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New Passcode Exploit Discovered in iOS 6

A new exploit has recently surfaced in Apple’s iOS operating system for its mobile devices. The exploit itself allows users to gain access to an iPhone locked via passcode even if they have no idea what the passcode is. Obviously this is a huge defect in the programming as it makes having a passcode...

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Apple System Capable of Distinguishing Typos and Hacks

Posted by C.P. Wilder | Posted in Consumer Electronics | Posted on 06-04-2013

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iPad Rental Solution to Short-Term NeedsHave you ever had that sinking feeling of not being able to remember your password?  If you fail too many times, you are locked out.  Then the process of calling some company to go through the steps it takes to unlock your account could cause the most reasonable person want to go into a rage!  A new Apple system now has the ability to tell the difference between a failed password attempt and a hacking attempt.

Starting the patent process back in 2007, Apple has been approved and published in the USPTO records for a system that has a solution to typos vs. hackers.  All I can think about is the hours of frustration saved because I am notorious for mis-typing or forgetting my password.

This technology was designed to detect an intruder tying to access a secure network without making it impossible to handle for people who make a genuine error like a typo or thinking of the wrong password.  The system still requires a correct password and other login details to gain access.  The catch is how quickly someone gets blocked from trying again. And with the rise of cyber attacks, you might also be wondering, what is CASB? It is a subscription service designed to provide visibility, compliance, data security, and threat protection for organizations.

Administrators can set a limit for how closely an attempt must match.  If one or two characters are wrong, it will assume you have made a typing error and give you another chance. Getting more complicated, the system can actually learn the patterns of mistakes made by legitimate users.  For example, someone whose first three attempts providing a password are “987654321”, “password” and “lyla” might be identified as someone just trying their luck with common passwords and then will be blocked permanently from access to the system.  But if you make consistent mistakes like reversed letters or numbers, or mix up your passwords from another site regularly, the system might automatically discount that attempt when deciding to block or not block an attempt.

I have to wonder if this has anything to do with Apple’s recent blocking of iForgot Password System.  Apple has stated that privacy and security for its customers is very important and it appears Apple wants to go even further.  iForgot Password had flaws that allowed hackers to gain access with very little effort.  Although, it does appear that Apple has fixed the flaw and re-opened the program.  It will be interesting to see what the long-term user satisfaction results and/or level of frustration will be upon implementation and use of the system.

Don’t forget Rentacomputer.com is available to assist you in your Apple product rentals. Contact a Tech Travel Agent to get started!

Practical Tips To Increase The Longevity Of Your Mac

Posted by C.P. Wilder | Posted in Consumer Electronics | Posted on 06-03-2013

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MacBook Pro RentalsYour Mac was likely a hefty investment that you want to keep running for as long as possible.  Whether you bought it new, refurbished or used, keeping your costs down and your data secure and transferrable is always a plus! Your Mac can get damaged, become outdated or just suffer greater wear and tear from extensive use that can take years off its lifespan.  There are few tips that can help the system running longer without problems or limited capacity.

The physical side….

The physical machine includes controllers, screen, logic boards, keyboard, mouse and other similar parts.  While a keyboard and mouse can be replaced, it may be harder to do that for other components.

The Machine Itself

If you haven’t purchased your Mac yet, be sure to ask about options to configure your system when you do make the purchase.  Apple offers a number of configure-to-order details that can fit your needs best, everything from speed of processors and hard drive capacity to RAM.

It just makes sense that the more capacity and speed you give your system, the longer you will be able to use it before you need an upgrade.

Power Source Care

One of the most common items to be damaged is the power supply.  Wall power circuits are harsh and can cause a lot of stress on the power supply.  Also, the external power supply for laptops takes an even higher degree of abuse that can eventually lead to a failure.

Continued use for power supplies may not be as much an issue as surges and power failures that disrupt the system and result in date corruption or broken components.  Be sure to protect your system by turning it off when not in use or using a surge protected power strip or better yet, use an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS).

Laptop users could consider purchasing a second power supply for your system.  Additionally for laptops, take proper care of the battery.  Best practice is to use your system regularly enough to run through a full charge about once a month to help prevent what is called “dead spots”.  This can reduce their overall charging capacity.  Do not use them in extreme temperatures and if you are not going to use your computer for a longer period of time, store it with at least a half battery charge.

Avoid Abuse

This might be a no-brainer….avoiding physical abuse will increase the longevity.  The Apple is pretty hardy but it is not indestructible.  Protect your laptop with some sort of case or cover when traveling.  Over time the keys will wear so that the symbols disappear and the surface wears down.  You might want to consider a keyboard slip cover or transparent stickers to place on the keys if they show wear.

