Adium Updated to 1.3.9

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Date: Tuesday, January 12th, 2010, 04:40
Category: Software

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Adium, the open source instant message chat client with support for multiple programs (including AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! Google Talk, Bonjour, etc.) has been updated to version 1.3.9.

The new version, a 21.3 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– 1.6 +Version 1.3.9 (01/11/2010).
– Updated libpurple to fix a security issue with custom emoticons.
– Corrected user icons not updating correctly on Snow Leopard.

Adium X is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run. The program functions as a Universal Binary and runs at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

Rumor: Apple Tablet to Feature Web Cam, 3G Access

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 11th, 2010, 06:09
Category: Rumor

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The nice thing about rumors and leaks: sometimes they’re true.

Per French web site Nowhereelse.fr, an executive with wireless operator France Telecom suggested in an interview Monday that Apple will soon release a tablet equipped with a Web cam, and Orange customers across Europe will be able to use the device.

Stephane Richard simply answered “oui” to a couple of questions Monday about a tablet with a Web cam. When asked if Orange customers will be able to use Apple’s tablet, he said, in French, “of course.”

Richard did not volunteer the information, but rather responded by saying yes to a series of tablet-related questions from journalist Jean-Pierre Elkabbach.

The transcription of the questions went as follows:

Elkabbach: According to weekly Le Point, in a couple of days Apple will be launching its tablet computer…
Richard: Yes.
Elkabbach: …equipped with a webcam.
Richard: Yes.
Elkabbach: Are Orange customers going to be able to enjoy it?
Richard: Of course!

Orange is primarily based in Europe and Africa. It is the fifth largest wireless carrier in the world, with more than 189 million customers.

Apple is expected to announce the long-awaited tablet device on January 27th at its media event at the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco, California. Current speculation has the unit shipping in March.

USB 3.0 Demoed at CES, Initial Peripherals en Route

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Date: Monday, January 11th, 2010, 06:50
Category: News

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Over at CES, Jeff Ravencroft, the president of the USB Implementers Forum discussed the arrival of USB 3.0 and gave a brief demonstration of transfer speeds on a Hewlett-Packard.

The demo proved one thing: USB 3.0 is much faster than the current USB 2.0 protocol, a nearby display showing the one minute four second time necessary to move a 2.1 GB file from a notebook to an external hard drive under USB 3.0 as opposed to two minutes and seven seconds under USB 2.0.

Per CNET, the USB 3.0 standard is more power efficient than USB 2.0 “This uses one-third of the power it would take on USB 2.0,” said Ravencraft, in an interview at CES. “And it’s backward compatible,” he said, meaning it can also handle peripherals that use older USB standards.

On the peripherals friend, hard drive maker Western Digital has announced a new WD My Book based on the USB 3.0 specification with an adapter card, which will make an existing desktop PC USB 3.0-compatible.

Also, cards that go into a laptop’s ExpressCard slot are available, Ravencraft said. This allows an existing laptop to be upgraded to 3.0.

No official word has been made available as to when USB 3.0 ports and peripherals will arrive on Apple’s products.

Greenpeace Cites Cleaner, Greener Apple in Recent Report, Still Points Out Company’s Flaws

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Date: Friday, January 8th, 2010, 07:27
Category: News

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The relationship between Apple and environmental group Greenpeace hasn’t exactly been the most charmed in recent years. Greenpeace’s actions have included creating a mock Apple website, had fig-leaf clad representatives visit the first Apple Store in continental Europe, and “greened” the flagship Apple Store in San Francisco. Radical representatives of the group had been ejected from MacExpo London in 2006 for being disruptive, and Greenpeace had assigned Apple low scores in a 2006 e-waste report.

