United Airlines Begins Wi-Fi Rollout

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Date: Friday, October 9th, 2009, 06:02
Category: News, wireless

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United Airlines this week began deploying Wi-Fi on some of its flights. Per the Chicago Tribune, the rollout will at first cover longer flights between California and New York and should have 13 Boeing 757 planes in United’s fleet offering Internet access by mid-November. Like similar approaches from Virgin and other airlines, the new approach is based on Aircell’s Gogo technology and shares a 3G cellular connection (typically EVDO Revision A) with the entire cabin over a Wi-Fi hotspot in the plane itself.

All the proposed flights so far will be long-haul trips and so will use the higher end of Gogo’s existing pricing plans. Those with notebooks or netbooks will pay US$13 for access during the entire flight, while owners of iPhones and other handhelds/smartphones pay US$8 for the same period. Voice over IP remains off-limits as a consideration for other passengers.

Echoing the strategies of Delta and US Airways, United so far is using the service in trial form and will wait for feedback before it decides to bring Wi-Fi to all of its flights.

Apple Releases iPhone OS 3.1.2 Update

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Date: Friday, October 9th, 2009, 06:49
Category: iPhone, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released version 3.1.2 of its iPhone OS firmware. The update, which weighs in at over 200 megabytes and can be downloaded by attaching your iPhone to your Mac or PC, clicking the device in iTunes, then clicking the “Check for Update” button, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Resolves sporadic issue that may cause iPhone to not wake from sleep.
– Resolves intermittent issue that may interrupt cellular network services until restart.
– Fixes bug that could cause occasional crash during video streaming.

The update also leads to a small carrier update from AT&T for American users.

If you’ve installed 3.1.2 and noticed any changes, for good or ill, please let us know what you think.

Strange Keyboard/Spaces Bug Found in Snow Leopard

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Date: Thursday, October 8th, 2009, 05:17
Category: Software

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Maybe Apple will fix it in Mac OS X 10.6.2.

Per CNET, a strange bug is still hassling users taking advantage of Spaces in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. When another Space is selected using the keyboard shortcut, the Spaces selection window freezes on screen and disables the keyboard for typing.

The issue is described over on the Apple Support Discussions thread by poster “neu242”:
“A couple of times a day, the keyboard stops working when I select another space using a keyboard shortcut. It does not happen every time I switch spaces.

Symptoms:
The Spaces selector stays on-screen, it doesn’t fade away as usual
The keyboard is unresponsive for regular typing (such as in a text document or in Terminal)
I can still use keyboard shortcuts to move to another space
The Keyboard Viewer still shows keys as I type them
The mouse and touchpad works as it should

The only thing that makes the keyboard responsive again is either a reboot, or performing a standby + resume.”

Another thread shares similar issues. Some users have reported that by unplugging their keyboard (for those using external keyboards) and plugging it back in they regain functionality. The only other workarounds that seem to help are the ones described in the post by “neu242”.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or have found a workaround or fix of your own, please let us know!

Mophie Announces Trio of New Chargers/Adapters for iPhone, iPod

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Date: Thursday, October 8th, 2009, 04:07
Category: Accessory, iPhone, iPod

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Accessory outfitter Mophie announced the launch of three new charging devices geared towards charging iPhones, iPods and other USB-charge compatible devices. Per iPodNN, the first product is a US$15 Low-Profile USB Car Charger which plugs into a vehicle’s power socket and provides a single USB outlet.

The company also released a new Dual USB Wall Charger that provides two USB ports for powering or charging two different items from one AC outlet. The device plugs into wall sockets only and features a folding design for better portability and retails for US$20.

Finally, the company also introduced a dual application charger works in the car and home, the Car and Wall International Charger. The device has a swiveling arm for connecting to car power sockets at odd or difficult angles. It provides USB power from a car socket, wall socket and can work internationally with Mophie’s International Adaptor Power Kit. The charger goes for US$25 and the International Adaptor Travel Kit retails for US$15.

RadTech Announces ClearCal Anti-Glare Sheets for iMac, MacBook Pro

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Date: Wednesday, October 7th, 2009, 07:05
Category: Accessory, iMac, MacBook Pro

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Accessory provider RadTech announced the immediate availability of its ClearCal anti-glare film sheets for the 17-inch MacBook Pro and 20-inch iMac on Wednesday. Per The Mac Observer, In addition to cutting glare from Apple’s glossy displays, the film sheets also help reduce the visibility of fingerprints and streaks.

ClearCal sheets are reusable and can be cleaned with water.

The sheets’ sizes are available for the 13″, 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pro, along with the 20″ and 24″ iMac and the 24″ LED Cinema Display. Pricing starts at US$19.95.

