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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Apple Releases Safari 5.1.2 With Bug Fixes–Download Now

Apple has released Safari 5.1.2 to users this Morning, available by direct download or by hitting up Software Update. The update is relatively minor, but brings along bug fixes that address issues of stability, extensive memory usage, fixing webpages that were flashing white, and now allows PDFs to be displayed within web content. Go ahead and download! 

Improve stability
Address issues that could cause hangs and excessive memory usage
Address issues that could cause webpages to flash white
Allow PDFs to be displayed within web content

[Via: 9to5mac]

iOS 5.1 roundup: new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV references, minor tweak

Yesterday was iOS 5.1 day, and we(9to5mac) broke the news on everything relating to the beta release. End users won’t find any new features in the operating system, but the release was gold for those interested in the future of iOS hardware. Here’s our roundup of the new devices found in iOS 5.1:
Located deep inside the iOS 5.1 file system is a reference to an iPhone 5,1. As explained yesterday, a 5,1 identifier is significant as it means this next-generation iPhone will pack in a new processor. The A6 in all likelihood.
-Located in the file system is a reference to a third iPad 3 model, perhaps a carrier variation, known as iPad 3,3. Even more interesting is an iPad 2,4 reference: an updated iPad 2 that is either a carrier variation, a GSM+CDMA dual-mode device, a Sprint iPad 2, or something completely new.
-We were able to find the J33 codename for the Apple TV 3,1 in addition to references calling for this new Apple TV to carry Bluetooth 4.0/Smart capabilities.

There is hardly anything noticeable save for iTunes Match streaming over 3G and extremely minor keyboard enhancement in the iOS Mail application. Apple is also more open about geo-fencing (such as in Reminders.app) in the location services preferences (Thanks Jonathan). If you find anything else please let know at : tips@9to5mac.com.

[Via: idownloadblog]

Controls an Entire Room Using "Siri" [Video]

We’re just going to right come out and say it: we’re pretty much in love with SiriProxy, and we’re not ashamed to admit it.
Created by Pete “Plamoni” Lamonica, SiriProxy lets Siri interact with pretty much anything on a network, and people have done some pretty awesome things with it, ranging from opening car doors to launching apps on a Mac.
As is so often the case with such hacks, the clever people of the internet have not stopped with new ways of using SiriProxy, and a new video just popped up on our radar that we think you’ll like, especially if you’ve ever been a fan of Star Trek…
One of Star Trek’s most impressive pieces of future-tech was the all-knowing computer that was controlled by voice commands. Trekkers would ask the computer pretty much anything, or tell it to perform a task, and it was done. We marvelled, but we also knew that sooner or later our lives would imitate art. Today, that reality seems a little closer than it did yesterday.
As the video shows, one intrepid coder has made Siri understand when he wants his curtains closing and his lights turning off. The system even understands the difference between two separate lights.
This is just another example of what Siri could be made to do if Apple opened it up to developers, or even began building Siri into homes.
Cool right? Ya! That's why we love "Siri Proxy"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Apple Seeds iOS 5.1 Beta to Developers

Apple has just seeded iOS 5.1 Beta to developers, a little over a month after releasing iOS 5. As most of you are aware, the software was crippled right out of the gate with a number of issues, including poor battery performance and Wi-Fi problems.
Two weeks ago, Apple finally released iOS 5.0.1 to the public, after multiple betas. The new software was supposed to patch the battery bug, but the company later admitted that it didn’t completely resolve the issue. Will iOS 5.1 finally fix these flaws?
We don’t know yet actually, we can’t access the changelog. All we know is that the 5.1 Beta is available for the above-listed devices, and must be installed using iTunes 10.5. We also know that you can’t downgrade once you’ve upgraded, so jailbreakers beware.
It’s interesting that Apple skipped iOS 5.0.2 and went straight to 5.1. Typically, Apple uses tenth-place-only software (4.1, 4.2, 4.3) to incorporate new features. Maybe it is finally going to unveil iOS 5′s hidden Panorama picture mode or FaceTime over 3G.

iCam: Beautiful Concept of an iPhone Camera

According to some excerpts from Steve Jobs’ recently released biography, the ex-CEO wanted to “reinvent” three markets: television, text books, and photography. The first is still a rumor, the second is happening as we speak, and the third is still up for discussion.
Looking at the image upload data from Flickr shows that the top four most popular cameraphones are iPhones, and the most popular camera overall is the iPhone 4. So is this what Jobs was talking about? Or did he want to build an actual camera, like this one?
The folks over at  ADR Studios, a design firm, have uploaded some gorgeous renderings of what an Apple camera might look like. Actually, the iCam is more of an iPhone accessory than a standalone camera, but either way this looks like one mean picture-taker.
The iCam concept interacts with the rumored iPhone 5 handset. The device hooks up with the accessory through the dock connector, allowing both products to seamlessly share data and content.  The camera also sports a built-in pico projector, and a zoom lens.
We don’t really see Apple releasing something like this, as it doesn’t have a good track record with expensive device accessories [see Hi-Fi]. But the iCam is gorgeous, and would probably do well for a third party manufacturer, as long as it wasn’t too pricey.
What do you think of the iCam?

