Dropbox updated to 2.2.8

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Date: Monday, June 24th, 2013, 06:47
Category: News, Software

Don’t look a pretty decent bug fix in the mouth.

On Friday, Dropbox released version 2.2.8 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 23.6 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which adds the following fixes and changes:
- New notifications badge.

- Refactoring of core sync engine.

- Improved memory usage.

- Startup performance improvements.

- Finder icon overlay improvements.

- Fixed an issue that could cause duplicate folders to be created when non-ascii characters are in the folder name.

- Fixed an issue that caused endless syncing when encountering permissions issues.

- Other minor fixes.

Dropbox 2.2.8 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

VirtualBox updated to 4.2.14

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Date: Monday, June 24th, 2013, 06:21
Category: News, Software

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Never knock a steadily updated app.

VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.2.14. The new version, a 150 megabyte download, features the following fixes and changes:
- VMM: another TLB invalidation fix for non-present pages.

- VMM: fixed a performance regression (4.2.8 regression; bug #11674).

- GUI: fixed a crash on shutdown.

- GUI: prevent stuck keys under certain conditions on Windows hosts (bugs #2613, #6171).

- VRDP: fixed a rare crash on the guest screen resize.

- VRDP: allow to change VRDP parameters (including enabling/disabling the server) if the VM is paused.

- USB: fixed passing through devices on Mac OS X host to a VM with 2 or more virtual CPUs (bug #7462).

- USB: fixed hang during isochronous transfer with certain devices (4.1 regression; Windows hosts only; bug #11839).

- USB: properly handle orphaned URBs (bug #11207).

- BIOS: fixed function for returning the PCI interrupt routing table (fixes NetWare 6.x guests).

- BIOS: don’t use the ENTER / LEAVE instructions in the BIOS as these don’t work in the real mode as set up by certain guests (e.g. Plan 9 and QNX 4).

- DMI: allow to configure DmiChassisType (bug #11832).

- Storage: fixed lost writes if iSCSI is used with snapshots and asynchronous I/O (bug #11479).

- Storage: fixed accessing certain VHDX images created by Windows 8 (bug #11502).

- Storage: fixed hang when creating a snapshot using Parallels disk images (bug #9617).

- 3D: seamless + 3D fixes (bug #11723).

- 3D: version 4.2.12 was not able to read saved states of older versions under certain conditions (bug #11718).

- Main/Properties: don’t create a guest property for non-running VMs if the property does not exist and is about to be removed (bug #11765).

- Main/Properties: don’t forget to make new guest properties persistent after the VM was terminated (bug #11719).

- Main/Display: don’t lose seamless regions during screen resize.

- Main/OVF: don’t crash during import if the client forgot to call Appliance::interpret() (bug #10845).

- Main/OVF: don’t create invalid appliances by stripping the file name if the VM name is very long (bug #11814).

- Main/OVF: don’t fail if the appliance contains multiple file references (bug #10689).

- Main/Metrics: fixed Solaris file descriptor leak.

- Settings: limit depth of snapshot tree to 250 levels, as more will lead to decreased performance and may trigger crashes.

- VBoxManage: fixed setting the parent UUID on diff images using sethdparentuuid.

- Linux hosts: work around for not crashing as a result of automatic NUMA balancing which was introduced in Linux 3.8 (bug #11610).

- Windows installer: force the installation of the public certificate in background (i.e. completely prevent user interaction) if the –silent command line option is specified.

- Windows Additions: fixed problems with partial install in the unattended case
Windows Additions: fixed display glitch with the Start button in seamless mode for some themes.

- Windows Additions: Seamless mode and auto-resize fixes.

- Windows Additions: fixed trying to to retrieve new auto-logon credentials if current ones were not processed yet.

- Windows Additions installer: added the /with_wddm switch to select the experimental WDDM driver by default.

- Linux Additions: fixed setting own timed out and aborted texts in information label of the lightdm greeter.

