Apple Bug Friday CIX-CXIII

Sunday, 2007-09-09; 17:14:00

Yay, time for more Apple Bug Fridays! What's kind of funny about this set of 5 bugs: they're all in different applications, but I found four of them all this past Friday. The fifth one, a security issue, I also found recently, but I've known about it for longer than just a few days.

CIX: Certain audio files refuse to display as icons when attached to messages in Mail. This seems to be limited to MP3 files: if you attach one of these files, whether by dragging-and-dropping or by using the Attach dialog, the audio file will show up as an embedded file with playback controls. If you control-click on it and select "View as icon", the embedded player either simply turns white or transparent. It never actually changes to an icon. Filed: 5466620. (This has already been filed as a duplicate of 4396066.)

CX: When participating in a direct chat using iChat, and someone sends you an audio file, it also shows up as an embedded player in the chat window. However, there's no easy way to save this file for later use. You can't control-click on it and view it as an icon as in Mail, you can't drag and drop it anywhere, and you can only save the entire chat, not just the audio file, to a single file. Also, a logged chat isn't a package, so you can't easily retrieve it from the Finder either.

The only way to retrieve the actual audio files is for you to select the entire chat, copy it, create a new RTF file in TextEdit, paste the contents of the chat into the RTF file, and save it from TextEdit. This will create an RTF file with an "rtfd" extension. You can then go to the Finder, show the package of contents of this RTF file, and retrieve the audio file from the chat there. Annoying, to say the least. Filed: 5466635.

CXI: This is a particularly annoying bug in iTunes. In the "Options" tab of the Info panel for any song, you can set a start time and a stop time, indicating to iTunes where you want it to begin and finish playing. However, this stop time is not accurately obeyed if you start playing a song from the middle.

If you start playing a song with a stop time from the beginning by simply double-clicking on it in iTunes and letting iTunes play to the end, iTunes accurately stops at the stop time. However, if you double-click the song, and then click on the scrubber to jump to a position in the middle of the song and let iTunes play from there, iTunes will not accurately stop at the stop time. It can vary by almost a second in either direction of the actual stop time.

This is annoying because if you have a song that's supposed to loop perfectly, and you set a stop time, you must let iTunes play the whole song if you want to hear the perfect loop. If you're trying to fine-tune the stop time through iTunes, this can be such a hassle.

I was actually doing this for some MP3 files of in-game music of Doukutsu. I would activate single-song repeating, set a stop time, start the song, and then click somewhere near the end of the song. Then I would wait until it looped to see if the loop was good or not. Using this method, though, I found that I couldn't accurately pin the stop time down, precisely because of this bug. Extremely frustrating.

I had to use QuickTime to open the files, use the end braces to get a correct loop going, and then transfer the start and end times from QuickTime to iTunes. Actually, I initially thought that times in QuickTime and iTunes didn't match up because of this bug, but then I realized it was just iTunes that was being buggy. Filed: 5466672.

CXII: This is another bug I found while trying to accurately loop Doukutsu music. When first clicking-and-holding on an end brace in QuickTime Player to fine tune its location, you can't move it by a single pixel. You can only move the mouse horizontally until the end brace moves, and it then moves by five pixels or so, not by one pixel. This is irritating if you've got the loop almost perfect, and want to adjust it by just a pixel.

Once you've overcome that initial hurdle, you can then adjust by single pixels using the mouse. But that initial pixel hurdle is still annoying.

Workarounds: first move your mouse vertically, then horizontally. This seems to overcome the bug. Alternatively, you can use the arrow keys on the keyboard. Filed: 5470356.

CXIII: This bug has potential security implications, but it's not something that someone can actively take advantage of.

If your AirPort settings require you to enter an administrator password before changing wireless networks, you have a few preferred networks to which you connect, and you require a password to deactivate your screensaver, this bug can be triggered.

Basically what happens is the screensaver authentication panel pops up to request your administrator password, and then the computer tries to switch wireless networks, triggering another authentication panel to pop up behind the screensaver. Trouble is, this second auth panel actually gets activated, and keystrokes you think are being passed to the screensaver auth panel get passed through the screensaver to the AirPort auth panel.

This isn't completely reproducible, so I'm not sure if I can end up controlling other applications via this method, but it might be possible. One real-world scenario that actually happened to me: I didn't realize the AirPort auth panel was activated instead of the screensaver auth panel, I blindly typed my password without looking at the screen, realized my mistake, manually activated the password field of the screensaver auth panel, put in my password and deactivated the screensaver. At this point, my password was displayed in clear text, because the AirPort auth panel activates the focus on the username field, not the password field. A friend that was standing next to me as I did this potentially could have seen my password. Filed: 5470389.

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