Intel demonstrates Light Peak port technology for HD video streams

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Date: Thursday, May 6th, 2010, 04:48
Category: News

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PC Pro is reporting that Intel has been demoing a laptop running the company’s “Light Peak” connectivity standard initially offering transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps in both directions. The company previously demonstrated the technology using a prototype Mac Pro motherboard last year, but has now reduced the required hardware to fit inside a laptop enclosure.

The demonstration laptop was sending two separate HD video streams to a nearby television screen, without any visible lag. The laptop includes a 12mm square chip that converts the optical light into electrical data that the computer understands.

Intel’s chief technology officer, Justin Rattner, claimed that the bandwidth afforded by the optical technology is practically unlimited. “Light Peak begins at 10Gbits/sec, simultaneously in both directions,” he said. “We expect to increase that speed dramatically. You’ll see multiple displays being served by a single Light Peak connection. There’s almost no limit to the bandwidth – fibers can carry trillions of bits per second”.

Intel has touted Light Peak as a possible replacement to USB, Firewire, and display connectors in the future, and notes that the hardware should become available to computer manufacturers by the end of this year.

Apple releases iPhone OS 4.0 beta 3 to developers, focuses on orientation lock and iPod features

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Date: Wednesday, May 5th, 2010, 03:23
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apple released the third beta of its upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 firmware to developers on Tuesday. The new build, specified as build 10M2247, closely follows the release of beta 2 just two weeks ago. Both last year’s iPhone OS 3 and the 3.2 release for iPad went through five beta cycles before being released publicly.

iPhone 4 is expected to be release to the public in June for iPhone and iPod touch users, with an iPad version due for release in the fall.

Shortly after being published on Apple’s developer site, the new update was pulled temporarily to fix an issue believed to be related to an installation problem according to Gizmodo.

The new beta makes it easier to quit apps running in the multitasking drawer by giving each icon a red quit quit button, similar to the Home screen method of uninstalling apps with a touch.

Also new is a widget controller for iPod music playback, and an orientation lock that works similar to the physical switch on iPad. However, since the iPhone’s user interface is oriented toward portrait by default, with apps supporting landscape only optionally, the lock only sets orientation in portrait.

In contrast, the iPad presents no default orientation, making the lock more important and functional in both landscape and portrait directions.

The beta 3 release still does not support push messaging features for remote location, messaging, lock, or secure wipe as Apple prioritizes its beta releases to be relevant to the issues developers face in testing their apps with the new firmware.

Stay tuned for additional details as they come in and if you’ve had a chance to play with the new beta, let us know.

Survey: 28% of women blame Blackberrys, iPhone for intrusions into love life

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 5th, 2010, 03:20
Category: Fun, iPhone

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You might want to put the gadgets away a bit more often.

Per Telegraph.co.uk, a recent survey indicated that 28% of women claim that email and Internet are disrupting their love lives, with hand-held devices particularly to blame.

Other factors which prevent couples enjoying intimacy include long working hours (55%), tiredness (83%) and being too busy (74%).

The research by pharmaceutical firm Bayer also shows that many women are missing their sexual peak by a decade and that more than one in two feel sexiest during their 30s, yet two in three have the most sex in their 20s.

One in ten women say their fear of pregnancy inhibits them in the bedroom, with one in five women admitting they shun contraception.

The survey found that on average British women have sex 1.4 times a week, but six in ten women aged between 25 and 34 would like a more active sex life.

51% of women believe they reach their sexual peak in their 30s, but 66% say they had their most sex during their 20s.

65% say their partners do not make enough effort in the bedroom, however, one in three women never initiate sex and always let their partner make the first move.

Four in ten women say it only takes a compliment to put them in the mood for sex, while one in three saying having more time to themselves would boost their sex life.

Perhaps disappointingly, more than a third of women say they have not felt sexy for at least a month and 14% claim they have never felt sexy.

Personally, I’m not pointing any fingers here and I’d like to think that the Blackberry users are letting the ladies down more than the iPhone users, though I’d have no proof to back it up.

Either way, put the iPhone down once in a while. And remember to do some sit ups and bring her a delicious sandwich once in a while.

Because everyone loves a good sandwich.

Carbon Copy Cloner updated to 3.3.1

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Date: Wednesday, May 5th, 2010, 03:19
Category: Software

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Late Tuesday, Carbon Copy Cloner, the shareware favorite for drive cloning operations by Mike Bombich, has released version 3.3.1 of the program. The new version, a 3.6 megabyte download, adds the following changes:

- Addressed an issue in which CCC was not properly aborting a scheduled task when the target volume disappeared, which would result in files being copied to the startup disk.

