Apple Seeds Latest 10.6.2 Build, Includes Bug Fixes for Fusion 3.0, iMacs, Retains Atom Support

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Date: Thursday, November 5th, 2009, 04:59
Category: Software

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Apple has released the most recent build of its upcoming Mac OS X 10.6.2 operating system update. Per AppleInsider, sources familiar with the build, titled 10C540 have said that it contains fixes for AirPort performance issues on the newly released iMacs and also resolves a problem which arose when plugging and unplugging a system to an Apple TV. A VMWare fix is also included, presumably for the newly released Fusion version 3.0.

The new build also fixes reported panic issues with USB, Apple Filing Protocol, and some video cards.

In the 10.6.2 update, Apple plans on fixing and tweaking nearly 150 OS X components.

Some components slated for fixes include: AppleBacklight, Battery Menu, Dictionary, Expose, FileSync, Family Controls, Fonts, Front Row, HFS, Inkwell, iPhoto, MobileMe, OpenCL, Parental Controls, QuickTime, Screen Sharing, Spell Checker, Spotlight, Time Machine, and USB.

The new build also reportedly restores support for Intel’s Atom processor, which was said to have been blacklisted and might not be supported in the update given its popularity in the “Hackintosh” community.

Mac OS X 10.6.2 is expected to be released sometime this month and will reportedly be around 480 MB in size.

Adium Updated to 1.3.8

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Date: Thursday, November 5th, 2009, 04:36
Category: Software

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Adium, the open source instant message chat client with support for multiple programs (including AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! Google Talk, Bonjour, etc.) has been updated to version 1.3.8.

The new version, a 21.4 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Updated pidgin-facebook chat, fixing login.
– Corrected the Events preferences not displaying the correct list on Snow Leopard.

Adium X is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The program functions as a Universal Binary and runs at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

Parallels Desktop 5.0 Released

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 4th, 2009, 10:26
Category: Software

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Parallels Desktop 5.0 for Mac shipped today, its developer citing that the latest version of the virtualization software runs 64-bit Windows 7 22% faster than its nearest competitor on a MacBook Pro. Per AppleInsider, the developer said that the tests, conducted by Crimson Consulting Group, also found that the new Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac is up to 300% faster for virtual machine operations than its predecessor. In addition, 3Dmark 2006 Professional test scores perform up to 7 times better for 3D and graphics performance.

The latest version of Parallels Desktop boasts more than 70 new features, including a new “Crystal view” mode, which can make Windows completely disappear. The new software also allows users to enable Apple multitouch trackpad gestures such as pinch, swipe, and rotate within Windows.

Other new features include:

– Full support for Aero in Windows Vista and 7 through Windows WDDM driver, including Aero Flip 3D.
Virtual machine size automatically optimized for best performance with Parallels Compressor.

– Improved performance for Linux guest OS from KVM paravirtualization.

– A more Mac-like experience in Windows applications through Apple trackpad gestures technology, horizontal scrolling and the application of full-screen active corners and curl page effect.

– Copy and paste fidelity for formatted text and complete layouts including images, even between Windows and Linux guest OSes.

– Freedom and flexibility to run Windows and Mac applications across multiple monitors.

– Seven times better graphics performance for games and 3D applications than the previous version with Direct X 9Ex with Shader Model 3 and OpenGL 2.1 support.

– Superior graphics performance for Linux guests through OpenGL 2.1 support.

– Full hardware resources can be utilized with support for 8 virtual CPUs, 64-bit Windows and Snow Leopard Server 64-bit.

– Easily move PCs (including Windows 7) and third-party virtual machines to the Mac with the enhanced Parallels Transporter.

Parallels is also offering users a free trial of the software, which is available now in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish, and localized versions in Chinese, Czech, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish and Russian are expected in the coming weeks.

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac retails for US$79.99, requires Mac OS X 10.4 later to install and run and includes US$175 worth of additional software: Parallels Internet Security 2009 by Kaspersky with a one-year subscription, Acronis Disk Director Suite 10.0, and Acronis True Image Home 2010.

Some MacBook, MacBook Pro Users Report Overheating Under Snow Leopard

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Date: Wednesday, November 4th, 2009, 04:30
Category: MacBook, MacBook Pro

A number of MacBook and MacBook Pro users are reporting that their systems running inordinately hot after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, causing their fans to work exceptionally loud. According to CNET, users in this thread on the Apple Support Discussions forums focus the issue primarily on MacBook Pros, though some scattered entries from MacBook owners suggest the issues may be noticed in many of Apple’s notebooks.