Per Jim “The Beard” Dalrymple over at LoopInsight, Apple was recently ranked #1 in the top 18 consumer electronics company in terms of reduction or elimination of hazardous chemicals in the manufacture of its products. Making amends, Apple was squeaky-clean across its product line, including desktop and laptop computers, phones, and monitors:

However, Greenpeace is still criticizing Apple to a certain degree. Overall, Apple was in the middle of the pack of companies in terms of overall “greenness.” The organization cited Apple for reducing the number of web pages dedicated to information about its supply chain and future plans for toxic chemical phase-outs.

Apple Updates Knowledge Base Articles to Address iPhone, iDisk Issues

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Date: Friday, January 8th, 2010, 07:57
Category: News

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A recent set of Apple Knowledge Base updates include some useful tips for iPhone and iDisk users alike. The tips, per CNET, focus on users who are managing their SIM cards, connecting to data networks, and managing applications purchased from the App store. Apple also has a tip for iDisk users trying to share large numbers of files.

Without further ado, here we go:

Troubleshooting applications purchased from the App store:
iPhone applications may sometimes either not open, or you may have problems synchronizing them to your iPhone. In these cases there are several things you can try, including reauthorizing iTunes and reinstalling the iPhone application.

Removing SIM card prior to iPhone repair:
Apple has a SIM eject tool for the iPhone, but a standard paper-clip or similar device can also be used. This article covers how to eject the SIM.

iPhone: Troubleshooting Tesco connectivity issues:
UK users have the option of using a Tesco SIM card, and Apple’s suggestion is to review their support documentation for troubleshooting problems.

iPhone: Error message when trying to use a custom Access Point Name (APN):
This article covers an issue where long access point usernames and passwords may prevent the iPhone from connecting, resulting in a “PDP authentication failure” message.

iPod touch: Appears in iTunes but not in Finder or Windows Explorer:
This is standard behavior, because by default “Disk Mode” is not enabled for the iPod. If the iPod cannot be recognized in iTunes at all, see this Apple KB article: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2050

iPod shuffle (3rd generation): Enabling and updating VoiceOver:
This article shows you how to enable voiceover on the latest iPod shuffle, which needs to be done through iTunes. Apple also has provided updates to voiceover, and covers how to install them from here.

iDisk: Sharing more than 500 files with the iDisk web app does not work:
Apple’s iDisk web sharing does not support more than 500 items. If you have more than this you will need to reduce the number, otherwise the number of files you have available will be truncated. The article includes tips on how to better manage large numbers of files so they can be accessed.

It’s not the be all and end all, but it can be useful stuff when you need it.

Intel Releases Core i3, i5 and i7 Processors at CES

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Date: Friday, January 8th, 2010, 07:21
Category: Processors

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Over at CES, Intel released its next generation of processors under the Core i3 brand for low end systems, the Core i5 brand for midrange systems and the Core i7 brand for the fastest systems. The new processors include dual-core laptop chips under the three brands running between 1.06GHz and 2.66GHz, and desktop chips running between 2.93GHz and 3.46GHz.

Per Macworld UK, the new chips are manufactured using the 32-nanometer process, which makes them smaller and more power-efficient than earlier chips. Based on the Westmere architecture, the transistors are a step away from chips manufactured using the 45-nanometer process.

Intel will announce quad-core chips and low-voltage processors based on the architecture later this year, said Sean Maloney, executive vice president at Intel, during a press conference.

Compared to previous generations of processors, the new processors speed up high-end tasks like intense graphics as well as mundane tasks like syncing a music player, Maloney said. Related tasks would run close to two times faster than previous chips.

Intel has also integrated graphics chips into the new processor package, which could make the chips capable of playing Blu-ray movies or high-definition games.

But the graphics processors have some limitations. “It doesn’t go into the high end… you always get a big fat graphics chip with a heat sink on it,” Maloney said.

Laptop responsiveness will also improve with the Turbo Boost mode, which can crank up the speed of cores to boost performance. The technology can also shut down cores when not needed to save power.

Intel launched three Core i3, eight Core i5, and five Core i7 processors for laptops and desktops. Maloney went on to state that there are presently 500 designs based on the new chips and that the chips are available immediately, and many desktops and laptops were on show on the CES show floor at Intel’s booth.

