Google releases Picasa 3.9.0.522 update, adds social networking features

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

picasaicon.jpg

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

Posted by:
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

Posted by:
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.

Apple releases Aperture 3.2.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 14:37
Category: News, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released version 3.2.2 of Aperture, its pro-grade image editing application. The new version, a 635 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Addresses compatibility with iCloud and iOS 5.

- Resolves an issue that could cause the “Loading” indicator to reappear in the Viewer when cropping a photo.

- Aperture now automatically relaunches into Full Screen mode if the application was in.

- Full Screen mode when last quit.

- Pinch-to-zoom gesture now automatically activates Zoom mode in the Viewer.

- Left and right swipe gestures can now be used to navigate between photos in the Viewer.

- Microsoft Outlook can now be chosen in Preferences as the application used by Aperture for emailing photos.

- Fixes a problem that could cause Aperture, running on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, to quit unexpectedly when using brushes to apply adjustments.

- Loupe now correctly displays magnification levels between 50-100%.

- Fixes an issue that could cause Aperture, running on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, to display the incorrect color profile on externally edited images.

- Import window now includes an option to delete photos from iPhone and iPad after they have been imported into Aperture.

- The Lift & Stamp tool now displays the correct cursor icons when being used in Split View and Viewer only modes.

Aperture retails for US$199 and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run. If you have Aperture 3.0 installed, the most recent version can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’re tried the new version and have any feedback, let us know via the comments.

Catcher unibody plant remains closed, odors being examined

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 08:50
Category: MacBook Pro, News

el17.jpg

If they could just get the odors under control, things would be set.

Following up on our previous coverage of assorted odors closing down the Catcher unibody plant, Chinese authorities continue to inspect a factory that produces aluminum casings for Apple’s MacBook laptops, following residents’ complaints of unbearable odors coming from the facility.

Per Macworld, Apple’s MacBook inventories, however, appear so far to be unaffected by the factory’s temporary shutdown, according to one analyst.

In mid-October, Taiwan-based Catcher Technology announced that it had stopped production at its factory in Suzhou, China. Authorities have since been inspecting the factory to ensure its manufacturing processes will not emit any strong odors that will affect nearby residents.

Catcher could not be reached for comment. The company said in a Taiwan Stock Exchange filing on Wednesday that authorities are still inspecting the factory. In an earlier filing, the company said that its October sales revenue would be down by 20 percent, and November sales by 40 percent, if the factory could not be restarted in time.

Local Chinese authorities have been working to improve and test the factory’s waste-gas treatment systems, according to Yee Fang, a spokeswoman with the Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee. The authorities have nothing new to report at this time, she added.

Helen Chiang, an analyst with research firm IDC, said Apple appears to have mitigated the effect of the factory’s outage as it shifted production to its other supplier. “It’s been controllable at this point,” she said. Apple’s MacBook demand for the fourth quarter is also forecast to be less than the third quarter, Chiang added.

Apple declined to comment.

Stay tuned for additional smell-o-riffic details as they become available.

Rumor: Third-generation iPad to be slightly thicker, retain same screen size

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 05:47
Category: iPad, Rumor

There’s a bit of truth to every rumor.

Per Macotakara, Apple’s third-generation iPad will be slightly thicker than the iPad 2, but will have the same 9.7-inch screen size, and will continue to support the magnetic Smart Cover.

Citing an Asian supplier who is allegedly crafting components for Apple’s next iPad, Japanese blog Macotakara reported on Wednesday that the next iPad may be thicker for an “unknown reason.” That means third-party cases that cover the back side of the device will not be compatible with the next iPad.

However, Apple’s first-party magnetic Smart Covers will remain compatible with the third-generation iPad, the source reportedly said. That’s because the new iPad, despite being slightly thicker, will have the same rounded side as the iPad 2.

In addition, two back covers (1, 2) claimed to be from prototype iPad hardware are available for sale on the global commerce site Alibaba.com. The plain aluminum backs do not show an Apple logo.

One reason for a thicker frame on the third-generation iPad could be the components necessary to include a high-resolution Retina Display. Numerous rumors have pointed toward Apple increasing the screen resolution of its iPad with a new model anticipated in 2012.

Apple introduced the Retina Display branding with the iPhone 4 starting in 2010. By packing more pixels onto the same screen size, Apple has boasted that the individual pixels are so small that they cannot be distinguished by the human eye.

In order to include a Retina Display, Apple may adopt entirely new display technology. One report in November suggested Apple would use IGZO displays from Sharp to reach a 330 dots-per-inch screen resolution. But that report claimed the IGZO display would also allow for a future iPad to be thinner, not thicker.

Other reports, however, claimed that Apple would utilize a dual-LED light bar system to illuminate the Retina Display of a third-generation iPad. Apple’s apparent difficulties with the higher resolution displays and new LED backlight designs were said to have already affected the launch schedule of the next iPad.

Some of the confusion surrounding the next iPad coming from Apple’s supply chain could be explained by a report from early November, which alleged that Apple has tasked its suppliers with the development of two tablet projects, code-named “J1″ and “J2.” Both of the new models were said to have different sizes, specifications and technologies from the current-generation iPad 2.

As always, stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

Delicious Library updated to 2.7.5

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 8th, 2011, 05:51
Category: News, Software

deliciouslogo

On Wednesday, software company Delicious Monster released version 2.7.5 of the shareware favorite, Delicious Library. Delicious Monster allows Macs with webcams to scan the bar codes of any book, movie, music CD or video game, then creates an archive based on background information from the Internet. Additional features help keep the library organized and reseller’s tools allow for items to be quickly posted for sale online.

