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iPod Saves Girl From Lightning Bolt

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A 14-year-old British girl owes her life to her iPod earbuds, which took a 300,000-volt surge when lightning struck.

Sophie Frost and her boyfriend huddled together under a tree near Essex during a storm when a bolt of lightning hit. Doctors say that Frost and her beau were saved because the massive surge took the shortest route to the ground — through her earbuds.

The four-day-old iPod (a gift from her grandmother), may have saved her life, but she still suffered severe burns that left tie-dye like  patterns down her torso and legs and a perforated eardrum.

The teens were knocked unconscious by the jolt and hospitalized for burns but doctors believe they may heal without permanent scars.

Dr. Ian Cotton, a reader in electrical engineering at Manchester University, told the Daily Mail Sophie could have been saved by her iPod:

“If lightning hits a person it can do one of two things. It can go down the outside of the skin, which is more likely if someone is caught in a storm and their body is wet. Or it can puncture the skin and go into the body. Potentially a metal wire, which is highly conductive could divert the electricity away from the heart and save someone’s life.”
There have been some reports of iPods directing currents and harming wearers in storms, this seems to be the first time it saved someone’s life during a blitz.

Via Daily Mail, BBC

iPhone Teardowns Show Amazing Insight to New 3G S Smartphone

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iPhone 3G S 'Exploded'

iFixit CEO Kyle Weins flew to London Thursday to be one of the first people in line at Apple’s Regent Street store and picked up a spankin’ new iPhone 3G S for the sole purpose of tearing the mother down.

Once again, using only a heat gun or hair dryer, a Phillips #00 screwdriver, a small suction cup and a spudger, you too, could get into Apple’s latest smartphone/mobile computing device — if such was your idea of entertainment.

iFixit is widely regarded as the best teardown artists in the biz and this item certainly burnishes that reputation, with detailed notes and photos showing the engineering minutiae of what may become Apple’s most popular product ever.

Apple promises faster speed and longer battery life with the 3G S iPhone, but early notes on the teardown indicate a battery with only 6% more ‘oomph’ than the one in the 3G, using a battery with 1219mAh as opposed to 1150mAh in the 3G. The main Samsung CPU is capable of 833MHz, which appears to confirm Apple’s marketing that says the ‘S’ in the 3G S stands for ‘speed’.

See another excellent teardown and parts analysis from the fearless tech wizards at Rapid Repair, but remember the old adage: ‘don’t try this at home’ — unless you don’t care about voiding your warranty.

iPhone Users Worldwide Are Hot for Tethering

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Not content to sit back and enjoy the many feature upgrades of iPhone 3.0’s official release, iPhone users worldwide exchanged various methods for enabling tethering on their phones Thursday, pulling an end-around on carriers who failed to have tethering plans in place for Wednesday’s release of the new firmware.

Even prior to the official release of the new operating software for Apple’s popular mobile devices Wednesday, 9 to 5 Mac had published detailed instructions for enabling tethering, which AT&T – iPhone’s exclusive carrier in the US – does not at present officially support.

In response to questions about tethering with iPhone 3.0, Mark Siegel, AT&T’s Executive Director of Media Relations told Cult of Mac Thursday “anything to do with the software and what it can or can’t do is an area that Apple needs to comment on.” He had no further comment from AT&T regarding tethering on the iPhone, other than to reiterate that “We will offer a tethering plan in the future but have not set a date at this time.”

Tethering is a process that allows two devices to share an internet connection over a carrier’s data network, seen in many cases as preferable to using insecure public WiFi connections. Carriers typically offer tethering plans that increase a customer’s monthly spend from between $15 and $30 per month for the access to extra data, which can be limited to 500MB on the low end of the price range, up to unlimited extra data at the high end.

AT&T at present already charges iPhone customers $30 per month over and above the cost of a calling plan for “unlimited data,” which many believe is exorbitant in the light of how much data a user typically accesses with normal browsing and emailing on the phone.

Be sure to let us know in comments below if you’ve downloaded the config files necessary to enable tethering on your phone, whether tethering is an important option for you to have, and what you’d be willing to pay to have it legitimately.

Review: The New iPhone 3.0 Software Is a Must-Have Upgrade

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It may take Microsoft three tries to get things right, but the same is also sometimes true of Apple.

The iPhone 3.0 OS — a free update available on Wednesday for all iPhone owners — is a good example. Finally the iPhone has several must-have features it previously lacked, especially tethering, making the 3.0 software an essential upgrade.

But the real pleasure is in the details. The 3.0 software includes a bunch of tweaks and small improvements that makes the iPhone experience extremely slick and polished. It seems silly, but I got as big a kick out of UI tweaks in the iPod interface as show-stoppers like cut-and-paste.

Still, overall, the iPhone 3.0 OS turns the iPhone from a nifty gadget into a real computing device. The iPhone is now truly a pocket Mac for the twenty-first century.

How To: Make a Profit Upgrading To The iPhone 3G S

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Before you rush out and buy that brand new iPhone 3G S, consider the suggestions here. For some iPhone 3G owners, the 3G S may be unnecessary. For those who simply cannot wait read on, because there are ways to minimize the overall cost of the upgrade. In fact, you may even turn a profit.

The iPhone 3G S will be subsidized by AT&T for qualified customers ($199 for the 16 GB model and $299 for the 32 GB model). Unfortunately, if you currently own an iPhone 3G you are not a qualified customer because you entered into a two-year contract with AT&T last year. Unsubsidized, the iPhone 3G S is priced at an exorbitant $599 and $699 (plus the $18 setup fee).

