Apple in Hot Water in France Over 3rd Party Sales

Apple is once again being accused of unfair business practices, this time in France, where 3rd party retailers are accusing Apple of not supplying all of their products to the re-sellers.  While Apple keeps their own stores well stocked with all of their most popular products, they apparently are not doing the same for those resellers in France that sell Apple’s products.  French retailer Ebizcuss is suing Apple for said unfair practices.   This suit comes on the heals of the Italian authories fining apple for warranty issues.

To read more about the lawsuit and the interview with the CEO of eBizcuss at EFOAppleStore.com :

http://www.ifoapplestore.com/db/2011/12/29/france-reseller-files-complaint-unfair-competition/

FireFox tip

Those of us in Canada are aware how our government keeps “shooting itself in the foot”. Those outside the country may not be aware just how silly and petty our government can get. For example they have this thing about promoting Canadian culture in the media. Not too bad on the surface of things right? Rather than encourage Canadians to produce our own material they de-regulate the media so they can purchase more American programming. Some of the stuff from South of the border is OK so it can rise and fall with the local ratings. However they take it a step further. If a Canadian station schedules a TV show at the same time as it is scheduled on an American station the cable companies are supposed to replace the American station with the Canadian station. This way the Canadian station can count local commercials as “Canadian content”. Of course this adds five minutes to the amount of commercials… The nasty part comes when we get to on-line content.

When viewing on-line content the government censors what we can see. I’m not talking about stuff like kiddie porn. I’m talking about over the air content. If a show is broadcast in Canada on a Canadian station, but is supplied by an American outfit Canadians have to go through the Canadian web site to view it. Part of the problem is some sites view on-line content as a preview rather than an archive or time-shift. So often not all of a show is available. Some times it is even missing. Yet on the American site it is all there. In this situation we have a message stating “This content is not available in your area”. Very frustrating…

There is a plugin for FireFox which seems to work with a few sites. It is called “Modify Headers”. True to the name it changes the header of what is sent out by FireFox to indicate a different geographic area. Essentially it persuades the computer to lie for you. This is different than going through a proxy server. The proxy server may actually be located in the same geographic area so essentially your computer wouldn’t by lying.

The directions for using this plugin are not inherently obvious. After some reading on the net I found out what to do.

  1. Surf to the site which has the blocked video.
  2. Under the tools menu access the Modify Headers plugin.
  3. In the first box enter “X-Forwarded-For” (it should auto-complete).
  4. Enter a numeric IP for the area in question (12.13.14.15 is suggested for the States,  no suggestion for Europe is given).
  5. Refresh the page.

At that point things should run properly. Apparently this doesn’t work on all sites. The reason I waited to post this was to see if I could find a site through every day surfing which wouldn’t work. So far I haven’t found one.

Followup: I tried this on a Mac running Snow Leopard. It didn’t work. Worst case… It should work in an emulator.

Two New Versions of iPad Coming in January

According to the DigiTimes site, two new versions of the next generation iPad are scheduled to make an appearance in January.     While Apple has as usual, no comment about the rumors, this is not unusual for their stance.  The funny part of this is that Samsung, Apple’s bitterest and most outspoken opponent in court, is the supposed supplier for much of the technology in the machine.   Apple will supposedly release the new machines at iWorld on 26 January 2012.

While we here at A.P.P.L.E. have been looking for new models but have been speculating more on the memory of the machines.  Supposedly the new models will have 14,000 mAh batteries which should make the iPad among the best in battery life.

To read the original story, check out the DigiTimes at:

http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20111228PD215.html

New Phishing Scam Uses Apple Graphics

There is another Phishing Scam striking users this holiday season.  The latest scam poses as an official Apple email, complete with the official Apple looking email address and graphics.   A couple things to note about the scam is that the page you are taken to is not an Apple page, so be sure to check the URL of the page if you click on a link in an email from any company or bank.

This particular scam is really difficult to detect due to the trouble the scammers have gone through to make the pages look like it could be the real mccoy.   If you get an email supposedly from Apple, the best policy is to go to your browser and log in from Apple’s official website at http://www.apple.com.

If you find nothing amiss with your account then the email is likely a phishing scam. (Thanks to iPodNN for bringing this one to light.)

Mini vMac 3.2.3 Released

The latest version of the Mini vMac emulator has been released.   The Paul Pratt managed project is now in version 3.2.3 of the emulator.  The Mini vMac emulator emulates a 128K Macintosh and runs on a variety of platforms including Mac OS X.   One requirement is that you have a 128K Macintosh ROM in file form.  The operating system on the other hand is little problem as Apple, Inc. has released all Apple OSes through 7.5.5 as freeware.

The Latest release has a number of fixes and new features including:

  • Auto scrolling: If the emulated screen is larger than the real screen while in full screen mode, the emulated screen will be scrolled to keep the mouse pointer in view. (Previously only the top left corner would ever be displayed, and even that didn’t work quite right.)
  • “AutoSlow”: Mini vMac will automatically shift down to 1x speed if there is no activity for a while. This helps to preserve the battery on portable computers.
  • In OS X, changing the screen configuration, such as switching between using the internal screen of a MacBook Air and an external screen, would tend to make Mini vMac stop drawing.
  • In OS X, if the screen configuration changes when in full screen mode, Mini vMac will turn off full screen mode, instead of just leaving the emulator window at a size that is now wrong.
  • In OS X, may now have a viable work around for misbehavior of the operating system calls to hide and show the cursor. The most easily reproducible such situation was when the computer went to sleep and then wakes up, the real cursor would end up visible.
  • In OS X, the operating system can sometimes bring up a dialog, such as for force quit (upon command-option-escape), and Mini vMac wouldn’t notice, leaving the real cursor hidden, making the dialog hard to use.

