Mozilla releases Firefox 16.0.2 update

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Date: Monday, October 29th, 2012, 06:22
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Hey, an update’s an update.

And it’s usually a good thing.

Late last week, Mozilla.org released version 16.0.2 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 35 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

- Fixed a number of issues related to the Location object in order to enhance overall security.

Firefox 16.0.2 requires an Intel-based Mac running 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.

Revised DMCA allows for unlocking of handsets, other exemptions

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Date: Friday, October 26th, 2012, 07:20
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Legal, News, Software

There’s exceptions to every rule and some of them get pretty interesting.

Per the cool cats at Ars Technica, the Digital Millennium Copyright makes it illegal to “circumvent” digital rights management schemes. But when Congress passed the DMCA in 1998, it gave the Librarian of Congress the power to grant exemptions. The latest batch of exemptions, which will be in force for three years, were announced on Thursday.

Between now and late 2015, there will be five categories of circumvention that will be allowed under the Librarian’s rules, one fewer than the current batch of exemptions, which was announced in July 2010. The new exemptions take effect October 28.

The new batch of exemptions illustrate the fundamentally arbitrary nature of the DMCA’s exemption process. For the next three years, you’ll be allowed to jailbreak smartphones but not tablet computers. You’ll be able to unlock phones purchased before January 2013 but not phones purchased after that. It will be legal to rip DVDs to use an excerpt in a documentary, but not to play it on your iPad.

The first exemption applies to “literary works, distributed electronically, that are protected by technological measures which either prevent the enabling of read-aloud functionality or interfere with screen readers or other applications or assistive technologies.” The work must have been purchased legitimately through “customary channels,” such that “the rights owner is remunerated.”

A similar version of the exemption was offered in 2010, but that one allowed circumvention only if “all existing e-book editions of the work contain access controls” that inhibit disabled access. Disability groups urged the Librarian to drop this restriction, arguing that “despite the rapid growth of the e-book market, most e-book titles remain inaccessible due to fragmentation within the industry and differing technical standards and accessibility capabilities across platforms.” That meant that the rule effectively required disabled users to own multiple devices—a Kindle, a Nook, and an iPad, for example—in order to gain access to a full range of e-books. The Librarian accepted this argument and allowed circumvention by disabled users even if a work is available in an open format on another platform.

The new rules allow circumvention of “computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute lawfully obtained software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications with computer programs on the telephone handset.” In other words, jailbreaking is permitted for “telephone handsets,” as it was under the 2010 rules.

Unfortunately, the Librarian “found significant merit to the opposition’s concerns that this aspect of the proposed class was broad and ill-defined, as a wide range of devices might be considered ‘tablets,’ notwithstanding the significant distinctions among them in terms of the way they operate, their intended purposes, and the nature of the applications they can accommodate. For example, an e-book reading device might be considered a ‘tablet,’ as might a handheld video game device or a laptop computer.”

The Librarian ruled that “the record lacked a sufficient basis to develop an appropriate definition for the ‘tablet’ category of devices, a necessary predicate to extending the exemption beyond smartphones.”

In 2006 and 2010, the Librarian of Congress had permitted users to unlock their phones to take them to a new carrier. Now that’s coming to an end. While the new rules do contain a provision allowing phone unlocking, it comes with a crippling caveat: the phone must have been “originally acquired from the operator of a wireless telecommunications network or retailer no later than ninety days after the effective date of this exemption.”

In other words, phones you already have, as well as those purchased between now and next January, can be unlocked. But phones purchased after January 2013 can only be unlocked with the carrier’s permission.

Why the change? The Librarian cited two key factors. One is a 2010 ruling that held that when you purchase software, you don’t actually own it. Rather, you merely license it according to the terms of the End User License Agreement. The Librarian argued that this undermined the claim that unlocking your own phone was fair use.

Also, the Librarian found that there are more unlocked phones on the market than there were three years ago, and that most wireless carriers have liberal policies for unlocking their handsets. As a result, the Librarian of Congress decided that it should no longer be legal to unlock your cell phone without the carrier’s permission.