AT&T is probably not going to alter its stance on the matter because, like it or not, offering subsidized phones only to new customers is standard industry practice. If you are an existing iPhone 3G owner, and do not have money to burn, consider all your options after the jump.

Review: 2009 MacBook Pro 13-Inch Is Freakin Awesome

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Last fall I bought a 13-inch unibody MacBook, and I fell in love. For the last seven months I’ve been head-over-heels with the machine. But now there’s a new love in my life: a brand new 13-inch MacBook Pro, which is shaping up to be the perfect laptop.

Released last week, Apple’s MacBook Pro 13″ is an amazing machine. It’s priced as a starter, but it’s now truly a “Pro” laptop. It’s worthy of real work. It adds many of the “Pro” features previously reserved for its higher-end siblings, but costs hundreds of dollars less.

It now has an awesome, all-day battery; a bright, energy-sipping screen; and a backlit keyboard. Firewire is back, and there’s an indispensible SD Card slot. And yet it starts at just $1,200. For a computer of this quality and power, that’s a steal.

Full review after the jump, including real-world benchmarks and tons of pics.

Language App on Sale for Summer Travel

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Language app iLingua is keeping down prices for summer, one dictionary/phrase book will set you back $1.99 on iTunes.

The Spanish language demo looks promising: words or phrases have images to make connecting the dots easy. The woman speaks very slowly, which is good for learning, thought it may sound a little silly if you cow out and just play a phrase like, “Hey this room is way too small” to a native speaker.

Background music on a loop is distracting and makes the sounds harder to hear, not clear whether you can turn that off or it’s just a demo thing.

Available in Russian, German, Chinese (Mandarin) and Japanese — would’ve loved to have this for last year’s trip to Shanghai, where trying to get a restaurant reservation from the concierge (in what seemed slow, careful English) elicited nervous laughter and frustration all around…
We’ve written about using language/dictionary iPhone apps on the job —  have you used one traveling?

Mac Trojan “In Wild” On Porno Site — Apocalypse Pending

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Screenshot from Sophos' webpage detailing the OSX/Jahlav-C Trojan.

A new Mac Trojan has been spotted “in the wild” on a porno website, prompting a wave of misleading and inaccurate Mac malware stories.

A Trojan named OSX/Jahlav-C has been spotted on a porno website (xhottube.net), the British security group Sophos said on Friday.

In a blog post about the virus, Sophos also mentioned an update to an email worm called OSX/Tored-A, which has prompted news organizations to warn of renewed malware attacks against Macs.

But only the OSX/Jahlav-C is in the wild, and even Sophos described the OSX/Tored-A as “lame.”

The new OSX/Jahlav-C Trojan infects Macs when visitors to the “hardcore” porno website try to watch the site’s main video. They are prompted to download a “missing Video ActiveX Object” but are infected with the OSX/Jahlav-C Trojan instead, says Sophos.

The social engineering here isn’t very sophisticated — ActiveX is associated with Windows. In addition, it’s unclear what the OSX/Jahlav-C Trojan actually does. Sophos says “it will eventually run a Perl script that uses http to communicate with a remote website and download code supplied by the attacker.”

What that code does, Sophos doesn’t say. Apparently, it hasn’t executed the Perl script yet. Sophos rates the Trojan as low to medium risk.

“Although there is only a tiny amount of Mac malware compared to Windows viruses, that’s going to be little consolation if your gorgeous new MacBook gets infected,” said a sarcastic post on the company blog. “And sadly we know that many Mac users still believe they are somehow magically immune from attacks.”

The company made a condescending video demonstrating the attack (posted after the jump) — “Is it safe to surf for porn on an Apple Mac?”

UPDATE: ParetoLogic, a Canadian anti-virus company, is also warning about OSX/Jahlav-C. The Trojan is associated with PornTube, says MacNN.

UPDATE 2: Reader Scam Finder says the Trojan doesn’t exist on the xhottube site. Scam Finder tried to purposely infect his Mac but failed. See the comment below.

Tether Your iPhone Today, For Free, Without Jailbreaking It

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Despite the great hue and cry that arose Monday in the wake of the news that AT&T will not be among the 22 worldwide carriers to support tethering when iPhone 3.0 debuts, a wonderfully snarky how-to from 9to5 Mac spells out step-by-step instructions for getting your tether on today, for free, regardless of whether AT&T wants you to, without jailbreaking your iPhone.

In fact, the process only works with un-jailbroken iPhones legitimately registered for service with AT&T in the US.

Two important things you need to be aware of before you consider sticking it to the AT&T man:

1. You have to be running iPhone OS 3.0, which, obviously, has not been released officially but which is widely available if you know where to look. A very good place to start would be right here.

2. You have to be running the very first pre-release version of iTunes 8.2, which is more difficult to get ahold of but, depending on just how deep your enmity for AT&T runs, is also out there hiding in plain view.

Beyond that, it’s just a matter of refusing to accept the proposition that you can’t do anything you want to do with something you’ve bought and paid for just because a couple major corporations don’t want you to feel so empowered.

As with anything satisfying in Life, there are risks, but to those who are willing to bear them go the richest rewards.

See 9to5 Mac for further details.

Can Magazine Covers Tell the Future? PC World Recommended Upgrade to Mac in ’06

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Image credit: Nep Smith

It looks like somebody may have purposely arranged these two magazines in a retail rack to make a point, but credit Flickr user Nep Smith for ferreting out an interesting symbiosis between issues of PC World and Macworld back in October of 2006.

Given the growth Apple has seen since then, it would appear plenty of others may have noticed the writing on the wall as well.