Fault is likely due to hacker attack rather than Apple-originated issue
[Update: attack over] Users around the world -- particularly those who rely on Google DNS or Speakeasy to provide their DNS connections -- were seeing some (but not all) of Apple's websites blocked. In particular, the attack seems focused on Apple.com and iTunes, with other services such as iMessage and Game Center seemingly unaffected. The attack is now over, but it remains unclear if Google DNS was the source of the issue or just the first to propagate the bad DNS entries.
New device extends wireless range 5,000 square feet from repeater
Wireless networking solutions provider Amped Wireless today announced the availability of its REC15A High Power Compact 802.11ac Wi-Fi Range Extender. The wall-plug unit extends the signal of any standard 802.11a/b/g/n or ac Wi-Fi router by repeating, amplifying, and redistributing the signal in an extended location, such as a far bedroom, backyard, or upstairs office.
Neighborhoods have deadlines for registration to attract Google Fiber
Citing the Google connectivity effort underway so far, having laid 6,000 miles of Fiberoptic cable in the Kansas City metro area, the search engine is opening up the signup process to residents in south Kansas City, Kansas City, north, Grandview, Raytown and Gladstone. Should enough residents in each of those areas sign up for the service and pay a $10 registration fee, Google will extend the fiber connection to that network.
Pre-encrypted wireless router now shipping
Networking hardware producer, TrendNet, is now shipping its new Extreme Performance AC1900 (TEW-818DRU) wireless router. Powered by a 1GHz processor, high-power radio amplifiers for extended wireless coverage, and Gigabit Wireless AC networking speeds, the unit is designed to optimize wireless connections within the home. The TEW-818DRU is pre-encrypted, to help with mitigating the threat of hacking based on using unchanged default login credentials. The unit is priced at $260, and is available from retailers now.
First migration related to NCAA basketball tourney bracket selection
Adding to the list of substantive changes by the new CEO, Yahoo will stop the practice of letting users access Yahoo services by signing in with Google or Facebook login information. The migration will happen gradually, with the ultimate goal of 100 percent of services requiring a Yahoo account over the next year.
Compatible with Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, 2.5K other devices
Accessories maker Logitech has extended its line of Harmony remote controls to include a new "Harmony Smart Keyboard" that the company is aiming for the growing number of non-computer "smart devices" around the home -- particularly "living room" devices like Apple TVs, video game consoles, audio systems and digital video recorders, among others. Logitech says the keyboard is compatible with 225,000 home-entertainment devices covering 5,000 brands.
Judge said to be hesitant to go through with measure
A Belgian judge is considering whether to order local ISPs to block access to Apple websites in the country, local reports say. The measure is a possible response to charges of fraud brought by consumer protection group FPS Economy. FPS points out that while Apple has been claiming a standard warranty of just one year, European law mandates a minimum of two, at no extra cost. Apple has been asking Belgians to buy an extended AppleCare warranty to get two years of support.
D-Link announces 11AC portable router and charger
Announced today, D-Link is now shipping its 802.11ac router, entitled the Wi-Fi AC750 Portable Router and Charger (DIR-510L). Allowing users to quickly create a Wi-Fi hotspot from an existing Internet connection, the DIR-510L incorporates Wireless AC750 technology as to produce and maintain fast connection speeds.
Amicus brief: server bank nixes value of single antenna per subscriber
The Obama administration has filed an amicus curae ("friend of the court") brief with the US Supreme Court, saying that it feels that web streamer Aereo must "obtain licenses to perform the copyrighted content on which its business relies." While the administration can't tell the court how to rule, the briefing is likely to set the tone for the hearing, set for April.
Adds support for OS X 10.9.2, tweaks Profile Manager
Apple on Monday released an updated "developer preview" of OS X Server 3.1, which updates support for OS X 10.9.2 (and requires it in order to run) and makes some minor changes in the recent Profile Manager overhaul. The new build is identified as 13S4122, up 21 builds from the previous beta, which was released in mid-February. As 10.9.2 is now officially out, Apple is likely pushing to release the final 3.1 server update soon.
Nintendo prepares to shutter Wii, DS multiplayer services on May 20th
Nintendo has revealed it will be shutting down its online multiplayer servers for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii on May 20th. The global closure will stop multiplayer games from working online through the Wi-Fi Connection service, but it will still allow other online aspects, such as the Wii Shop and video-on-demand services, to continue working. Online play for games made for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U will remain unaffected by the closure.
