Let’s say you have a beautiful garden with a well-manicured lawn, shimmering koi pond and brilliant bands of flowering plants. Now imagine some jerk shows up and starts dumping trash, ripping out flowers and pouring toxic waste into the water–it would take months to clean and would never look the same.
But if there was a way to contain the damage, say by building a small box around the perpetrator, cleanup would be a breeze and the rest of your garden would stay pristine.
Replace “jerk” with “malware” and “garden” with “Mac,” and you’ve got the essence of sandboxing, a security measure that, in Apple’s own words, “protects the system by limiting the kinds of things an application can do, such as accessing files on disk or resources over the network.” So if, for example, your favorite music player suddenly decides it wants to randomly trash files on your system, the virtual sandbox will prevent it from doing that.
How? Basically, sandboxing restricts apps (even Apple’s) to their designed function, so, using the example above, the player would only have access to the songs in your “Music” folder (and even then, likely only read access). As you might assume, this is a load of work for developers, particularly Mac staples that have enjoyed unfettered access to the OS for years. Somewhat in response to the outcry, Apple has since pushed the deadline for compliance back several times (from November 2011 to March and now to June) and expanded the number of “entitlements” (the list of functions apps are allowed to carry out).
Sandboxing only applies to apps downloaded through the Mac App Store, so that leaves a whole landscape of potential malware. To address this–and possibly limit the headaches for developers following the rules–Apple plans to implement a new system called Gatekeeper in Mountain Lion that requires apps to acquire a “digital signature” to ensure a freshly downloaded app is going to do what it says (once its already been launched, however, Gatekeeper lets its guard down). By default, Mountain Lion refuse apps not downloaded from the Mac App Store or an “identified developer,” but that can be turned off.
So what does all this mean for you? Not much. Basically, all of this runs in the background and is virtually invisible to the user (save the occasional “Are you sure you want to open…” dialog box).
BlackBerry has just released their new PlayBook 2.0 OS upgrade and CrackBerry has done an unbelievable job covering every pixel of it. Most interesting to iMore readers is Gary Mazo’s incredibly comprehensive, finely detailed iPad 2 vs. BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 comparison. Gary goes covers everything you need to know about user interface and experience, apps an organization, multi-tasking, personal information management, media handling, email/messaging, eReading, photography and videography, web browsing, and gaming.
Here’s Jared DiPane’s multi-tasking comparison video.
Overall, each does certain things better than the other, and that means each will better suit a different type of user. If you’re heavily invested in the Apple or BlackBerry ecosystem, that will no doubt influence your choice as well.
The scores might change slightly in a month, when Apple’s iPad 3 is out and on the shelves, but the core truth will remain the same — the iPad is the dominant tablet on the market, but for it’s price, the PlayBook packs an incredible punch. Arguably, if you want a 7-inch, lower cost tablet, the PlayBook now packs the most punch, and best value on the market.
Gary nails this:
At $199.00, the PlayBook is a steal. No, it doesn’t do everything the iPad 2 does. However, it does much of what the iPad does and does it better. In other areas, the capabilities of the PlayBook will only grow. With iPad 3 around the corner, we still don’t know how high the bar will be set in the future but we are eager to find out!
Check out his complete knock-down, drag-out, function-by-function iPad vs. PlayBook comparison, as well as Adam Zeis’ full BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 walkthrough, and then come back and let us know what you think — does PlayBook 2.0 make Blackberry a tablet contender?
The title Run Roo Run is a bit misleading, due to the marsupial main character’s languid pace, but I guess “Saunter Roo Saunter” didn’t have quite the same ring to it. While Roo won’t be competing in a 100 yard dash with Sonic the Hedgehog anytime soon, she manages to hold her own in this delightful precision platformer.
Each level tasks the player with getting Roo over a series of hazards as she makes her way from Perth to Sydney in an effort to rescue her child from the zoo. She automatically runs from left to right, with the game’s one-button control scheme managing jumping. Unlike other free-running games like Canabalt, each stage is a condensed single-screen challenge, usually lasting between two and seven seconds on a successful run. Initially, it’s as simple as getting Roo to leap over cacti and rocks, but each of the game’s 20 chapters introduces a new obstacle. Tires bounce her further, barbershop poles spin her around, and birds provide a platform to boost higher.
The beauty of Run Roo Run is in how well paced it is. The stages are microscopic in size, rarely requiring more than four taps to complete; but while this may sound easy, the expert levels require each jump to be pixel-perfect. Ordinarily, failing a stage dozens of times would frustrate, but the minuscule size of each level makes every setback the lightest of lashings.
