The Macalope started to write a longer piece about this that went into some of the history of the “wireless controversy” and had charts and graphs of the key players with circles and arrows and drew humorous conclusions that were, at the same time, very thought provoking and whole thing wrapped up at the end leaving the reader more enlightened and somehow more sexually potent.

But then the Macalope though, eh, screw it. We’ve been driving around and around in this neighborhood for months and we’re no closer to finding the freeway. “Indeed” should cover it.


Does anyone read anymore?

After the Macalope took George Ou to task for his paranoid and patently false rantings and Mr. Gruber did the same, the horny one hardly expected to see them uncritically reported elsewhere.

And yet they were.

The first incident was by a goofball that even the Macalope — who covers the goofball beat — won’t touch.

There is considerable irony in a blogger uncritically repeating and boosting false information in a post where he’s taking another blogger to task for… uncritically repeating and boosting false information.

That’s kind of the textbook example of irony, actually.

The second is Seth Jayson at the Motley Fool (tip o’ the antlers to several readers who emailed this in).

There’s a large and tangled web here, but according to ZD Net’s George Ou, the effort to smear the computer security researchers was led by none other than Apple PR director Lynn Fox, aided and abetted by the brittle, easily fooled iSheep at Slashdot and Digg.

Mmm. Well, according to one of the two victims of Ou’s bizarre vendetta, Ou has no idea what the hell he’s talking about. So…

This comes from a company that’s proven to be unbelievably adept at marketing, beginning with its adoption of the MP3 player technology that others pioneered, and the successful creation of the mass fiction that it invented the concept.

The word is “reinvented”, dumbass. Apple reinvented the computer, it reinvented the MP3 player and it reinvented the phone.

It even says that in their marketing materials:

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh.


This is, after all, the same company that whitewashed a large options-backdating scandal, giving a free pass to CEO Steve Jobs for the bogus excuse that he didn’t understand the accounting implications.

Is it bogus? The Macalope suspects it is, but he doesn’t know. And neither do you.

Jayson also reaches back to a year ago when Apple fired an employee who jokingly waxed poetic about long hold times for support calls. Does the Macalope think that was the right thing to do? No.

But waaaaiiiiit fooooooor iiiiiiit…

Because, to its credit, the Motley Fool posts the portfolio of each of its writers. Jayson holds no AAPL, but he does hold MSFT.


Well, it’s probably because Microsoft never axed anyone for image reasons.


The Macalope holds an inconsequential number of Apple shares.

Nazi Apple supermen are our superiors

[ADDENDUM: A commenter rightly questions the use of the word “Nazi” in this post (the title is a riff on a gag from the Simpsons). The Macalope uses the word deliberately as a response to Ou’s comparison of Apple to Joseph Goebbels.

Ou’s comparison is absurd, insulting and trivializes what the Nazis did.

The Macalope thought about the implications of using the Nazi comparison throughout, but wanted to drive home the point. He hopes you understand.]

Following up on his successes yesterday, George Ou keys what should be called “Artie MacStrawman in Nuremberg” and will probably cause Macalope readers to hemorrhage out their eyeballs because, yes, we’re still talking about the wireless controversy!

The Macalope is terribly, terribly sorry. But, in for a penny…

Last summer when I wrote “Vicious orchestrated assault on MacBook wireless researchers”, it set off a long chain of heated debated [sic] and blogs. I had hoped to release the information on who orchestrated the vicious assault, but threats of lawsuits and a spineless company that refused to defend itself meant I couldn’t disclose the details.

Ah, we’re already off to a good start.

The problem with Ou’s entire premise — that Lynn Fox is a Nazi propagandist and has been whispering nothing but sweet, sweet lies into Mac users’ ears — is that he thinks Mac users can’t read.

Everyone simply assumed Maynor and Ellch were frauds because they supposedly “admitted it.”

No, George, “everyone” did not assume that. “Many” may have assumed that or “some” may have assumed that, but most simply thought that they might be frauds because they kept changing their story.

Ou has a particular beef with two pieces — one by Jim Dalrymple at Macworld and one by David Chartier at The Unofficial Apple Weblog — which he thinks were “hit pieces” all but commissioned by Lynn Fox and part of Steve “Call me Adolf!” Jobs’ master plan to take over the Internets by blitzkrieg.

