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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

iPhones and Tailfins

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, August 31, 2012
3:49 pm

Great quote from an article about Apple’s near $700 stock price:

Will the iPhone in 50 years look like so many tail fins on those old Cadillacs?

It is hard to imagine what the next 50 years will bring in technology innovation, but I think it is a safe bet that the the iPhones of 2012 will seem like quaint relics of the ancient past when viewed from that distant vantage point.

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Hey Steve! Why are you tracking me?

Information Security, Privacy, Telecom
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, April 22, 2011
4:05 pm

I first read the news about Apple’s secretive location tracking capability in the Kaspersky Labs Threat Post article, “Secret iPhone Feature Tracks Owners’ Whereabouts“:

Security researchers have discovered a hidden iPhone feature that secretly tracks and saves the meanderings of the phone – and presumably its owner.

The tracking feature was described in a presentation at the Where 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. According to the researchers, Pete Warden, founder of Data Science Toolkit and Alasdair Allan a researcher at Exeter University in the UK, the tracking feature records the phone’s movements, including what cell phone towers and Wifi hotspots it connects to, when and where. While that information isn’t shared with Apple, it is retained even when iPhone users update their hardware, suggesting that Apple had plans to use the data at a later time.

Was I surprised?  No.  Irritated?  Yes.  We have one more piece of evidence, that when power is concentrated in the hands of a few, abuses tend to occur.

After reading the O’Reilly Radar article, “Got an iPhone or 3G iPad? Apple is recording your moves“, I followed a link to an application to see for myself:

How can you look at your own data?

We have built an application that helps you look at your own data. It’s available at petewarden.github.com/iPhoneTracker along with the source code and deeper technical information.

The broad view clearly showed the four states in which I have used my month-old iPad:

But the real interesting view was of my supposed meanderings in Arizona:

I can easily explain three of the four major clumps of usage in the Phoenix metropolitan area – my home, the Phoenix airport, and a client site. But I have never taken my iPad to the fourth area of supposed heavy use.

All the outliers are even more problematic.  I used the iPad once in a mountainous area northeast of Phoenix, but all the other outliers?  My only explanation is that I must have forgotten to place the iPad in “Airplane Mode” on one or more more of my flights (heaven forbid!).  The iPad must have connected with dozens of cell towers as we flew over.

My message to Steve Jobs?  Please, just call. I’d gladly invite you over for dinner or take you to my favorite restaurant, where we could discuss the things that are important to me in my life.  But these shenanigans?  Really tawdry for a supposely high class company.

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Test post from iPhone

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
4:27 pm

I am experimenting with various ways to create posts from my iPhone. This post emenated from the WordPress iPhone app.

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Security Vulnerabilities in Popular Platforms

Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, August 20, 2010
4:57 pm

image Earlier this week, I participated in a spirited discussion with some of my colleagues about whether the popularity of devices such as iPhone and iPad would result in increased attempts and successes in hacking those platforms.  On the heels of that discussion, it was ironic to see the following announcement from iTunes when I plugged my iPhone into my PC this morning:

iOS 4.0.2 Software Update

Fixes security vulnerability associated with viewing malicious PDF files.

Products compatible with this software update:
• iPhone 3G
• iPhone 3GS
• iPhone 4
• iPod touch 2nd generation
• iPod touch 3rd generation (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB)

(Emphasis mine)

Windows has long been lambasted for the sheer volume of security flaws it contained.  Could it be that at least some of that volume was due to the popularity of that platform and the sheer numbers of hackers trying to break it?  Hopefully, newer platforms are the beneficiaries of the increased focus on security.  But we still need to be careful.


How Many iPhone Apps Do You Use?

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
5:53 pm

On a recent trip out of town, while waiting in the Phoenix airport to board my flight, I suddenly become aware that I had really used a lot of apps on my iPhone that morning. So I counted the ones I had used – all 15 of them – before 10am.

  1. iphone2 Mail
  2. Phone
  3. iPod
  4. Safari
  5. Messages
  6. Calendar
  7. Toodledo
  8. Evernote
  9. Tweetie
  10. Facebook
  11. Brightkite
  12. Livestrong
  13. AP Mobile
  14. Weather Channel
  15. Tripit

I went on to use some more apps later in the day, but this all goes to prove that the iPhone has become an indispensible part of my life – helping me be more productive, connected and responsive to the people in my life.

What apps are a critical part of your everyday life?

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Griffin Close-up Lens for iPhone

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, January 1, 2010
11:38 am

I bought a new iPhone case this week, which includes a closeup lens for the iPhone camera. This is my first experiment to see how this works with the iPhone WordPress client.

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