OS X update fixes major Yosemite security flaw

OS X update fixes major Yosemite security flaw

An OS X patch to Apple’s Yosemite operating system released on Thursday brings a number of improvements to Mac users. The most important component of the update is the security fix, which patches the DYLD vulnerability uncovered by a security researcher last month.

“The OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 update improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, and is recommended for all users,” Apple said in a statement.

Apple’s patch resolves a privilege escalation flaw in OS X that allows a remote hacker to take control of a user’s Mac without needing an administrator password. The Guardian reports that this flaw has already been exploited by at least one known adware.

In its release notes, Apple credited security researcher Stefan Esser for discovering the flaw, and claimed that the security issue “was addressed through improved environment sanitization,” in the OS X 10.10.5 update. The patch is available for users running OS X Yosemite versions 10.10 through 10.10.4. Apple did not provide any additional details.

Other patches and fixes

In addition to fixing the privilege flaw, Apple also patched a number of security vulnerabilities in its latest OS update, including vulnerabilities related to Apple ID, Bluetooth and more. Complete details of the security patches can be found on Apple’s support site.

Given the seriousness of these security flaws, Yosemite users are advised to download and install the OS X 10.10.5 update as soon as possible.

Esser, who initially discovered the DYLD vulnerability, took to Twitter to complain that there are still issues with Apple’s patch.

“Hmm so Apple released 10.10.5 fixed some bugs and made another security problem worse than before,” said Esser. He did not elaborate on any additional problems created by OS X 10.10.5 and has not responded to our request for comment.

Additionally, Apple’s latest update also fixes issues with the Mail, Photos and QuickTime Player apps.

Lenovo’s new bloatware keeps coming back for more

Lenovo's new bloatware keeps coming back for more

Lenovo PC owners are once again being hit by the bloatware bug in the form of some unsavory “optimisation software.”

First reported by Uber Gizmo, the Chinese company has been automatically downloading and installing Lenovo Service Engine (LSE) to computers without customer knowledge in order to optimize the PC in question.

The same report goes on to say that the controversial piece of bloatware will remain even when the PC is wiped completely clean. It installs itself on Windows 7 or Windows 8 when the BIOS seeks out ‘autochk.exe’ before completely overwriting it on every single boot.

LSE also apparently collects user data before sending it on to a Lenovo server, however, the company is claiming that none of the data it collects is user identifiable.

How to get rid

Anyone worried about the bloatware can uninstall the rootkit using a manually downloadable patch available here and there is a list of machines affected by the issue here, which was released by Lenovo earlier this year.

Whilst it’s too early to say how damaging this new bloatware is, it certainly seems as though Lenovo hasn’t learned its lesson from the Superfish debacle that played out to a damaging end earlier on this year.

iOS Tips: The best photo filter apps for iPhone and iPad

iOS Tips: The best photo filter apps for iPhone and iPad

Add fun to your photos

Best Photo Filters

If you’re an iOS-using photographer, there’s a good chance you’re constantly on the lookout for unique visual “looks” that will set your photos apart from everyone else’s. In the post-Photoshop-plugin era, inexpensive iOS photo-filter apps are the hot tickets for instantly converting photos to slick pop art, with minimal effort and maximum creative flexibility. Here are some of our favorite flavors of sweet visual candy. (And for some more traditional photo-editing apps, click here.)

Trimaginator

Best Photo Filters

Trimaginator ($3.99/£2.29/AU$3.79) takes any photograph and converts it into a work of modern abstract art, with a wide range of preset styles that will astound and delight even the most jaded designer. The results look like absolutely nothing we’ve ever seen elsewhere, not even Photoshop. An in-app purchase adds the option to save results in a vector-based format, perfect for post-editing in Illustrator or any other drawing package.

PhotoTropedelic

Best Photo Filters

It’s the groovy ’60s in an app! PhotoTropedelic ($1.99/£1.49/AU$2.49) offers the Peter Max visual aesthetic as an instant filter effect, turning any picture into a psychedelic Woodstock rock poster, with optional stars and wild colors galore. In terms of sheer fun factor, it’s hard to top this gem.

Popsicolor

Best Photo Filters

One of the more limited apps, Popsicolor ($2.99/£2.29/AU$3.79) does one thing alone – watercolor renditions – with a somewhat limited color palette, but the results are visually distinctive and quite lovely, and it can also handle high-resolution output. For a few bucks, it’s worth the download.