The Macalope doesn’t recall reading Dalrymple’s piece at the time, but he did read Chartier’s piece and he knew it was wrong when he read it — Secureworks was not admitting anything — because he read the disclaimer on their web site. Chartier is a good blogger and the Macalope thoroughly enjoys TUAW, but that particular post assumed too much.

Ou wonders:

But did Chartier really just happen to come across the evidence?

Ou is clearly skeptical that Chartier would be able to type “” into his browser. The Macalope is not going to contest this particular point, but he will note that if you read the post Chartier ends with a thank-you to “NotVeryPC”. Why, maybe that’s Lynn Fox’s secret code name! Personally, the Macalope would have thought it would be something like “AppleFoxy” or “CleverLikeAFox”, but that’s exactly what she wants you to think!

Ou believes Chartier was fed erroneous and/or misleading information from Fox which he then — being the good German Artie MacStrawman blogger that he must be to keep Ou’s fantasy view of the Mac web whole — mindlessly regurgitated to please his Cupertino masters.

When I called David Maynor to get to the bottom of this, it turned out that Apple PR director Lynn Fox (who was also cited by Jim Dalyrimple [sic] as proof that the researchers “misrepresented” the research) was the puppetmaster from start to finish.

So, you called David Maynor and he said Fox was unleashing her Mac blogger Luftwaffe. Gotcha. No, no! That’s good enough for the Macalope!

And, dude, you did not just write “puppetmaster”, did you?! That is awesome.

She not only contacted sympathetic bloggers like Chartier and “journalists” like Jim Dalrymple, she was actually the one that got SecureWorks to publish the “clarification” in the first place.

Wow. George seems pretty sure of himself.

But the Macalope decided to check. He asked Chartier if he’d ever been contacted by Lynn Fox about this and here’s what he said via email:

What a riot: no, I have never been contacted by Fox or anyone else from Apple regarding any of this stuff. In fact, I’m not even receiving those post-support call surveys or notices that my Mac warranties are about to expire and that AppleCare is an affordable way to stay within Apple’s graces.

Huh. Well, how about that?

Ou also pointed his tin-foil hat in the Macalope’s direction in those halcyon days of late summer but, for the record, the Macalope has never been contacted by Apple PR, Lynn Fox, Steve Jobs, Joseph Gerbils [sic] or anyone qualified to speak in any official capacity about Apple.

Ou appears to be hinting — as only Ou can appear to hint — that Fox confirmed that she contacted both Dalrymple and Chartier with the express purpose of goin’ all Leni Riefenstahl on their asses.

When I finally got Fox back on the phone, I asked her some questions about how MacWorld [sic] and the unofficial Apple blog [sic] got the information on the so-called confession. I got all my questions answered, but I can’t disclose what she said since Fox refused to speak on the record. But the bottom line is that Lynn Fox played Jim Dalrymple, David Chartier, and the rest of the Mac press/blogosphere like a violin, though it was clear they were all willing participants.

Ou says “yes”. Chartier says “no”.

You can guess who the Macalope believes.

But why would Chartier think all on his lonesome that Secureworks was admitting to have falsified the presentation if Frauline Fox wasn’t pulling the strings?

Well, maybe it has something to do with Brian Krebs (tip o’ the antlers to Brian Krebs Watch).

Indeed, as I reported earlier, in his hotel room on the eve of that presentation, Maynor showed me a live demo of him exploiting the built-in Macbook drivers to break into the machine from another laptop — without a third party card plugged in.

Ou doesn’t mention it, but it had already been reported that Maynor and Ellch had hacked native Airport drivers. Secureworks didn’t want to talk about the free lap dance they gave Krebs in the hotel room because they botched their delivery. They only wanted to talk about the formal Black Hat presentation. Now how could those silly Mac users get so confused when it was all so clear?!

But, shhh. George is on a roll.

Once she got SecureWorks to publish the clarification that merely reiterated the fact that third party hardware was used in the original video (which was clearly disclosed in the first 20 seconds of the video that it was third party hardware), she used that as “incriminating” evidence that the researchers admitted to falsifying the video and shared her “findings” with Apple friendly press.

Well, George, Chartier says he wasn’t contacted by Fox. And it’s at tad (read: extremely) absurd to ascribe some conspiracy theory to the fact that Dalrymple — a journalist (despite Ou’s quotes) for Macworld magazine — was in contact with Apple PR on the most significant story of last August and September.

When I pointed out the flaws in their stories, Chartier and Dalrymple simply ignored me and stuck to their guns.