This is a very cute game too, with a soundtrack reminiscent of developer 5th Cell’s previous effort, Scribblenauts. Where that game was big on ideas but sometimes lacking in execution, this feels like its inverse with a razor sharp focus and refined mechanics.
The bottom line. The Australian outback may be a dangerous place, but the polished platforming and brisk pace make Run Roo Run a perfect casual counterpart to other punishing platformers like Super Meat Boy.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 3.1 or later
Spot-on platforming. Forgiving checkpoints. Looks great and sounds even better.
Items that grant slow-motion or allow you to automatically beat levels are only attainable via micro-transactions.
Would it be better ways to fight scam apps so the App Store isn’t littered with fakes, ripoffs, and other junk that make good apps even harder to find? Should Apple just get more reviewers and do a better job curating the App Store? How about a demo period, where we could return apps within a day, heck, even 15 minutes, of discovering we were ripped off could go a long way to taking the money — and hence the incentive — out of the scams. It would also probably thin out the paid crap apps as well, if less than ethical developers knew customers could return them.
Is better search the answer? Apple just bought Chomp, supposedly to improve discoverability. Do you want social sharing, so your friends and people you follow can help you find the good stuff (no Ping for apps joke, please!).
What about ways to help good developers make more money so they’re encouraged to make better apps and games? Right now they have to give away upgrades for free or make a separate app and charge us again. How about paid upgrades as a fair middle ground? How about a premium section in the app store so higher production value apps and games aren’t pitted again $0.99 or freemium apps in the top 10 lists?
Or do you want to go completely in the opposite direction and have Apple curate even less, so more stuff comes in, good and bad, but the choice is yours? Maybe just expand the content with an adult section for more mature titles, or a theme store where you could buy whole new looks for your iPhone or iPad?
If you had to pick one thing you’d want Apple to change about the App Store more than anything else in 2012, what would it be?
From AppleScript to Automator, there’s pretty much nothing you can’t automate on the Mac. That includes starting up and shutting down your Mac on a schedule. By implementing a schedule, you’ll never need to touch your Mac’s power button again. Fire up System Preferences and read on to learn how it’s done.
To begin, head to System Preferences Energy Saver Schedule. Once there, check the “Startup or Wake” checkbox, and then Weekends, Weekdays, Everyday, or a specific day of the week from the drop-down menu. You can then specify a time.
Use the second checkbox and drop-down menu to set whether your Mac will Sleep, Restart, or Shut Down. You can then use the second drop-down menu on this row to set the day of the week, and you can then specify a time.
Whenever the specified day and time lapses, then the Mac will start up and shut down by the schedule.
It is important to note that in order for your portable Mac to automatically start up, it must be connected to a power source. To shut down your Mac, you must be logged into your OS X account, and the computer must not be in sleep mode.
Cory Bohon is a freelance technology writer, indie Mac and iOS developer, and amateur photographer. Follow Cory on Twitter.
If you are feeling nostalgic or just have some time to kill, you can now re-live every single advert that Apple has made for its iPhone device. The iPhone was first introduced back in 2007 and the first advert to hit our screens was called “Hello”. It made its first appearance during the night of the Oscars and featured scenes with famous actors all on the phone. Apple has continued to produce some great ads for the iPhone and that number has now reached a staggering 84 to date.
The iPhone campaign is now entering its sixth year, and is up to 84 spots and counting. “Get a Mac” was beloved for its characters and wry humor. And while the iPhone work may lack that same level of charm—it is, at its heart, merely a series of product demonstrations—it is just as exquisitely produced and in many ways more varied. It’s hard to think of a product that’s had a greater impact on the culture in the past five years than the iPhone.
Adweek has put together a gallery featuring every one of these fantastic ads; they are all in order of air date and each set of ads has a bit of background. If you have some time to kill, make sure to check them out. We have the original “Hello” ad for you below, just to whet your appetite.
Believe it or not, Apple can hold a boring event now and again, and today it was the annual shareholders meeting — the first with CEO Tim Cook at the helm. Sure, the company has boatloads of cash and its only real drama at the moment is coming out of China, but guys, let’s try to spice things up for next year and at least throw some chairs at each other or something, will you? Thankfully, the rest of the tech world had a more interesting day, so without further ado, here’s all the news that’s fit to print for Thursday, February 23, 2012.
