happygeek 2,411 Most Valuable Poster Team Colleague Featured Poster

If Mac enthusiasts groaned when Apple announced it was switching to Intel chips, watch out for full-scale hissy fits as they discover that OS X 10.4.7 contacts Cupertino servers on a regular basis. Just how similar to Microsoft does Apple want to be?

You would have thought that the furor regarding the Windows Genuine Advantage mother ship communication might have been a warning shot about secret computer communications being a bad thing. You would have certainly have thought the ongoing legal wrangling at Microsoft would have the alarm bells ringing at Apple.

Nevertheless, no, in an insane display of Seattle Fever, Apple developers were quite happy to have a new process in 10.4.7 called dashboardadvisoryd call out to Cupertino in order to verify Dashboard widget versioning matches the ones on Apple's servers. In typical Microsoft fashion, end users are being assured that no personal information is transmitted. In equally typical Microsoft fashion, you can be sure that Apple would not have been saying anything had the packet sniffers using Little Snitch not made their discovery. Certainly not the fact that, also new to this latest Tiger update, a the .Mac dotMacTranslator service will attempt to contact configuration.apple.com if you create a new email account, for example, regardless if that email account is a .Mac address or not.

I seriously doubt that anyone with any real understanding of how the OS works will lose much sleep over the actions themselves, but plenty of end users will be asking why Apple felt it didn’t need to disclose the phone home policy. Moreover, in this malware aware era, asking quite legitimately in my never humble opinion. What's more, everyone should be asking where there is no obvious method to disable this WGA-alike behavior. Unless, as a rather unhelpful Apple spokesperson advised, you turn it off through a terminal entry.

Of course, it is somewhat ironic that Apple has exposed itself to all this bad press over nothing. Does anyone really care if some darn Dashboard Widget is up to date or not? Do they care enough for the OS to phone home and check on their behalf? No, I thought not. Apple insists it is a security measure that prevents server spoofing and that the end user has downloaded a kosher widget from a third party host.

The .Mac email account business is a little harder to explain, and shrug off for that matter. If anyone fancies having a go at enlightening me, hit the comment button now.