- Linux Additions: fixed compilation against Linux 3.2.0 Ubuntu kernels (4.2.12 regression as a side effect of the Debian kernel build fix; bug #11709).

- X11 Additions: reduced the CPU load of VBoxClient in drag’and’drop mode.

- OS/2 Additions: made the mouse wheel work (bug #6793).

- Guest Additions: fixed problems copying and pasting between two guests on an X11 host (bug #11792).

VirtualBox 4.2.14 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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

Virgin Mobile to carry iPhone 5, will offer contract-free units for $550.

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 21st, 2013, 06:00
Category: iPhone, News

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Wireless carrier Virgin Mobile will be the next U.S. firm to receive Apple’s iPhone 5 next Friday, when the base-level 16-gigabyte model will become available for US$549.99 without a service contract.

According to AppleInsider, upon its June 28 launch, the iPhone 5 will be compatible with the carrier’s “Beyond Talk” plans, which can be purchased for as little as $30 per month. The 32-gigabyte iPhone 5 will be available for US$649.99, while the high-end 64-gigabyte capacity will be US$749.99.

A Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk plan includes 2.5 gigabytes per month of full-speed data at 3G and 4G speeds. Data is throttled after users reach the maximum monthly limit.

The plan is available for US$35 per month with 300 anytime minutes, but Virgin offers customers a US$5-per-month plan discount if they sign up for automatic monthly payments with a credit card, debit card, or PayPal account. That means Virgin Mobile subscribers can obtain a new plan with unlimited messaging and data for US$30 per month.

A jump to 1,200 anytime minutes is US$45 per month, while unlimited calling runs $55 per month. Both are also qualified for the US$5-per-month discount, bringing their prices down to US$40 and US$50, respectively.

Virgin Mobile began offering a 15 percent discount on iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S handsets a month ago. The company first started sales of Apple’s iPhone a year ago, in June of 2012.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Growing number of users cite Wi-Fi connectivity issues with 802.11ac-equipped MacBook Air notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 21st, 2013, 05:15
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software, wireless

To be fair, this is what they invented firmware updates for.

Per Gizmodo, some early adopters of Apple’s latest MacBook Air models have found their new thin-and-light notebook will unexpectedly and repeatedly drop its wireless connection.

A growing discussion thread on the Apple Support Communities website details the connectivity problems being experienced by numerous users. The problems appear to apply to both the 11- and 13-inch varieties of the recently updated notebook lineup.

In addition, an anonymous source from an Apple retail store in London said that their store has had complaints about wireless connectivity for the new MacBook Airs that are “well above average.”

In the thread, users say they’re experiencing the problems across a range of routers, including Apple’s own AirPort accessories. Users say they can initially connect to a Wi-Fi network, but that connection will drop after a short period of use.

At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be an available solution that addresses the problems seen by all users, though some have had success with various routers or even different placement of the MacBook Air.

The updated MacBook Air lineup launched last week at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. In addition to faster 802.11ac connectivity, the notebooks also feature Intel’s latest Haswell processors, helping to enable battery life as great as 12 hours.

The new MacBook Airs are also priced US$100 less than their predecessors, with the new low-end US$999 11-inch model packing 128 gigabytes of flash storage.

If you’ve picked up the new MacBook Air and noticed any issues with Wi-Fi connectivity, please let us know in the comments.

Best Buy recalls select third party MacBook Pro batteries after reports of fires

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 07:37
Category: battery, Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

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The MacBook Pro battery fire issue has reared its ugly head yet again…

Per Macworld, Best Buy has recalled about 5100 replacement batteries for Apple’s MacBook Pro laptops, after 13 reports that the battery caught fire, a U.S. consumer safety agency said.

The ATG lithium-ion batteries can catch fire while charging, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a statement Wednesday.

The recall covers both black and white ATG lithium-ion replacement batteries for MacBook Pro laptops. “Model number ‘MC-MBOOK13B’ is on the label of the black battery and model number ‘MC-BOOK13W’ is on the label of the white battery,” CPSC said. The ATG logo is on both batteries.

