Google has released a video that shows the inside of its Project Loon antennas. Unlike traditional satellites that travel at Earth’s rotation speed to stay in the same position, Google’s Internet-providing balloons drift across the sky.
For this reason, a more sensitive antenna with a reflector is used to get a consistent signal. Learn more on the Project Loon blog here.
Apple has released Mac OS X 10.8.5, an update for Mountain Lion. The update fixes an issue that prevented Mail from displaying some messages and another issue that prevented the screensaver from starting automatically.
The update also improves AFP file transfer performance over 802.11ac Wi-Fi and improves Xsan reliability. Learn more on the Apple Support website here. Download the update by choosing Software Update on the Apple menu in Mountain Lion.
Microsoft has announced that premium subscribers of Skype can access Wi-Fi for free during August 2013 in one of a million Skype Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide in airports and other public areas. Once this offer expires, Skype users can use their Skype credit to pay for access to these hotspots.
Interested in learning more? See the Skype blog here.
Apple has released an update to fix a Wi-Fi issue on the 2013 model of the MacBook Air. Previously, some users reported an issue where their Wi-Fi would frequently disconnect. Some of these issues were fixed by updating router firmware.
This update should fix the Wi-Fi issue for remaining users with the problem. It also fixes an issue that caused occasional screen flickering in Adobe Photoshop and fluctuation in audio volume during video playback.
Using the 2013 model of the MacBook Air? Download the update from the Apple Support article here.
Security researchers have uncovered a weakness in some iPhones that could be used to automatically connect to rogue Wi-Fi networks to collect passwords and other sensitive data.
The weakness is in the
profile.mobileconfig file installed by AT&T, Vodafone and more than a dozen other carriers that instruct the devices to automatically connect to a Wi-Fi network called
attwifi when the signal becomes available.
Attackers can take advantage of this by giving their rogue network the same name to automatically initiate an attack against nearby iPhones, even ones that have never connected to any Wi-Fi network before. Once connected, the attacker can run exploit software that bypasses the secure sockets layer Web encryption.
Once the exploit software is installed, the attacker can perform a man-in-the-middle attack to intercept passwords and forge links and other content on the websites the user visits.
The researchers tested their hypothesis in a restaurant in Tel Aviv, Israel and 60 people connected to their Wi-Fi network in the first minute and 448 connected during a two-and-a-half-hour period.
The best way to prevent iPhones from connecting to networks without the user’s knowledge is to disable Wi-Fi on the device when it isn’t needed. There are also apps available that can control which SSIDs the iPhone will and won’t connect to.
Interested in learning more? See the Skycure Security blog post here.
Apple has announced its next generation MacBook Air, which uses Intel’s latest Haswell processor to improve battery life. The promised battery life of the 11-inch model will increase from five hours to nine hours and the 13-inch model will increase from seven hours to 12 hours, with an estimated video playback time of 10 hours.
The new models will use the new Intel HD Graphics 5000 graphics card to increase performance for games and graphics-intensive apps by 40 percent. They will also be capable of running on an 802.1ac Wi-Fi network, which is up to three times faster than the current 802.11n.
Apple has lowered the entry of the new MacBook Airs with the new 11-inch MacBook Air beginning at $999 for 128GB of flash storage, 4GB RAM and 1.3GHz processor and $1099 for the new 13-inch MacBook Air with the same configuration. Learn more on the Apple website here.
Researchers have created a system called WiSee that uses Wi-Fi signals to detect gestures anywhere in a house. Like the Kinect, it can be used to navigation an interface on a TV, but it doesn’t require the user to stand in front of the TV.
To do this, WiSee uses the antenna on a router to intercept, transform and interpret signals that bounce off the user’s body. Through machine learning, it can recognise when the user is performing one of nine different gesture with 94 percent accuracy.
To avoid accidentally performing a gesture, the user must perform a startup gesture they wouldn’t normally do such as pushing their open palm forward. WiSee can also detect multiple users by using a router with a separate antenna for each user.
The researchers hope to have their technology built in to routers and envisage people using WiSee to control all devices in their home. Interesting in learning more? See the WiSee website here.
Microsoft has released firmware updates for its Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets. The firmware updates enable interaction with the Trackpad Settings app for Japanese customers.
The Surface RT firmware update enhances the speaker volume and improves system performance and stability. The Surface Pro firmware update enables PXE booting when using the Ethernet adaptor and improves Wi-Fi connectivity and stability.
Using a Surface tablet? Run Windows Update to manually install these firmware updates or wait for them to automatically install.
Apple is replacing some of its third-generation TVs that have Wi-Fi issues. The affected units have trouble finding Wi-Fi networks, are sometimes unable to join a network and experience dropped or intermittent connections.
Have a third-generation Apple TV? Check the serial number to determine whether it’s eligible for a replacement. The last four letters of the serial number must be DRHN and the fourth and fifth characters must be H9, HC, HD, HF, HG, HH, HJ, HK, HL, HM, HN, HP, HQ, HR, HT, HV, HW, HX, J1, J2, J3, J4, J5, J6, J7, J8 or J9.