PaintCan

Best Photo Filters

We’re not used to getting anything gratis from graphics giant Adobe, but this rather slick instant-painting app designed to turn photos into painterly works of art is completely free. PaintCan (free) is really nice, too, so what are you waiting for? Thankfully, no Adobe CC needed to use this sweet app.

Waterlogue

Best Photo Filters

The incredibly soft, organic watercolor effects made possible by Waterlogue ($2.99/£0.79/AU$1.29) are really without comparison, images definitely look they were rendered by a skilled artist, and a decent array of different preset “looks” makes it more than just a one-trick pony. One of our all-time favorites.

Glaze

Best Photo Filters

For the maximum selection of painterly styles, Glaze (free w/ IAP) is the way to roll, with a handful of really attractive base styles in the free version, and a mere $2.99/£2.29/AU$3.79 to unlock the kitchen sink, with tons of realistic paint effects and totally luscious output. Another IAP opens up all sorts of advanced compositing options. Glaze is a titan amongst painting apps.

Percolator

Best Photo Filters

If abstract art and mosaics are more your style, this neat little brew of an app will be right up your alley. Percolator ($2.99/£2.29/AU$3.79) instantly turns pictures into modern art masterpieces, with some lovely – and unique – visual styles that look like nothing else in the app store. This is one we’d love to see as a desktop filter someday, but for now, it’s iOS-only.

Tangled FX

Best Photo Filters

Tangled FX ($1.99/£1.49/AU$2.49) is another app that has no direct competition, and somewhat defies easy description; suffice it to say that it turns pictures into wild, other-worldly forms of luminous energy like nothing else we’ve ever seen. Look up the artist Alex Grey: if they could condense him down into an app, it would be Tangled FX.

Glitché

Best Photo Filters

When you get into a surreal state of mind, nothing quite scratches the creative itch like Glitché ($0.99/£0.79/AU$1.29), an enormously fun and wild tool for messing up images in ways that your parents would never approve of; from rendering pictures as stacks of emoticons to making weird extruded 3D wireframes from flat images, Glitché is glorious decimation for a single dollar – such a deal. A $2.99/£2.29/AU$3.79 IAP adds high-res output.

PixelWakker

Best Photo Filters

PixelWakker ($2.99/£2.29/AU$3.79) produces a series of visual effects that nothing else on iOS can match, but what’s truly interesting about this app is that it can send the output directly to a vector-based PDF image, which can then be resized/edited with no quality loss in any vector graphics program.

Dell launches premium Chromebook 13 for enterprise

Dell launches premium Chromebook 13 for enterprise

After finding success with its Chromebook 11 in the education market, Dell is now chasing the enterprise segment with a premium Chromebook offering.

Partnering with Google, Dell’s Chromebook 13 comes with a beautiful design crafted from premium materials. The good news is that the price starts at a more affordable $399 (£255, AU$539) compared to Google’s $999 (£799, AU$1,277) Chromebook Pixel.

The design of the Chromebook 13 looks a lot like a mix of products from Dell’s existing portfolio. The woven carbon fiber lid is borrowed from premium devices like Dell’s XPS 13 and the Dell Latitude 12 7000 Series (E7250), while the wedge-shaped body and hinge is taken from Dell’s consumer Inspiron 5000 and 700 Series.

To keep the weight down to a light 3.23 pounds (1.47kg), Dell opted to use a magnesium allow for the keyboard deck and palm rest and an aluminum cover for the undercarriage.

Performance

Given that Dell is positioning its option as a more affordable alternative to Google’s Pixel, the Chromebook 13 can be configured with plenty of power for performance seeking users. At the base $399 configuration, you’ll find Intel’s Fifth Generation Celeron processor clocked at 1.50GHz, 2GB DDR3 RAM, Intel HD Graphics and 13.3-inch anti-glare FHD display.

Dell

At the most expensive $899 configuration, which is just $100 shy of what Google is asking for its Pixel, you’ll get a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 2.90GHz, 8GB DDR3 RAM, Intel HD Graphics and a 13.3-inch FHD touchscreen display protected by Gorilla Glass.

There is also a Core i3 model of the Chromebook 13, and all configurations come with microSD reader, headphone and microphone combo jack, one USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0 and an HDMI 1.4 port for video output.There are also dual-array microphones, a 720p HD webcam and stereo speakers for multimedia.

All this power fits in a package measuring 12.93 x 9.03 x 0.66 inches (323.4 x 225.8 x 16.7mm).