- Documentation and support are also now built-in to CCC. Answers are just a click away — choose “Ask a question about CCC” from CCC’s help menu to tap into Bombich Software’s online support community.

- CCC provides a more detailed alert panel when choosing to run a task with the “Delete items form the target that do not exist on the source”. The icon of the target disk along with details about capacity and disk usage will help prevent users from inadvertently selecting the wrong volume as a target.

- Added “?” help buttons in many dialogs that present common error conditions. These buttons link to more detailed information in the documentation about these error conditions and how to resolve the issues.

- Scheduled tasks now present a dialog upon successfully completing so you can tell that CCC is actually running your tasks as scheduled. For people that liked the old behavior, these dialogs can be shown only when errors occur.

- Addressed an issue in which CCC was unable to create an Authentication Credentials installer package on the MacBook Air.

- Several minor usability enhancements

- Scheduled tasks that were missed because the source disk was absent will now be initiated when the source disk reappears. Previous versions of CCC would only initiate a missed task when the target volume reappeared.

- Several enhancements around the handling of disk images:

- Resolved an issue in which CCC might be unable to unmount a disk image if antivirus or other software kept files on the disk image open.

- Resolved an issue in which the “Backup everything” cloning method failed in some cases when CCC was unable to determine the number of files on the volume (this looked like a failure to write the excludes file)

- Resolved an issue in which the target volume’s label would sometimes appear incorrectly at the boot picker on startup

- Resolved an issue in which CCC was unable to perform authenticated tasks on some Tiger machines (if the /Library/LaunchDaemons directory does not exist).

- Fixed an issue in which aborting a running scheduled task would abruptly end any other running scheduled tasks.

- Fixed an issue in which biweekly-run tasks would run weekly.

- Addressed a situation in which the CCC.log might not be readable by non-admin users.

- Scheduled tasks that end successfully, but with non critical errors, now present a dialog reporting the errors.

- Fixed an issue in which the CCC synchronization engine would report “mknod” errors.

- Addressed a minor performance issue with displaying the list of items to be copied for the startup volume.

Carbon Copy Cloner 3.3.1 retails for a US$10 shareware registration fee. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

Apple releases Epson 2.3.1 printer drivers update for Snow Leopard

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Date: Tuesday, May 4th, 2010, 06:32
Category: Software

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Late Monday, Apple released an updated version of the Epson printer drivers for its Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) operating system. The update, a 688.2 megabyte download, includes the latest Epson printing and scanning software for the operating system.

The Epson 2.3.1 printer drivers require Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new drivers and have any feedback to offer, please let us know.

Apple alters Chinese iPhone Wi-Fi protocol to adopt government standard

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Date: Tuesday, May 4th, 2010, 04:36
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple fought for years to break the iPhone into the Chinese marketplace and appears to be doing what it takes to stay there.

Per Macworld UK, the company appears to have tweaked its iPhone to support a Chinese security protocol for wireless networks. This follows suit as companies increasingly adopt Chinese government-backed technologies and standards to stay on the nation’s store shelves.

The move suggests Apple may soon launch a new version of the iPhone in China with Wi-Fi, a feature that regulations previously barred.

Chinese regulators last month approved the frequency ranges used by a new Apple mobile phone with 3G and wireless LAN support, as noted by China’s State Radio Monitoring Center. The device appears to be an iPhone and uses GSM and the 3G standard WCDMA, just like iPhones currently offered in China by local carrier China Unicom.

Apple removed Wi-Fi on the iPhones now sold in China because regulators there began approving mobile phones with WLAN support only last year. These units are only supported if they use a homegrown Chinese security protocol called WAPI (WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure).

The new Apple phone does support WAPI, according to the Chinese regulatory site. If an iPhone with WAPI goes on sale, Apple would be one of the highest-profile companies to offer a device using the protocol.

The new Apple phone may also support standard Wi-Fi. The Chinese security protocol is an alternative for just part of Wi-Fi, and devices can support both it and the technology it is meant to replace.

China has promoted the protocol, along with other homegrown technologies like the 3G standard TD-SCDMA, as part of a vision to produce more of its own technology and have it adopted by international companies.

Earlier this year, China Unicom chairman and CEO said the company was in talks with Apple about offering a version of the iPhone with Wi-Fi.

The new Apple device, like all mobile phones, still must obtain a network access license from regulators if its maker wants to sell it in China.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

MacBook owners report continued freezes with hard drives, workarounds offered

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Date: Tuesday, May 4th, 2010, 04:49
Category: hard drive, MacBook

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For a while now, assorted MacBook owners have noticed an intermittent 30-second freeze on their notebooks. Per CNET, this has usually been accompanied by a small clicking sound, indicating a problem with the hard drive. Apple addressed this issue by releasing a hard drive firmware update, but it appears similar problems are persisting.