This is false. Yes, Chartier’s piece is still in its original form, but you can read through Dalrymple’s piece and see if you see the word “misrepresent” (the word Ou complains about) anywhere in there. It’s not, because the piece has been corrected, which is what journalists do. But here it is six months later and Ou is still bitching about it.

The Macalope knows a lot of readers wish he’d just stop covering Ou. Isn’t the real question why ZDNet continues to let his cartoonish rantings go on?

UPDATE: David Chartier posts some thoughts and amends his original post.

Fans of the Simpsons may recognize the title of this post.

Maynor goes for a do-over

The Macalope was supposed to have a week off and then this has to happen:

David Maynor demoed crashing a MacBook at Black Hat DC.

“I screwed up a bit [at last year’s Black Hat in Las Vegas]. I probably shouldn’t have used an Apple machine in the video demo and I definitely should not have discussed it a journalist ahead of time,” Maynor said in an interview after his demo.

“I made mistakes, I screwed up. You can blame me for a lot of things but don’t say we didn’t find this and give all the information to Apple.”

Glenn Fleishman has more.

Must the Macalope do everything?

The Macalope had thought the rather inconsequential business of Apple’s decision to charge for its 802.11n enabler was behind us, but two recent posts — one pro and one con — both manage to get it wrong, so he guesses he’s going to have to weigh in on the issue.

The Seattle Times’ Brier Dudley says:

…Apple said generally accepted accounting principles forced it to charge customers $1.99 for a software upgrade. Accounting standard-setters said that’s untrue.

(The Macalope may address the entirety of Dudley’s bone-headed piece in another post.)

Meanwhile, InfoWorld’s Tom Yager says:

Apple is required to charge you for the enabler. 802.11n was R & D intensive; it’s not your granny’s WiFi. You can’t amortize R & D costs against new products–in this case, AirPort Extreme and Apple TV–and then give that same R & D away somewhere else. That would create what’s called an accounting irregularity, and these aren’t popular at places like Apple and Dell just now. The only way to put 802.11n into existing Mac users’ hands was to turn it into a product against which R & D could be charged.

The Macalope knows what you’re saying to yourself. You’re saying, but, Macalope! Those can’t both be right!

(You do know the Macalope can’t hear you when you talk to your computer, right?)

So, mighty Macalope, was Apple required by GAAP to charge customers for the enabler or not?

(Still can’t hear you!)

No, technically it was not. Dudley’s statement is technically correct while Yager’s is technically incorrect.

But before you picket your local Apple Store, you should hear what Dudley jackassically fails to discuss, which Yager does get into. Because Apple’s decision suddenly makes a lot more sense when you look at what the cost to the company would have been to not charge for the enabler.

After apparently receiving some, ahem, negative feedback on his piece, Dudley defends his statement by indignantly linking to a Wall Street Journal piece and pulling a favorable quote. But he ignores one of the piece’s key grafs:

If Apple had given the enhancement away free, Apple’s auditors could have required it to restate revenue for that period and could possibly have required Apple to start in the future to defer all the revenue from computer sales until all such enhancements are shipped, this person said. That would have had a devastating impact on Apple.

Yes, Apple was technically incorrect in stating that it was “required” by GAAP to charge for the enabler. It could just have easily decided to reopen its books (for the second time in about as many months), taken a charge against prior earnings and potentially affected its future ability to recognize revenue when products ship. That sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

In addition to having a responsibility to its customers, Apple has one to its shareholders, and that option is clearly damaging to shareholders.

Ultimately, however, this whole thing is a rather absurd discussion. Are we really arguing over a $1.99 download? And since when did the Wall Street Journal have a cadre of reporters assigned to covering Apple’s accounting treatments?

Can we be done with it now?

Ode to the wireless security affair

If you’re dying to relive those heady days of August and September, David Burke has keyed a 4,000-word love letter to the whole business (antler tip to Mr. Gruber via email) that just might keep you going through the winter.

Yes, you read that number right.



November must be the slow season for lawyerin’ up in Canada.

The Macalope can’t say he read the whole post (c’mon, it’s 4,000 words!) – he’ll wait for the movie. He did skim enough to see a few appearances by Artie MacStrawman and some idle speculation about Apple’s possible manipulation of the situation. Also, he noted that Burke doesn’t have a problem with the term “Apple apologists” (perhaps he should read some of the Macalope’s work on stock option backdating) but you won’t find the terms “SecureWorks apologists” or “Ellchistas” or “Branch David Maynoridians” anywhere in the piece.