The most complicated exemption focuses on DVDs. Between now and 2015, it will be legal to rip a DVD “in order to make use of short portions of the motion pictures for the purpose of criticism or comment in the following instances: (i) in noncommercial videos; (ii) in documentary films; (iii) in nonfiction multimedia e-books offering film analysis; and (iv) for educational purposes in film studies or other courses requiring close analysis of film and media excerpts, by college and university faculty, college and university students, and kindergarten through twelfth grade educators.” A similar exemption applies for “online distribution services.”

The Librarian also allowed DVDs to be decrypted to facilitate disability access. Specifically, it’s now legal “to access the playhead and/or related time code information embedded in copies of such works and solely for the purpose of conducting research and development for the purpose of creating players capable of rendering visual representations of the audible portions of such works and/or audible representations or descriptions of the visual portions of such works to enable an individual who is blind, visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing, and who has lawfully obtained a copy of such a work, to perceive the work.”

But the Librarian did not allow circumvention for space-shifting purposes. While public interest groups had argued that consumers should be allowed to rip a DVD in order to watch it on an iPad that lacks a built-in DVD drive, the Librarian concluded that no court has found that such “space shifting” is a fair use under copyright law.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and, well, enjoy unlocking your handsets.

White and silver iPad minis sell out within hours of pre-order availability

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Date: Friday, October 26th, 2012, 07:57
Category: iPad, News, retail

Well, that was fast.

Per AppleInsider, just hours after the iPad mini became available to preorder at Apple’s online store, the white and silver model sold out is now advertised to ship in two weeks.

While the white model in all capacities is now sold out, as of Friday morning the black and slate version is still advertised to deliver on next Friday, Nov. 2. Cellular-capable models do not ship until mid-November.

Announced this week, the iPad mini is available in sizes of 16, 32 and 64 gigabytes. Like the iPhone 5, it’s available in black and slate, as well as white and silver.

Market watchers have big expectations for the iPad mini, with millions expected to be sold this quarter. Though many expected an entry price lower than US$329, Wall Street analysts believe the iPad mini will justify its price to consumers with superior build quality, strong software, and a huge range of third-party applications available on the iOS App Store.

The iPad mini features a 7.9-inch display and a thinner bezel that allows it to be held with one hand. It’s 7.2 millimeters thin and weighs 0.68 pounds, which is 68 percent less than the full-size iPad.

In the meantime, there’s still the black and slate model…

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad pre-orders open up via Apple online store, retail app – Wi-Fi versions to deliver by November 2nd

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Date: Friday, October 26th, 2012, 07:19
Category: iPad, News

The iPad mini pre-orders have begun.

Per TechCrunch, Apple has Apple has launched pre-orders via its mobile app and online retail store, and shoppers can choose any version of the iPad mini or 4th generation iPad for the first batch of orders. If you want to have one in your hands next Friday, November 2, however, you’ll need to get the Wi-Fi only versions, as the Wi-Fi + Cellular editions ships at least a couple of weeks later, as Apple explained at its event this week.

For U.S. shoppers, the iPad mini with LTE ships “Mid November.” In Canada and other markets, expected lead times show estimated shipping at late November. The 4th Gen iPad also shows “Mid November” in the U.S. and simply “November” elsewhere. Apple hasn’t offered up any specific reasons why the Wi-Fi + Cellular iPads will take longer to arrive, but CEO Tim Cook did talk about the challenges of the manufacturing process for the iPad mini on Apple’s earnings call yesterday, so that could have something to do with it.

Today’s group of pre-order countries includes the U.S., Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K. A few other regions, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Iceland, Liechtentein, Puerto Rico, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, will also have the iPad for sale beginning November 2 at select retailers, but customers in those locales won’t be able to pre-order. That’s a much larger initial launch pool than the 3rd gen iPad’s 12 kick-off markets.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you get your mitts on an iPad mini in the near future, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Apple releases X11 Update 2.6.5, looks to fix X11 crashes under Mac OS X 10.7.5

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Date: Friday, October 26th, 2012, 07:00
Category: News, Software

This could be helpful.

On Friday, Apple released X11 Update 2.6.5, the most recent version of its X11 system for Mac OS X. The new version, a 7.5 megabyte download, resolves an issue that may cause X11 applications to unexpectedly quit under Mac OS X 10.7.5.

The X11 Update 2.6.5 requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later to install and run.