Users’ machines tend to run extremely hot, causing the fans to cycle at a high rate and deplete battery power at an accelerated clip. ASD forum user “Ryan83” reports:

“Fans running constantly at 6000 RPM without any program running – – just letting it idle or running solely iTunes. iPhoto 09 unusable – – when you edit in full screen – – the screen shows colored artifacts all over. Internet has been very spotty and misbehaves.”

Similar symptoms are reported by many of the thread contributors. Typically, CPU usage will spike when users do media-heavy actions with their systems, such as editing photos with Photoshop, cutting movies with Final Cut Pro, or watching media online at sites like YouTube or Hulu. Some users suggest that it could be a hardware issue with the actual fans, though this is unlikely (at least at first). Because most users report the problem after their upgrade to Snow Leopard, chances are it is a software issue. If left unattended, the problem could eventually lead to the fans, logic board, or other hardware becoming corrupt.

Some things to check :
– Be sure all your programs are Snow Leopard compatible. Several users reported that updating the notification utility, Growl, to the Snow Leopard ready version, 1.2, solved their overheating issues. Users should open Activity Monitor (Applications > Utilities) and take a look at any background processes that may be running. If any of those programs are not Snow Leopard compatible, they could be causing the excessive CPU usage and heat production.

– When in doubt, especially if you are under AppleCare, taking your machine to an AppleCare Authorized Technician or an Apple Store is a good idea. You will want to avoid any future damage to your hardware as soon as possible. Keep in mind that a solution may involve reinstalling Snow Leopard. Be sure you have a stable and current backup of all your important data. As we have mentioned in recent articles, the 10.6.2 update for Snow Leopard is expected very soon and includes (based on information from beta releases) a myriad of fixes that may include a solution to the overheating issue. When the update is made available, drop by MacFixIt to get a rundown of all the included fixes.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or found a workaround or fix of your own, please let us know in the comments.

AT&T Files Suit Over Verizon “Map” Ads

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 4th, 2009, 04:46
Category: iPhone 3GS, Legal

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Ad campaigns will always be snarky, but there are some areas you don’t want crossed. Per AppleInsider, AT&T has filed suit over Verizon’s “There’s a Map for That” advertising campaign, claiming Verizon is misrepresenting AT&T’s coverage areas.

The suit seeks a temporary restraining order and a injunction to stop Verizon from “disseminating misleading coverage maps” of AT&T’s areas of cellular and data coverage. AT&T is also seeking damages in the suit.

The “Map” advertisement displays two competing 3G coverage maps, in which the Verizon coverage area is clearly more widespread than AT&T’s coverage area. The suit contains an AT&T commissioned survey of the ads which found that 53% of those asked interpreted the non-colored areas of the maps to be total gaps in coverage.

AT&T cites that the company had previously contacted Verizon directly on Oct. 7, requesting that the ads be withdrawn or modified, according to the suit. Verizon responded by dropping the words “out of touch” from the ads and included the phrase “Voice & data services available outside 3G coverage areas” in small print at the end of the advertisements.

The complaint lists two TV spots currently airing, dubbed “College” and “Bench,” as well as a print advertisement that has run in various publications.

“The map attributed to AT&T shows large swaths of white or blank space, as if these are areas in which AT&T has no coverage whatsoever,” the suit reads. “By depicting AT&T’s non-“3G” coverage as white or blank space in the map used in Verizon’s print advertisement, consumers are being misled into believing that AT&T’s customers have no coverage whatsoever and thus cannot use their wireless devices when they are outside of AT&T’s depicted coverage area.”

The complaint was filed Tuesday in an Atlanta, Ga., federal court, and requests a temporary restraining order against Verizon to prevent the ads from continuing to air. The suit notes that the ads are airing during the “most vigorous and important marketing season for the wireless industry.”

AT&T claims that the ads in their current form convey the message that AT&T has no coverage in the areas that are blank on the 3G maps that are shown. AT&T contends that the 2.5G (EDGE) network is available in a much wider area, so to imply that there is no coverage is misleading.

According to Reuters, Verizon has responded, saying that the suit is without merit and the advertisements are intended to show 3G coverage only: “The ads in question clearly state that voice and data services are available outside 3G areas.

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009, 06:40
Category: News

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If two technology companies each worth billions to their assorted stockholders can’t resolve a longstanding issue, then they should publicly insult each other.

According to Gear Diary, Adobe has cast the blame on Apple, changing its Flash download page to display the following text on iPhone and iPod touch units:

Listen up, you may want flash but you can’t have flash- at least not on this device. Why? Don’t blame us. It is certainly doable to enable flash on this thing but Apple RESTRICTS the technology needed to make it happen. And until Apple changes their policy you are out of luck. Seriously, we WANT to give you Flash. It would be our pleasure to give you Flash. We are ready to give you Flash. Seriously! But Apple won’t let us. Adobe – Good. Apple- Bad.