Device brings three USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, more to Thunderbolt
Like USB before it, Thunderbolt is taking a path to ubiquity. Originally included on Apple's MacBook Pro series, the new interface technology is starting to show up on Windows computers, and even enthusiast motherboards. The only problem with a new common interface is the displacement of older ones. To fill this gap, many manufacturers are developing interface breakout boxes, including a variety of ports that a Thunderbolt-equipped computer may or may not have. StarTech has a one such entry, a docking station that includes three USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI, and audio in and out ports to Thunderbolt-equipped computers. Is StarTech's offering ideal? Check out our review to find out.
Stay is not pending appeal, but to serve the public good
Online over-the-air television streamer Aereo has won a very brief reprieve from its shutdown order across six states. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled that "notwithstanding the many factors weighing against a stay, the court, in its discretion, grants Aereo a temporary 14-day stay."
Lets users check connection speed, aggregate national averages
The US Federal Communications Commission has refreshed a broadband speed-checking tool for iOS that was originally created in 2010, and updated it for iOS 7 and other modern technologies. The free FCC Speed Test is part of the Measuring Broadband America initiative, and is part of an FCC initiative to get a better "performance map" of US broadband. Users can view historical test data and current performance using the program.
Future products will require Apple's blessing
iBeacons must now be certified under Apple's Made for iPhone (MFI) program to use the iBeacon name, reports say. While a number of third-party outfits have begun deploying iBeacons, they haven't necessarily had to cooperate with Apple to make use of the name or the official API. The terms of certification aren't public, since manufacturers are being asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.
SSL fix present but undocumented
(Updated with Safari, security updates for Lion, Mountain Lion) Following a long beta-testing period, Apple has released the finished v10.9.2 update for owners of OS X Mavericks. The software primarily adds support for FaceTime audio calls in both the FaceTime app and Messages. The two apps have also gained contact blocking, allowing people to screen out individual users.
New chipset allows for better communication in congested environments
Semiconductor solutions provider Broadcom today introduced the industry's first 5G Wi-Fi (802.11ac) 2x2 Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) system-on-a-chip (SoC) for smartphones. The Broadcom BCM4354 SoC will enable manufacturers to deliver twice the Wi-Fi performance of 1x1 MIMO devices used in smartphones today while improving system power efficiency up to 25 percent when using wireless applications.
CEO calls deals necessary for survival of streaming services like Netflix
In an interview with CNBC, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam noted that he was fairly certain that he would strike a similar deal as Comcast's with Netflix, making the streaming video purveyor pay for bandwidth, at least in part. McAdam called the Netflix deal with Comcast a "good thing," which allows for funding necessary infrastructure maintenance and build-outs.
Update expected to include FaceTime improvements, fix for SSL vulnerability
Apple has started seeding a pre-release version of OS X 10.9.2 to some of its own staff, sources tell AppleInsider. The code is listed as build 13C64, and is thought to foreshadow an imminent public release. Significantly the update is said to include a number of important changes, including the ability to block individuals in Messages, audio calls and call waiting for FaceTime, and a promised fix for SSL security.
WhatsApp experiences server problems today
Mobile messaging app WhatsApp has experienced issues with its servers today, days after being purchase by Facebook for $19 billion in a cash-and-stock deal. Users began to report experiencing outages around 11AM PT. WhatsApp acknowledged on Twitter that server issues are to blame, and that attempts were being made to recover service.
Android, iOS app said to automatically connect users to private, public hotspots
Google is working on creating an app that can automatically authenticate with free Wi-Fi hotspots, according to a report. The app, for iOS as well as Android, is said to be on trial at the Mountain View headquarters of the search company, with a possibility of the app working with the hotspots in 7,000 US Starbucks stores when Google replaces the existing AT&T connections.
Issues blocks on still more domains
Apple has acquired the rights to several more domain names, made available through ICANN's continuing rollout of new generic top-level domains. The company now owns four .technology addresses: apple.technology, ipad.technology, iphone.technology, and mac.technology. It has also secured blocks against registering some domains, including apple.construction and macbook.technology.
First legal defeat curtails operations in eight states
Internet "over-the-air" television video streaming service Aereo has been handed its first defeat in its ongoing court battles with conventional broadcasters, and the verdict is a significant one. Judge Dale A. Kimball of the Utah federal court system ruled that the streamer is violating the copyrights of broadcasters with its service in the states of Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, and segments of Montana and Idaho.
Search engine working with localities to determine feasibility of expansion
Google has begun the exploratory process in nine metro areas around the US for expansion to its Google Fiber high-speed Internet and television service. Areas being examined by the search engine giant are Raleigh-Durham, NC; Charlotte, NC; Nashville, TN; Atlanta, GA; San Antonio, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Salt Lake City, UT; San Jose, CA; and Portland, OR.
Will not appeal ruling voiding key net neutrality rules
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will not appeal a court ruling that declared key parts of its net neutrality rules invalid. As part of its attempt to rectify the situation left by the Verizon court case, the FCC is working on rewriting the rules, so that they can "meet the court's test for preventing improper blocking of and discrimination among Internet traffic."