Best Buy has received 13 reports that the battery caught fire, including one of a serious burn to a consumer’s leg, according to CPSC.

Consumers have been advised to immediately stop using the recalled battery, remove it from the computer and contact Best Buy for a replacement Apple brand battery or a US$50 Best Buy gift card as a full refund. Best Buy is contacting its customers directly, it said.

Best Buy and Apple could not be immediately reached for comment. The batteries were manufactured in China and imported by a company in Las Vegas, called BTI.

The batteries were sold through Bestbuy.com and Partstore.com, a Best Buy brand, or shipped to customers through the Geek Squad Protection fulfillment at Best Buy from September 2008 through June 2012. A Best Buy spokesman said that it may be one of other companies also selling the batteries, according to reports.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Intel-based MacBook Air batteries show best-ever test results according to Macworld Lab

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Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 06:02
Category: battery, MacBook Air, News

The new MacBook Air batteries have been tested.

And you’ll probably like the results.

Per Macworld, the Macworld Lab has completed its run of tests on Apple’s new battery for its updated Haswell-based MacBook Air notebook. And while Macworld Lab didn’t experience the 12-hour battery life cited by Apple, the tests do show that the new MacBook Air lasts considerably longer than before. The results were better than anything seen before by the lab.

The tests were run with the brightness set to maximum and made sure that automatic brightness adjustment was off, backlit keyboards were off, and Screen Saver was set to never start.

In the first test, the lab looped a movie clip in full screen mode with Wi-Fi disabled. The new 11-inch MacBook Air lasted 6 hours and 6 minutes, compared to just 3 hours and 34 minutes for the 2012 model. The new 13-inch standard configuration MacBook Air lasted 8 hours and 18 minutes, 36 percent longer than the new 11-inch MacBook Air, and 65 percent longer than last year’s 13-inch MacBook Air. Compared to a 2013 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, the 13-inch MacBook Air lasted 75 percent longer.

The lab also ran the tests on “ultimate” configure-to-order (CTO) MacBook Air models from this year and from last year. There wasn’t too much of a battery life hit on the new CTO model compared to the standard configuration; the standard configuration model lasted just 11 minutes longer than the CTO unit that has a faster processor, more RAM, and twice the hard drive capacity. Comparing this year’s CTO “ultimate” to last year’s, they saw that the new model lasted 65 percent longer.

The second run of tests used Futuremark’s free Peacekeeper browser test, which has an option to run the online test repeatedly and report the time at which the system being tested stops responding. This test is much more taxing than the movie playback, using more of the system’s memory and processor. Hence, the lab found that the notebooks couldn’t last as long when running the Peacekeeper test, but did find that the performance still scaled as expected.

In the Peacekeeper tests, the new 13-inch standard configuration MacBook Air lasted the longest at 5 hours and 45 minutes, which was 2.5 hours less than in the movie test. The new 13-inch standard configuration model lasted 41 percent longer than the new 11-inch model and 25 percent longer than the new CTO MacBook Air. It should be pointed out, however, that the CTO Air outscored the new stock 13-inch MacBook Air by about 20 percent in the tasks that Peacekeeper repeatedly runs during its battery test. The new standard configuration 13-inch Air lasted 63 percent longer than last year’s 13-inch MacBook Air and 67 percent longer than the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

The increased battery life is the result of two under-the-hood changes to the MacBook Air. First off, there is more battery capacity. iFixit’s teardown demonstrated that the new models using slightly higher capacity batteries. Second, the new MacBook Air has also switched from using Intel’s third generation Ivy Bridge Core processors to fourth generation Haswell processors. A key difference between the generations is decreased power consumption, which results in increased battery life on the portables it powers.

If you’ve picked up a new Haswell-based MacBook Air notebook and have any feedback about its battery life, please let us know about your experience in the comments.

Pegatron CEO: “Low-cost” iPhone may not be as cheap as expected

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Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 06:02
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News, retail

The long-rumored low cost iPhone may not be as affordable as you’d like it to be.