He should get some credit for his ultimate conclusion, however.

The end result is that the Apple apologists win this one by a very fair default in my opinion. As I have always said, if there is a possibility that it may not be true, and those who should know if it is true cannot back up their claims then there is no good reason to believe it is true. So at this point it is a done deal.

Burke goes off the ranch and shows once and for all that he’s not George Ou’s sock puppet. He may actually even go too far as there is no real reason to believe Maynor and Ellch’s claim is false, either, despite the dogged determination of some to prove at any cost that OS X is too as insecure as Windows, dammit! (Hey, if they can have straw men then so can we!)

It is, quite simply, a claim that has not been proved.

As for this whole affair being a “done deal”, the Macalope thinks he’s sadly mistaken on that point.

Huh-huh! I said "phuc"!

HD Moore, author of the recent Zero-day exploit of Apple’s 802.11b drivers, is just so totally teh awesome funny!

According to him!

Here’s Moore congratulating himself on having the basic mental capacity of your average sixth-grader in coming up with “daringphucball.rb”.

“Normally I wouldn’t sink to this level but, damn it, it’s funny,” Moore said of his taunt to Daring Fireball.

Uh, yeah, it’s hysterical that Maynor and Ellch still haven’t provided public evidence of their claim and you’ve managed to create a completely different exploit and then forced a curse word into the name of a popular Mac blog.

Well, not really “laugh out loud” funny.

Wait, what’s supposed to be funny about that again?

Oh. That’s right. You said “phuc.”



Despite the fact that Moore is being such a dick about it, you’ll notice there hasn’t been the same level of uproar about his exploit. Mostly because it’s on three-year-old systems, but also because he made a claim and he proved it. Contrast that to the precedent set by his good buddies, David Maynor and Jon “Johnny Cache!” Ellch.

These guys still don’t seem to get this, but it’s their arrogance that has chapped the Mac community’s ass, not the existence of any bugs.

OS X has bugs.

Everyone in the Mac community except Artie MacStrawman knows that. We actually like it when they’re found and patched. We’re kind of kooky that way.

What we don’t like is the big swinging dicks of hacking riding into town wildly waving lit cigarettes at everyone and shooting their mouths off to reporters with claims they then won’t back up because, oh, they forgot, they’re actually supposed to be selling that information but really it’s because Apple would sue them or, no, they’d love to explain it to everyone but they’ve got their period this week so you’ll have to wait a couple to twenty days.

You can read Moore’s pissy missive to John Gruber from several months ago here to see the genesis of this one-sided feud.

Your arrogance and complete naivete in all things security has finally gotten to me.

You could easily convince me that you aren’t a moron by flying to Austin (TX) and taking a standard IQ test in front of me. If you don’t show up by next week, I will have proved that you indeed are a moron, and will post to my blog to make it seem credible. If you do show up and score 100 or higher, I will pay for your airfare, otherwise you walk home.

The implications are obvious if you understand the details. If you don’t understand what remote code execution at ring-0 means, its not Johnny’s job to educate you (nor mine).

Then read the post by Gruber he’s responding to in which Gruber does nothing but ask questions and explain his frustration.

That arrogant bastard! How dare he question his betters?!

Moore makes a point of saying what great guys Maynor and Ellch are and how we should all just trust them that they’re right in this. Evidently, being a security professional is never having to explain yourself. Accusations – OK. Proof – optional. Gotcha.

You lowly users should just take the word of those in the l33t hacking community and if you don’t know what code execution at ring-0 is, well, why do you even have a computer? Gawd! You’re so stoopid!

“I picked up USB Wi-Fi adapters from six different vendors yesterday. It should be a busy week,” Moore said.

Moore’s week will probably go something like this:

  • Monday: Vigorously pat self on the back for inserting an obscenity into a website name.
  • Tuesday: Ice arm strained from vigorous self-congratulation.
  • Wednesday: Call David Maynor and Jon “Johnny Cache!” Ellch and talk about how hysterically funny it was to have put an obscenity into a website name.
  • Thursday: Spend entire day surfing for references to personal awesomeness in having put an obscenity into a website name.
  • Friday: Start to look for bugs in USB Wi-Fi adapters.

That’s a full week right there!

