Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.8 update

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Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 15:32
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a steadily updated app.

Microsoft on Tuesday released version 14.3.8 of its Microsoft Office 2011 suite for the Mac. The update, a 113 megabyte download, features the following changes:
- This update fixes critical issues and also helps to improve security. It includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code. For more information about this update, please visit the Microsoft Web site.

- Applies to: Office 2011, Office 2011 Home and Business Edition, Word 2011, Excel 2011, PowerPoint 2011, Outlook 2011, Office for Mac Standard 2011 Edition, Microsoft Office for Mac Home & Student 2011, and Microsoft Office for Mac Academic 2011

The update can also be located and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate feature.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.8 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

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

Why the Mac (still) beats the PC

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Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 08:25
Category: Apple, Opinion

Christopher Laincz, Ph.D., is director of the LeBow Ph.D. Program at Drexel University, and associate professor in LeBow’s Department of Economics and International BusinessI’m publishing this guest blog by Dr. Christopher Laincz, because I couldn’t agree more with his opinions. If you don’t agree, be sure to read the pro-PC counter-point article by his colleague Mark Eyerly and sound off in the comments below.

I find myself in a strange town, and I want a cup of coffee. I see a Starbucks and some local dive. I choose Starbucks.

Here’s why: When you walk into Starbucks, you know exactly what you’re getting; and, they’ll customize it to your taste. If they make an error, they fix it immediately. I expect a good experience right from the start.

On the other hand, the local dive might prove great, but it might serve bug-infested sludge.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “risking a dollar or so on the local dive’s coffee is no big deal.” Sure. But when it comes to computers, it’s much riskier. You could easily spend $1,500 on some crappy PC. Perhaps for an extra $500, you could take home a (beautiful and better-designed) Mac with similar specs.

Why do I spend more on a Mac? Because Macs are better. In fact, the quality-adjusted price actually makes the Mac the better deal. PCs can be made in any Joe’s garage – and too frequently are – hence the hardware quality is a crapshoot. The Windows environment is fraught with holes and issues. Ever try to get service help for your PC? Ugh.

Furthermore, I do not need or appreciate my computer warning me at every turn about this risk or that issue. Just fix it, dammit! I’m busy with my own work. I don’t have time to invest in searching for the answers to every PC/Windows security or design flaw that crops up.

This isn’t a problem I encounter on my Mac. Apple takes care of maintenance and quality-control, so I am willing to pay for that. Buy a PC, and the maintenance and quality-control risks are on you. You may have paid less for the hardware up front, but over time you’ll pay with time, money and frustration to keep the thing functioning and not destroying your own tireless efforts.

Mac products stay way ahead of the Windows environment in terms of innovation and user-friendliness. I blame the PC/Windows marriage from hell.

The Justice Department brought an anti-trust suit against Microsoft for abusing its market power to kill off Netscape (which it did successfully). One of the punitive options in front of the Justice Department was to break Microsoft up into two companies: operating system (Windows) and software (MS Office).

Had the Justice Department gone with that option, the software would have been thrown into a more competitive environment. But it didn’t, and as a result the Office Suite has not evolved much.

Some complain that Apple excludes other products from seamless integration with its own. Sure, that may be true, but for me it isn’t a problem.

After falling in love with my 4-year-old MacBook Pro (which I’m using right now), I got a Mac desktop for my home, another for the office, and I just added the iPhone.

Digital bliss.

Christopher Laincz, Ph.D., is director of the LeBow Ph.D. Program at Drexel University, and associate professor in LeBow’s Department of Economics and International Business. He’s actually pretty down-to-earth for a Mac-toting academic.

Apple working on upcoming OS X 10.9.1 bug fix, attaches “Syrah” code name to OS X 10.10 project

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Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 07:32
Category: News, Software

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This is just how quickly software development moves.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has apparently dubbed its future OS X 10.10 operating system “Syrah” (a type of wine), which they’ve begun seeding to Apple employees for internal testing as of early September.