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

OWC Aura Pro fits into 13-inch MacBook Pro via included drive caddy

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Date: Thursday, October 25th, 2012, 20:16
Category: hard drive, Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

This could be nifty.

According to an entry on the OWC blog, the OWC Aura Pro solid state drive fits just fine in Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro’s drive caddy (something new that wasn’t in the 15″ model), and so far everything seems to be running quite solidly.

Albeit there’s still a battery of tests to conduct, the drive seems to work well in the new notebook with no side effects.

Not a bad thing for an SSD unit that’s about US$200 cheaper than Apple’s drive, as mentioned by the mighty Jason over on the Apple Core

If you’ve tried the OWC Aura Pro in your brand new 13-inch MacBook Pro and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

iFixit teardown of 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro finds reconfigured battery layout, Samsung flash drive and soldered RAM

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Date: Thursday, October 25th, 2012, 08:16
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

The long-awaited, mucho-lusted-after 13-inch MacBook Pro has arrived.

And dissected by the cool cats at iFixit.

During its investigation, the company found that Apple redesigned the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro’s battery to “cleverly” hide the solid-state drive underneath the device’s trackpad assembly, iFixit discovered in its disassembly of the new notebook. There’s even an empty space next to the SSD, which the repair site found to be “very un-Apple.”

The solutions provider attempted to fit a 9.5 millimeter Crucial solid-state drive into the space under the trackpad, but it couldn’t be closed. They suggested that a thinner 7-millimeter or 5-millimeter hard drive could fit in the space, which could allow upgrades for even greater capacity than Apple’s flash memory can allow.

The flash storage in the 13-inch MacBook Pro taken apart by iFixit is a Samsung MZ-DPC2560/0A2 unit rated at 3.3 volts and 2.39 amps with 256 gigabytes of storage.

The disassembly discovered that the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro has the same AirPort card as its 15-inch counterpart, while the heat sink has been slightly scaled down to fit into the smaller notebook. Apple has also once again used fans with asymmetrical blade spacing to reduce fan noise.

And like the 15-inch model, the RAM is surface-mount soldered to the logic board, meaning no upgrades are possible. Apple does not offer any more than 8 gigabytes of RAM on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The chips found on the system’s logic board are:
- Intel Core i5-3210M 2.5 GHz processor (Intel HD Graphics 4000 and Turbo Boost up to 3.10 GHz).

- Hynix H5TC4G83MFR DDR3L SDRAM (8×4 Gb front and back for a total of 64 Gb or 8 GB).

- Intel BD82QS77 platform controller hub.

- Intel DSL3510L Thunderbolt controller.

- Texas Instruments Stellaris LM4FS1AH microcontroller with integrated ARM core.

- Hynix H5TC4G83MFR DDR3L SDRAM.

- SMSC USB2512B USB 2.0 Hub Controller.

- Cypress Semiconductor CY8C24794-24L programmable SoC.

- Maxim MAX15119 Apple-specific IMVP7 CPU/GPU power controller.

- Cirrus Audio 4206BCNZ audio controller.

- Texas Instruments TPS 51980.

Another strange inclusion found in the notebook is a flash memory chip on the trackpad board. The same feature is also found in the 15-inch model, but iFixit doesn’t know why a trackpad would require flash memory.

Where repairability was concerned, iFixit found that the 13-inch MacBook Pro is a slight improvement over the 15-inch model in terms of recyclability and repairability, specifically with relation to the removal of the device’s batteries. Still, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display could only earn a repairability score of 2 out of 10.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.2 Update for 13″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display, late 2012 21.5″ iMac and Mac mini models

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 25th, 2012, 07:48
Category: iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro, News, Software

Where new hardware is released, the software updates will follow.

Per AppleInsider, only one day following the announcement of new iMac, MacBook Pro and Mac mini models, Apple on Wednesday released an OS X Mountain Lion update built specifically for those devices.

While the download is called OS X 10.8.2, just like the most recent update to Apple’s current operating system for all other Macs, Wednesday’s release is “for 13″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display, 21.5″ iMac (Late 2012)Mac mini (Late 2012).”

A quick look at the release notes doesn’t yield much in the way of new information, possibly pointing to issues the new 2012 units are facing with some features in 10.8.2. Of note is the update’s compatibility with the 21.5-inch iMac, a model that has yet to be released, though the no mention was made of the 27-inch version.

