• Prevalent malware shakes Mac's credibility

    For many Mac lovers around the world, the unthinkable has happened. The Flashback malware, manifesting itself primarily as a fake Flash Player update, has infected over 600,000 Mac OS X users worldwide since its onset in September 2011, making it the most pandemic of Mac viruses thus far.

    This incident seems particularly catastrophic because Apple has given off the vibe in their advertisements that Mac users simply need not worry about viruses. Are Macs’ security features actually impenetrable?

    There are significantly fewer known viruses for Macs than for PCs: 200 compared to PC’s 140,000 last year. But there are also fewer Macs than PCs in existence, suggesting that Apple may be garnering much of their defense from a ‘security by minority’ strategy. Less users ultimately means less chance for the spread of malware and less profit for malware creators. An increase in Mac ownership could lead to a decrease in security.

    As of January, Macs still only made up about 11.6 percent of the personal computer market share, but they are inching dangerously close to the predicted 16 percent market share ownership that would motivate profit-driven virus creators to capitalize on Mac OS X malware creation as more than just a niche market. In the meantime, how should Mac users remove the Flashback malware and protect their Macs from further security breaches?

    Few will criticize Apple’s ability to churn out updates. The update issued on April 3 mends the security flaw in Java that allowed Flashback to latch on, but it is only for Mac OS X v 10.6 and higher. Companies like F-secure have released free automatic removal tools, as well as manual removal instructions, the only sure fire method according to UT’s IT department, that should also be accompanied by an anti-virus software for future protection.

    This unforeseen incident probably isn’t reason enough alone to abandon hope in Apple, especially for loyal fans, but it does warrant extra precaution when using your Mac.

  • Several sites strive to celebrate April Fool's

    View of the UT Tower from the April Fool's Day 8-bit version of Google Maps (Photo Courtesy of Google Maps).
    View of the UT Tower from the April Fool's Day 8-bit version of Google Maps (Photo Courtesy of Google Maps).

    In what has become a sort of Internet tradition, popular sites across the Web played April Fools’ Day pranks on their users. The tomfoolery varied in scope and cleverness, but few sites failed to sneak their own little joke in.

    Google stole the show, with nearly every branch of the site seeming to have its own dedicated joke. Google Maps introduced a new platform to its arsenal: the original 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. Curious users could trial the “Quest Mode” on the maps page, which rendered the world accurately in amusingly dated 2-D graphics. Google’s Chrome browser trotted out a multitask feature where you can use two mice at once to double your productivity.

    Not to be outdone, Google’s child company, YouTube, introduced a feature long in-demand: the ability to order the entire “YouTube Collection” of videos on DVD, so that when your Internet connection goes down yet again, you won’t have to wait for it to come back to see your favorite funny cat videos.

    Funny cats were also the subject of Kodak’s and AdBlock’s pranks. Kodak offered a new “print-a-kitten” kiosk, while AdBlock, rather than making ads disappear, replaced them with pictures of adorable cats.

    Popular content-sharing website Reddit introduced a Facebook-esque “Timeline” feature, where users could see Reddit posts from the distant past — and the future. ThinkGeek brought out a series of new “products” including an Admiral Ackbar Singing Bass, a Game of Thrones Fire and Blood Perfume and more.

    Disappointing though it may be to realize these features aren’t real, the Internet’s efforts to one-up itself in silliness and humor at each April’s start are ceaselessly amusing.

  • Social Cataloging site to help focus your interests

    Editor's note: This is the first of a three part series on websites that help organize your pop culture pursuits.

    With the amount of pop culture our generation exposes itself to daily, intentionally and unintentionally, it can be overwhelming to keep it all straight. With new Internet-based distribution models like Netflix and Hulu for film, and services like Spotify for music, anyone with the desire to do so and has a bit of spare cash can bury themselves in fresh television, movies and tunes 24/7 without ever needing to leave the computer.

    This ease of acquisition and consumption lends itself to a specific breed of website that is designed for the purpose of tracking, cataloging and sharing your culture consumption. Here are some of the better social cataloging sites out there where you can mark films seen and books read, rate albums, make lists, create tags, get recommendations, compare your taste with others and more.

    Film and television

    Twenty-two years after its founding, the Internet Movie Database is still one of the biggest players. Users can rate movies and television shows, search and sort them, and discuss them in message boards, in addition to being presented information on actors, trivia, show times and so on. The site lives up to its impressive name, and its user-generated Top 250 list is one of the most famous and controversial movie lists on the Internet. IMDB’S old-fashioned and ugly layout does work against it, and the discussion boards can at times be some of the most inane places on the web, but it’s well worth signing up for.

    More recently arrived on the scene is iCheckMovies, which takes a far more modern and “Web 2.0” approach. It seizes on the recent trend of moving away from numerical ratings to binary “likes” and “dislikes” in order to make tracking your film viewing a more streamlined and minimal experience. Each film has basic information on its page, plus a link to its respective IMDB page for the latter’s more in-depth information. The biggest draw for iCM is that they tag each film with “lists” that it is featured in. These lists range from Roger Ebert’s personal favorites, to the greatest films as chosen by the American Film Institute, to the IMDB’s aformentioned Top 250. With so many informed opinions at your disposal, it makes giving yourself a crash course in film more fun and easier than it’s ever been. Users can also enjoy more advanced features such as making their own lists and marking movies as favorites or disliked, but to get the complete set of features you’ll have to pay to be a premium member.

    The A.V. Club’s website is essential reading for a pop culture fan, but the TV Club section in particular shines for its depth. The reviews are top notch, and you can track, rate and check television episodes after you’ve viewed them. The selection of shows slants heavily toward currently airing ones, and the database is not intended to track and provide information on all shows, but for modern television, the TV Club is a valuable resource.

  • TSM app keeps students in touch on the go

    Texas Student Media? There's an app for that.

    The iOS application, developed by Spreed Inc., is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The latest release is 1.7, which added to the existing list of features in addition to fixing bugs and improving performance.

    While Texas Student Media consists of Cactus Yearbook, The Daily Texan, KVRX 91.7 FM, Texas Travesty, and Texas Student Television, the current version of the app only features The Daily Texan, The Texas Travesty and KVRX. Planned features include the ability to stream episodes of Texas Student Television, as well as coupons and deals for restaurants and stores around UT campus.

    The bulk of the app's currently available content is made up by articles from The Daily Texan, which can be browsed by date or by section (News, Opinion, Sports, Life & Arts). Each article can be rated through the app or shared through the user's preferred social network. Texas's student radio station KVRX can be streamed live with the app as well, and it includes a feature to display the DJ's name, in addition the show's title and a list of recently played tracks. The local weather forecast is also available on the main page of the app.

    Spreed Inc. includes its own unusual reading method, which flashes small groups of words together on the screen rather than more traditionally displaying the entire content of the article at once, theoretically increasing reading speed and efficiency. Mileage may vary with this futuristic display method, but it is completely optional, customizable, and disabled by default.

    The TSM app is far from a completed product, but the features it does include fulfill their function perfectly and are ideal for any Texas student who wants to ingest their school's student media on the go.

  • Welcome to SuperConnected

    This is SuperConnected: the new blog run purely by The Daily Texan web staff. While taking breaks from maintaining the website and bringing you all the latest online content, we scour the internet to bring you the most interesting news, helpful apps, and entertaining updates out there. While you may not see stuff like memes and trends, we'll do our best to keep you entertained and informed. Follow along and stay SuperConnected.