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.

SpamSieve updated to 2.9.9

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Date: Monday, October 7th, 2013, 08:02
Category: News, Software

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SpamSieve’s about ready for Mavericks.

Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.9.9. The new version, a 10.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- SpamSieve is now compatible with the GM build of OS X 10.9 Mavericks. It is recommended that you update to SpamSieve 2.9.9 before installing Mavericks. If you’ve updated to Mavericks first, and you don’t see the SpamSieve commands in Apple Mail’s Message menu, be sure to choose Install Apple Mail Plug-In from the SpamSieve menu.

- Made various changes to improve SpamSieve’s filtering accuracy.

- Microsoft Outlook 2011’s notification sounds are now available in SpamSieve’s Notification preferences.

- Added the Apple Mail – Server Junk Mailbox script. When it’s not possible to turn off a server-side junk filter (e.g., iCloud’s), this lets SpamSieve save you from mistakes that the server junk filter made by moving any messages that SpamSieve thinks are good back to the inbox. It will also consolidate the spam messages from all the accounts into a single spam mailbox (the same one where SpamSieve is already putting your spam).

- Can now repair the ownership and permissions of the SpamSieve and Apple Mail preferences files if needed. This fixes problems where SpamSieve would lose its registration information or Apple Mail wouldn’t show the SpamSieve menu commands.

- Fixed some problems where the Open Window command in Apple Mail was not available or did not always open the specified window.

SpamSieve 2.9.9 retails for US$30.00 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sees pay cut as result of poor Windows 8, Surface tablet marketplace performance

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Date: Monday, October 7th, 2013, 08:54
Category: News

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This is pretty much unparalleled.

Or at least it’s a decent case of schadenfreude.

Per CNET, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer saw his pay docked this year as a result of the disappointing performance of the company’s Windows Division over the past year.

The Microsoft head received US$1.26 million in compensation for fiscal 2013, with US$697,500 of that in base salary and US$550,000 in bonuses. Ballmer’s “incentive plan award” for 2013, which is calculated by the Microsoft board, was only 79 percent of the total he could have gotten, while in 2012, the Microsoft chief received 91 percent of his eligible incentive award.

The reason for the pay dock: the continuing poor sales of devices running Windows 8 the spectacular failure of the company’s Surface RT device. Microsoft’s latest operating system has underperformed since its launch, and the firm’s fiscal 2013 proxy statement points to those shortcomings.

The report cites “weakness in the consumer PC market,” a continuing issue for Microsoft as consumers increasingly turn away from traditional PC form factors in favor of smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android. Microsoft has sold more than 100 million Windows 8 licenses since the platform’s launch, but that is well below what the company had expected.

Adding to the Windows Division’s woes, the Surface RT device Microsoft rolled out last year met with middling reviews and virtually nonexistent consumer demand. Microsoft eventually wrote down US$900 million worth of unsold inventory. The company has since shown off new versions of its tablet devices, but the poor performance of the last generation still dragged on Ballmer’s compensation.

All told, the sales woes for the PC market and product launch costs for Windows 8 and Surface resulted in an 18 percent decline in Windows Division operating income.

The report is not entirely negative regarding Ballmer, as it notes that “the Committee and Board believe Mr. Ballmer is underpaid for his role and performance.” That feeling, though, was insufficient to earn the Microsoft chief his full incentive payment. A number of other Microsoft managers received 100 percent of their incentive payments, including COO Kevin Turner and CFO Amy Hood. The head of the Servers and Tools unit received 105 percent of his eligible award, as that division pulled in more than US$7 billion.

Ballmer shocked the tech world some weeks ago by announcing that he will leave Microsoft within the next year, and the company’s search for a successor is ongoing.

RadioShack, Walmart, Best Buy all offering iPhone 5c at $50 discount

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Date: Monday, October 7th, 2013, 07:40
Category: iPhone, News, retail

No one ever said price-based competition was a bad thing.

Per AppleInsider, following a move by big box retailer Best Buy, RadioShack and Walmart have announced they too will be slashing prices on Apple’s mid-range iPhone, the iPhone 5c, putting the on-contract price for the device at or below US$50.

The two retailers revealed their discount prices for the iPhone 5c on Friday, with RadioShack announcing that it will begin matching Best Buy’s iPhone 5c deal on Saturday. In-store iPhone 5c purchasers will be able to get a US$50 gift card applicable toward the purchase of their device. For an on-contract 5c, that will bring the cost to US$50. RadioShack’s promotion will run through November 2.


iphone5ccolors

Meanwhile, Walmart has announced that its already discounted iPhone 5c will now sell for US$45. In dropping the price to US$45, Walmart has knocked nearly 50 percent off of an on-contract price that was already US$20 lower than the cost to purchase the phone through Apple and most other outlets.

Friday’s announcements mean the polycarbonate-backed iPhone 5c is now available for US$50 or less at three retailers: Best Buy, RadioShack, and Walmart. Customers taking advantage of those deals are still eligible to participate in the iPhone trade-in programs available at all three chains, earning up to $300 in store credit for an older model iPhone. The trade-in initiative is only available in select locations.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Skype for iPhone, iPad updated to 4.13, receives iOS 7 UI overhaul, other fixes

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Date: Monday, October 7th, 2013, 07:51
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

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On Monday, Skype released version 4.10 of its iOS app.

According to 9to5Mac, the new version includes the following fixes and changes:
- Refreshed look and feel for iOS 7.

Accessibility improvements, including:
- Improved accessibility of dialpad with touchtype support.

- VoiceOver announces the senders name when messaging.

- VoiceOver improvements for group chats.

- General fixes

The update, available as a free download from iTunes, requires iOS 5.0 or later to install and run and is suitable for all iPhones from the 3GS onward as well as all iPads and iPod Touches from 3rd Gen up.

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

Apple releases OS X 10.9 “Mavericks” Golden Master to developer community

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Date: Friday, October 4th, 2013, 07:16
Category: News, Software

maverickslogo

Mavericks could be just around the corner.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, just hours after releasing the first build of OS X 10.9 Mavericks without a “Developer Preview” label to AppleSeed members, Apple has issued the official “Golden Master” version of OS X 10.9 Mavericks to all developers.

A Golden Master build is the same, official version of software that will be released to customers. The fact that Apple has released the GM build to developers almost guarantees users will see the release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks sometime this month. OS X 10.9 Mavericks will introduce over 200 new features, notably iBooks for Mac, Maps for Mac, tabbed Finder, iCloud Keychain, Tags, and more.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.