view in plain text or web browser  
Tech Tails | Apple news straight from the Tech Room | | 800-511-MACS
#673: WhySync? iSync!, Adobe Flash Vulnerability, Repair of the Week: MacBook Pro Eats iPods


Happy Tuesday,

It’s been a cool, soaking wet summer, but the past few days saw temperatures in the eighties with full sun and near 100% humidity. All of a sudden my struggling garden is filled with green tomatoes, tiny pumpkins, more green beans than I’m able to process, and so much more.

It’s amazing what a little true summer weather can do to get things moving along. Blueberries and raspberries are just starting now, and Owen loves to find wild blackberries to nibble right off the bushes.

In this back to school season, our purchasing department has come up with some really great deals on current and last-generation product like iPods, Time Capsules, MacBooks, MacBook Pros, iPod and iPhone gear. There also will be tons of Small Dog Refurbished Mac Pros and laptops trickling on to the web site as our technicians find time to refurbish them. These will carry a one-year warranty.

It’s about time for the nightly nice-weather swim in the river. I hope you enjoy this issue of Tech Tails.

As always, keep in touch.


  WhySync? iSync!  

I’ve been rid of my iPhone for 5 days. I recently restored my backup onto my friend’s iPhone to retrieve my contact list, and then synced that contact list back into Address Book under a group titled “iPhone Imports.”

Fast-forward two days—I receive my Sony Ericsson z520a I bought off eBay. My contact list is empty. My brain stutters at first trying to remember how to get my contacts to the phone. It’s been so long since I had an ordinary phone, but a couple of Google searches helped me remember the obvious solution: iSync.

I immediately connected to the new-to-me phone via Bluetooth by using the Bluetooth Preference Pane in System Preferences and opened iSync. Immediately, iSync recognized the z520a and I selected it. It asked if I wanted to sync addresses, calendars, or both. I selected only addresses, as my calendar data is far more than this phone could probably hold.

iSync will give some useful options, such as syncing only contacts with phone numbers. Next, I selected only the “iPhone Imports” group. Then I clicked “Sync” and in about two minutes all my contacts (pictures included), were on my new phone!

iSync is another fantastic and perhaps underused tool Apple provides free of charge with each and every Mac. It is basic and straightforward, and compatible with most portable devices—not just phones.

Give it a shot and sync your Bluetooth or USB cell phone contacts to your computer to back them up! This way, next time your phone falls out of your shirt pocket into the toilet in a rest-stop bathroom, your entire contact list won’t be out of your hands forever.

  Adobe Flash Vulnerability  

Adobe announced that a “critical vulnerability exists in the current versions of Flash Player (v9.0.159.0 and v10.0.22.87) for Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems, and the authplay.dll component that ships with Adobe Reader and Acrobat v9.x for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX operating systems. This vulnerability (CVE-2009-1862) could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. There are reports that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild via limited, targeted attacks against Adobe Reader v9 on Windows.”

The Company is feverishly working on a fix, but you should know the only active use of this vulnerability is targeted at Windows users. Adobe promises a fix by July 31st, and until then you can avoid unfamiliar or untrusted web sites that employ Flash. To be 100% sure you’re protected (to take this step would make you an official tinfoil hat brigade member…), you can delete or rename the following files:

/Applications/Adobe Reader 9/Adobe


/Applications/Adobe Reader 9/Adobe

You’ll need to right-click on the Adobe Reader application and select Show Package Contents to access these files. I’d recommend simply deleting Adobe Reader entirely and using Preview full-time, but for some of us there are some truly useful features in Adobe Reader.

  Repair of the Week: MacBook Pro Eats iPods  

Every so often we come across a machine that destroys everything that’s plugged into it. One such machine made a few trips in for service over the past month and Apple replaced most every component in their Houston, TX repair facility.

This customer reports that the computer fried eight iPods (which Apple replaced free of charge each time) and several USB external hard drives. The main logic board is the component with all the USB ports on the right side of the machine, and since iPods had also been fried while plugged into the left side, the left input/output board (which contains two USB ports, sound-in, sound-out, and the MagSafe port) was suspect as well. Both were replaced to no avail during one trip to Texas. The second trip to the repair facility saw the bottom case, a second logic board, and a few interconnection cables, and the problem still persisted.

The second major issue with the machine is an inability to stream music to an AirPort Express without frequent dropouts. For this problem, the AirPort Card and display module were replaced, as the display module contains the AirPort antenna (along with the screen itself, the microphone, the iSight camera). This problem was resolved on the first trip in.

There were several other outstanding issues not resolved at the Apple facility, and the computer had seen several other repairs over the years, all covered by AppleCare. In the end, Apple reached out to our mutual customer and offered to replace the 17” laptop from 2007 with a brand new current-generation machine. Apple will capture this machine for engineers to carefully examine, and any relevant findings will be shared with the engineering and design teams at Apple.

Apple is the only company I know of that actually reaches out to customers in situations like this. It’s a truly extraordinary benefit of having AppleCare.

  SPECIALS | 07/28/09 - 08/04/09  
   NEW! Apple Logic Studio - Instant $50 Rebate, FREE Shipping!
   NEW! Apple Final Cut Studio 3 - Instant $100 Rebate, FREE itsaKey 4GB Flash Drive, FREE Shipping!
   Chill Pill Mobile Speakers, Red, PLUS Recommended Chill Pill AC Charger, Save $10!
   MacBook 2.13GHz 4GB RAM, 160GB HD, White (mid-2009), Free Sleeve, Free Shipping!
   iPod nano 4GB Silver (3G, SDE Refurb), PLUS Car Charger, Screen Protectors, Armband (Save 20%)!
   iMac 24in 3.06GHz 4GB, 1TB, SD, GT130 (w/ Snow Leopard), 3-year AppleCare Plan, Free Shipping!
   MacBook Pro 15in 2.53GHz 4GB/320/SuperDrive Unibody, Free Crumpler Sleeve, Free Shipping!
   Mac Pro Quad-Core 2.66GHz 8GB RAM, 640GB+1TB, GT120, 3-year AppleCare plan, Free Shipping!