Even though the Pixel costs slightly more, you’re getting more. There are more ports on the Pixel, and you get a more productive, but unorthodox, 3:2 aspect ratio display with a 2,560 x 1,700 resolution.

Enterprise appeal

To appeal to enterprise users, a full-sized backlit keyboard comes standard on the Dell Chromebook 13. The keyboard comes with Chrome shortcut keys. There is also a clickable glass touchpad.

Dell is also bringing its experience in the enterprise market to the Chromebook 13 to help make adoption easy for IT managers.

IT administrators can rely on Dell KACE for device management, and Dell SonicWALL helps users connect to corporate networks with a secure VPN. For strict enterprise environments, IT administrators can rely on Dell Content Filter subscriptions to create firewalls and URL filtering.

Windows on Chrome OS

And if you really need access to Windows applications, Dell offers a number of virtual desktop environments that will either enable you to run a full Windows OS in the background or to virtualize specific applications, like Microsoft Word or Excel. The Dell Chromebook 13 supports Citrix, VMWare and Dell Wyse desktop virtualization solutions.

To help reduce downtime and provide enterprise-class service in case of failure, users can also add ProSupport Plus warranty plans to the Chromebook 13, which also covers accidental damage.

The Chromebook 13 will be available starting September 17 in the US and Canada. Dell did not provide details about a broader international rollout.

Apple adds official Windows 10 support on Boot Camp

Apple adds official Windows 10 support on Boot Camp

Apple has released a Boot Camp update, which adds official support for Windows 10 for Macs running OS X Yosemite. Not that a lack of official support stopped crafty users from installing the new OS anyways, but version 6 of the Boot Camp dual-boot software brings driver support to utilize your Mac’s many features in the Windows 10 environment.

This new version of Boot Camp most notably adds driver support on Windows 10 for newer Macs built with USB 3, USB-C and Thunderbolt ports. Even for Macs that don’t feature newer ports, the update offers a refreshed set of drivers for built-in SD card slots, the USB Apple SuperDrive and tweaks to help your keyboard and trackpad working smoothly on the Windows OS.

To prep your Mac for the latest Boot Camp version, simply ensure that your computer is up-to-date. Meaning, it’s running OS X Yosemite with every little software update installed. You can find a quick and easy guide on how to install Windows 10 on a Mac right here.

What if you couldn’t wait and already installed Windows 10 via Boot Camp on your Mac? Don’t fret, you don’t need to re-install. Run Apple Software Update, which auto-installed itself when you completed the dual-boot installation via Boot Camp.

The only question that remains: Can you run Windows 10 on your Mac? Probably, so long as it’s compatible with OS X Yosemite. Here’s a list of the Macs that are compatible with the newest Windows OS.

Via CNET

Updated: How to buy a PC for editing video and photos

Updated: How to buy a PC for editing video and photos

Introduction

Video editing

With everything in this world turning digital, manipulating and editing vast amounts of full HD video (and in some cases 4K) and multi-megabyte images is starting to become a job many of us have to handle. If you’re looking to put together a professional-level multimedia suite, the following slideshow details our recommendations for the components to build a suitably powerful system.

Also check out: Best free video editing software: our 20 top programs of 2015

Processors

Intel CPU

When it comes to crunching a lot of information, you can’t get enough processor power. Couple that with a large amount of memory and heavyweight tasks can be chomped through in record time. When dealing with processors, it’s best to think of them as the computer’s engine.

Similarly to an engine, processors can run at faster speeds measured in gigahertz, but they can also have more processing cores similar to an engine having more cylinders. Today, it’s common for most processors to have four, but eight and 12-core models are widely available. With well written software, these cores can all be utilised to power through tasks in record times.

Both Intel and AMD offer multi-core processors – the FX Series are the only way forward if you want to embrace AMD. They have up to eight cores but, because these processors are built using an old manufacturing process, they dissipate a lot of heat (up to 220W) and require an efficient cooling system.

Intel, on the other hand, has a number of competitive processor models spanning three generations (Ivy Bridge, Haswell, Broadwell/Skylake) across two broad segments (Core i5 and i7).

It is widely accepted that Intel processors are better performers than AMD ones at stock speeds, tend to consume less power and are better overclockers in the same price bracket. The Core i7 family in general hasn’t had any meaningful AMD competition for years now.

A note about Hyper-threading – the technology, which was introduced more than a decade ago, allows the OS to address two logical cores so that a dual-core processor (which physically has two cores) can be addressed a virtual quad-core CPU. That feature is used extensively in almost all popular and recent content creation applications.