New device gives immediate access to 50,000 music streams
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and networked audio solution provider Grace Digital has introduced the Encore (GDI-IRC7500) Stereo Wi-Fi Music System on Amazon. Boasting a powerful tweeter and woofer arrangement, the Encore promises what the company calls "clearer vocals and deeper bass compared to the industry standard."
Entire line vulnerable, no fix currently available from Belkin
Security specialist IOActive announced today that it has uncovered multiple vulnerabilities in Belkin WeMo Home Automation devices that could affect over half a million users. The password leak allows miscreants to remotely control WeMo devices, perform malicious firmware updates, and access an internal home network.
QuickerTek releases upgrade option for Apple Base Stations' wireless antenna
QuickerTek, a producer of antennas and RF products for Apple computers, has released an upgrade for the current Airport Extreme and Time Capsule base stations. The replacement wireless antenna offers dual-band 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz Wi-Fi, and triples the built-in range of the two devices. Users can arrange and use their Apple wireless device wherever desired, and easily position the upright and articulated antennas for optimal use. The upgrade is capable of boosting Apple TV as well as any other wireless networking task. The standard Airport Extreme base station does not have a built-in port to connect to the antennas, so QuickTek has a special attachment for its installation. Pricing starts at $400 for the Extreme Base Station antenna upgrade.
Los Angeles, San Diego first non-test deployments
Major League Baseball has completed its first post-test iBeacon deployments at two stadiums, according to an announcement. 65 iBeacons have been put in place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres. The league says that plans are underway to have over 20 parks outfitted by Opening Day; the main reason for the initial two stadiums is that the Padres are hosting the Dodgers on March 30th.
Increase in speed could be ten times that offered by Google Fiber
Broadband connections could get considerably faster in the future, if technology worked on by Google comes to fruition. The search company is apparently working on ways to offer connections as fast as 10 Gbps, ten times that of current Google Fiber connections, under current plans to develop what Google views as the next generation of the Internet.
Kickstarter for alternative cloud service and device combo exceeds its campaign goal
San Franciscan siblings Karisma and Sam Nagar have successfully crowd-funded their cloud device and service Pixeom, with eleven days to spare in its Kickstarter campaign. The Pixeom Exchange Device is a prototype that offers an alternative to corporate cloud services that require access to its users' information to use its digital space. Aiming to facilitate a new type of data exchange for Internet users, Pixeom functions by centralizing one's own cloud network in a personal home device, as opposed to a large, remote data center. All of a user's cloud service needs will be supported within the device at a one-time purchasing cost, facilitating storage, social networking, and online auctioning functions that focus on privacy.
Patent troll sued end users of networking gear, settlement prevents further action
Networking hardware manufacturer Cisco has struck a deal with non-practicing entity Innovatio IP Ventures to settle a suit and protect commercial and potentially home users of its hardware. Together with Netgear and Motorola, have agreed to pay IP Ventures 3.2 cents for 85 million pieces of network gear, netting the patent troll $2.7 million.
Domain names mostly connected to Aperture, FaceTime, other apps
Apple has acquired another batch domains from ICANN, reports note. The latter this week opened up access to more generic top-level domains; Apple secured 16 .camera and .photography addresses, specifically one of each for names including "aperture," "apple," "facetime," "imovie," "iphoto," "isight," "photobooth," and "retina." Apple is presumably holding the domains to prevent squatters from exploiting them.
Issue somehow linked to Bluetooth
Apple has issued a new support document, acknowledging a problem with AirPlay Mirroring freezing or dropping entirely. The issue appears to be limited to 2013 Mac Pro and MacBook Pro models, and only when connecting through an 802.11b/g Wi-Fi network. As a temporary solution, Apple notes that the problem can be fixed by turning off Bluetooth.
iMac, iPad and AirPort Extreme
This week, Adorama has the lowest price on a brand new 27-inch iMac (model no. Z0PG008MF) which carries an MSRP of $2,899, but has been cut to $2,749 -- beating the next lowest price by $150. Free US shipping is included, but sales tax applies for residents of New York and New Jersey. This iMac features a 3.5GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 3TB Fusion Drive with Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M graphics. A one-year warranty on parts and labor is included from Apple.
NFL begins limited deployment at Super Bowl
Beginning next week, Major League Baseball will be deploying "thousands" of iBeacons to ballparks around the US, a source claims. The organization is reportedly aiming to have 20 stadiums equipped with roughly 100 iBeacons each by Opening Day, which is at the end of March. These include the parks for Boston, Milwaukee, San Diego, San Francisco, and the LA Dodgers.
