Apple launches Beta Seed Program for consumers

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, 09:57
Category: Apple, Mac, News, OS X, Software

maverickslogoApple is trying something new with its prerelease versions of OS X, it’s letting everyone take a crack at it. Tuesday, Apple launched the OS X Beta Seed Program which allows anyone with an Apple ID to download and try out beta versions of OS X. A complete FAQ for the program can be found here.

According to AppleInsider;

“It appears Apple has been quietly working to implement the new open beta policy for at least a couple of months via a “Feedback Assistant” that turned up in build 13D38 OS X 10.9.3 earlier this month. At the time, the standalone app’s purpose was unknown, though it is now believed to be part of the Beta Seed Program.”

I can see the potential benefits of having a greater number of people testing out new beta releases of OS X to work out bugs faster, which could speed up the turn-around for OS updates. I even know a number of people, including myself, who are power users that would love to try out new versions before they were released. My question, and concern, about this new program is…how useful is it really? Of the people who download the betas, how many will follow through with providing feedback, and how many will simply mess up their system because they don’t know any better, requiring a trip to the Genius Bar. How many “consumers” have the ability to send useful feedback?

If you are reading this and plan to join the program, just remember to create a full up-to-date backup of your computer(s). If anything does go wrong, be prepared to wipe your hard drive and restore everything from your backup. If you plan to try out the program, let us know and tell us why you’re doing it. Do you plan to send Apple valuable feedback, are you trying to solve a problem, or are you just curious?

 

 

iOS updated to 7.1.1

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, 08:01
Category: Apple, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Software

ios7logoApple released the latest update to iOS for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The update is 26.1 MB and requires 1.2 GB of available space to install it on your device.

 

WHAT’S NEW

Version 7.1.1:

  • Further improvements to Touch ID fingerprint recognition
  • Fixes a bug that could impact keyboard responsiveness
  • Fixes an issue when using Bluetooth keyboards with VoiceOver enabled

REQUIREMENTS

Version 7.1.1 supports:

  • iPhone 4/4s  5/5c/5s
  • iPad Air / iPad 2 / new iPad
  • iPad mini / iPad mini with Retina Display
  • iPod touch 5th gen

 

 

Apple celebrates Earth Day with modified logo

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014, 09:40
Category: Apple, Environment, Retail Store

apple_chrome_logo_leafApril 22nd is Earth Day, and for the first time in eight years, Apple is acknowledging it by modifying its logo for the day. Some stores, such as the Nanjing East store in Shanghai, have updated the store’s traditional logo to one with a green leaf, which we can see thanks to Instagram user Znnina who posted a photo of the store’s updated logo. As part of the celebration, select stores will be giving employees special Earth Day shirts to wear. Apple has also posted a new “Better” video highlighting its environmental initiatives. It was just in the news recently that Apple has purchased a hydroelectric plant to help power its North Carolina data center.

In addition, Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environmental Initiatives, posted an open letter about Apple’s efforts to, “…continue to put nature at the center of our business and design principles.”.

 

 

Older versions of OS X to lose AIM iChat login support

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014, 08:09
Category: Announcement, Apple, Lion, Mac, Mavericks, OS X, Software

ichat_logoIn a new support article, Apple has indicated its intention to remove the ability to use a mac.com or me.com ID to login to the AIM service via iChat on OS X systems older than 10.7.2 as of June 30th, 2014. To continue using the service, the article recommends either updating to 10.7.5 if you wish to continue using Lion, otherwise update to Mavericks using these instructions. If you can’t upgrade OS X, you can choose one of these methods to create a new AIM ID;

Creating a new AIM ID

  1. Create a new AIM ID from the AOL website.
  2. Add this new account to iChat by following the instructions in this article.
  3. Creating a new Apple ID requires you to re-add your buddies to your new buddy list. Re-add your buddies to your by following the instructions in this article.
  4. Remove your old mac.com account from iChat preferences.

 

 

Software Update Rundown for April 21st, 2014

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 21st, 2014, 09:54
Category: App Store, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Mac, OS X, Software

software-updateWe’ll be posting info on updates of some of our favorite software along with some high profile apps that are pretty essential to anyone on a Mac or iThing, just in case you missed them. This information is brought to you by updates I get from developers and my own software use, but mostly by MacUpdate, although not officially, because that is what I use to keep all my apps up to date. I also like to add some value by throwing in some extra notes from my experiences. So let’s get to it!

 

Mac

calibre 1.33.0

This app is great if you want to access PDF documents, ePub books, or other readable, in different formats. Excellent for managing books on a Kindle from your Mac.

