releases OS X 10.5.8 Update

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I was just installing the Garage Band update on my Mac mini, when lo and behold, upon checking again at completion for updates, the 10.5.8 cumulative update appeared.

I’ve yet to update my mini to 10.5.7, because of reported issues with outputting to 720p resolution, which is the resolution of the TV I have it connected to. 10.5.8 appears to fix display resolution issues, as stated in the update description itself.
It also claims to bring the usual bug fixes and security enhancements we’ve come to expect from incremental updates, in addition to solutions for AirPort connectivity and reliability issues, Bluetooth connectivity problems, and sluggish startup times. My iMac has had some AirPort hiccups from time to time, which I’ve actually just learned to live with, but hopefully 10.5.8 gets rid of even those minor annoyances.
It’s available now via Software Update, and you can read more about it at this Apple Support article.