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ExtraBITS for 23 January 2017

In ExtraBITS this week, Apple pulls reviews for the LG UltraFine 5K Display after a slew of negative comments, JetBlue starts offering free in-flight Wi-Fi, and a new piece of Mac malware turns out to rely on very old code.

Apple Pulls LG UltraFine 5K Display Reviews -- [Retraction: Since it has come to our attention, and we have confirmed via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, that Apple never opened reviews on the LG UltraFine 5K Display store page, we are retracting our criticism of Apple’s assumed behavior below. We regret the error. See “Retracting Criticism of LG UltraFine 5K Display Review Removal” (25 January 2017) for a full discussion. –Adam Engst]

Reddit user michael_emery points out that Apple has removed all user reviews for the LG UltraFine 5K Display from its Apple Store page after a barrage of negative reviews. User-reported problems include failure to wake from sleep, Macs crashing when reconnecting the monitor, Macs becoming unresponsive, and various Touch Bar issues while the display is connected. Until more is known and solutions appear, we recommend delaying purchases of the LG UltraFine 5K Display. And, frankly, this is bush-league behavior on Apple’s part. If these problems are real, the reviews should stay, or Apple should stop selling the monitor. If the problems are coincidental, Apple should provide a public statement and support for those who have purchased the nearly $1000 screen.

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JetBlue Offering Free In-flight Wi-Fi -- Budget airline JetBlue is now offering free, in-flight Wi-Fi on flights within the continental United States via its Fly-Fi service. The service is sponsored by Amazon and encourages travelers to sign up for Amazon Prime to stream movies and TV shows from Amazon Prime Video. Fly-Fi operates over a Ka-band satellite connection that promises 15–30 Mbps, which JetBlue claims is faster than the Ku-band and ground-to-air technologies offered by competitors. With any luck, JetBlue’s move will push other airlines to improve in-flight Wi-Fi and reduce prices.

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“Fruitfly” Mac Malware Uses Old Code -- A new piece of malware, dubbed “Fruitfly” by Apple, is floating around the Mac universe. Fortunately, Apple has released a silent update to protect against it. But the analysis by Malwarebytes Labs is fascinating — Fruitfly consists of a hodgepodge of old code, some possibly dating back decades, including chunks written in the Perl and Java programming languages. Malwarebytes discovered that Fruitfly also runs on the Linux operating system, meaning that it’s possible that it was originally Linux malware that was adapted for the Mac.

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