Per the China Times and Mac Otakara, speaking at his company’s shareholders meeting on Thursday, Pegatron CEO T.H. Tung said Apple’s much rumored low cost iPhone won’t be a budget offering, seemingly confirming speculation that the handset will be sold as a higher-end middle tier device.

Tung disagreed with rumors that called Apple’s lower-end offering “cheap,” saying the “price is still high.”

The executive said products currently on the market can carry a number of names, but “cheap” is not one that should be associated with Apple’s less expensive iPhone. He went on to say that, compared to feature phones, smartphones are increasingly offering more value for the price.

The statements appear to confirm previous reports that Pegatron is handling at least a portion of the as-yet-unannounced iPhone’s manufacture. A report in May claimed Pegatron is reportedly preparing to hire some 40,000 workers sometime in the second half of 2013, adding fuel to the low-cost iPhone fire.

Analysts and media sources are divided as to which of Apple partners will be responsible for the majority of production, with some claiming Foxconn is to pull most of the burden.

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in March said the two companies will nearly split manufacturing duties for the low-cost version, while Pegatron would take on a bigger share of continued iPhone 4 and 4S production.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple TV update offers HBO Go, ESPN, Sky News, other changes

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Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 06:18
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

The new Apple TV update is in.

And it offers some nifty stuff.

Per The Mac Observer, Apple expanded its content lineup for Apple TV on Wednesday when it announced that HBO GO and WatchESPN are both available directly through the home entertainment device. Along with HBO and ESPN, Apple also added Sky News, Crunchyroll and Qello to the Apple TV lineup.

Adding the new stations to Apple TV requires a software update that will install automatically as part of the weekly update check cycle, or you can force the update to install now by navigating to Settings > General > Update Software on your Apple TV.

Earlier this year CW announced that it will be bringing its shows to Apple TV as well. At the time, CEO Mark Pedowitz said viewers won’t need a paid subscription to watch the network’s shows, although he didn’t say exactly when they’ll be available.

HBO GO and WatchESPN require cable TV subscriptions just like other premium channels, so be sure to check with your cable provider and set up a login and password as needed.

If you’ve tried the new update and have any feedback, let us know what you think over in the comments.

Apple releases first OS X 10.8.5 build to developer community

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Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 06:03
Category: News, Software

OS X 10.8.5 development is underway.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Wednesday seeded the first OS X 10.8.5 Mountain Lion beta build to developers, with the latest maintenance update possibly looking to stabilize the operating system ahead of an OS X 10.9 Mavericks launch this fall.

Sources familiar with the beta, dubbed build 12F9, said Apple is asking developers to focus on existing Mountain Lion features, including Wi-Fi and graphics.

The latest beta comes two weeks after Apple issued the OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.4 maintenance update to Mac users, which brought Wi-Fi improvements, compatibility with Microsoft Exchange and a host of bug fixes.

Apple is expected to release the next-generation OS X 10.9 Mavericks this fall, and a preview has already been seeded to the development community.

If you’ve gotten your hands on this build and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Java 2013-004 update for Mac OS X 10.7, 10.8 operating systems

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Date: Wednesday, June 19th, 2013, 05:00
Category: News, security, Software

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A well-timed security update never hurts.

On Wednesday, Apple released its Java 2013-004 update for its Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8 operating systems. The update, a 64 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Java for OS X 2013-004 supersedes all previous versions of Java for OS X.

- This release updates the Apple-provided system Java SE 6 to version 1.6.0_51 and is for OS X versions 10.7 or later.

- This update uninstalls the Apple-provided Java applet plug-in from all web browsers. To use applets on a web page, click on the region labeled “Missing plug-in” to go download the latest version of the Java applet plug-in from Oracle.

- This update also removes the Java Preferences application, which is no longer required to configure applet settings.

The Java 2013-004 update requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7 to install and run. If you’ve installed this new update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.