Rumor: Foxconn to Manufacture Apple Tablet

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Date: Wednesday, October 7th, 2009, 04:32
Category: Rumor

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Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer who has partnered with Apple on numerous products, is now rumored to have secured the production of Apple’s anticipated tablet device. Per DigiTimes, Foxconn is rumored to be manufacturing an Apple tablet device according to “market sources”. The device is expected to be for sale in the first quarter of 2010, with an alleged initial shipment of 300,000 to 400,000 devices. No fixed price was given.

“The sources indicated they believe the tablet PC features will focus more on e-book functionality rather than music, and that based on Apple’s marketing strategy, long battery life, quick Internet connectivity and an easy-to-use user interface will be key features of the device,” the report said.

It also claimed that the device will sport a 10.6″ display. Additional speculation included the detail that Foxconn would obtain panels for the tablet from its subsidiary, Innolux Display.

As Apple reportedly prepares to launch its own tablet, other hardware makers are allegedly doing the same as well. The report said that sources expect HP and other computer manufacturers to debut their own tablet-style touchscreen devices soon after, in the second quarter of 2010.

The long-awaited tablet is rumored to include 3G functionality and will run on a custom chip built by P.A. Semi.

The information regarding marketing the tablet as an e-reader would seem to bolster recent reports that Apple has reached out to publishers and gained their interest in reproducing content on the device.

VirtualBox 3.0.8 Released

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Date: Wednesday, October 7th, 2009, 03:22
Category: Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 3.0.8. The new version, a 62.9 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:
– VMM: fixed 64 bits guest on 32 bits host regression in 3.0.6 (VT-x only; bug #4947).
– VMM: fixed a recompiler triple fault guru meditation (VT-x & AMD-V only; bug #5058).
– VMM: fixed hang after guest state restore (AMD-V, 32 bits Windows guest and IO-APIC enabled only; bug #5059).
– VMM: fixed paging issue with OS/2 guests.
– VMM: fixed guru meditation in rare cases (2.0 regression; software virtualization only).
– VMM: fixed release assertion during state restore when using the Sound Blaster 16 emulation (bug #5042).
– Security: fixed vulnerability that allowed to execute commands with root privileges.
– Linux hosts: fixed runtime assertion in semaphore implementation which was triggered under certain conditions (bug #616).
– Linux hosts: change the default USB access mode on certain distributions (bugs #3394 and #4291).
– Linux hosts: on hardened Gentoo, the VBoxSVC daemon crashed by opening the VM network settings (bug #3732).
– Linux hosts, Solaris hosts: pass the XAUTHORITY variable along the DISPLAY variable when starting a VM from VBoxManage or from the VM selector (bug #5063).
– Linux hosts: use sysfs to enumerate host drives if hal is not available.
– Solaris hosts: fixed a bug which would hang the host sporadically as interrupts were not re-enabled everytime.
– Solaris hosts: fixed a kernel panic with bridged and host-only networking (bug #4775).
– Solaris hosts: fixed incorrectly persistent CD/DVD-ROMs when changing them (bug #5077).
– X11-based hosts: support additional function keys on Sun keyboards (bug #4907).
– Mac OS X hosts (Snow Leopard): fixed problem starting headless VMs without a graphical session (bug #5002).
– Mac OS X hosts: fixed problem listing host-only adapter names with trailing garbage (attached VMs won’t start).
– Windows Additions: now work with Vista 64-bit Home editions (bug #3865).
– Windows Additions: fixed screen corruption with ZoomText Magnifier.
– Windows Additions: fixed NPGetUniversalName failure (bug #4853).
– Windows Additions: fixed Windows NT regression (bug #4946).
– Windows Additions: fixed VBoxService not running if no Shared Folders are installed.
– Linux Additions: implemented ftrunctate (bug #4771).
– VRDP: start VM even if configured VRDP port is in use.
– Networking: the PCnet network device stopped receiving under rare conditions (bug #4870).
– VBoxManage: implemented controlvm vrdpport command.
– iSCSI: fixed issue with NetApp targets (#5072).
– SCSI: add support for virtual disks larger than 2TB.
– USB: fixed potential crash when unplugging USB2 devices (bug #5089).
– NAT: IPSEC did not properly work with Linux guests (bug #4801).

VirtualBox 3.0.8 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Apple Seeds First Mac OS X 10.6.2 Build to Developers

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Date: Tuesday, October 6th, 2009, 05:33
Category: Software

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A recently released build of Apple’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.6.2 operating system reveals a slew of changes, fixes and tweaks according to AppleInsider.

A pre-release build of the next update to Mac OS X 10.6 was seeded to developers Monday, bringing a long list of changes, fixes and tweaks.