Motherboards

Motherboard

What you choose here is more a matter of cost – both AMD and Intel have been guilty of changing sockets on a regular basis which forces users to upgrade their motherboards should they want to change CPU families.

AMD tends to have the cheaper motherboards but the more affordable ones tend to support only a handful of processors with low TDP (Thermal Design Power), most of which are inadequate for any serious video editing tasks.

New motherboards tend to spoil you for choice when it comes to onboard options. However, make sure the one you choose offers enough hard drive SATA connectors, USB ports, and if you need them, Firewire connections.

As a final note, unless you specifically require a small case, it is preferable – to avoid expansion issues – to opt for an ATX motherboard. Also triple check that the motherboard you are choosing is actually compatible with the processor you’ve selected. Some might require a BIOS update which is a straightforward operation.

Memory for video editing

Memory

It doesn’t matter if you choose the fastest processor on the planet if you fail to back it up with enough work space to do its funky binary work thing. A key player in making a fast video or photo editing workstation is giving the processor exactly that, and to do so means installing as much memory as possible.

If you’ve selected a good motherboard, it’ll have either four DDR3 memory slots or eight in the case of Intel’s higher end systems. Fully populating these slots with identical memory sticks of the highest capacity modules you can afford will do just that.

Before buying your memory, it’s important to check that the motherboard supports the size and amount of memory you’re planning on installing. Most motherboards support a maximum of 32GB total system memory, so on a four DIMM installation using 8GB sticks you’re going to max-out the board.

The more expensive motherboards support a whopping 128GB, so again, this will be maxed-out with eight 16GB DDR4 sticks.

We wouldn’t worry too much about the raw speed of the memory you opt for, people can get caught up in wanting the fastest possible, but even the slower 2000MHz memory is only going to drop a couple of percentage points in terms of speed compared to the faster 2400MHz options.

A note about chipsets: Intel’s X-series motherboards offer a massive amount of memory bandwidth, way more than the Z or H-series ones, by allowing the CPU to communicate with up to four memory modules at a time.

Graphics cards for video editing

Graphics card

Unless you’re working with OpenGL 3D rendering packages you may consider the requirement of a high-end graphics card to be somewhat unnecessary for photo editing and video work.

The situation is that packages such as Photoshop CC can now use the power within a modern GPU to perform complex mathematical calculations at blistering speeds, which translates into faster manipulation and filter performance.

Also your video package may offer 3D transitions that can be rendered using the installed graphics card’s capabilities. It’ll be down to the software and the type of graphics card it can take advantage of, for example Premiere Pro can use both AMD and Nvidia cards, single or multiple, to accelerate certain operations.

In any case, a decent graphics card is always better than trying to use onboard graphics, which usually eat up some system memory. Just make sure that your power supply unit is beefy enough to provide enough juice for your video card(s) and other components.

Monitors

Monitor

A good visual workspace is vital when editing both video and photographs. Modern graphics cards offer dual-display and greater capabilities, enabling your PC to drive more than one display at the same time with an extended desktop. This allows you to maintain one display for your editing and a second display to hold the pallet boxes, web browser, email and other windows.

As for choosing a decent monitor for professional work try to find out if the panel is TN, IPS or VA based – the latter two are far superior technologies for colour reproduction, however, it can be painful information to find out.

You’ll find the few 30-inch monitors that offer a beautiful 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) resolution are IPS or VA models and cost around the £1,000 (about $1600, or AU$2100) mark.

Most of the more affordable 24-inch monitors that provide a good 1920 x 1080 resolution tend to be TN, though that depends on vendors. Obviously, as is the case for graphics cards or storage, the more the better, so two or more monitors can improve your productivity significantly.

Storage

SSD

If you’re running lots of heavy video processing, then dedicated high-performance drives are usually the primary storage option. Additionally, in a professional environment, backup solutions are usually a welcome addition.

The simplest option that covers both speed and security is a simple mirrored RAID-1 solution, which consists of two identical drives running in tandem so if one fails, there’s another mirroring it. Alternatively, a full RAID-5 solution offers similar protection and speed enhancements, but over a bank of three or more drives.

All motherboards will be offering SATA 3.0 support, boasting speedy transfer rates of 286MB/s theoretically, which far surpasses the performance of any spinning hard drive’s continuous transfer speed, which is to say it’s good enough.