The laptop processors include five Core-i7 chips, including the 620M chip that runs at 2.66GHz and is priced at US$332 for 1,000 units. The slowest chip is the low-power 620UM chip, which runs at 1.06GHz and is priced at US$278. Two Core i3 chip were listed for laptops, including the i3-350M, which runs at 2.26GHz.

The chip’s price was not immediately available. Four Core i5 chips for laptops were also listed, including the Corei5-540M, which runs at up to 2.53GHz and is priced at US$257. A Core i5-520UM low-power chip runs at 1.06GHz and is priced at US$241.

The new desktop processors include two Core i5 and two Core i3 chips. The fastest Core i5 chip is the Core i5-670, which runs at 3.46GHz and is priced at US$284. The fastest Core i3 chips is the Core i3-540, which runs at 3.06GHz and is priced at US$133.

Westmere is based on the underpinnings of the Nehalem architecture, which itself included new features included an integrated memory controllers. Nehalem chips were manufactured using the 45-nm process and introduced late last year.

No official word has been released as to which processors will find their way into future Apple products.

Analyst Claims That Apple Tablet Will Feature Verizon 3G Support

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 7th, 2010, 07:16
Category: News

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Apple’s long-awaited tablet device will reportedly incorporate access to Verizon’s 3G network to connect to the Internet if a WiFi network is unavailable according to Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall in a recent ComputerWorld article. The analyst went on to state that the “tablet will have both WiFi and wireless connectivity and will be available at multiple wireless carriers, including Verizon.”

His assessment is based in part to unnamed sources familiar with the device.

Marshall then went on to concur with recent reports that content will be key for Apple, and the device will be an Ebook reader, a TV viewer, “and more.”

If Apple offers the device through multiple carriers for 3G data, it would be a departure from the strategy the company has heretofore employed for the iPhone, which is limited to one carrier in most markets around the globe. A partnership with Verizon would lend significant credence to reports that Apple and Verizon were in negotiations for an iPhone deal, with the tablet subbing out for the iPhone.

Until then, we’ve got 20 more days until the January 27th media event where the tablet will hopefully be introduced. And if you can’t wait that long, we’ll just pull the car over at the next rest stop so you can get yourself together.

Notebook Users Report Battery Errors Under Snow Leopard, Workarounds/Fixes Suggested

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 7th, 2010, 06:43
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

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Since installing it, I have to admit that I like Snow Leopard and it has yet to kick my pets or burn my apartment to the very ground.

These are good things.

Even so, per CNET, a large number of MacBook and MacBook Pro owners have noticed a problem with the computer frequently displaying a “Service Battery” warning in the battery system menu. This also seems to be coupled with relatively short battery life, either with the battery discharging rapidly or with the computer going to sleep but still reporting high percentage of charge left in the battery. As of the Mac OS 10.6.2 update, affected users are still experiencing the problem.

This problem appears to be an issue with Snow Leopard’s handling of the battery hardware, where the services that are supposed to detect battery problems are incorrectly reporting the battery status, and subsequently triggering the system to go into a precautionary sleep mode or claiming the battery is draining. This theory is backed up by the fact that affected people who have downgraded back to Leopard either by reinstalling, restoring from backup, or even booting off the 10.5 Leopard DVD have not had the problem occur on the same hardware.

A recent TUAW article suggests this behavior stems from Snow Leopard being fine-tuned to reveal existing battery problems that Leopard was not aware of. While this may be the case for some people, the sheer number of people reporting the problem indicates there may be errors in the software. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to discern those with pre-existing battery problems from those with healthy batteries.

In order to address the issue, the article offers the following tips to help sort things out via the mighty Apple Knowledge Base:

Calibrating the battery

Resetting the PRAM

Resetting the SMC

Strangely, the battery issues have cleared for a few users who have just shut down and restarted their systems on a regular basis. While keeping the power supply plugged in to prevent any issued with the battery, they’ve turned off the machine and rebooted to see the battery being normally recognized. This suggests the problem may be with a setting more than a specific bug, that hopefully can be reset by a full restart. MacBook owners may tend to sleep their systems instead of restarting them, which will keep various settings from being refreshed.

