Google Earth updated to 7.1.2.2019

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Date: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013, 06:31
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, software giant Google released version 7.1.2.2019 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 45 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- The “Enable Controller” option in user preferences is now turned off by default. This prevents red directional arrows from displaying as a result of uncalibrated joysticks and other controllers being connected to Earth at startup.

- For enhanced security, “Use HTTPS for Google connections” is now toggled on by default.

- We fixed a bug whereby the cache size rose above user-specified limits.

- We fixed a crash resulting from searching on some Windows machines.

- We updated the LEAP API to version 1.08.

- We reduced LEAP controller sensitivity to user hand motions. This enables a smoother flight and greater control over your flight path when using a LEAP.

Google Earth 7.1.2.2019 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 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.

Cocktail updated to 6.8.1

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Date: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013, 06:24
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, shareware developer Maintain released version 6.8.1 of CocktailCocktail (Mountain Lion Edition), the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 5.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:
- Improvements to the Pilot scheduler. When updating from version 6.7.1 or earlier, the scheduler will be automatically disabled and have to be enabled manually.

- Addresses an issue in which Cocktail may crash at startup.

- Fixed compatibility issues with QuarkXPress 10.

- Updated Automator actions.

Cocktail 6.8.1 retails for a US$19.00 shareware registration fee and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

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

Some iOS 7 users report iMessage bug, temporary workaround discovered

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Date: Tuesday, October 1st, 2013, 07:21
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Well, this is why they invented bug fixes…

Per AppleInsider and multiple reports on Apple’s Support Communities webpage, a number iPhone owners who recently upgraded to iOS 7 are experiencing issues with iMessage, though a simple software reset may resolve the problem, at least temporarily.

The users have reported an apparent iMessage bug that is causing messages to go unsent, unreceived or sent as a text on a variety of iPhones models running iOS 7. Others complain that iMessages are not being converted to SMS texts, as would be the case if Apple’s servers were down, and are simply not being sent.

Some threads date back to Sept. 18, when Apple released the latest iOS to the public, though posts regarding the perceived issue have become increasingly frequent since the most recent iOS 7.0.2 update went live last week.

Support Communities forum members may have discovered a solution, however. Users are finding success with the following procedure: disable iMessage in Settings -> Messages, reset the iPhone’s Network Settings under Settings -> General -> Reset, then reenable iMessage. The method was also reported to be successful, at least in the short term.

There are variations on the method that include shutting down the handset for three to five minutes, though the technique has seen mixed results.

It is unclear how widespread the iMessage problem is at this point in time.

The purported iMessage troubles are the latest in a string of minor bugs users have reported following Apple’s launch of iOS 7 less than two weeks ago. The company subsequently pushed out two updates, the first being a day-one patch that dealt with the iPhone 5s’ Touch ID sensor, while the second squashed a lock screen passcode bypass bug.

If you’ve seen the issue on your end, please let us know in the comments.

QuarkXPress updated to 10.0.0.2

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Date: Tuesday, October 1st, 2013, 07:26
Category: News, Software

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The QuarkXPress updates are coming a bit more frequently these days.

And that’s not a bad thing.

On Tuesday, software developer Quark released version 10.0.0.2 of its QuarkXPress design application. The 279 megabyte update, which can be downloaded here, adds the following changes:

- Further improves quality and stability.

QuarkXPress 10.0.0.2 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.5 later to install and retails for US$849.00 for the full version.

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

Apple informs former MobileMe users that their extra 2 GB of iCloud storage space has expired

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Date: Tuesday, October 1st, 2013, 06:20
Category: iCloud, News, Software

Not only did the U.S. government enter a shutdown today, so did your complimentary iCloud storage.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple has sent out emails informing iCloud users their complimentary iCloud storage has expired. The complimentary iCloud storage was a free extra 20 GB of storage for MobileMe members. Now all those members will be downgraded to the free 5 GB of iCloud storage all iCloud members get.

While any free storage is generally a good deal, Apple’s complimentary 5 GB now has to weigh against the 7 GB Microsoft has been offering with its SkyDrive service, although it still readily trumps Dropbox’s free 2 GB of storage space.

Still, it had to happen sometime…

Staples starts pushing iPads and iPod via company’s online storefront

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Date: Monday, September 30th, 2013, 07:22
Category: iPad, iPod, News, retail

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This came a little earlier than expected.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, only seven months after Staples became an authorized reseller of Mac and iOS accessories, the office supply giant is now selling both iPads and iPods via its online store.

The splash page for Staples.com advertises the iPad and iPad Mini while also indicating that the items are eligible for free shipping and 5 percent back in rewards points.

As it stands now, iPads and iPods via Staples are only available online, but that may soon change if online sales of Apple’s popular tablet prove to be successful.

With over 2,000 brick-and-mortar stores across 26 countries, getting the iPad into Staples retail stores would certainly help Apple sell more iPads.

If you’ve seen Staples having begun to sell iPads and iPods in a brick and mortar fashion in your area, please let us know in the comments section.

Apple to issue $40 compensation checks to owners of certain iPad 3G units following AT&T class action suit over unlimited data plans

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Date: Monday, September 30th, 2013, 07:57
Category: iPad, Legal, News

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If you own a cellular-enabled iPad, You might be getting a check in the mail in the near future.

