17.8 C
London
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Home Tags Apple TV

Tag: Apple TV

Patent claims the concept of skipping back and enabling subtitles.
Carpool Karaoke is just the beginning.
Cook confirms news at WWDC keynote.
Seven Apple updates, because it's not like you had anything else to patch today Apple has released security updates for both of its main operating systems, along with iTunes, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

All should be installed as soon as possible before they are exploited by miscreants.…
Currently, Amazon neither offers an Apple TV app nor sells the Apple TV at all.
Using it is easy, but it doesn't offer multiple tiers or apps for many platforms.
Google entered TV streaming with a feature-rich service at an aggressive price.
New hire brings years of experience at Amazon, Roku, Netflix, and more.
Comcast's X1 TV system and apps.Comcast reader comments 99 Share this story The Democratic plan to save cable TV customers money on set-top box rental fees no longer has any real hope of passage since the Federal Communications Commission switched to Republican control.

But just in case, GOP lawmakers have asked new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to close the docket on the proceeding and make its death official. "We are writing to ask that you close the docket on the set-top box proceeding... and signal clearly to consumers, content producers, consumer electronics manufacturers, and video programming distributors that the Commission's consideration of the set-top box proposal is at an end," House Republicans wrote to Pai today. Nineteen Republican representatives signed the letter, led by Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), the chair and vice chair of the Commerce Committee; and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), the chair and vice chair of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a Democrat, kicked off the set-top box effort more than a year ago with the hopes of saving customers money on cable box rentals.

The original plan would have required pay-TV providers to make video programming available to the makers of third-party devices and software without the need for a CableCard.
In turn, Wheeler hoped app and device makers would offer alternatives to the set-top boxes, which require costly monthly fees. Comcast and other cable companies lobbied heavily against the plan and pushed an alternative proposal that would require cable companies to make their own video applications for third-party set-top boxes. Wheeler ditched his original plan and accepted the basic outline of the cable industry proposal with some changes: Wheeler wanted the cable company apps to include the same recording functionality provided in rented set-top boxes, and he wanted the industry to use a standard license so that device makers wouldn't have to comply with different licensing terms for each pay-TV operator. Because of these changes, the cable industry (along with programmers, Republican lawmakers, and Republican FCC commissioners) continued opposing the plan. If the FCC had passed the modified cable industry plan, consumers would have been guaranteed cable company video apps on streaming boxes like the Apple TV and Roku, or anything that runs iOS, Windows, or Android.

But despite having a 3-2 Democratic majority, Wheeler wasn't able to get enough votes at the commission because Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel withheld support. When Republican Donald Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, that was the death knell for the set-top box plan because it ensured the FCC would switch to a Republican majority. The fact that the set-top box proceeding is technically still open is considered a problem by House Republicans. "Without a clear indication that the Commission rejects this current proposal, content creators will be hesitant to invest in high-quality video programs," they wrote to Pai.

Additionally, "video programming distributors will not know whether their contracts will violate FCC policy." Pay-TV providers should also be given "a clear sign that they can bring technological advances to set-top boxes and video delivery without fear that the Commission [will] overturn them by regulation," the lawmakers wrote.

The potential of set-top box regulation "has cast a shadow over investment and innovation in traditional video programming delivery," they claimed. Consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge today urged Pai to "end [the] cable box ripoff," pointing out that Section 629 of the Communications Act "directs the FCC to ensure that consumers can choose from a competitive market for 'unaffiliated' devices that can access their complete cable TV or other pay-TV subscriptions." Comcast and other pay-TV companies do offer video streaming apps, but deployment is uneven across cable companies and devices. Congressional Democrats have also fought for set-top box reform. Pai, an ex-Verizon lawyer, hasn't announced a decision, but it doesn't seem likely he'll approve anything remotely similar to Wheeler's plan. He voted against the original plan, and in the ensuing months Pai urged FCC leadership "to walk away from its deeply flawed set-top box scheme." The FCC's other Republican commissioner, Michael O'Rielly, also opposes the revised plan that Wheeler based on the cable industry's apps proposal. Pai has said that the FCC should focus on eliminating traditional set-top boxes by encouraging cable providers to deploy more video applications that can replace the devices, but it hasn't supported requiring the cable companies to so.
In general, he has pledged to eliminate regulations for communications companies rather than add new ones.
Apple today released new versions of iOS and macOS Sierra and addressed some overlapping code execution vulnerabilities in both its mobile and desktop operating systems. The updates were part of a bigger release of security updates from Apple that also included Safari, iCloud for Windows, and watchOS. The most critical of the bugs were a pair of kernel vulnerabilities, CVE-2017-2370 and CVE-2017-2360, which could allow a malicious application to execute code with the highest kernel privileges.