While it’s been reported that Apple is targeting a redesign of the OS X interface to mimic iOS 7′s new look for OS X 10.10, the current nightly builds are said to be nearly identical to the Golden Master version of OS X Mavericks. It’s unlikely that 10.10 seeds will gain new user-facing features or interface elements until well into development. Apple software engineering teams typically work on several projects independently, then pull them in all-together into the new operating system ahead of seed milestones.

Emphasizing the fact that OS X 10.10 is still very early in development is its current build number. It’s been said that OS X 10.10 has seen approximately 30 seeds so far in development. For comparison, the first OS X Mavericks Developer Preview was build 476, while the first OS X Mountain Lion and Lion Previews were build numbers in the 100s range and 400s range, respectively. Nonetheless, it is likely that Apple is targeting a release of OS X 10.10 for sometime in 2014.

As OS X Mavericks moved to Golden Master status (the state in which the OS is ready to ship and/or be installed on new Macs), Apple moved a fair portion of its Mac software engineering resources onto its OS X 10.10 project. Other people on the team, however, are said to be working on updates to the OS X 10.9 Mavericks track. Apple is said to already be closing in on a point-release update (OS X 10.9.1) to Mavericks with bug fixes and perhaps the ability to block iMessages and FaceTime calls from certain users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: iTunes Radio to roll out in Canada, Australia, U.K. and New Zealand in early 2014

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Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 07:29
Category: iTunes Radio, Rumor

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iTunes Radio will be hitting a wide array of international markets in the next few months.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog and Bloomberg, iTunes Radio is also set to start early next year in Australia and New Zealand, where Pandora already operates, said sources who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. Nordic countries are also being targeted in the same time frame, the people said.

Apple is moving faster than Pandora because it forged agreements for international rights with Vivendi SA (VIV)’s Universal Music Group and other record companies, said one of the sources. Pandora, which doesn’t have such deals, relies on rights granted by government entities, limiting service to the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

While it makes sense for Apple to start small with English speaking countries, Apple executive Eddy Cue recently said that Apple wants iTunes Radio to be a global entity.

“One of our top priorities is to bring iTunes Radio obviously here in the U.K. but everywhere in the world,” Cue explained in an interview last week. “We certainly want to be in more than 100 countries.”

Cue noted that Apple is thus far “very pleased” with the rollout of iTunes Radio. Remember that Apple noted in a press release two weeks ago that over 11 million unique users had already given iTunes Radio a spin in the first few days the feature became available.

As a final note, keep in mind that Bloomberg’s sources are anonymous and any rumors involving Apple should always be taken with a grain of salt, especially when they involve the often murky world of music licensing.

Stay tuned for additional details as we get them.

Apple to announce Q4 2013 earnings on October 28th

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Date: Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 06:55
Category: Finance, News

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The financial results are coming.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday announced that it will release its fourth fiscal quarter results immediately following the close of the stock market on October 28.

The results, which cover the company’s operations from July through September, will include the first full week of sales for the company’s sales record-breaking iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

As usual, Apple will conduct a conference call to discuss the financial results on Monday, October 28, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. PT / 5:00 p.m. ET. In the last quarterly call, Apple reported earnings of US$6.9 billion on sales of 31.2 million iPhones, 14.6 million iPads, and 3.8 million Macs. That quarter saw Apple doing US$35.4 billion in total revenue.

The forthcoming call will likely give investors and tech industry observers some notion of just how well Apple’s newest iPhones are doing. The devices sold nine million units in just their first three days of availability, and investors will be eager to see how that may impact Apple’s bottom line. The new iPhones, though, were only on sale for the last ten days of the quarter, and their true impact may not be fully felt until Apple’s Q1 FY14 reporting.

Apple, though, did appear encouraged by the performance of its newest handsets. Following the launch weekend for the iPhone 5s and 5c, Apple revised its earnings guidance upward. The company expects its earnings to be near the high end of its previously provided range of US$34 to US$37 billion. It also believes its gross margin will fall at the higher end of its previous range of between 36 and 37 percent.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.