IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
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IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Researchers find another terrifying iOS flaw

Researchers find another terrifying iOS flaw | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

It can't have escaped your attention that security experts have declared open season on Apple products over the last few weeks. At San Francisco's RSA conference, an even more terrifying exploit has been revealed that has the power to send your iPhone or iPad into a perpetual restart loop. Mobile security firm Skycure has discovered that iOS 8 has an innate vulnerability to SSL certificates that, when combined with another WiFi exploit, gives malicious types the ability to create "no iOS zones" that can render your smartphones and tablets unusable. Before you read on, grab a roll of tinfoil and start making a new case for your iPhone.

Broadly speaking, any app that uses SSL certificates - which is almost all of them - can be fed a dummy certificate that causes it to crash. If, however, you can feed that same dodgy data into the operating system itself, then the hardware will be thrown into a perpetual loop of failed restarts. That can be easily achieved if you can set up a WiFi network to behave like one of the trusted setups that iOS automatically tries to connect to. So, as Gizmodo says, all it takes is for someone to build a nefarious network, name it "attwifi" and they've got a honeytrap.

Skycure has already reported its findings to Apple and won't give away any more details should it give hackers free reign to brick thousands of devices. Until the problem is fixed, users are advised not to trust free WiFi networks, keep iOS updated and, should they wander into a "no iOS zone," get out, quickly.

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Apple's New Programming Language Is Growing Like Mad

Apple's New Programming Language Is Growing Like Mad | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |

Developers are still going nuts for Apple’s new Swift programming language.

Since it was introduced last summer, Swift just jumped from number 68 to number 22 in the language rankings from research and analyst firm RedMonk. The rankings seeks to gauge how interested programmers are in different languages.

That growth is unprecedented in the firm’s rankings, analyst Stephen O’Grady wrote in a blog post about the findings. By comparison, Google’s programming language Go, introduced in 2009, only just broke into the top 20 this quarter. That’s not bad considering the top languages in the rankings are still venerable languages like Java, JavaScript, PHP and C++, but it’s nowhere near as meteoric as Swift’s rise.

It’s important, however, to keep RedMonk’s rankings in perspective. They don’t reflect what languages are most commonly used at companies today, or where the most jobs are. It uses only two dimensions to rank developer interest: the number of lines of code in the popular code hosting and collaboration site GitHub, and the number of questions being asked about a particular language on the question and answers site StackOverflow.

But they might just give us some insight into what languages programmers are actually interested in, and given the intense competition between companies for engineering talent, it could help companies make strategic decisions about what languages to use for new projects. And it gives us some insight into the changes occurring beneath the surface of our favorite apps.

As mentioned, Go still continues to grow quickly—-possibly due, in part, to its popularity in China. And Rust—a language created by Mozilla, the makers of the popular Firefox web browser—saw some upward momentum as well. But nothing is really coming close to topping Java and the other top tier languages.

That fits well with a ranking of database technologies that found that Oracle’s flagship product is still the top dog, despite rapid adoption of newer technologies. Such findings suggest that developers aren’t ditching old technologies, but adding new ones to their skill sets as they seek out the best tools for particular jobs.

Java and Oracle aren’t going anywhere, but the growth of languages like Swift and Go and the rising popularity of alternative databases shows us that the days when one or two development platforms could completely dominate the industry are over.

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Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Sounds Like It Could Stretch The Definition Of ‘iPad’

Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Sounds Like It Could Stretch The Definition Of ‘iPad’ | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics |
Apple is working on a new, larger iPad as rumored, according to the Wall Street Journal, with suppliers told to gear up for production in the second half of this year. That’s a revised timeline from an earlier plan that targeted the first half of this year, but since the product’s existence hasn’t yet even been acknowledged by Apple, that kind of timetable change isn’t surprising. What is surprising, however, are the potential hardware features that WSJ reports Apple has worked on for the upcoming device, which may or may not make their way to the final design.

Apple is thinking about adopting USB 3.0 for faster transfer speeds between the large iPad and computers, external drives and other accessories, the report claims, and has even mulled adding additional USB I/O ports beyond the single Lightning port found on current model iPhone and iPad devices. It’s also looking at tech that might enable much faster charging time, but all of these potential features are still only being considered for inclusion, and could easily be left out of the eventual shipping product, per the report.

Charging time on the iPad Air currently sits at around four hours from zero to empty using the included charger in the box, and it would make sense that a device with a larger 12.9-inch display would likely also boast a much larger battery, in part because it would have the added surface area required to do so, and in part because a bigger display with similar pixel density would likely require more available power to achieve battery life similar to the existing iPad models. Improving total charge speed would help offset the additional plug-in duration required to fill up a larger powerhouse.

Faster I/O and additional inputs could reflect an iPad with a different purpose – Apple has been said to be gearing this device to enterprise customers and professional users, and providing a means though which to connect gear like mice and keyboards might make a lot of sense if indeed they’re going after that crowd. USB 3.0 is also more valuable on a device like this, vs. on existing iPhone and iPad models, since a tethered connection to a computer is becoming less and less important to most casual mobile device users. For a more business-oriented crowd, or people working with large files (creative pros, for instance) that kind of connection is much more relevant and useful on a daily basis.

Like rumors of a stylus designed for the larger iPad before it, many will dismiss these new proposed features as being completely out of line with existing iPad and iOS device design trends. Apple has almost seemed to abhor external ports, and in fact another rumor, this time about the 12-inch MacBook Air, says it’s limiting I/O to just one port on that device, which would almost seem to be motivated by exactly the opposite kind of approach to industrial design. Despite ample reason to be skeptical about an iPad Pro with an assortment of ports, however, dismissing them outright seems premature, given the company’s recent direction.

For a larger iPad to exist at all is already likely a difficult scenario for most to wrap their head around, given Apple’s current product mix and where a 12.9-inch tablet could fit. And the Apple Watch is another example where not everyone readily saw the value in Apple plan. I’d argue that the Apple of today is harder to pin down in terms of product direction, because while the decision-making is still sound and will, I think, ultimately lead to greater success, the major changes that it has undergone in recent years make it harder to anticipate future moves.

Basically, I’m saying that while a 12.9-inch iPad sprouting ports doesn’t seem like an “Apple move,” it could provide a solid bedrock upon which to renew a push for creative and enterprise adoption, both of which markets seem increasingly to be desirable targets for Cupertino based on things like Apple’s continued highlighting of creative apps for iOS and Mac, and its partnership with IBM.
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