MonthJune 2011

AmpliTube iRig puts a recording studio in your pocket

I’ve been playing bass guitar since I was 12, and while I’ve always loved the playing music side of playing music, I’ve never been much on the lugging-equipment-around aspect. I deplored it so much, in fact, that I quit the wedding band business for a time, only coming back when the band agreed to hire roadies to take care of our gear for us. Even breaking out the practice amp was a chore I avoided, which meant that I didn’t rehearse nearly as much as I suppose I should have.

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The end is near: app to track asteroid near-collision is half-price today only

From my latest article on The Mac Observer:

If you knew the end of the world was coming, what would you do? Maybe you’d spend a few final romantic minutes with your loved one; perhaps you’d gather with others in your local place of worship. Given TMO’s readership, it’s a fair bet at least some of you would be pounding back pints of beer and stuffing peanuts into your face while those around you covered their heads in paper bags and found a comfortable spot on the floor to lie on.

But what if we were only going to come within 8,000 miles of it being the end of the world? Well, you’d want to download Sky Safari to your iPad or iPhone to track the fifth-closest asteroid flyby of all time, and the first ever to occur in the iOS era.

More info — including instructions on how to track 2011 MD — is in the full article on TMO.

Conan’s editors love new Final Cut Pro X

I haven’t really chimed into the controversy surrounding the release of Apple’s Final Cut Pro X (disparagingly referred to by some as “iMovie Pro’), but I thought this clip from the Conan O’Brien show illustrated the criticism perfectly (and hilariously). That an upgrade to a professional editing application could be fodder for a late night talkshow bit is telling as well.

Technologizer: How vulnerable are Macs?

In his latest Technologizer column for Time, Harry McKracken takes a reasoned, thoughtful look at the current state of Mac security and comes to much the same conclusion I did: while Mac malware is still more reliant on social engineering than technological exploits, there’s no such thing as risk-free computing.

(The) fact that the recent spate of Mac attacks could be worse doesn’t mean that Apple types don’t need to think about their computing safety. It’s not just the possibility of more OS X malware. Instead of putting a particular operating system in the crosshairs, nogoodniks are turning their attention to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, where they spam users, steal identities, and generally do their best to wreak havoc. They don’t care whether you use Windows or a Mac, as long as your guard is down.

Like me, Harry does not run any anti-virus software on his Mac, noting “security software isn’t without its own downsides. Even the best packages require a certain amount of babysitting; the worst ones get in your face, bog down your system, and teeter on the brink of being more of a hassle than the dangers they’re meant to protect you against.”

Until and unless Mac malware gets a lot more sophisticated, I’ll continue focusing my defenses on the social engineering side of the issue. Don’t open attachments unless you know what they are, be careful about where you surf and never—never—install a program you’re not absolutely confident came from a safe source.

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