ExtraBITS for 21 March 2011
Lots of stuff was going on last week, with many Apple developers donating some profits to relief efforts in Japan, along with stellar behavior on the part of Apple Store employees there. We have links to more reading on those topics, as well as an article about Sprint integrating Google Voice, a Will It Blend? video about the iPad 2 (ouch!), a warning about a Flash vulnerability transmitted via Excel files, and an option to secure Twitter connections.
Apple Developers Donate Profits to Japan Relief Efforts — Kudos to the developers who are donating a portion of their profits to support the relief efforts in Japan following the recent earthquake and tsunami. Macworld has collected a list of the donations, many of which are extremely time-limited and require quick action.
Sprint Thinks Different by Integrating Google Voice — Rob Pegoraro at The Washington Post has the news that cellular carrier Sprint will be integrating the free Google Voice service into nearly all their accounts. Sprint users will get all the benefits of Google Voice, such as automated call screening, rule-based call forwarding, voicemail transcription, and more.
iPad 2: Will It Blend? — Come on, you know the answer to this one. But it’s still always fun to see the Will It Blend? folks shove whatever Apple comes up with into their blender.
Beware Excel Files Bearing Flash Vulnerabilities — Adobe has issued a security advisory about a vulnerability in current and past versions of Adobe Flash Player for all platforms that could enable an attacker to take control of an affected system. The vulnerability is reportedly being exploited in the wild via a Flash (.swf) file embedded in a Microsoft Excel (.xls) document delivered as an email attachment. Adobe expects to release a fix this week, but until then, be very careful of Excel files in email.
Stellar Apple Behavior During the Japanese Earthquake — This is a blog post from an Apple Store employee in Tokyo about the role the Apple Store has played, being one of the few places in Japan with free Wi-Fi, and how Apple has supported its employees and their families. Apple as a company seldom comments on or reacts to events like this, but it’s great to see Apple employees at all levels going beyond the call of duty.
Twitter Adds Always Secure Option — Twitter has joined Facebook in adding a profile configuration to always use a secured HTTPS connection for routine tweeting and reading after you log in to the company’s Web site; the login was already secure. Using HTTPS protects you against sidejacking in a public location where someone with Firesheep or other software could hijack your identity by sniffing a Twitter token without needing to know your account name and password. Log in, click your name at the upper right, select Settings, and scroll down to enable the option.