Updated: Siri0us - "Siri Dictation" [Video]

Hackers have been trying to port Siri to older iDevices since the virtual assistant was announced alongside the iPhone 4S. Siri doesn’t technically require the new handset’s A5 processor and increased memory, so limiting the technology to the 4S is clearly a marketing maneuver.
We’ve already seen Siri running on an iPhone 4, so we know it’s possible. But those instances required special circumstances, and we didn’t know if we’ll ever see a public release. Siri’s dictation feature has now been made publicly available in Cydia for the iPhone 4, and it actually works.
Developer Eric Day has uploaded a jailbreak package entitled Siri0us. Day describes his tweak as “Siri dictation for your iOS 5 devices. No iPhone 4S keys/files required.” And believe it or not, the utility actually works. iDB tested it out on a couple of iDevices.

Dictation works great on the iPhone 4, transcribing words into text rather quickly. The technology is actually Naunce-based dictation, but the end result is pretty much the same as Apple’s Siri. As you can see in the video, small ads are displayed in the bar above the mic icon. You will need an internet connection for the microphone to show up.
We have also confirmed that Siri0us works on the iPod touch 4G.
To get Siri Dictation running on your jailbroken iDevice, simply add http://apt.if0rce.com to your list of Cydia sources and search for “Siri0us.”
The developer has noted a bug that some may run into when trying to install. If your iDevice keeps respringing, do not restore! Use a SSH tool to remove the /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/AssistantServices.framework file.
It took us 5 or 6 retries to download the package, so if you get any errors just back out and start over. Also, keep in mind that we have the tweak running on testing devices with no personal information on board as a precaution. However, we have no reason to believe that Siri0us is dangerous.

Several readers have tipped us that this does indeed work on the iPhone 3GS.

Update: Siri0us servers experienced several outages due to high traffic over the last 48 hours, the developer, Eric Day, has removed Siri0us from Cydia. Eric is looking for a different voice recognition service that he can use legally in his tweak.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Ac1dSn0w" A New Jailbreak Tool is Here

A new jailbreak tool is here, and it’s not from the Dev or Chronic Dev Team. The Pwn Dev Team has released Ac1dSn0w, a new tool for jailbreaking iOS 5 on the Mac.

Ac1dSn0w currently offers a tethered jailbreak on iOS 5.0 and 5.0.1 for users running OS X Snow Leopard or Lion. As an alternative to popular jailbreak tools like RedSn0w, PwnageTools and Sn0wBreeze, Ac1dSn0w is available for free right now.
The Pwn Dev Team explains:
I’m pleased to announce that we’ve just released Beta 1 of Ac1dSn0w for Mac OS X Lion (should also work on Snow Leopard). Ac1dSn0w allows you to jailbreak your iDevice tethered. It also provides features like Tethered Boot, Pwned DFU, and Exit Recovery to get your device out of Recovery Loop.
Ac1dSn0w doesn’t support anything new. The same devices are able to be jailbroken with the new tool: iPod touch 4G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and first-gen iPad. The jailbreak for the A5-powered iDevices (iPhone 4S and iPad 2) has not been released yet in any form.

Ac1dSn0w offers a different type of interface on the Mac, and still lacks certain features that RedSn0w possesses, like the ability to create custom firmware packages.
There are, however, good things planned for Ac1dSn0w:

The current version of Ac1dSn0w is in an early development stage. In the future it will also be able to jailbreak remote devices. This means that you just need to install a server program on any OS (Linux, BSD, Windows) and Ac1dSn0w will jailbreak it on a client machine anywhere in the world.
The upcoming “iRecovery Remote” feature will allow you to talk to remote iDevices and send your own payloads, etc. over an internet connection. This particular feature is pretty exciting, as it hasn’t really been done before.
The Pwn Dev Team currently consists of 9 official members, and the team is led by a hacker that goes by the name of “P01sonN1nja” (not to be confused with p0sixninja of the Chronic Dev Team).