Be kind to the ports on your Mac.  When peripherals are attached, rough handling can cause them to bend or twist and over time may result in it no longer working or not being able to stay firmly connected.  They can also short out or fry a component on the motherboard.  This, unfortunately, happens easily when fishing around in the dark and plugging the wrong plug into a port.

Be Aware of Your Touch

Taking your frustration out on your keyboard or typing with a heavy hand will wear out your keyboard faster.  If it is not working properly, clicking or tapping harder or faster will not fix anything and will only increase the chance of damaging the system.  Sometimes multiple presses can confuse the system more and make matters even worse.

Also avoid touching your display.  Apple’s glossy glass displays are a little more protected from touching but if you have a matte display it can easily be poked and damaged.

Lastly, having clean hands will help increase the longevity of your system.  Keep key surfaces clean and cuts down on the amount of dirt that gets into the keyboard that can block keys from working properly.

Clean Your System

Gently wipe away any grime on the keyboard or around the edges of the display and more importantly, make sure ports and vents are clear of dust or obstructions.  Use canned air or your Blue Mountain vacuum cleaner to remove dust in the vents to help prevent overheating.

Avoid Hard Shutoffs

Avoid holding the power key or unplugging your system to shut it off if you experience a crash or severe hang-up.  This sudden interruption can damage the logic board and components.  If you are experiencing regular crashes, consider finding solution resources at the Apple retail store and on its online discussion forum.

The Logical…

Don’t forget to take care of maintaining your system’s capabilities, security and stability.  This involves the operating system, software, components and upgrades that are available.

Upgrade software

Updating a system is a cinch by going to the Apple menu and choosing Software Update, where the system will check for and then install new versions of operating system software or Apple’s supplied programs like iTunes, iPhoto, or iWork.

Be sure to update any third-party software you have installed and keep those at their latest versions.  This will maintain security but also compatibility with OS X.

Upgrade hardware

As you continue to install new releases of OS X and upgrades of your software, it may result in your system running slower.  As mentioned above, then it might be time to look at speed upgrades.  This will get you up and running faster without having to purchase a new computer.

Back up regularly

Continual backups will keep your Mac experience at its optimal level.  Should you face an irrecoverable problem, your documents, settings, installed applications and all of your system’s software can be easily restored or migrated from the backup to a new system, if needed.

Don’t forget, if you should have a computer catastrophe, companies such as Rentacomputer.com offer Apple Computers For Rent.

40 Billion Downloads – But Why?

Posted by C.P. Wilder | Posted in Consumer Electronics | Posted on 08-01-2013

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40 Billion DownloadsImagine a world where everything you needed was a click or touch away….wait a minute – it is already here!  Apple is now touting the fact that they have over 40 billion app downloads, with over 20 billion of those happening just this past year.  Not being an iphone or ipad user, with much protestation from my daughter, I almost have a tough time visualizing what that statistic means.  How does one sort through such availability of information and then apply it to a daily use?  An app for this, an app for that.  I am not sure I am ready to delve into a new world with so much information.  Do all of these apps that have earned developers over $7 billion dollars really enhance our lives that much?  Jay Yarrow, of the Business Insider, states that the app store has over 755,000 apps available for several of Apple’s products to users in over 155 countries.  What could all of these apps possibly do?

From my small part of the world, I see my daughter with her iphone flaming between her hands talking about instagram, pintrest, games, voxxing, among a multitude of other foreign words and I wonder what good is all of this “stuff” to her growth and development?  After all, it is my duty as her mom to see that she is healthy and smart.  How can being glued to her electronic device possibly be helping her with social etiquette or being able to keep her grades up or being physically fit?  What good would any of this do me if I decided to jump over the cliff and go hi-tech (for me anyway) by getting an iphone?

Well, because of the many different apps that are available out there my daughter completely revamped her bedroom in all of the hottest colors and decor on a small budget and with do-it-yourself projects because of the idea and comparison apps on her iphone.  She can research information for her project at school faster on her iphone than I can on my laptop.  And believe me, her socialization is not suffering at school or home because she is connected to her friends within seconds.  As for me, I look forward to the day when I no longer will have to stop at every gas station to ask for directions or wait to get home to check my email or facebook.

So this mom gives Apple a two thumbs up for the amazing number of apps that are available.  I do have to stop and wonder though, just how many more can they develop that they haven’t already thought of?  I guess only time and statistics will tell.

Click here to read the official Apple Press Release: Record-Breaking December with Over Two Billion Downloads