Per Law360, a US district court judge in San Jose approved a proposed settlement between Apple and wireless carrier AT&T on Thursday, according to Law360. Under the proposed plan, Apple will pay US$40 to everyone in the United States who bought or ordered a 3G-enabled iPad on or before June 7, 2010.

Additionally, cellular-enabled iPad owners who did not sign up with AT&T will get a US$20 per month discount on the telecom’s 5GB per month plan for up to a year.

The class action suit is looking to rectify an issue iPad buyers faced after purchasing the tablet. Some customers may have based their decision to buy at least in part on the promise of unlimited data through AT&T, which was the first U.S. carrier to offer the iPad with cellular capabilities. In a somewhat controversial move, the telecom nixed unlimited plans in 2010 in favor of a tiered model, citing bandwidth constraints.

At the time, data was capped at 2GB per month, but subscribers can now go as high as 5GB per month, which includes tethering to other devices. As a consolation to frustrated users, AT&T allows those unlimited data plans to continue their service as long as there is no break in payments. Device tethering is not offered for grandfathered all-you-can-eat plans and once a subscriber switches to a tiered option, they cannot return to unlimited.

The deal is subject to final approval, which is expected in February of 2014. At that point, Apple will begin contacting all eligible customers to inform them of their pending settlement check.

Those who no longer own their original iPad will still be eligible for the deal as long as they didn’t sign on to an AT&T data plan with that device, due to a no-class action clause in the carrier’s contracts.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Chipworks continues examination of A7 processor, finds new architecture, quad-core GPU

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Date: Monday, September 30th, 2013, 07:57
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

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There’s some cool stuff going on with the iPhone 5s’ new A7 processor.

Per an analysis published by Chipworks, the A7 contains assorted changes from the previous A6 processor, including the addition of a mysterious SRAM cell never seen in A-series silicon.

Continuing its comprehensive investigation of the new A7 SoC, which on Tuesday confirmed a 28nm manufacturing process, silicon experts at Chipworks are digging deeper into the processor’s major structures and overall design.

The firm notes in the report that the latest findings are currently just “best guesses,” as circuit extraction testing has not yet been performed to yield conclusive data.

Taking the caveat into consideration, one of the more interesting findings would be the “secure enclave” used for Touch ID fingerprint data storage that Apple discussed during the iPhone 5s reveal earlier this month.

Chipworks was unable to identify a given area it had noted, but guesses that a new SRAM cell located above the GPUs is a prime suspect as the rather large storage space is a new addition to the A-series lineup. Extrapolating the size of the memory block and comparing it with metrics of known technology, the firm estimates the SRAM module to have a density of about 3MB.

Moving to the CPU, the A7′s dual-core unit and accompanying memory, estimated at 1MB for L2 cache and 256KB for L1, takes up about 17 percent of the die area. Located across from the CPU setup is a quad-core GPU with shared logic, which accounts for 22 percent of on-die space.

A side-by-side comparison of the A7 and last year’s A6 show the chips’ CPUs do not share the same layout. The new A7 appears to be closer to a conventional automated design, which would be a departure from Apple’s most recent custom-architected A-series SoCs.

Aside from the above discoveries, the rest of the A7′s design appears to be carried over from the A6. Of note, the USB, LCD and camera interfaces are identical to those found in Apple’s A5, A6 and A6X chips.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Dropbox updated to 2.4.0

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Date: Monday, September 30th, 2013, 06:28
Category: News, Software

An update’s an update.

On Friday, Dropbox released version 2.4.0 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 32.1 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), which adds the following fixes and changes:
- Screenshot to Dropbox.

- Move to Dropbox.

- Import from iPhoto.

- OS X 10.9 Mavericks support!

- Much faster upload/download speeds for large files.

Dropbox 2.4.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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

iHS iSupply support states Retina Display “iPad Mini 2″ may not ship in 2013

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Date: Friday, September 27th, 2013, 06:42
Category: Hardware, iPad mini, News, Rumor

The next-gen iPad mini may not possess the fabled Retina display, or at least the yield numbers on production may not be quite high enough yet.

Per AppleInsider, and CNET, a report published on Thursday claims Apple may not be planning to release a Retina display iPad mini alongside an expected next-generation “iPad 5″ next month, citing low manufacturing volumes unsuitable for mass shipments.

According to IHS iSuppli’s supply chain checks, the next-generation 9.7-inch iPad is on track for an October launch, but production of a high-resolution iPad mini is “>not yet at levels that would indicative of a simultaneous release, reports CNET.

“The Retina Mini looks less certain for that time,” said IHS iSuppli’s director of Tablet and Monitor Research, Rhoda Alexander. “Manufacturing volumes on that would match better with a Q114 [first quarter 2014] launch.”

Alexander qualified the statement by noting Apple may introduce such a device in October with the fifth-generation iPad, but could choose to ship it at a later date.

The publication notes that, while analysts have discussed Retina panel yields, they claim mass production could be less than optimal for a 2013 launch. In either case, it appears that Apple will likely be face with supply constraints, a situation that has become increasingly familiar for the company.

Earlier this year, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Retina display yield issues would push back Retina iPad mini production until October. In a more recent report, the analyst predicted the “iPad 5″ and “iPad mini 2″ would both see release in the fourth quarter of 2013, with Apple pushing up the mini’s launch date due to increased competition in the sector.

All should be revealed in the coming weeks, as Apple is rumored to be planning a special event next month to introduce a revamped tablet lineup.

Stay tuned for additional coverage and, as always, let us know what you think in the comments section.