Mac users, if you’ve enjoyed Moore’s condescending attitude and charming schoolboy fascination with curse words, don’t worry! The “Month of Kernel Bugs” is supposed to cover all desktop operating systems, but you can bet that these guys will be paying special attention to OS X. And, of course, they’re going to find some.

Feel free to ignore the lame end-zone dancing when they do.

Can't chew gum and walk the talk

H D Moore, author of the Zero-Day exploit of Apple’s 802.11b drivers in an interview with InfoWorld in July:

One reason that Metasploit has done so well is that there’s no holier-than-thou attitude.


The file name of the exploit?



The Macalope suggests not getting near Mr. Moore when he’s smoking.

Ou, boy.

Here we go again.

George Ou is positively giddy about today’s announcement of a hack to older Airport cards.

Ou loves him some Artie MacStrawman.

The explanation given to me by members of the research community for this sudden disclosure was that these exploits are always “imaginary” to Apple and there are no exploits for the Mac. This is compounded by the fact that the Apple community has insisted that anyone talking about an Apple exploit without releasing proof of the exploit must be frauds.

You can’t see it, but the Macalope is rolling his eyes right now, George.

There. He did it again.


And again.



OK, he’s done now.

But, hmm. The Macalope wonders who those “members of the research community” might be.



Who. Could. It. Be?



The Macalope is tapping his hooves together… he’s thinking… thinking…

Well, the Macalope won’t hazard a guess as that would be irresponsible.

[cough] Maynor and Ellch [cough]

Ou’s post is also just a marvel of his mad blogging skillz.

The Kernel Fun blog which released this exploit also cited a blog I wrote about Apple refusing to give credit to security researchers where Apple admitted they got the information that prompted an internal audit leading to a patch but refuses to give any credit to the researchers.

“A blog I wrote”? George, have you been reading Senator Ted Stevens’ Guide To Hip Internet Lingo again?

According to Brian Krebs, Apple’s Lynn Fox told him that “This issue affects a small percentage of previous generation AirPort enabled Macs and does not affect currently shipping or AirPort Extreme enabled Macs.” But the flaw affects all “Airport enabled Macs” which are the PowerPC based Macs that comprise roughly half of the Mac market. The “AirPort Extreme enabled Macs” are the newer Intel based Macs. But with potentially five more Apple kernel bugs coming out this month, the Intel based Macs may not be spared either.

The Macalope has long since learned that pointing out Ou’s mistakes will only get one branded an “Apple zealot” but, well, once more into the breach, dear friends.

George, the Macalope will explain it slowly and exaggerate his lip movements so it’s perfectly clear.

“Airport” is 802.11b. “Airport Extreme” is 802.11g.

It has nothing to do with whether or not the machine is Intel or PowerPC-based. While PowerPC-based Macs were sold up until this summer, Macs with 802.11b Airport cards haven’t been sold for three years.

Seriously, the fact that Ou continues to get many basic facts wrong…

Well, it’s what makes him so damn funny.

That and his pants-wetting excitement about an exploit to three-year-old Apple hardware.

Finally, to finish off his oeuvre – now thoroughly convinced that he’s put Apple and its entire user community in its place and assured himself that his hit count will skyrocket this week (sadly, he’s probably right on that last point) – Ou misspells John Gruber’s name (“Grubber”) in a postscript.

His work now done, he retires to the fort he made from the couch cushions to watch TeleTubbies and have a nice juice box.

OK, the Macalope recognizes that Apple doesn’t have the most open policy about… well… anything, frankly. But what we’ve seen so far is a possible hack of current hardware that’s never been publicly proved and a proven hack of hardware that hasn’t been sold in three years.

Posting triumphal and inaccurate “blogs” just makes you look like an ass.

ADDENDUM: Just seconds after posting this, the Macalope noticed the following response from Mr. Gruber:

George Ou Jizzes His Pants.

Mmm. Delightfully shrill! The Macalope could only bring himself to go with “pants-wetting”. You have outdone me, sir! My antlers tilt in your general direction!

The trees are dead and gone, but the sap is still running

Brilliant legal professional David Burke (of George Ou fame) stops by to respond to a post the Macalope made about the SecureWorks controversy…

…over two weeks ago.

The Macalope couldn’t decide which of the following movie quotes was most applicable so he’ll leave you with both:

“You’re still here? It’s over!”

“Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would’ve been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind.”