There’s also the solid state drive or SSD option – these provide staggering speeds but have reduced capacities and are far more expensive, but you may consider these worthwhile tradeoffs. This is especially true as prices have been going down significantly over the past few years thanks to growing competition. That makes a RAID-0 SSD subsystem for applications and a RAID-1 affair for data an interesting option.

Input peripherals

Wacom tablet

While you can’t beat a normal mouse and keyboard combination these aren’t the only way of interacting with your computer. Some creatives opt for the tablet input option, and while these can take some getting used to they provide a more natural pen-based method of controlling and interacting with your PC.

They’re not always the best way of working with general Windows, but when it comes to touching up images then using one is far more like working with a pencil, and offers far more control over precise work.

The best known brand is Wacom which offers a complete range from small hobby tablets, up to full A4-sized ones with displays built into them.

For video users it’s more likely that you’ll be looking for additional audio inputs, which are best catered for via a plug-in sound card, as this will offer 1/4-inch jacks for input, along with midi controls.

Lenovo hands over the smartphone controls to Motorola after profits dive

Lenovo hands over the smartphone controls to Motorola after profits dive

Lenovo is planning to trim around 3,200 jobs from its global workforce after a big drop off in profits for the opening quarter.

In the first quarter of the fiscal year 2015, Lenovo oversaw a net profit drop of 51% to $105 million (around £67 million or AU$143 million) and the firm cited “severe challenges in its main markets” as one of the major contributing factors to the decline.

Alongside the job losses, which represents around 5% of its total workforce of 60,000, it is completely restructuring its mobile arm to leverage the strengths of Motorola, which basically equates to Motorola taking over responsibility for the design, development and manufacturing of smartphones.

In terms of savings, Lenovo hopes the job losses will reduce its expenses by around $650 million (around £415 million, or AU$885 million) in the second half of the year. However, the reduction of overhead costs could be completely offset by the smartphone restructuring, which could ding Lenovo for as much as $600 million (around £383 million, or AU$817 million).

Revenues up

Lenovo plundered some $2.9 billion (around £1.86 billion, or AU$3.95 billion) to acquire Motorola from Google just last year and by leading the smartphone unit its hoped that the pre-tax loss of $292 million (around £186 million, or AU$397 million) in Q1 for its mobile arm will start to turn for the better in the near future.

Even among all the doom and gloom, Lenovo was still able to post a 3% increase in revenue to $10.7 billion (around £6.85 billion, or AU$14.5 billion) and it remains atop the PC market with a 20.6% share of the global market and 13% of the US computing pie.

Stan takes on the man, gains 300K subscribers

Stan takes on the man, gains 300K subscribers

Netflix may have the lion’s share of the relatively new streaming market, but local upstart Stan isn’t shying away from the battle.

At a media event this week, Stan CEO Mike Sneesby confirmed that the company was performing better than expected, with over 300,000 paying customers on its books.

That number isn’t a reflection of people who have trialled the service either – over 800,000 have kicked open a Stan app somewhere since the platform launched on Australia Day.

Platform progress

Stan isn’t sitting back either, planning on finishing 2015 with a bang. By the end of the year, the service expects its apps to appear on games consoles and smart TVs.

While they were a little cagey about which consoles and which brands of TV the service would appear on, we did get to see it working on a console that rhymes with Maystation Poor, and the app was an exact replica of the intuitive tablet app, rather than the Apple TV version.

Stan was also reticent to confirm dates for the app launches, aside from specifying it will happen this year.

• Looking for something to watch on Stan, check out this list of the 25 best shows on Stan

Stan takes on the man, gains 300K subscribers

Stan takes on the man, gains 300K subscribers

Netflix may have the lion’s share of the relatively new streaming market, but local upstart Stan isn’t shying away from the battle.

At a media event this week, Stan CEO Mike Sneesby confirmed that the company was performing better than expected, with over 300,000 paying customers on its books.

That number isn’t a reflection of people who have trialled the service either – over 800,000 have kicked open a Stan app somewhere since the platform launched on Australia Day.

Platform progress

Stan isn’t sitting back either, planning on finishing 2015 with a bang. By the end of the year, the service expects its apps to appear on games consoles and smart TVs.

While they were a little cagey about which consoles and which brands of TV the service would appear on, we did get to see it working on a console that rhymes with Maystation Poor, and the app was an exact replica of the intuitive tablet app, rather than the Apple TV version.

Stan was also reticent to confirm dates for the app launches, aside from specifying it will happen this year.

• Looking for something to watch on Stan, check out this list of the 25 best shows on Stan