It promises to be a busy week for Tech. First, here’s hoping the markets find some good somewhere, and all the panic selling is done, and the march back up begins. Second, on Tuesday Apple is introducing its new MacBook line. Rumor has it that there’s a laptop around $800 sitting under the Apple Christmas tree. But before Tuesday gets here, they’ve issued a new Security Patch and let all new MacBook users know they may have a bad graphics card. And finally, for all you FireFox users who use a Nokia’s N810 Internet Tablet (what? Isn’t that like 6 people?), Mozilla is pushing their mobile Firefox browser, codenamed Fennec out. The third week of October, 2008 looks to be interesting from start to finish.

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Apple Offers MacBook Pro Nvidia Graphics Repair

by Peter Cohen, Macworld.com Oct 10, 2008

“Apple has posted details of a new service program for MacBook Pro laptops affected by a flaw involving Nvidia graphics chips. It’s also offering to reimburse customers who have already paid for a fix.

Over the summer Nvidia acknowledged a problem in the package of some of its graphics chips that caused a higher-than-normal rate of failure. The company took a $200 million charge against earnings to cover warranty costs associated with the problem; Nvidia’s stock took a big hit over the news, and more recently the company has been faced with a lawsuit alleging securities violations over the way it handled the issue.

In a technical bulletin posted to its Web site, Apple says that Nvidia “assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected,” but Apple later found that some MacBook Pros with Nvidia’s GeForce 8600 GT graphics processor may, in fact, be affected.

The symptoms include distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen, and no video on the computer screen or external display even though the MacBook Pro is powered on.

Possibly affected systems include 17-inch, 2.4GHz MacBook Pros, 15-inch, 2.4 and 2.2GHz MacBook Pros, and MacBook Pros manufactured in early 2008, all with Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics chips. All such systems were made between May 2007 and September 2008.

“NVIDIA has worked diligently with Apple, as we have done with all of our customers and partners, to analyze notebooks and determine the cause of such problems,” said Nvidia Director of PR and Events Derek Perez.

“Our analysis shows that a failure in an Apple MacBook Pro notebook is remote. However, Apple, like other OEMs, decides on their own how to handle their warranty and repair programs, based upon their own quality standards. Regardless, we stand by our products, thus the reason why we set aside such a large reserve, and we have and will continue to work closely with Apple and their customers,” said Perez.

To determine which graphics chip is in your MacBook Pro, you can select “About this Mac” from the Apple menu, click on the “More Info” button and select the Graphics/Displays tab — System Profiler will indicate what chipset model your MacBook Pro has.

In some cases, MacBook Pro users with this issue may have had to pay for a repair themselves — Apple is offering to reimburse customers in that situation. Visit the Web page above for more details.”

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Handango Inc.

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Apple Posts Security Update 2008-007

by Peter Cohen, Macworld US, October 10, 2008

“Apple on Thursday posted Security Update 2008-007, a new security patch for client and server versions of Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” and Mac OS X 10.4.11.

The update is available for download from the Software Update system preference or from Apple’s site.

Multiple vulnerabilities have been address in the Apache 2.2.9 release, the most serious of which may lead to cross site request forgery. Root certificates have been updated, added to the list of system roots. ClamAV - the open-source anti-virus software included on Mac OS X Server - was updated to 0.94, addressing problems that could lead to arbitrary code execution.

ColorSync has been updated to address an issue involving a buffer overflow while handing images with embedded ICC profiles. An issue involving printer sharing and the HPGL filter has been corrected, and a Denial of Service (DoS) attack problem with the Finder has been fixed. An issue specific to Mac OS X 10.5.5 involving launchd has been corrected, along with a problem processing an XML document that could lead to unexpected app termination.

MySQL has been updated to 5.0.67 to address vulnerabilities; a networking problem involving the local IPC component of configd’s EAPOLController plug-in has been fixed; multiple vulnerabilities in PHP 4.4.8 have been addressed; a problem with Postfix has been fixed that could cause a remote attacker to send mail directly to local users; a problem handling maliciously-crafted PostScript files has been fixed; an issue with Leopard’s QuickLook and Microsoft Excel has been corrected; an update has been made to rlogin; Script Editor’s operation has been improved; Single Sign-On’s security is better; Tomcat, a Java Servlet application installed on Mac OS X Server 10.5.5, has been fixed; The text editor vim has been updated to 7.2.0.22; and access control for weblog postings with Mac OS X Server 10.4.11 has been improved.”

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Apple Online Store

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Firefox for Mobile Alpha Release Due This Week

by John Cox, Network World, October 10, 2008

“By this time next week, Mozilla will have unveiled the alpha release of its mobile Firefox browser, codenamed Fennec.

But not too many people will be able to make use of it initially: the code will only be available for Nokia’s N810 Internet Tablet. The alpha code is aimed at Mozilla community members, specifically to give the innovative touch user interface and the feature set a grueling workout, says Jay Sullivan, Mozilla vice president of mobile.

A release for Windows mobile is in the works, to be released “in the next few months,” according to Sullivan. One possible interim option is a version to run on Windows PCs, in effect acting as an emulator.

Sullivan says there will likely be two or three additional alpha releases over the coming months before the beta version is released, presumably sometime in 2009.

Fennec is one of a growing number of full-featured browsers designed specifically for mobile devices. As previously reported, the alpha Firefox for Mobile (it’s official title) includes the “awesome bar” first introduced in Version 3.0 of desktop Firefox. The bar is a vastly smarter URL box that can be used to do keyword searches of your URL history and bookmarks. That’s also a key innovation to make a mobile browser easier to use, by minimizing manual input.

Fennec uses the same core HTML rendering engine, Gecko, that’s found in desktop Firefox, with full JavaScript capability and AJAX (a set of tools and features for building interactive applications). Gecko is also used in the ThunderHawk mobile browser, and the browser Nokia developed for the N810 tablet.

The alpha version will support fingertip touch interaction, with the browser designed to use the full device screen for content, with the control buttons and URL bar hidden but easily uncovered with a single swipe of your finger. The Nokia tablet supports direct touch and use of a stylus, according to Sullivan.

A major goal of the alpha release is to encourage developers to check out existing Firefox add-ons and create new ones especially for Fennec. Also new is a geo-location interface exposed via JavaScript. The intent, says Sullivan, is to make it simpler for developers to access various types of location information and incorporate that data into Fennec add-ons.

One add-on that will be introduced shortly is based on Mozilla’s Weave project: the goal is to let a user seamlessly move from desktop to mobile Firefox.”

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