The update, a 16.4 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Easily see which shelves contain your items!

- Use the new “Shelves” column in list view.

- Control-click an item for the new “Show on Shelf” menu.

- Include the set of shelves containing each item when exporting.

- Recognize a larger variety of iTunes audiobook formats.

- Those with old iTunes libraries should, in iTunes, choose File > Library> Organize Library…, selecting to “Reorganize files”.

- Improved display of Nintendo 3DS game boxes.

- French translation improvements, thanks to Fabrice Deville.

- Export directly to Numbers.

- Excel exporter now uses CSV format instead of the ancient SYLK format, providing better support for long values and values in more languages.

- Cover drawing fixes on Mac OS X 10.7 Lion (fixed blurry covers, incorrectdrawing after changing dimensions, and more).

- Many fixes to the importer.

- Accept USB scanners that send EAN-5 along with the EAN-13 barcode.

- We’re aware that some customers have issues using their USB barcode scannerswith Delicious Library. We’d like to address this as soon as possible. Ifyou have a USB scanner (working or not), please email support@delicious-monster.comwith the make and model, and whether or not scans are recognized.

- Work around Amazon returning strange item dimensions (manifesting as coversbeing tiny)

- Better handling of large cover images.

- Strip ColorSync profiles from images when publishing for smaller file sizes.

- Fixed a cause of large memory usage when publishing.

- Add a work-around for an Apple bug in 10.7 that produces invalid HTML when publishing
Enable “Refresh Details from Internet” for items with an EAN or ISBN, butwithout an ASIN.

- Fixed a crash when selecting “Enable Bluetooth Scanning” and Bluetooth isdisabled (Apple’s bug).

Delicious Library 2.7.5 retails for US$40 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Cocktail 5.1.0 (Lion Edition) released

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 13:37
Category: News, Software

cocktaillogo.jpg

On Wednesday, shareware developer Maintain released version 5.1.0 of Cocktail (Lion Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 2.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

- Added “Disable local snapshots” setting (System – Time Machine).

- Added “Disable spelling correction” setting (Interface – General).

- Added “Disable Character Picker” setting (Interface – General).

- Added “Disable the New Window animation” setting (Interface – General).

- Added “Enable mouse over on stacks” setting (Interface – Dock).

- Added “Disable Reply animation” setting (Interface – Mail).

- Added “Disable Send animation” setting (Interface – Mail).

- Added “Disable leather skin in Address Book” setting (Interface – Misc).

- Added “Disable leather skin in iCal” setting (Interface – Misc).

- Addresses an issue in which Cocktail may freeze when trying to gather disk information.

- Addresses an issue in which the journaling state of the case-sensitive HFS+ disks could not be detected.

- Addresses an issue in which improper permissions were applied to the File Sharing logs during the rotation of these logs.

- Other minor improvements and bug fixes.

- Updated Help files.

Cocktail 5.1.0 retails for a US$19.00 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.7 or later to install and run.

U.S. Cellular to hold off on iPhone until 4G LTE functionality arrives

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 09:35
Category: iPhone, News

Sprint may have jumped at the chance to carry the iPhone, but other carriers may have a few requirements. Per Fierce Wireless, carrier U.S. Cellular is not interested in the iPhone, at least not until it has LTE.



Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Ted Carlson, CEO of U.S. Cellular’s parent company TDS, said, “The iPhone for us would need to be at the cutting edge of where we’re going, and then there might be an opportunity to consider it.”

Like other wireless carriers, regional carrier U.S. Cellular is updating its 3G network to 4G LTE. Because its network is small, the carrier will blanket 25 percent of its subscribers in 4G by the end of this year and another 25 percent by the end of 2012. It hopes to cover all its subscribers across 26 states within three years.

U.S. Cellular will sell its first 4G handset and tablet in early 2012 and may pick up the iPhone if it shipped with LTE.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Developers investigate H1Siri hack, recommend avoiding it for time being

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2011, 06:10
Category: iOS, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

You’d love every device in your home — toaster included — to run Siri.

That might not be the best idea.

Per Macworld UK, Jailbreakers and hackers will want to stay away from the H1siri hack that promises to bring Siri voice command functionality to the iPhone 4 and the fourth-generation iPod Touch. Several users and other developers have discovered that the hack actually contains illegal code, could break your device in several ways, and sends your personal information through questionable servers.

The new H1siri hack by a group of Chinese called CD-Dev Team popped up on Cydia yesterday. Since then, users have reported that they have only gotten it work in short bursts due to unresponsive servers, and that in some cases it even breaks their iPhones.

iDownloadBlog originally reported on H1siri with extreme skepticism because it could only be loaded into Cydia as a custom repo package, a package type that notoriously contains cracks and illegal software. Grant Paul, a prominent developer of the JailbreakMe team, confirmed this and discovered that the code contains copyrighted binaries from the iPhone 4s.

Paul also noted that by using this unofficial version of Siri, you would be sending emails, texts, calendar information, and contacts through a proxy server. Siri normally has to access a server in order to do heavy-duty voice command processing, but it’s done through Apple certified and secured servers. These servers, on the other hand, could be unsecured and recording any information you accessed using voice commands.

If you were pondering using the H1siri hack of your devices, this might not be the best idea in the world. The hack no longer works as CD-Dev Team has confirmed that the server is down and could be for weeks. There are other more reputable Siri porting hacks on the way including the one being put together by Grant Paul and Ireland-based hacker Steve Troughton-Smith. Unlike CD-Dev Team, Paul and Smith’s solution will use a third party server to only modify data sent from a unapproved Siri device to Apple’s servers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve found a Siri hack you love that brings the vaunted functionality to a wider base of devices, please let us know.