Over on the Apple Discussion Board, a number of users are still complaining of random freezing in their MacBooks. Unfortunately there does not seem to be much of a unifying theme to the freezes. Previously, the problem would happen for a 30-second interval and then unfreeze; however, currently some systems are not unfreezing, and others are showing more erratic pauses.

While another firmware fix may be in order, the following tips have been offered regarding the issue:

“Boot into Safe Mode:
Doing this will prevent any third-party extensions or applications (i.e., hardware or network monitoring utilities) from launching at bootup, which may be contributing to the problem, especially if they’re not fully compatible with the most recent OS update.

Troubleshoot applications and user settings:
Along with Safe Mode (especially if Safe Mode shows promising results), you can test your software setup by quitting or removing various applications you have installed. A number of people have had issues with various programs, including those that synchronize with network resources (i.e., Mail managing a corrupt RSS feed, or the third-party TextExpander tool having problems with MobileMe).

Application-specific problems may be from problems with your user account, so try creating a new one, logging in with it, and testing the various programs you use. If the problem continues then your account’s settings are not to blame, and it’s likely a reinstallation of the application will help. Specific applications to look for include those that run in the menu bar (called “Menu Extras”) and system or application add-ons such as Internet plug-ins, audio-units, and system “haxies”.

Run a SMART checker:
Apple’s Disk Utility will check the SMART status of internal drives (seen at the bottom of the window with the drive device selected); however, I recommend you use another utility as well. The SMART measurements that each utility reads can vary, so using another one may help. Ones that can at regularly or continuously check the SMART stats such as SMARTReporter or SMART Utility may be particularly beneficial for monitoring changes when the hangs occur.

Run general maintenance:
Clearing system caches and running maintenance scripts may help these situations, so try using a cleaning application such as OnyX, Yasu, Cocktail, or [Snow] Leopard Cache Cleaner (among others) to run these routines. Additionally, you may consider reapplying the latest “Combo” updater for your OS version, which can be searched for and downloaded from Apple’s support site. Run these maintenance routines and the combo installer after booting into Safe Mode to ensure minimal interference when they are running.

Along with clearing caches, perform both a PRAM reset and SMC reset to ensure hardware controllers are using proper settings.

Downgrade or reinstall:
Some users have had success either by downgrading to a previous version of OS X, or by reinstalling the system altogether. First make sure you have a full backup of your system (cloning, or with Time Machine), and then boot off the installation DVD. Try a standard installation to perform a default “Archive and Install”, and if that does not work, first run Disk Utility to fully partition and reformat the hard drive before running the installer. Then use Migration Assistant to restore your files and settings from the backup. With a fresh copy of OS X installed, run the latest “Combo” system updater for the desired version of OS X.

If these do not help either fix or indicate the root of the problem, you can further test your hardware setup in the following ways:

Remove all peripheral devices:
Either conflicts between devices, or the inability to power all devices connected to your system may be a reason for pauses and slow-downs. To troubleshoot, just disconnect them all (printers and USB hubs included) and reboot your system. If this shows improvement, try reconnecting them one at a time to test each, and then try alternate ways of connecting them to your system (use as little daisy-chaining as possible).

Boot off an external drive:
If you have an external hard drive handy, try installing your OS to it and booting off of it. It would be preferable to use a system cloning utility such as Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper and do a block-level clone since this will preserve your current OS installation and software setup as much as possible. Boot to the drive (hold the “Option” key at startup to get to the boot menu) and see if that shows similar pausing behaviors. When doing this, use Disk Utility to fully unmount the internal drive so the system does not interact with it. If the pauses do not persist, then your internal drive may be faulty, or there may be incompatibilities between it and the system’s firmware.

Change the internal drive:
Pending the results of testing your drive by booting off an external one, you may have to replace your internal drive. While Apple updated the hard drive firmware for the initial freezing problem with MacBook computers, there is no telling whether Apple will do this again. Your best bet in the event of a hardware malfunction or incompatibility would probably be to make a clone of your drive (make two for extra precaution) and then replace the drive and clone your data back.”

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

Dev-Team unlocks iPad 3G, posts hack online

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 3rd, 2010, 07:02
Category: Hack, iPad

You can try to keep people from jailbreaking Apple’s newest devices.

Or you can take up shoveling water for fun and profit.

Neither effort will really get you anywhere.