The two bugs, a buffer overflow and use-after-free vulnerability, were reported by Google Project Zero’s Ian Beer and were patched in iOS 10.2.1 and macOS Sierra 10.12.3. A critical libarchive buffer overflow vulnerability, CVE-2016-8687, was also patched in iOS and macOS Sierra. “Unpacking a maliciously crafted archive may lead to arbitrary code execution,” Apple said. Apple also patched 11 vulnerabilities in the iOS implementation of WebKit, a half-dozen of which lead to arbitrary code execution, while three others attackers could abuse with crafted web content to exfiltrate data cross-origin. Many of the same Webkit vulnerabilities were also patched in Safari, which was updated to version 10.0.3. Rounding out the iOS update, Apple patched a flaw in Auto Unlock that could unlock when Apple Watch is off the user’s wrist, along with an issue that could crash the Contacts application, and another Wi-Fi issue that could show a user’s home screen even if the device is locked. The macOS Sierra update also patched code execution vulnerabilities in other components, including its Bluetooth implementation and Graphics Drivers (code execution with kernel privileges), Help Viewer, and the Vim text editor. The Safari update also patched a vulnerability in the address bar, CVE-2017-2359, that could be exploited if visiting a malicious website, allowing an attacker to spoof the URL. tvOS was updated to version 10.1.1, and the same kernel, libarchive and webkit vulnerabilities present in iOS were patched in the Apple TV OS (4th generation). The watchOS update, 3.1.3, was a sizable one as well with patches for 33 CVEs, including 17 code execution vulnerability. The iCloud for Windows 6.1.1 update, for Windows 7 and later, also patched four Webkit vulnerabilities addressed in other product updates, all off which lead to arbitrary code execution.
Online outages are serious.
Vendors lose money for every minute their users can't reach their web services, and business productivity tanks when employees can't access the web applications they rely on to get their jobs done. People can be convinced to forgive the occasional blip, but full-blown outages reinforce the impression that nothing truly critical should be entrusted to the internet. A look at some of the outages over the past year reveals a disturbing pattern. While the move to cloud-based architecture and applications has reduced complexity in IT infrastructure, that has come at the cost of resiliency.
IT has to regularly balance redundancy -- which improves resiliency -- with complexity, and recent outages show that redundancy keeps getting left behind.

Taking the time to assess potential "what if" scenarios and plan for the worst-case scenario could have, if not prevented, at least minimized the effects of these outages. "IT needs to plan for redundancy on critical services," said Nick Kephart, a senior director at network infrastructure monitoring company ThousandEyes. Department of Redundancy Department Redundancy is a basic IT tenet. Whether it's multiple backend servers running the same web applications or setting up disk drives in RAID arrays, IT regularly ensures availability even in the case of a failure. Yet the massive DDoS attack against DNS (Domain Name System) service provider Dyn showed that many organizations failed to think about redundancy on their critical infrastructure. The attack overwhelmed Dyn's servers with enough junk traffic that legitimate DNS requests were no longer being answered. Web properties that had relied on Dyn to direct traffic to their servers realized too late that not having a backup DNS provider meant they were, for all intents and purposes, cut off from the rest of the internet during that period.  Those who load-balanced their DNS name servers across multiple providers -- such as Amazon, who used both Ultra DNS and Dyn -- were able to switch during the outage and remain unaffected. The internet usually hums along without any major issues, but the growing intensity and frequency of DDoS attacks proves that DNS needs to be treated as critical Internet infrastructure and protected as such.

The attack against DNS wasn't an aberration -- cloud-based DNS provider NS1 was hit earlier in the year, and there was also the June attack that targeted all 13 of the DNS root servers. "It was a large-scale attack on the most critical part of the internet infrastructure and resulted in roughly three hours of performance issues," said Archana Kesavan, a manager at network infrastructure monitoring company ThousandEyes. For many enterprises, Dyn seemed like the logical way to address redundancy for DNS services because Dyn already provides a distributed architecture.
IT teams don't want to have multiple DNS providers because it increases complexity to the network infrastructure, but DNS outages can and do happen, so IT teams need to double or even triple up on their DNS providers.
IT should also lower the time-to-life settings on their DNS servers so that traffic can be redirected faster to the backup provider in case of an outage at the primary one. Popularity can hurt, too Outages aren't just the result of malicious activity or equipment failure. Popularity can be just as damaging in the absence of proper network and capacity planning.

There is no such thing as too many visitors, and a hit application everyone is clamoring for is fantastic. Or at least, until the increased traffic melts down the servers and the network collapses under the load, then everyone loses.  Lack of a CDN (content delivery network) front end can be costly if traffic bursts aren't factored into the network architecture, Kephart said. January had one of the largest lottery jackpots in recent history, but Powerball couldn't keep up with the frenzy surrounding the mega-million payout. Neither the application nor the network could handle the uptick in traffic, leading to increased packet loss and extended page load times. Powerball avoided complete meltdown by distributing traffic across Verizon's Edgecast CDN network, Microsoft's data center, and the Multi-State Lottery Association data center just before the drawing. "The damage was already done, and user experience to the website was sub-standard," Kesavan said. PokemonGo's servers experienced similar outages when the combination of network architecture and overloaded target servers prevented users from playing the game.

