Cringely takes on Ashton Kutcher’s movie about Steve Jobs

Mark Stephens, a.k.a. Robert X. Cringely, wrote last week about his disappointment in Ashton Kutcher’s movie Jobs, about the late Apple co-founder and CEO.

Here’s the most important part of his quasi-review:

[S]omething happened during Steve’s NeXT years (which occupy less than a 60 seconds of this 122 minute film) that turned Jobs from a brat into a leader, but they don’t bother to cover that. In his later years Steve still wasn’t an easy guy to know but he was an easier guy to know. His gut for product was still good but his positions were more considered and thought out. He inspired workers without trying so much to dominate or hypnotize them.

Indeed. Read more

Things I wish everyone knew about home Mac security

On Wednesday evening, I wrote about basic computer security from a Windows-centric perspective. I knew some people who needed help in a hurry, and given there was a 90% or so chance they were running Windows, I took that route.

Some of my buddies who use Macs passed it along. And much of what I said then does apply, but I’d like to clarify a few of those points.
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One in five Macs has malware–but read the fine print

Sophos claimed today that 20% of the people who’ve installed their free Mac antivirus has malware.  That’s not altogether surprising, but it’s also not nearly as big of a problem as it sounds.

One in 36 systems has Mac malware, which means the Mac has an infection that could actually be harming the system itself. That number is low but believable. In my experience, the people who seek out antivirus software are usually the ones who need it the least.
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What’s going on with Macintosh security?

The latest figures I’ve read say there are perhaps a half-million infected Macintoshes still floating around out there, an improvement from the high of 600,000 that I was seeing a few weeks ago, but probably not what Apple had hoped after releasing its most recent fix.

I argued three weeks ago that the end of the innocence was either here or very near. I’ll argue now that it’s gone: There are now 250 known Macintosh OS X viruses in existence. In 2003 there were none. Read more

Macintosh malware continues to evolve

Security experts have long warned that [Apple’s] delay in delivering Java patches on Mac OS could be used by malware writers to their advantage, and the new Flashback.K malware confirms that they were right. — PC World magazine

Last week I argued that a Macintosh-based botnet currently being distributed via Word document would likely change distribution methods, perhaps to a PDF document, in order to spread itself more effectively.

That, to my knowledge, hasn’t happened, but today I learned of the above example of Mac malware doing exactly that, jumping from Java vulnerability to Java vulnerability. Read more

End of the innocence for Mac security

Antivirus vendor Kapersky has identified a new trojan horse targetting Macintoshes.  It spreads a botnet based somewhere in China via an infected Microsoft Word document, typically sent as an e-mail attachment.

The spin is that if you don’t use Word on your Mac, you’re safe. That’s true–this week. But going forward, it’s going to take more than that. Read more

Maybe this is how Apple does it

Sitting in the stands at a baseball game the day after Steve Jobs’ surprise resignation from Apple, of course the subject came up.

“I wish I knew how Apple does it,” I said.

“I have an idea,” my friend Tom Gatermann said.
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And now it’s Apple’s turn

It’s been a weird month for technology. And as always, Apple had a way to get people to stop talking about anything else, though it’s not the news Apple wanted do deliver this week. I can only think of one bit of news Apple would want to deliver less.

Steve Jobs is stepping down as CEO. He’s becoming chairman, but perception is everything. Especially with Apple. I don’t think any company in recent memory has leveraged perception the way Apple has.

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Do I believe the Enquirer story about Steve Jobs?

I don’t like gossip, and normally I wouldn’t stoop to the level of commenting on the National Enquirer’s claims that Steve Jobs has six weeks to live.

But it seems to me that a legitimate journalist’s opinion might interest someone. As someone who worked for a daily newspaper in 1996-97, I have a little bit of perspective on that.
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