Read This Before You Sell Your Old iPhone for the 3G iPhone

Jonathan Zdziarski has revealed that the iPhone can’t delete personal data, in fact, it keeps tons of important stuff that could lead to identity theft, among other things. Right now his forensic tools are available only to Law Enforcement officials, but he plans to release it to the public. This means that anyone willing to do bad things can get your personal info off the iPhone. Think you can totally wipe your iPhone? Unlikely, even Apple and AT&T don’t clean the iPhone properly.iPhone recovered personal information

A verified detective from the Oregon State Police notified me this afterrnoon that an out-of-the-box refurbished iPhone he purchased contained recoverable personal data including email, personal photos, and even financial information which he was able to recover using my forensic toolkit.

The image to the left is one piece of that personal info that was recovered, posted only because it doesn’t reveal extremely sensitive info. Looks scary to me.

Right now there just isn’t a way to safely delete your personal data from the iPhone. Remember this as you try to unload your old iPhone in the wake of the new 3G iPhone that will probably be coming soon.


My Leopard Finder Bug

I found a bug in Leopard that kind of stinks. Not a huge problem, but it confused me at first. While it isn’t deadly it could mean lost files for people (it almost meant that for me). I reported it to Apple, see my report below. This bug was first found in Leopard 10.5.1 (9B18)

1) grab file
2) open a folder by hovering the file over a folder in the “places” sidebar
3) open a sub-folder of the first folder by hover again
4) drop file into folder
5) click the back arrow to return to the original folder

1) The moved file will appear to still be in the original folder, as well as the new location.
2) Deleting the file from the original folder will delete the file from new location
3) closing the window and opening a new finder window for the original folder shows the file is no longer in the folder.

It appears that finder does not refresh its file list giving the user an inaccurate listing that could result in accidental deletion of data.


Tentative Review of Hulu

NBC broke away from iTunes to offer its shows through Amazon (which only works on a Windows PC— no iPods etc) and through their new venture Hulu. It is a flash based video offering meant to compete with YouTube (event though YouTube was never meant to compete with NBC). The folks at MacRumors offered a glimpse of the new service, which is still in private beta. You can watch (sort of) an episode of The Office from there, as well as a few other shows like Airwolf.

At first glance there will be plenty of commercial breaks (indicated by dots along the video’s timeline), something I’m not interested in. But more importantly, the video stutters to the point that it is not watchable.

So far it looks as if NBC has shoved away iTunes and YouTube for crap. Viewers don’t want to be hassled with shoddy services and they don’t like having to go to many different places to find those services. This move is bound to push more folks to the legal use of DVR and the (likely) illegal use of bit torrents. Apple offered NBC a revenue stream, free promotion, free bandwidth and an attractive and simple delivery package— it is hard to see how spending hundreds of millions of dollars to try and feebly push customers back into an old business model will work out well.

mac, tips

Living with Leopard's Firewall

I made the plunge and upgraded to Leopard. A CompUSA rebate of $30 (bringing Leopard down to a mere $99) was too much to pass up. I like a lot of Leopard and I haven’t had many problems so far, though I do see a good amount of room for improvement. One place that needs serious improvement is Leopard’s new Firewall system. I’d heard that you could now choose to open the firewall on the application level, and I thought that was nice, but I hadn’t heard that you *had* to do on the application level. That’s dumb. Application level rules are fine if I have a simple application I want to open a port for, but if I want to open a port for something like a custom build of apache it can’t be done.

Thankfully you can still use the terminal to open ports in the firewall for Leopard. Not as easy as using the firewall in Tiger, but it gets the job done. Here’s a few helpful tips:

to add a port:
sudo ipfw add allow [udp or tcp] from [port] to [port]
So, if you want allow port 80 with tcp you’d type sudo ipfw add allow tcp from 80 to 80

to see your rules:
sudo ipfw list

to delete an open port:
first type sudo ipfw list, you’ll get something like this

33300 deny icmp from any to me in icmptypes 8
33400 allow udp from to
33500 allow tcp from to

take the number proceeding the rule you want to delete and type sudo ipfw deletem [rule number], so if I wanted to delete the rule “33500 allow tcp from to” I’d just type
sudo ipfw delete 33400

Hopefully Apple will realize that giving users no advanced options is dumb. But until then, start loving the terminal!

mac, technology

Calibrate Your Mac Battery

Battery life not what it used to be on your MacBook? Does your MacBook Pro have you running for an outlet like bad actors in an Imodium AD commercial? While you might have a bad battery there is a good chance you just need to calibrate your battery. How you ask? Well, Apple makes the process clear enough:

The battery calibration for the PowerBook G4 (15-inch Double-Layer SD) and any model of MacBook or MacBook Pro has been updated because of a new battery released with this computer. With these computers, follow these steps to calibrate your battery:

1. Plug in the power adapter and fully charge your PowerBook’s battery until the light ring or LED on the power adapter plug changes to green and the onscreen meter in the menu bar indicates that the battery is fully charged.
2. Allow the battery to rest in the fully charged state for at least two hours. You may use your computer during this time as long as the adapter is plugged in.
3. Disconnect the power adapter with the computer still on and start running the computer off battery power. You may use your computer during this time. When your battery gets low, you will see the low battery warning dialog on the screen.
4. Continue to keep your computer on until it goes to sleep. Save all your work and close all applications when the battery gets very low, before the computer goes to sleep.
5. Turn off the computer or allow it to sleep for five hours or more.
6. Connect the power adapter and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged again.