Per iHackintosh, the iPad 3G was officially jailbroken with video proof released only a few hours after its launch. According the the article, the Dev-Team has released the “Spirit” jailbreak, which allows you to jailbreak all models of iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch running the latest firmware versions available.

Also, the authors note that “On iPad, all this is still sort of beta,” and as such if anything goes wrong you might need to restore.



Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iFixit posts results of iPad 3G teardown, finds changes to antenna structures

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Date: Monday, May 3rd, 2010, 04:22
Category: iPad, News

If a new Apple product comes out, you tear it apart and report the findings.

The cool cats at iFixit did exactly this by performing a full teardown of Apple’s newly-released iPad 3G tablet, which went on sale in the U.S. on Friday. Per the report, the following discoveries were made:

- The immediate visible difference is the inclusion of a black plastic RF window on top of the iPad for better antenna reception.

- The black RF window significantly changes the opening procedure. You cannot start separating the display using the notches on the top (à la the Wi-Fi version), since that will undoubtedly break the RF window. You have to start from the right side and gingerly proceed to the top and bottom of the iPad.

- There are actually FIVE antennas in this iPad.

- Two antennas handle the cell reception — one is in the RF window on top, the other attaches to the LCD frame.

- A single GPS antenna is also housed in the RF window on top.

- Just like the iPad Wi-Fi, there are two antennas that handle Wi-Fi / Bluetooth connectivity, one in the Apple logo and another to the left of the dock connector.

- Apple looks to be using the entire LCD frame as an antenna. This approach draws parallels the company’s decision to also mount a wireless antenna to the frame of the optical drive on its new MacBook Pro notebooks.

- Apple uses the same 3G baseband processor in both the iPhone 3GS and the iPad 3G.

- The baseband processor in question is the Infineon 337S3754 PMB 8878 X-Gold IC. It was actually white-labeled on the production unit, but with enough sleuthing iFixIt was able to confirm its true identity.

- The iPad 3G has a Broadcom BCM4750UBG Single-Chip AGPS Solution, whereas the iPhone 3GS uses an Infineon Hammerhead II package.

- Apple did not change any major suppliers between manufacturing the pre-production unit they provided the FCC and their final production run.

Analyst: Apple reportedly sells 300,000 iPad 3G units over launch weekend

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 3rd, 2010, 03:29
Category: iPad, News

Following checks with 50 Apple retail store locations, analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray issued a note to investors on Sunday declaring that Apple had sold about 300,000 iPad 3G units, complete with preorder sales.

Checks with 50 Apple retail stores have led one prominent analyst to predict Apple sold about 300,000 iPad 3G units, including preorders, over the device’s first weekend of sales. If correct, Munster’s assumption would have the iPad 3G sell as many units in its first weekend as the Wi-Fi-only iPad sold on its first day in early April.

Per AppleInsider, Munster said supply was limited on launch weekend, with 49 of 50 stores surveyed sold out of the iPad 3G by Sunday. The analyst said he now believes Apple has sold more than 1 million iPads, which suggests his previous estimate of 1.3 million sales in the June quarter may be conservative.

The launch of the 3G-compatible iPad also helped sales of Wi-Fi-only iPads, with those models sold out at most Apple retail locations as well. Munster said he believes the sellouts are due to stronger-than-expected demand and lower-than-intended supply.

“Near-term, this may put downward pressure on launch day/weekend statistics, but long-term we see it as a positive, as consumers are definitely interested in the iPad as a new category,” Munster wrote. “In the first several quarters, we believe Apple will sell about 60% wi-fi only iPads and 40% 3G models.”

Though he admitted his estimate of 1.3 million sales for the quarter is likely conservative, Munster has not revised his estimate, citing uncertainty surrounding the 3G and international launches. Strong demand and short supply forced Apple to delay the launch of the iPad overseas until late May.

Retail checks after the Wi-Fi-only iPad’s first day of sales in early April inspired the analyst to increase his forecast of first-day sales to between 600,000 and 700,000. That estimate proved to be too aggressive, as Apple quickly announced it had sold 300,000 on the device’s first day, and topped 500,000 by the end of its first week.

Munster later conceded that he was too optimistic in his estimates, and revised his total 2010 iPad sales forecast to 4.3 million. The analyst continues to believe that Apple’s latest product will be a success with strong consumer demand.

Customers who preordered Apple’s iPad received theirs in the mail on Friday, while Apple’s U.S. retail stores began selling the device at 5 p.m. on Friday. The 3G iPad models carry a US$130 premium over their Wi-Fi-only counterparts, and offer no-contract data plans with the AT&T 3G network. The 16GB iPad 3G model retails for US$629, the 32GB capacity for US$729, and the high-end 64GB offering for US$829.