The update, a 654 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

Facebook:
- Single sign on for Facebook.
- Facebook as an option when sharing links and photos.
- Facebook friends’ contact information and profile pictures in Contacts.
- Facebook notifications in Notification Center.

Game Center:
- Share scores to Facebook, Twitter, Mail, or Messages.
- Facebook friends are included in Game Center friend recommendations.
- Facebook Like button for games.
- Challenge friends to beat your score or achievement.

Other new features:
- Power Nap support for MacBook Air (Late 2010).
- iMessages sent to your phone number now appear in Messages on your Mac.
- From Safari and Mail on your Mac you can add passes to Passbook on your iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 6.
- New shared Reminders lists.
- FaceTime now receives calls sent to your phone number.
- New sort options allow you to sort notes by title, the date you edited them, and when you created them.
- Dictation now supports Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Korean, Canadian English, Canadian French, and Italian.
- The Dictionary application now includes a French definition dictionary.
- Sina Weibo profile photos can now be added to Contacts.

This update also includes general operating system fixes that improve the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac, including the following fixes:
- An option to discard the changes in the original document when choosing Save As.
- Unsent drafts are opened automatically when launching Mail.
- Receive Twitter notifications for mentions and replies from anyone
- URLs are shortened when sending tweets from Notification Center
- Notifications are disabled when AirPlay Mirroring is being used
- SSL support for Google searches from the Smart Search Field in Safari
- New preference to have Safari launch with previously open webpages
- Graphics performance and reliability enhancements
- USB 3.0 reliability enhancements

As always, the update can be located and installed via the Mac App Store or OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

2012 Mac mini teardown, benchmark results revealed

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Date: Thursday, October 25th, 2012, 07:27
Category: Hardware, Mac mini, News

Apple’s made some cool changes to its most affordable computer.

Per Macminicolo and Mac mini vault, a series of teardowns and benchmark tests of Apple’s newly released Mac mini, finding that the small format desktop’s performance is approaching that of legacy Xserves and 2010′s Mac Pro.

Announced on Tuesday at a special event, the new Mac mini is largely seen as an incremental update from last year’s model as it doesn’t feature a new design like the super thin iMac, however the internal upgrades are substantial enough to significantly boost the tiny computer’s performance.

The company noted in a blog post that the most substantial additions to the new machine are Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors and the option to configure up to 16GB of 1600MHz RAM straight from Apple. The entry-level offering now comes with 4GB of memory, which was found to be a major improvement as the previous 2GB standard configuration was just barely enough to run OS X Mountain Lion.

Also of note is Apple’s new Fusion Drive, a hybrid device that uses a solid state drive to maximize read/write times and an HDD to maintain high storage capacity. As Fusion is only offered on the mid-tier Mac mini, Macminicolo believes the US$799 model will be the most popular out of the lineup.

The firm performed a Geekbench benchmark test of the new unit, and found its score to be expectedly superior to previous models.



During the teardown, the companies found that not much has changed besides a different fan design, the move to Hitachi HDDs, and updated antenna connections.

The company also performed an identical Geekbench test, and found that its out-of-the box unit running OS X 10.8.1 (Build 12B2080) scored 7433, compared to a 2011 Mac mini updated to OS X 10.8.2, which scored 6583.

Apple’s new Mac mini is already for sale and starts with a standard $599 configuration powered by an Intel 2.5GHz dual-core i5 chip, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB HDD and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. The most expensive Mac mini comes with OS X Mountain Lion Server, a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of memory, Two 1TB HDDs and Intel HD 4000 graphics.

If you’ve snagged a newly-released 2012 Mac mini and have any feedback to offer about the unit, please let us know in the comments section.

Apple releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.01

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 25th, 2012, 07:20
Category: News, Software

eliphoto

On Tuesday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 4.01, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11 applications.

The update, a 5.3 megabyte download, adds support for the following cameras:
- Canon EOS M

- Canon PowerShot G15

- Canon PowerShot S110

- Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

- Nikon D600

- Nikon 1 J2

- Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ200

- Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G5

- Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX7

- Sony Alpha NEX-F3

- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

The update requires Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later to install and run and is also available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new Digital Camera RAW update and noticed any changes, please let us know how it went.