I’m staying tuned until next week when the two companies begin with the “Yo Mamma” jokes, which can only help raise their stock prices.

Rumor: Apple Looking Into Creating $30/Month iTunes TV Subscription Service

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009, 05:10
Category: iTunes, Rumor

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If you want additional television content over iTunes, you might not have that much longer to wait.

Per MediaMemo, Apple has reportedly reached out to TV networks in recent weeks with a proposed US$30/month subscription plan to deliver content via iTunes — a service it hopes to launch in early 2010.

Citing multiple sources, the article stated that Apple’s subscription proposal is not based on any specific piece of hardware, like the Apple TV or forthcoming tablet. Rather, the plan would stick with the existing iTunes desktop software.

“Apple has told industry executives it wants to launch the service early next year,” the report said, “but I have yet to hear of a single programmer that has made a firm commitment to the company, which has tasked iTunes boss Eddy Cue with promoting the idea.”

If anyone does bite, the first expected is Disney, of which Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder. Disney was the first to allow its content on iTunes and saw tremendous early success.

Kafka said that industry executives are “intrigued” by the prospect of a subscription plan on iTunes, as they are looking for new revenue streams as advertising returns diminish. However, cable networks are concerned about sacrificing existing relationships with providers like Comcast, and all content providers are worried that advertising revenue could decrease if live viewership shrinks.

“So Apple’s proposed subscription service, which the company has floated in the past, is no longer a huge stretch,” the report said. “Says one executive briefed on the company’s plans: ‘I think they might get it right this time.'”

Apple has been long rumored to provide a subscription option for TV content. In August, Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray senior research analyst, said he believes that Apple would release a new Apple TV in conjunction with a subscription TV account. But the agreements necessary to offer a subscription service would take some time.

“Apple could leverage its deep library of content with many network and cable channel content owners to provide unlimited access to a sub-library of its TV shows for a standard monthly fee ($30 or $40 per month),” Munster writes. “Such a product would effectively replace a consumer’s monthly cable bill (~$85/month) and offer access to current and older episodes of select shows on select channels.”

Last week, the Apple TV software was updated to version 3.0. Improvements included a newly redesigned interface, support for iTunes Extras and iTunes LP, and streaming Internet radio.

Onyx 2.1 Out the Door

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Date: Monday, November 2nd, 2009, 10:32
Category: Software

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Onyx, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.1. The new version, a 12.1 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Very many modifications in this version of Onyx. They relate to primarily compatibility with Snow Leopard.
– No installer anymore… Just drag and drop.
– Now, you can uninstall OnyX from the OnyX menu of the application.

OnyX requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

Orange Announces November 10th Launch Date for UK Customers

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Date: Monday, November 2nd, 2009, 06:40
Category: iPhone, News

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Wireless carrier Orange announced that Apple’s iPhone 3G and 3GS handsets will be available to the company’s customers on November 10th, marking the end of a two- year exclusive deal with operator O2.

Per BBC News, Orange said it would offer the handset to pay as you go, pay monthly and business customers.

Customers taking out 24 month contracts worth £30 or £45 a month will get the handset for free.
The Orange tariffs are very similar to O2 and the cheapest 24 month contract is £29.36, compared with £34.26 with O2.

“Since we announced the iPhone on Orange we have already seen more than a quarter of a million customers register their interest on our website,” said Tom Alexander, head of Orange UK.

Back in September, both Orange and Vodafone announced that they would be offering the iPhone. Vodafone said the phone would be available on its network from 2010 but has yet to confirm pricing details.

O2 has offered the iPhone since its UK launch in 2007.

VLC Updated to 1.0.3

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Date: Monday, November 2nd, 2009, 05:54
Category: Software

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Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 1.0.3 over the weekend. The new version, a 41 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

Video outputs:
– Fixed video quality when resizing the video on Windows Vista and 7, due to regressions in most popular drivers.
– New deinterlacers modules based on yadif and yadif(x2) algorithms.

Decoders:
– Windows version supports now natively the WMA Professional codec, as it didn’t work in the packaged version of 1.0.2.
– Fixed downmixing of particual 4.0 AC-3 audio tracks.

Encoders:
– x264 has profile-limitter, like: #transcode{vcodec=h264,venc=x264{profile=baseline,level=12}..}.

Input:
– Update for appletrailers lua script.
– Fixes on the RAR stream filter.
– Fix for E-AC3 in ATSC/TS streams.
– Various fixes for v4l and v4l2.
– Fixed a crash in mjpeg demuxer.

Service discovery:
– New udev module for linux.

Qt4 interface:
– Fixes on the playlist and the stream output panels.

Translations:
– French, Galician, Korean, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Slovak and Ukrainian updates.

VLC 1.0.3 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and is available as a free download.