This Week in Review §

Saturday, this will be my version of a week in review. Really there hasn’t been much going on with me personally, I failed a calculus exam on Monday. Also on Monday, I was offered, and accepted, a coordinator position with the MultiCultural Center on campus, the position starts in the fall, and includes a decent monetary stipend. It shouldn’t be too much work, and will be nice padding for my resume. There some other personal events, but none of which are fit for announcement on such a public medium.

The Mac OS X Trojan

What else? Okay, so I’ve been watching the headlines this past week. Particularly my usual mac sites, and one piece of news that is quite interesting, is the announcement by a French company called Intego, that they have discovered a Trojan variant that infects Mac OS X. "HA HA!" you might say. There are viruses on the Mac. Well before you get too far taken, allow me to interject. Upon further investigation, not only is this NOT a virus, but it is something that has been inherent in the Mac OS for 20 years. It takes advantage of the users ability to make a file look like it belongs to a certain application. This in fact is the only way that viruses can spread on the Mac. An unsuspecting user has to intentionally activate the code, AKA the user MUST double click on the icon to run it. Okay, still, it’s a trojan. Right. Well, according to Wired:

“[Intego] gave the impression that this is a threat, but it isn’t,” said Dave Schroeder, a systems engineer with the University of Wisconsin. “It is a benign proof of concept that was posted to a newsgroup. It isn’t in the wild, and can’t be spread in the wild. It’s a non-issue.”

Apple has acknowledged the flaw in the OS software, and is looking into the situation. Which means, along with OS X 10.3.4 there might be an update closing this hole. Or at least making it slightly more difficult for a user to take advantage of the feature that has been built into every Mac OS version since it’s introduction. Symantec has also announced that an update to it’s AntiVirus software will be coming along shortly with an anecdote for the Trojan.

So here’s my conclusion to this nonsense: According to analysts, this thing doesn’t exist in the wild, and cannot spread in the wild. Even still Apple has addressed the existance of the glitch, and is looking into it. Symantec is updating their Mac virus definitions. The first point makes this a nil issue, but that point is driven home with the fact that in a few weeks the Trojan will be beaten into a pulp; through OS X system updates, and virus recognition improvements. Unlike Windows’ security issues, who’s viruses, trojans, worms, et al. are all present in the wild, spread like Mad Cow Disease through England, and take advantage of thousands of gaping holes in the OS infrastructure; the Mac will remain inherently secure, and thusfar immune to viral threats, and their counterparts.

"Eisner or Me!"

Here’s some more fun stuff, this comes from the New York Post. In an article run on Friday, the writer claims to have heard from sources close to Steve Jobs, that he is willing to steer his company Pixar Animation Studios back into a deal with Disney, if Michael Eisner is ousted. Jobs cancelled the deal with Disney a couple of months ago, and opened talks with other studios for partnership on future Pixar animations. According to the Post’s sources, those talks are on hold while Jobs awaits some movements within the structure of Disney’s Executive Offices.

The animosity between Jobs and Eisner is well known and documented in the media, especially after Eisner’s idiotic confusion over Apple’s iTunes "Rip. Mix. Burn." campaign run several years ago, in which Eisner assumed Apple was promoting the "RIPping off" of music from illegal download media. An amusing tangent on that note, when Jobs made the iTunes Music Store announcement, he brought up the whole thing on stage saying, "Anyone who is, or knows someone, under the age of 30 is aware of the meaning of ‘rip’ in this context." Just some humor, clearly rip refers to ripping the bits off of a CD to create MP3 (or other format) audio files. Eisner needs to get with the program here.

The New Bovine from Microsoft

Okay, this is it I swear, but I haven’t posted in a while. This one goes out to Microsoft. The next generation of Windows, Codename: Longhorn, was announced some months ago, and the exact shipment date has been up in the air ever since. Some speculated that it wouldn’t be until 2007+ that we would see this allegedly impeccible update to Windows. Well, Microsoft closed the rumor mill yesterday, saying that Longhorn will ship by the middle of the year 2006. Funny thing is, they’re having to suck out features to make the deadline. I can’t help but wonder, in this situation is Microsoft making something new (such as the leap from Windows 98 to Windows XP — or better such as Windows 3.1 to 95) or just throwing together a hash to make some money (such as Windows ME). In any case, Mac OS X is already lightyears ahead of Windows in functionality, productivity, security, usability and any other words you can attach to the -ility suffix, that by the time Longhorn shows up, where will it stand in the technology parade? With new releases of OS X and Linux constantly advancing the state of the operating system arena, when Longhorn (funny that it’s named after a cow, BTW) finally shows its 4 stomached, bloated with too much code self, will it be too late? One can only hope that that will be the case.

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