The original vMac project at www.vmac.org is long abandoned but Paul has done a good job of picking up and continuing the project. The program and a ton of information is available from the Mini vmac website including the latest version and manuals for getting started.  For more information about the Mini vMac project, check out their website on Source Forge at:

http://minivmac.sourceforge.net/

New iPhone Scheduled for Late 2012

According to the BGR website, there is a high probability that the latest version of the iPhone will be released in Late 2012.  While the iPhone 4S was released as just an update to the iPhone 4, many of the features that were instituted into the 4S are only available on the 4S.  However, some changes in design including the case are coming according to BGR.  “We have also learned that Apple is planning to use a rubber or plastic material — similar to the material used in the company’s bumper cases — that will be built into the new iPhone case.”

Apple usually is really tight lipped and tight-fisted about their new products yet details of the next generation of their product is slipping out at a time when Apple has been lambasting the Internet for causing sales of their current products to slip due to rumors.   If the details in the BGR website prove to be true, this could be a departure from Apple’s total blackout on information and details prior to release of a product.

While the BGR site is speculating still about screen size being 4 inches, our focus is more on the realities.  Memory is an issue which we hope that Apple will resolve.  Many of us have our 64GB devices plum full and are looking for the next iPhone or iPad to have 256gb as a maximum size.

Apple, Inc Fined 900,000 Euros for Lack of Clarity in AppleCare Sales

Apple Inc’s Italian division has been fined 900,000 Euros (1.2 Million USD) for failing to comply with Italian statutes regarding warranties on their products.  Italian law requires manufacturers to provide a minimum of two years warranty on electronic products, yet Apple was only providing one year.   They also were having customers sign contracts for the two year extension on the warranty, when only one year extension should have been required.

The Italian Antitrust Authority has specified that Apple must notify customers on their website of the details of the judgement as well as information concerning their Italy specific two year warranty on Apple products.

Laminar Research Updates X-Plane for iPad

Laminar Research announced the latest version of their X-Plan App for the iPad today.  The latest version, Version 9.750 adds a new suite of airplanes to the application in preparation for their rollout of their latest version, X-Plane 10.  The new planes included in the 9.750 update are:

  • F-16 Falcon fighter,
  • JA-37 Viggen Swedish fighter (don’t go Friggin’ with a Viggen!),
  • P-38 Lightning WW-2 twin tail (the “fork-Tailed Devil”),
  • P-40 Warhawk (black-sheep!),
  • Piper Cub (tail-wheel classic!),
  • Robinson R-44 (best-selling helo… no computers in the flight control at all!),
  • RQ-1 Predator UAV (but you still fly this from the cockpit view),
  • U-2 Dragon-Lady High-Altitude Recon jet (nobody goes higher!)

When asked about the release of Version 10 of the iPad App, Laminar Research replied that it would hopefully be available sometime in 2012.   For those flight buffs who just cant get enough flight simulator time, this is the application that you must have.  The $9.99 download is well worth the price and is 1/8th the price of the desktop version.  To download the 149mb update, go to the iTunes X-Plane App page at:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/x-plane-for-ipad/id364163095?mt=8

The $4.99 Apollo attachment can be purchased in-app and presents an entirely new facet to the X-Plane experience. It also gives the casual simulator user a taste of how difficult it can be to be an astronaut having to dock at 17,500 miles per hour.

Open Emulator 1.0.2 is Released

The Open Emulator is an Apple emulator for multiple platforms, written by Marc Ressl.  He announced yesterday in the CSA2 that his version 1.0.2 of the emulator was available for immediate download from the Open Emulator Website.

Included in this latest version is the emulation of the True 1977 Apple ][ computer as well as the Apple-1 platform.   He has included the following features in the emulator:

  • Emulates the 1977 Apple II
  • Joystick/mouse support with programmable axis and button mapping, sensitivity, reversal, and joystick auto detection
  • Supports PAL/NTSC video generation and crystal frequency (14.31818 MHz vs 14.25 MHz)
  • Cycle-accurate video emulation
  • Support for several character sets
  • Emulates the floating bus
  • Support of the Apple II cassette interface
  • Support for Apple II revision 0 and 1 or later.
  • Added the AppleColor Composite Monitor

Eventually, if the plans are implemented as stated in early memos from Marc, the Open Emulator will support all Apple ][ series computers.  You can download the latest version at:

http://www.openemulator.org/index.html

Free Tools Association Releases ActiveGS 3.5.750

The Free Tools Association has updated their ActiveGS plugin Apple IIgs Emulation system to version 3.5.750.  The latest version is primarily to bring the plugin into line with the latest version of Firefox Browser and also to fix a a few issues with other browsers.

The ActiveGS plugin is the primary emulator for Virtual Apple ][ (http://www.virtualapple.org), which is now run by the Gamezyte group (http://www.gamezyte.com).  To load the latest version of the plugin, go to the Virtual Apple ][ website and the plugin will install automatically when you try to load a game, or go to the Free Tools Association's ActiveGS webpage at:

http://activegs.freetoolsassociation.com/

This version specifically addresses the following issues:

  • [Firefox] Updated package for Firefox 9.0 and beyond
  • Chrome] Added icons
  • [OSX/Safari] Restored Async Window refresh