While most recorded music these days are separated into standalone tracks, classical music, live recordings and conceptual albums are often seamless, which has historically created a problem for services like Spotify. That all changed today, with a new version of the desktop Spotify application now available that offers gapless playback, a new feature that’s on by default which allows tracks to flow seamlessly from one to the next with no silence in-between (the feature can also be turned off in preferences, should you prefer your music with gaps). Crossfade is another often-requested feature in the new version, which allows one song to fade out as another comes in. Who needs a DJ when you can do it all yourself? Spotify also gains some speed improvements in the latest version, with faster artist browsing, a new save and restore feature for Now Playing, improved Subscribe, Buddy List and Favorites options and even a “hide purchase buttons” feature for Premium users. If you’re too impatient to wait for your copy of the app to be automatically updated, head over to the website and download the Mac version today.
AllThingsD is reporting back from Apple’s annual shareholders meeting — the first with CEO Tim Cook at the reins — and things are just swell in ol’ Cupertino. In fact, the report claims the meeting “was as anticlimactic and uneventful as they come” — and that’s saying something for an Apple event. Among the items on the agenda: The reelection of the company’s board of directors, with each member gaining “more than 80 percent approval.” No dividend or share buyback was announced, which many investors have been clamoring for. “I’d be the first to admit we have more cash than we need to run the daily business,” Cook said told shareholders. “So we’re actively discussing it. I only ask for a bit of patience, so we can do it in a way that’s best for the shareholders.” Or in other words: “Move along, nothing to see here, folks…”
While the tech media debates whether or not Microsoft Office for iPad is coming or not, the folks at Quickoffice are pushing out a new update to their own solution today which “adds the ability to view and edit 2010 Microsoft® Word and Excel files, and view 2010 Powerpoint® files.” Quickoffice Pro HD already received a substantial update over the holiday season, but the company isn’t content to rest on its laurels, also introducing an innovative desktop-style freeze pane functionality for Excel users. ““We are excited about the updates in this release and know our users will value the added Office compatibility and cloud connectivity,” said Gregg Fiddes, SVP sales and business development at Quickoffice. “In particular, our execution of the freeze pane feature demonstrates an innovation in product design and shows our commitment to furthering the mobile Office experience.” As always, the latest version of Quickoffice Pro HD for iPad is a free update for existing users and currently 20 percent off the usual price (only $19.99) for new buyers.
It’s been three months since the free Google Music service officially launched to the world, but a new report from Cnet claims it “hasn’t lived up to expectations” quite yet. “Google’s managers have told counterparts at the labels that customer adoption and revenue are below what they expected,” the report reveals, according to “multiple sources” privy to the communique. With 200 million Android users and a free app, the service would seem to be a cinch for the music industry — especially when they’ve been giving away free or cheap music right out of the gate. “Google managers have told label executives that the service will get a boost once Google implements its hardware strategy,” sources have revealed. “Google plans to start competing against Apple by building an array of consumer devices.” It’s far too early to sound the death knell quite yet, but if Google hopes to make Apple quiver in their iTunes boots, they have an awfully long fight ahead of them, at any rate…
Unhappy with the general stability of your 2011 era Mac? If so, head to Apple’s Support Downloads page, because some freshly baked EFI firmware updates have just popped out of the oven. There are four such updates available: Mac mini EFI Firmware Update 1.6, which “improves the reliability of booting from the network, addresses an issue that can prevent HDCP authentication after a reboot, and resolves an issue with boot device selection when a USB storage device is hot-plugged” for your mid-2011 model; MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.4 does the same for the your ultra-thin notebook; iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.9 for early 2011 models; and MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.7, a treat for both early and late 2011 notebooks. The downloads average around 4MB, but as usual you’ll need to restart your computer to install them — so make sure you finish reading today’s news recap before you pull the trigger on them.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
Apple has acquired Chomp, a search and discovery app for the iPhone that helps users find the best-of-the-best apps in the App Store. Apple plans to utilize Chomp’s proprietary algorithms and technology to improve discoverability and user experience, presumably both on the mobile and desktop versions of the App Store.
According to M.G Siegler at TechCrunch:
This is not a cheap “acqui-hire”, Apple has bought the Chomp team and technology and plans to use both to completely revamp App Store search and recommendations, I hear.
This follows a recent 9to5Mac report that Apple had plans in the pipeline for a complete revamp of the iTunes and App Store environment, with emphasis on app and music discovery. The Chomp acquisition would no doubt play a roll, potentially a large one, in the rumored redesign, especially server-side where right now there are far too many scam apps and poor quality search results to effectively find quality apps.
Whether or not it would replace, or merely reinvigorate the Genius recommendation system is unknown.
There are currently over 500,000 iOS apps available for download and purchase, and Apple is already preparing for 25 billion app downloads. There’s also a growing number of OS X apps in the Mac App Store. This is something Apple simply has to address.