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ExtraBITS for 9 July 2012

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Apple’s App Store weathered a few storms last week, with what might have been a Trojan horse sneaking through the approval process and a problem that caused all new and updated apps downloaded for a few days to be corrupted. Our linked articles have the details, along with a pointer to Mozilla’s announcement of Thunderbird going into maintenance mode and Glenn Fleishman outlining his working methods at Macdrifter.

Mozilla Backs Off from Thunderbird Email Client -- The Mozilla Foundation has announced that it will be changing gears with regard to the open-source Thunderbird email client, providing security updates and maintaining mechanisms for the Thunderbird community to continue development, but not pushing Thunderbird forward internally. Mitchell Baker, Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, was candid about how Mozilla has tried and failed for years to innovate with Thunderbird and to engage an active contributor base. Some will no doubt claim that this move portends the death of email; we would suggest it merely indicates that email is a mature and highly entrenched technology that does what most people want.

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Apple Fixes Crash-Causing App Store DRM Error -- Ars Technica summarizes a problem with an App Store server that generated faulty DRM code for several days, causing downloaded Mac and iOS apps to crash on launch and users to hit developers with angry 1-star reviews. Apple has fixed the problem, which affected at least 120 apps and tens of thousands of users who downloaded updates or new apps during the time the problem occurred. Apple also reset the version numbers of affected apps to conceal (but not remove) the angry 1-star reviews. If you downloaded any apps around 5 July 2012, it’s worth checking for updates again.

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Trojan Horse Pulled from iOS App Store -- Security firm Kaspersky is reporting that a Trojan horse application called “Find and Call” somehow made it past Apple’s App Store approval process and was downloaded by a number of users before Apple woke up and pulled it. A similar piece of malware was also posted to — and pulled from — Google Play’s Android marketplace. Needless to say, if you downloaded this app but haven’t tried it yet, delete it immediately, before it can steal your contacts and spam them with SMS text messages. Clearly, Apple’s approval team blew it here, but at least they were able to pull the app fairly quickly. Whether the company will go further in removing the app from devices remains to be seen.

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Glenn Fleishman’s Working Methods -- TidBITS editor Glenn Fleishman answered a query from Macdrifter to outline his writing process, including how he starts to write an article or essay, and the technology on which he relies.

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