Google releases Picasa 3.9.0.522 update, adds social networking features

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Date: Friday, December 9th, 2011, 12:52
Category: News, Software

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On Friday, software giant Google released Picasa 3.9.0.522, the latest version of its photo organization program for the Mac. Once installed, Picasa imports (without moving or copying) photos from the iPhoto library as well as other folders and external hard drives on your Mac. The program also includes assorted editing tools for straightening, text generation, red eye removal, collage creation and Photoshop-like effects and adjustments. The new version, a 33.1 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Added ability to upload to Google+: share with circles, post pictures to your stream, and upload images at original size.

– Social Tagging: name tag people in your Google+ circles and notify them via G+.

– New photo editing effects, including:
Infrared
Lomo-ish
Holga-ish
HDR-ish
Cinemascope
Orton-ish
Sixties
Invert Colors
Heat Map
Nightvision
Cross Process
Posterize
Duo-Tone
Boost
Soften
Vignette/Matte
Pixelate/Focal Pixelate
Focal Zoom
Pencil Sketch
Neon
Comic Book
Border
Rounded Edges
Drop Shadow
Museum Matte
Polaroid

– Side by side editing: compare two pictures side-by-side, or compare different edits on the same picture.

– Updated RAW support for pictures from newer cameras.

– Support for WebP files.

– On the Tools > Experimental menu, we’ve added support for migrating your database to another local drive.

– Improvements to Face Movie maker: number of photos included, chronological ordering.

– Sync now uploads unshared albums privately.

– Improved restoring of virtual albums when you uninstall and reinstall, or move to a new computer. Album data is written to the picasa.ini file now, along with all of your other edits.

– OAuth support: use 2-factor accounts without getting an application-specific password.

Picasa 3.9.0.522 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

iMac 2TB hard drive build-to-order delay reduced to 2-4 weeks

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Date: Friday, December 9th, 2011, 06:00
Category: iMac, News

Hang on a bit longer and you’ll get the 2-terabyte internal hard drive you want.

Per AppleInsider, custom-built iMac desktops with 2-terabyte hard drives now have a shipping estimate of 2 to 4 weeks, suggesting Apple has seen its stock of high-capacity hard drives improve.

The story broke a week ago that Apple’s build-to-order iMacs with 2TB hard drives had an estimated shipping time of 5 to 7 weeks. Though Apple didn’t comment on the situation, the lengthy and uncharacteristic delay was potentially the first sign of the company being hit by a lingering global hard drive shortage.

But just a week later, shipping times for 2TB iMacs have already improved to between 2 and 4 weeks, indicating that any hard drive shortage seen by Apple may be short lived.

While shipping times have improved, there is still quite a bit of a delay with an estimated 2 to 4 week shipping time. For example, a custom-built iMac with a 256GB solid-state drive has a shipping estimate of just 2 to 4 business days.

Apple’s shipping time for desktops with higher-capacity hard drives may be a result of flooding in Thailand, which has caused disruption in the hard drive supply chain, including Western Digital and Seagate. About 14,000 factories have been shut down and more than 600,000 people were put out of work by the devastating floods.

Western Digital announced last week that it had resumed hard drive production in Thailand. But industry watchers expect the industry-wide hard drive shortage to linger well into 2012.

Just this week, IHS predicted that the flooding in Thailand would cause a shortfall of nearly 4 million total PC units in the first quarter of calendar 2012. The research firm also reduced its projected total PC sales in 2012 from 399 million to 376 million, partly due to the hard drive shortage, as well as weakening demand.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Third-generation iPad to arrive in February

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Date: Friday, December 9th, 2011, 05:18
Category: iPad, Rumor

You’ve got to admit this: The rumor mill never stops churning.

Per Business Insider, Citigroup has stated that Apple’s next-generation tablet device is on schedule for a February, 2012 launch.

In a research note released on Thursday, Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner says that Apple will be ready to debut the next iteration of the company’s hugely successful tablet as early as February.

Gardner notes that sources within Apple’s Asian supply chain have seen increased iPad parts orders for the March quarter, attributing the ramp-up to the “launch of a new iPad with double the screen resolution on the current model.”

The analyst cites several sources who have confirmed the early 2012 launch, and notes that “there do not appear to be any significant technical hurdles remaining” to meet a February release date.

Rumors have been swirling as to when an anticipated “Retina Display” iPad will break cover, with some alleging that Apple has seen technical setbacks in combining high-resolution panels with LED backlighting. Reports have claimed that the company will employ a dual-LED lighting system to overcome brightness issues seen by the high-dpi displays, which a November rumor indicated as possibly being IGZO panels sourced from Sharp.

The most recent rumors have come from an Asian supplier saying that the new tablet will sport a thicker case design than the iPad 2, but will retain the same 9.7-inch screen size allowing it to be compatible with existing Smart Covers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.