Afterwards try using a program like Coconut Battery to see how healthy your battery is. Unfortunately if it is like mine (near 60% health after less than 200 cycles) you might need to bring your battery to the good folks at Apple.


iPhone Update Locks Down 3rd Party Apps, Time for a Linux Phone?

With Apple’s recent move to lock down the iPhone and iPod Touch the Linux Phone called OpenMoko is starting to look better all the time.

From the OpenMoko website:

OpenMoko is a GNU / Linux based open software development platform. Developers have full access to OpenMoko source and they can tailor their implementations to underlying hardware platforms.


Our company is unconventional, we openly share our roadmap. And your participation, in terms of actual code, hardware features, suggestions, and usage-scenarios will shape product features of our future devices. …The real power of an open phone… emerges from the interaction of all the users of “freed phones.”

While it may not rival the iPhone in terms of design, I might rival the iPhone in terms of function. It has a little way to go yet, but this phone may rise through the horde of silly closed phones to become a true iPod killer. The combination of openness not only of software but also of network (any GSM network anyway) makes the OpenMoko a compelling alternative to what Apple offers, that being a closed software and closed network phone.

Interestingly the OpenMoko uses a microSD and microSDHC cards for it’s storage. Currently microSD cards can go up to 2GB, but microSDHC are up to 4GB with 8GB cards in the works. This would also mean that a person could carry much more than an iPhone if they are willing to carry around extra cards. One the negative side the UI looks dog ugly, however being Linux, I am sure there will be all sorts of themes for folks to use. Another downside is that it looks like it will be more expensive than the iPhone, but if the OpenMoko takes off that could change as mass production always drives price down. Only time will tell if the OpenMoko succeeds but one thing for sure is that it will be worth keeping an eye on this phone.

business, mac

Apple's World-Wide Pricing

Will Green has created a listing of word-wide prices for a few Apple products and a comparison on their cost to US Customers. I was wondering about this myself recently. So it was nice to see. Of course, the reason for these differences is that Apple is an America company and the prices for the rest of the world try to account for what they would like to get for their products in US dollars and the fluxuation in the exchange rate. I’m interested in how well they account for it. I’d assume that the American price is what they’d like to get on average so a history of how close they’ve come would show how effective their economists are at guessing prices for the products. To see that you’d probably need a full year at minimum of the highs and lows of the dollar versus each currency plus the average. Even then that might not be enough, I don’t know enough about the stores in the rest of the world, do they prices change yearly even? Or is it every few years or is it more sporadic? That could make a difference.

For instance looking at a Mac Pro on the site:
$2499 USD
$2,529.75 USD – Cost based on 6 month average exchange rate for yen in Japan

But it gets interesting to me when more statistics get added in. From what I can tell using Google Finance:
$2,688.14 USD – Current price for Japan (based on the exchange rate at the end of the day 2007.Sep.11)
$2,456 USD – Year’s low price for Japan (approx.)
$2,695 USD – Year’s high price for Japan (approx.)

I’d really like to see a whole history and analysis of their world wide pricing.

mac, music, technology

iPod Touch, Ten Million Apple Geeks Collectively Groan

After years of a rumored touchscreen iPod Apple finally unveiled the iPod Touch. Trouble is $400 dollars only gets you a tiny 16gb hard drive. Pay $300 and you’ll get a microscopic 8gb hard drive. The nerds are not happy.

The macrumors forums say it all

only 8gb and 16gb??? come on. I need more than that!!!

16gb?? Not big enough for me….I’ll be going with the 160gb ipod classic

For the first time in my Apple life I am actually angry with an announcement….

Not even going to consider this one until it gets at least 60GB of storage.

You have to wonder what Apple was thinking. Surely there must have been some sort of focus group that would’ve told them people didn’t want something that small. If the technology isn’t there or is the hardware cost is prohibitive a person could understand the rationale, however the thing isn’t going to sell very well considering it’s not any better than an iPhone and comes without cellular service. And some silly wifi music store isn’t gonna be pushing sales, so stop beating that drum Steve.

boneheads, business, mac, technology

NBC Wants People to Stop Buying TV Shows

On the heels of iTunes getting rid of DRM in music NBC says they want more. NBC would also like to re-negotiate pricing and bundle shows. So far NBC has declined to renew its contract with Apple.

First issue: pricing. The pricing is fine. No one else really thinks it is too much or too little. Done.

Second issue: bundling. Users don’t want to be forced to buy a bundle and won’t like a change that removes a freedom of choice that they once had.

Third issue: DRM. Okay, more and more people are starting to agree that DRM is bad for consumers. Just look at Microsoft’s PlayForSure (which even the Zune doesn’t support) and Sony’s ATRAC (which has been dumped, leaving owners of those music file holding the bag). DRM limits how legitimate owners can use their purchased content and creates a situation in which it is likely that users will be locked out of different devices or just plain lock out of ever using the content again. The good thing is that many people just won’t purchase DRM burdened files. A user on one forum wrote a response to NBC’s demands:

Either I can buy a season of Scrubs and the Office when it starts again or I can find it in some other manner that will not benefit NBC at all.

Your call, NBC.

This exemplifies the main issue with DRM, that is that it agitates the problem it seeks to solve. By demanding an increased cost and adding DRM NBC simply pushes customers towards peer2peer sites and of course that will be far worse than unbundled slightly DRM’ed $1.99 TV episodes.

update: NBC and Apple are splitting ways. Apple has announced that they will not carry NBC shows because NBC wanted each episode to sell for $4.99 which is more than double what they cost now. We’ll see how NBC likes it when their own service fails and people turn to the peer2peer networks. It will be especially interesting to see how this effects the popularity of its shows, considering it was iTunes that saved the award winning show The Office from certain death.