New Features

  • Edit book: Add a tool to check spellings, access it via Tools->Check spelling…. The calibre book editor now has builtin spellcheck. You can install new dictionaries via Preferences->Editor->Manage spelling dictionaries. It comes with builtin dictionaries for English and Spanish. You can add OpenOffice dictionaries (in .oxt format). The tool checks spellings in all HTML/OPF/NCX files in the book, taking into account any language declarations in the book, so that it will work correctly on multi-lingual books as well. The code is very new, so there may well be bugs. As you type spell checking is not yet implemented.
  • Kobo driver: Support firmware version 3.3
  • Device driver for Tolino Vision on windows

Bug Fixes

  • Amazon metadata download: Fix Editorial Reviews not downloading into the comments section for some books
  • DOCX Input: Fix some text highlighting colors in the DOCX file not being correctly translated during conversion.
  • Wireless device driver: Fix incorrect syncing behavior when book matching is run for a second time while connected. This happens when the user changes the library or selects ‘Update cached metadata on device’.
  • Searching: Fix searching by date not using the system locale to interpret dd/mm vs mm/dd dates on windows

New news sources

  • Various new and updated Spanish news sources by Marc Busque

Improved news sources

  • Barrons
  • Creative Blog

 

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Students hack Siri to do more using Googolplex

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 18th, 2014, 08:33
Category: Apple, Google, Hacks, iOS, iPhone, Services, Siri

Screenshot 2014-04-18 02.38.02

Do you ever feel like Siri is just not living up to its potential? Do you wish there was more that Siri could do? Well, you aren’t alone. Some students at the University of Pennsylvania felt the same way and decided to do something about it, and the result was Googolplex. The four students, Alex Sands, Ajay Patel, Ben Hsu and Gagan Gupta, entered their creation into a hackathon and won third place. So, how does this work? Keep reading and we’ll tell you.

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iPhone 6 mock-ups show up in Hong Kong

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 17th, 2014, 09:09
Category: Accessory, Apple, Cases, Hardware, iPhone, Mock-Up, Rumor

iPhone6-HongKong

The iPhone rumors and speculation are hitting a fever pitch as demonstrated at the 2014 Hong Kong Electronics Fair. The expo is billed as Asia’s largest spring fair that highlights a variety of products from OEMs and aftermarket vendors. Several case and accessory makers are already advertising items for the yet unseen iPhone 6, and as shown in the image above, and not afraid to advertise the fact on banners and displays.

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Apple sends out latest 10.9.3 seed to developers

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 16th, 2014, 16:55
Category: Apple, Developer, Mac, MacBook Pro, Mavericks, News, Software

maverickslogoOn Tuesday, Apple released the latest build of OS X 10.9.3, designated ‘Build 13D43′. For this build, developers are being asked to focus their efforts on testing Graphics Drivers, Audio, Mail, Contacts and Calendar sync over USB in iTunes, and Safari. 10.9.3 also adds support for 4K displays, which offers improved readability and 60Hz output from a Retina display MacBook Pro.

Build releases are appearing closer together now, this one only a week after the previous seed. This is typically a sign that Apple is close to locking the update down in preparation for its release, so be on the lookout for 10.9.3 showing up in the App Store soon. Per usual, we recommend  that you make sure to backup your Macs before applying the update, and running Repair Permissions from Disk Utility before and after the update is a good idea too.

 

 

Apple’s data centers to be powered by water? [update]

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, 09:44
Category: Apple, Business, Environment, News, The Apple Core

green-energy-plugI don’t think Greenpeace can say that Apple isn’t trying. Apple’s huge data center in North Carolina, which powers iCloud, uses huge amounts of power, and until recently has been utilizing available sources of energy which are primarily coal-burning sources such as those supplied by companies such as North Carolina’s Duke Energy. This is something about which Apple has been catching flak from environmentalists, but late last year, Apple took control of a project built by Earth By Design (EBD), a Oregon-based developer of green energy, that uses small Kaplan turbines built adjacent to a local irrigation canal. According to WIRED;

“[...] a regulatory filing [says that] the project will generate 5 megawatts of power, enough electricity to power a small town, but a fraction of what Apple’s Prineville, Oregon, data center will ultimately require. As users increasingly store their data and photos in the iCloud, Apple has been forced to rapidly ramp up the number of servers it runs in the iCloud. In the past few years, the company has developed new data centers in Prineville, Maiden, North Carolina, and Reno, Nevada.”

Greenpeace has lauded this as a groundbreaking move by Apple. According to Greenpeace analyst Gary Cook, “This is certainly the first time I’ve seen this being this done by a private company and not a utility.”. Meanwhile, other companies have turned to solar and wind to power their data centers which is just as important in the move towards more responsible power usage by major technology companies.

 

Update:

If you’d like a more in-depth look at the 45-Mile Hydroelectric Project and how it works, check out Jason O’Grady’s post on ZDNet.

 

 

Greg Christie retiring from Apple

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 10th, 2014, 09:11
Category: Announcement, Apple, iPhone, Patents, PDA, User Interface

apple_logoAfter 18 years with Apple, Human Interface chief Greg Christie is leaving the company at the end of the year. Christie was instrumental in the development of the first iPhoneOS. There were recent suggestions that the retirement announcement was promoted by difficulties regarding working with Senior VP of Design, Jony Ive. Apple has denied any problems in their official announcements, and have stated that Christie has been planning his retirement from Apple for some time, and that he will be staying on until the end of the year while some restructuring of Apple’s Human Interface Group takes place.

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