People familiar with the latest build, dubbed 10C514, said the latest update has general focus areas that affect just about every facet of the operating system, from the applications like the Address Book and QuickTime, to services like Spotlight and Time Machine, and basic hardware functions like USB and Bluetooth. The disk image has a 445.4MB file size.

The update reportedly features dozens of areas of change, including fixes for AppleScript, graphics drivers, Xtype, OpenCL and more.

The pre-release build also allegedly comes with a handful of known issues, including hang-ups with the DVD player, crashing of the parental controls preference pane, and a glitch where the system does not recognize an optical drive.

Monday’s build is the first that Mac OS X 10.6.2 has been seen by developers.

Adobe Working on Tools to Create Flash-Based Apps for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Tuesday, October 6th, 2009, 05:18
Category: News, Software

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Adobe announced on Monday that its developers will be able to use an upcoming version of its Flash Professional software to create apps for the iPhone and iPod touch. The announcement, made at the company’s Max developer conference in Los Angeles, coincides with the unveiling of its Flash Player 10.1.

According to Macworld, Flash Player 10.1 will be operable with a large number of smartphones, though none of them currently include the iPhone. Apple’s smartphone doesn’t run Flash in any form, and Monday’s announcements don’t change that. What has changed is the ability of Adobe developers to use the Flash platform to build standalone apps for Apple’s mobile devices.

New features in the upcoming Flash CS5 Professional will allow developers to write applications and compile the code to run on the iPhone and iPod touch. Applications can target the iPhone OS 3.0 and later.

“We are ecstatic to announce that we’re enabling you to use your Flash development tools to build applications and compile them to run natively on the iPhone,” said John Loiacono, head of Adobe’s Creative Solutions business unit, who made the announcement at Adobe Max.

A public beta of Flash CS5 will be available on Adobe’s Web site later this year and the final shipping version could arrive anywhere between March and September of 2010, according to Adobe’s typical upgrade cycle. The CS5 version will contain a feature that allows developers to export Flash’s native FLA files to IPA, the iPhone app format.

Developers can create brand new content, or repurpose content they’ve already built, for the iPhone. “In some ways it’s more exciting, because they can actually charge for the apps and get revenue coming in,” Voltmer added. “Apple’s going to be excited because they’ll see more revenue from all these new developers; and end-users get more choices.”

Though Adobe is still unable to offer a standard Flash Player for the iPhone or iPod touch because Apple’s license terms prohibit plug-ins for the built-in Safari browser, these new Flash apps are different: iPhone apps built with Adobe Flash Professional CS5 don’t include any runtime interpreted code. The applications would go through the same approval process, and follow the same rules and procedures, as other iPhone apps to be sold in the App Store.

Flash Player 10.1 is due in beta form later this year and final form in the first half of 2010, will be available for many smartphones: Google Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm WebOS, and Nokia Symbian. Adobe holds out hope that eventually, Flash will arrive in its full form on the iPhone, in spite of complaints about the mobile version from the very top of Apple. “We do know that people are looking to have a Flash-enabled experience on their iPhone,” Voltmer said, “But it’s really up to Apple to finalize that and to let us get that working. We’d love to work with Apple, but Apple does control the hardware, and at this point we’re waiting for them.”

Recent NPD Group Report Finds Mac Market Share up to 12% in U.S. Households

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Date: Tuesday, October 6th, 2009, 05:59
Category: News

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If you’ve been having the market share debate with your friends for years (if not decades), this may come as a welcome surprise. Per an article on The Loop, nearly 12% of U.S. computer-owning households now own a Mac according to the NPD Group’s second annual Household Penetration Study. The new report places the market share up three percentage points from the market-research firm’s 2008 findings.

According to the report, 72% of those Mac users have laptops, and are very likely to live in mixed environments, a staggering 85% of those Mac users surveyed also own a Windows-based PC and 66% of those households contain three or more computers, compared with 29% for Windows households.

Those in Mac households are also greater consumers of consumer electronics. The survey found that 63% of Apple households own an iPod, compared to 36% of overall computer owners. 32% own a DSLR camera (versus 12%), while 18% own a 50+” LCD TV (versus 8%).

The report went on to explain that Mac households tended to make more money and thus had additional income for gadgets. In a statement accompanying the report, Stephen Baker, NPD’s vice president of industry analysis, wrote, “36% of Apple computer owners reported household incomes greater than $100,000, compared to 21% of all consumers. With a higher household income, though, it’s not a surprise that those consumers are making more electronics purchases.”

He also said that Apple households own twice as many consumer electronics devices—48—as the average computer household.

The results come from a survey of more than 2300 of NPD’s online panelists.