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ExtraBITS for 31 January 2011

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Although it feels to us as though the world stops when we go to Macworld Expo, clearly something was happening. The App Store hit 10 billion with a B downloads, Verizon Wireless said it would offer an unlimited data plan, Facebook added secure connections (imagine!), and Rich Mogull’s article on Apple’s security future garnered a nice comment in the Macalope column.

Macworld’s Mythical Beast Likes Rich -- Macworld’s mythical beast—the Macalope—likes Rich Mogull’s discussion of Mac security in TidBITS (see “Apple’s Security Past Defines Its Future,” 27 January 2011). We’re honored, but those two should just get a room.

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Facebook Adds Secure Connection Option -- Facebook has added an always-on encrypted connection option to its settings. This enables you to use the Web site on public networks, like a coffeeshop Wi-Fi hotspot, without fear that your session could be hijacked after login. Simple software can be used to extract a Facebook session identifier, but a secure connection defeats that attack. The feature is rolling out to all users over the next couple of weeks.

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Verizon Wireless Offers $30 Unlimited Plan with iPhone -- Verizon Wireless will offer a $30-per-month unlimited data plan when it launches its version of the iPhone in February 2011. A company executive explained it was for parity with those AT&T customers who retained their unlimited service before AT&T discontinued such offers for new customers in June 2010. The executive said the offer would be for a limited time.

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App Store Hits 10 Billion Downloads -- Apple has announced the 10 billionth app downloaded from the App Store, hitting that milestone in two and a half years and tallying 7 billion of those apps in the last year. There are now 350,000 apps available, 60,000 of which are native to the iPad. All we can think of is Carl Sagan talking about the “billions upon billions” of stars in a galaxy in his book “Cosmos.”

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