Apple's servers struggled to handle the much-anticipated launch of Nintendo's Super Mario Run, with sporadic outages affecting all its online stores, including the iOS App Store, Mac App Store, Apple TV, and Apple Music. Benchmarking and capacity planning is critical, especially before software updates and large-scale events. No matter how well the network architecture is designed, CDNs and anycast servers can support the network and maximize user experience. Did we say redundancy yet? Don't forget about Infrastructure redundancy, either.
It's tempting for IT teams to think, "My ISP can handle this, I don't need to do anything else," but even upstream providers can have outages, whether because of a mistaken configuration, hardware failure, or a security incident, Kephsart said. Networks by nature will have outages and face security threats, so IT needs to design into the network architecture the flexibility to react when something fails.

Enterprises generally do a good job of building redundancy within their own data centers, but they overlook doing the same for third-party infrastructure providers.  Don't rely on a single provider, because that becomes a single point of failure.

Distribute dependencies across ISPs, DNS providers, and hosting companies. It is hard to justify security decisions when the only way to tell if it worked is to be able to say, "Hey, we didn't get hacked," or, "We didn't have an outage," at the end of the year.

Those are great goals, but when there are competing demands, it's hard to justify the extra expenses or added complexity on the possibility that bad things won't happen.

But that's the kind of calculus IT needs to be doing every day.
Photo by Tim Duckettreader comments 63 Share this story Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent have launched a major legal attack on Apple, filing lawsuits in Germany and the US that accuse Apple of infringing 32 patents. According to Nokia's statement, the patents cover technologies that include display, user interface, software, antenna, chipsets, and video coding.

The US lawsuit includes 10 patents and was filed in federal court in East Texas, a venue that's long been favored by patent owners. Most of the patents originated at Nokia, but at least one originated at Lucent Technologies. Nokia agreed to buy Alcatel Lucent in 2015 and completed the deal last year. The new lawsuit (PDF) appears to be a major revival of the patent battles Apple and Nokia fought between 2009 and 2011.

Back then, the two companies were also engaged in litigation that spanned the globe.

All that was put to rest with a settlement in 2011, which analysts estimated at the time may have been worth hundreds of millions of euros to Nokia.

Despite those payments, Nokia said in a statement today that Apple refused to license "other of its patented inventions which are used by many of Apple's products." Of course, that might be because Nokia didn't offer them as part of the 2011 settlement package.
Some Nokia patents were distributed to so-called "patent trolls," also called patent assertion companies or PAEs.

Those PAEs include Acacia Research Corp., a branch of which won a $22.1 million verdict against Apple in June. "Nokia has created or contributed to many of the fundamental technologies used in today's mobile devices, including Apple products," said Nokia patent chief Ilkka Rahnastoin a statement. "After several years of negotiations trying to reach agreement to cover Apple's use of these patents, we are now taking action to defend our rights. The Nokia lawsuit accuses every version of iPhone—from the iPhone 7 all the way back to the iPhone 3GS—of infringing Nokia patents.

Also accused are iPad Pro and every version of iPad Air and iPad Mini, as well as the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and services like Find My iPhone and Find my iPad. As one example, Nokia says that US Patent No. 6,701,294, which it acquired from Alcatel-Lucent, is infringed by Apple's Siri feature in iOS 10. "Apple's Siri acts as an intelligent personal assistant in conjunction with the user interface... of Apple mobile devices," the complaint states.

The Siri-using products have a "translator unit," an "evaluator unit" and an "interrogator unit for querying said one or more prescribed databases," and a "supplier unit" to give information to the user.
In Nokia's view, the Apple "supplier unit" consists of "the Siri program, including the Apple device, wireless connections, and backend servers." Nokia's business has gone through dramatic ups and downs since its earlier dispute with Apple. Nokia sold its phone business to Microsoft in 2014.

But Microsoft struggled and ultimately exited the smartphone sector anyway earlier this year, taking a final write-down on the $7.1 billion Nokia purchase and laying off up to 1,850 workers. Earlier this month, Nokia announced plans to get back into the smartphone business with Android-powered phones that will be on the market next year. Just yesterday, Apple filed an antitrust lawsuit (PDF) against Nokia in federal court in San Jose.
In it, Apple accused the Finnish company of transferring "massive numbers of patents" to patent assertion companies like Acacia. Nokia reached a deal with "each of its PAE co-conspirators" to separately enforce a diffused patent portfolio, "to maximize the aggregate royalties that can be extracted from product companies," Apple lawyers allege. "Nokia and those PAEs have thereby increased market power and created or enhanced monopoly power associated with those patents." Apple claims that Nokia's strategy of working with PAEs to stack up big royalty payments is a violation of US antitrust laws, as well as a breach of contract.

The breach of contract claim says that Nokia violated its commitments to license certain standard-essential patents on a FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) basis.