Call for experiments could help telecommunication providers get rid of copper-based landlines
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken its first steps in overhauling the analog telephone system in the United States, by authorizing voluntary testing by carriers. The unanimous vote will allow telecommunication providers, such as AT&T, to experiment with landlines in various ways, such as providing an IP-based telephone service to its customers.
Analog TV switch-off to free up bandwidth for faster connections
Time Warner Cable is planning to improve its Internet and paid television service in Los Angeles and New York under a new initiative, the cable company has revealed. Under the name "TWC Maxx," the company hopes to provide faster Internet speeds, a new TV experience, and a more reliable network, with work on the upgrades expected to start later this year.
Company presumably trying to avoid confusion with Geniuses
Apple has secured the rights to several ".guru" domains, registration checks show. Recently ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) opened up a number of new top-level domains. Apple appears to have already acquired "apple.guru," "iphone.guru," "ipad.guru," and "mac.guru." A few other domains -- "appletv.guru," "macbook.guru," and "ipod.guru" -- are blocked from registration, most likely per request from Apple.
Could be used for mobile payments for gas, parking
Automatic's Link "smart driving assistant" has been issued a software update allowing it to operate as an iBeacon, reports say. The Link is normally just meant to help optimize a car's performance. With the update, though, the device should be able to both transmit and receive data from compatible devices within Bluetooth range, such as iPhones and iPads.
May back rumors of impending refresh
(Updated with possible new hardware features) The Apple TV now has its own separate section at Apple's online store, checks show. Until today, the Apple TV had been categorized as an iPod-related accessory. The new section in fact lists its own set of accessories, including HDMI cables and AirPort routers.
Switches to new per-user subscription model
Parallels has released a new version of Access, its remote access app for the iPad. The v1.1 update has been redesigned to match the look of iOS 7, but has also gained a variety of features, including full support for OS X Mavericks and Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. The update also includes easier access for people on restricted networks, since the app now just needs a single connection on port 443.
Should push Apple into allowing 4G on all Belgian iPhones
The Belgian government has approved a bill stopping electronics makers from blocking 4G on otherwise compatible hardware, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has announced. The bill was first proposed by Economy Minister Johan Vande Lanotte in response to public complaints about Apple's treatment of iPhones. Currently, only people who buy iPhones from Apple's local commercial partner, Mobistar, can access 4G.
Satechi Smart TV Box runs Android OS 4.2, support live TV streaming app
Satechi has released its Smart TV Box, now available online through Satechi and Amazon. Ideal for those who want to stream digital media onto their televisions, the Smart TV Box allows for downloading apps from the Google Play Store (as it is an Android 4.2 device), and stream movies, music, games and more on their HDTV.
Engineering, driver blamed for poor performance on 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Some users of the MacBook Air's June 2013 revision are experiencing Wi-Fi issues, and taking to the Apple community support forums to air their grievances. Issues reported by the users include dropped packets, inconsistent network connections, high latency, and low data transfer rates from the newly-refreshed 802.11ac connection.
Service reaches former iProvo footprint
Google has announced that additional residents in Provo, Utah can now sign up for the company's Google Fiber high-speed Internet service. The expansion includes any potential customers who already live along the former iProvo network, a fiber-optic backbone that was established by the city and later sold to Google, though activation will require a new fiber cable to be brought directly into the home.
Port city equipped with wind farm, fiberoptic cable terminus
According to local press reports, Apple is considering building a new European data center similar to its Prineville, Oregon location for its iTunes and iCloud services in the Dutch port city of Eemshaven. The city currently houses a Google facility, with a $2 billion Microsoft site under construction, and is uniquely suited with extant facilities -- including a transatlantic fiberoptic data cable terminus and a wind farm -- to host data centers.
Flexgrid system testing increased bandwidth over existing fiber infrastructure
BT has worked with Alcatel-Lucent in the United Kingdom to achieve what the companies are calling the fastest "real-world" network connection. In a trial, the two companies saw speeds peaking at 1.4Tb/s over a pre-existing core fiber connection and using commercial grade hardware, something which is the equivalent of transmitting 44 uncompressed HD films in one second.
Workshare adds Scribble, for identifiable note-making on docs
Document management app WorkShare Mobile for iOS has announced its latest update. Featuring a new 'Scribble' function, users can leave notes on documents with distinctive pen style and colors, to help with making clear who has left each annotation.
Some accounts get brief reprieve
Remote access service LogMeIn is shutting down access to free accounts, reports note. The company is informing subscribers that they have seven days after their next login to upgrade or stop using the service. Owners of LogMeIn Ignition for iOS and Android are being promised "significant" discounts, however -- and for the time being, LogMeIn Central, the free editions of Cubby and join.me are unaffected.