Further supporting the claim of software issues in Snow Leopard is that some users have cleared the problem by booting into 64-bit mode. If you do not have any software that requires a 32-bit kernel and system extensions, try booting into 64-bit mode by restarting and holding down the “6” and “4” keys simultaneously. For some the problem has returned when booted back into 32-bit mode, but for others the switch to 64-bit mode has fixed it even when booted into 32-bit mode.

Another suggestion to address this problem is to remove the power management system preferences, which contains parameters that determine how the system will behave when running on either AC power, battery, or a UPS. This file is called “com.apple.PowerManagement.plist” and is located in the /Macintosh HD/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ folder, and can be removed without harming anything. This isn’t a fix, however, and those who have done this have found it only seems to temporarily remove the warning in the battery system menu, and does not address the underlying issue.

Lastly, the issue may lie with the upgrade process itself, where settings for Leopard are not working with Snow Leopard. The temporary successes with removal of the Power Management property list suggests this may be a possibility. As a result, try booting off a clean OS installation of Snow Leopard to test the hardware.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end of have found a fix or workaround of your own, please let us know.

Apple Releases Developer Builds of Mac OS X 10.6.3 Update

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Date: Thursday, January 7th, 2010, 06:31
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple began shipping out a new build of its upcoming Mac OS X 10.6.3 operating system. The new build, labeled “10D522″, weighs in at 665.7 megabyte and, according to AppleInsider, includes a total of 221 code corrections to 92 distinct system components.

Among those components receiving the most attention are AppKit, CoreMedia, Desktop Services, FileSync, Fonts, HIToolbox, iCal, Mail, MobileMe, and QuickTime Player X, those same people say.

Other focus areas automatic spell correction, and fixes for crashes while printing and using AppKit, the Dock, iCal, Mail, Photo Booth, Rosetta, Spotlight, Screen Sharing, and Software Updater.

In total, nearly 60 individual pieces of crash-prone code have reportedly been addressed as of build 10D522.

Apple also reportedly noted four known issues with Wednesday’s beta, including hangs in iTunes, and potential anomalies while updating applications, viewing Display preferences, and navigating the ColorSync Utility Filters tab.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T Cites 3G Network Upgrade Completion, Describes Future Upgrades En Route

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Date: Wednesday, January 6th, 2010, 06:04
Category: iPhone, News

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Even in the wake of rumors that Apple is in negotiations with wireless carrier Verizon, AT&T has reported the successful completion of a nationwide software upgrade program that will enable the company to deliver High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 Mbit technology across its 3G cell sites.

Per AppleInsider, the upgrade is the first of several initiatives to be completed as part of AT&T’s overall network enhancement strategy.

Apple’s iPhone 3GS, which shipped last summer, is already equipped to take advantage of the faster tier of 3G service. At the same time, the company’s network is being criticized by customers for its spotty coverage limitations, particularly in specific areas.

AT&T has stated that the upgrade increases the company’s network efficiency and will help in “generally improving consistency in accessing data sessions” for its customers. Additional work now underway and continuing through the next two years will, the company said, “dramatically increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic connections, adding capacity from cell sites to the AT&T backbone network.”

The initial deployment of backhaul improvements is already underway in the Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami markets. “We anticipate that the majority of our mobile data traffic will be carried over the expanded fiber-based, HSPA 7.2-capable backhaul by the end of this year, with deployment continuing to expand in 2011,” the company said in a statement.

The company said it is designing its new backhaul deployments to accommodate both faster 3G and future “4G” LTE deployments. “AT&T currently plans to begin trials of LTE technology this year, and to begin LTE deployment in 2011, matching industry time lines for widespread availability of compelling devices and supporting network equipment.”