Dev Team Working on “Very Promising” iPhone 4S Unlock

Dev Team frontman and unlock guru MuscleNerd has given an update on a new unlock for the newly-released iPhone 4S. According to MuscleNerd, a “very promising” unlock for the new handset is “in the works.”
While iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 owners with older basebands have been able to unlock after jailbreaking for awhile now, there’s a whole set of newer basebands waiting for an UltraSn0w update.
UltraSn0w lets jailbreakers unlock the iPhone for free to use on different carriers, and there hasn’t been a baseband update for quite some time. Currently, UltraSn0w for iOS 5 supports the following basebands on the iPhone 3GS: 4.26.08, 05.11.07, 05.12.01, 05.13.04, and 06.15.00. The 01.59.00 baseband is also supported on the iPhone 4. There are multiple iPhone 4 basebands that have yet to be unlocked with an UltraSn0w update.
The Gevey SIM hardware unlock supports the same basebands as UltraSn0w on iOS 5. You must preserve your baseband when jailbreaking (tethered or semitethered) by using either RedSn0w or Sn0wBreeze if you want to keep unlocking.
Obviously, an unlock for the iPhone 4S will require a jailbreak, and an untethered jailbreak is also in the works for iOS 5. The Chronic Dev Team gave an update late last night on the status of the iOS 5 jailbreak. Hackers are working feverishly to uncover stable exploits, and they want your help.
MuscleNerd hasn’t given an exact ETA on the UltraSn0w update, but potential unlockers with newer basebands shouldn’t be left out in the cold much longer.

"Siri" vs. Microsoft’s Tellme Voice Control Feature

Microsoft and its chief strategy and research officer Craig Mundie have been taking a lot of smack over the past couple of days. Mundie made some controversial comments regarding Apple’s new Siri feature during a recent interview with Forbes Magazine.
The executive claimed that Microsoft has had Siri-like technology on its Windows Phone platform for over a year, and that Apple’s success with it has been the result of “good marketing.” But the two systems are miles apart, and here’s a video to prove it…
Jason Cartwright of TechAu has put Windows Phone’s voice control component up against Apple’s digital assistant to see if there was any truth to Mundie’s comments. Is Microsoft’s Tellme feature really Siri-like? Watch:

Ouch. As you can see, the two services aren’t even in the same ballpark. Not only does Siri understand hundreds (if not thousands) more commands than Tellme, its voice recognition also seems to be far superior.
The video provides yet more evidence that you can’t simply lump Siri in with other me-too voice control features. It’s miles ahead of both Android and Windows Phone offerings. And when you’re that far behind, nobody cares if you were first.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Using Siri and Proxy to start your Car

Last week we saw how a developer created a proxy server to sit between Siri and Apple to make certain commands perform command line functions.  Another developer today took that proxy server and hooked it up to his Viper Car system which allows him to turn his car off and on.

The “Siri Proxy” plugin I wrote handles interaction with a php script that runs on my web server. The php script, which I developed months ago for personal use, allows me to send commands to my car which has a Viper SmartStart module installed. Current commands accepted are: “Vehicle Arm”, “Vehicle Disarm”, “Vehicle Start”, “Vehicle Stop”, “Vehicle Pop Trunk”, and “Vehicle Panic”.
Siri hacking is rapidly turning into a fun sport.  How long until Apple blesses third parties with this type of functionality?

Locking and arming the car alarm video below:

[Via: 9to5mac]

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Microsoft: We’ve Had Siri for Over a Year!

Since Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S last month, everyone has been talking about one thing: Siri. The lovable assistant is the product of over 40 years of artificial intelligence research and the US CALO program (Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes).
Siri isn’t apparently exclusive to Apple’s handset. Microsoft’s chief strategy and research officer Craig Mundie recently told Forbes that Microsoft has had similar voice control tech on its Windows Phone platform for more than a year!
We know, we didn’t see that one coming either…
Here’s what Mundie told Forbes in a recent interview:

“People are infatuated with Apple announcing it. It’s good marketing, but at least as the technological capability you could argue that Microsoft has had a similar capability in Windows Phones for more than a year, since Windows Phone 7 was introduced.”
Right. It’s amazing to us that someone in such a high position at such a prominent company could make such an ignorant comment. For an example of just how dissimilar the two features are, here is an excerpt of a Windows Phone review from PCWorld:
“For example, I spoke a text message to someone saying, “How are you liking your nursing job over at Beaumont?” It came out translated as “How you liking your word nutjob over moment?” Something tells me my friend won’t understand what the hell I’m talking about.

To get the best possible results using the voice commands and speech-to-text features, speak very clearly, and eliminate as much background noise as possible–like the radio, or other people talking.”
 That doesn’t sound like the same feature that Scott Forstall demoed on stage in front of a crowded auditorium at Apple’s iPhone event last month. On top of that, Windows Phone’s voice command feature can’t interact with its user or other applications. For instance, it won’t open up the clock application and set an alarm for you. It also can’t set location-based reminders.
In fact, there’s a lot of things Microsoft’s voice command feature can’t do that Siri can. You can see why it was a bit of a stretch (to say the least) for Craig Mundie to compare it to Apple’s voice-controlled assistant. Same goes for the Android fans that keeps insisting Siri is just another voice-to-text robot.
Siri’s abilities aren’t just limited to a list of speakable commands. She understands normal, everyday language. She can even remember names, birthdays, and other important information.
Sure, Apple was a little late to the voice control party. But that’s because, as usual, it was taking something that had been done half-assed everywhere else, and making it great.

[Via: idownloadblog & image via anandtech]

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Explanation of How Siri Works and Why a Port Can’t Be Released

Ever since rumors of an impending Siri port started circulating, non-iPhone 4S owners have been wondering why Siri can’t be made available on older iDevices. We’ve seen video of hackers running Siri on the iPhone 4, iPod touch 4G, iPhone 3GS, and even video of Siri controlling random devices, like a thermostat.
While these specific instances show that Siri can indeed run on non-4S devices, publicly distributing Siri poses a whole other set of problems. The complex system that Apple’s servers use to authenticate with Siri on the iPhone 4S is one of the main reasons that a Siri port can’t be made available to everyone at the moment.
A developer that goes by the name of “n00neimp0rtant” has detailed why he, or anyone else, cannot release a Siri port. On the ModMyi forums, he includes a video of Siri working on his iPod for proof.
A development firm called Applidium recently hacked Siri’s security protocol and made the findings available for everyone to access online. Since then, another hacker has created a Siri proxy sever that allows anyone with the appropriate knowledge to make Siri interact with non-Apple devices. When Siri connects with Apple to process requests, a multi-level series of authentications takes place.
Here’s how the authentication with Apple’s servers works, as explained by n00neimporant:

Authentication relies on four pieces of information to identify and validate the device as an iPhone 4S: three separate identifiers that appear to be somehow tied to the device, and a chunk of “validation data” generated by the 4S. As I don’t have access to a jailbroken 4S, I used Applidium’s scripts to grab this data from a 4S, then I made a tweak that “fools” my iPod into using that same exact data.
Not only does Siri require an iPhone 4S unique identifier, but the servers are smart enough to recognize a faked connection after 24 hours:

Apple designed the system so that every chunk of validation data only authenticates successfully with their servers for 24 hours. After that, the data becomes invalid, and my iPod just goes right back to apologizing for not being able to connect to the network.

The iPod doesn’t cause it to expire; the server just stops accepting that data as “valid” after 24 hours.

Essentially, running Siri on a non-4S device requires access to a iPhone 4S, effectively making the port useless for people that don’t own Apple’s latest smartphone. 

The code used by the 4S to generate validation data cannot run on any other device and is highly obfuscated (intentionally made very difficult to trace or reverse-engineer).
There are more networking problems that make a Siri port problematic, including the fact that no two devices can use the same identifiers/validation data to run Siri at the same time. Essentially, if you’re using an iPhone 4S’s unique identifier to run Siri on an unsupported device, the voice technology won’t work on the iPhone 4S that is acting as the host for the other device.
Finally, n00neimportant explains how a Siri port would theoretically be distributed legally. He compares the distribution to the way that jailbreak tools like PwnageTool handle copyrighted software: 
First off, without question, a method by which one could generate his/her own validation data as needed would need to be developed first. That in itself is very unlikely, but it would be required for a releasable Siri port.

But what about the “legal” part? Think for a moment about PwnageTool: it is 100% legal because it does not contain any copyrighted material. You have to provide PwnageTool with any and all iPhone software update data and it does all necessary patching on-the-fly, rather than coming bundled with pre-patched data. Now envision for a moment an app for a jailbroken 4S that would package up all of the Siri files from its own filesystem into a single .deb, installable on any of your own personal iOS devices. Such a solution would avoid any piracy complications by removing the need to actually distribute the copyrighted Siri binaries and graphics; the only downside is you would legally need your own 4S from which to gather the Siri files. Yes, it’s not ideal, but it would be the only legal way for a Siri port to be released.

Hopefully that clears the air. And in case you didn’t know, Apple itself has said that it has “no plans” to bring Siri to other iDevices.

[Via: idownloadblog & Thanks for the tip, Steven!]

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