Apple releases iPhoto 9.3.1 update

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Date: Friday, July 13th, 2012, 06:17
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released its anticipated iPhoto 9.3.1 update. The update, a 600 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Addresses a problem during the migration of albums from MobileMe Gallery that may cause photos to be moved from their original events into a new event called “From MobileMe”.

– Fixes an issue that in rare cases could cause iPhoto to hang when upgrading libraries.

iPhoto 9.3.1 retails for US$49 as part of iLife ’11 and requires Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know.

Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) currently impervious to new Java malware, older operating systems remain susceptible

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Date: Thursday, July 12th, 2012, 09:43
Category: News, security, Software

Following up on yesterday’s new Java malware story, there’s some good news: if you’re running Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), you’re in the clear.

Per Macworld, the new Java malware was discovered on a compromised Colombian Transport website, with a bit of social engineering thrown in for good measure: You need to approve the installation of a Java applet, which OS X will warn you is from a root certificate that “is not trusted,” to get infected.

Once authorized, the exploit downloads additional malicious code from the Web. Security firm Sophos says that the malware then attempts to open a backdoor on your computer, through which hackers could remotely access the machine.

Because the Mac version of the malware runs as a PowerPC app, only Macs that can run PowerPC software are at risk. Since Lion (and Mountain Lion) no longer include Rosetta, the technology that allows Intel-based Macs to run PowerPC software, computers running those versions of Mac OS X cannot be infected.

Mac users may not too fondly experience some flashbacks to the insidious Flashback Trojan horse that affected even fully up-to-date Macs, since Apple hadn’t kept up with Java security updates as rigorously as its competitors. Starting in late April, Java developer Oracle began issuing security updates directly to Mac users at the same time those updates became available for other platforms, bypassing Apple.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Desktop updated to 7.0.15104

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Date: Thursday, July 12th, 2012, 06:38
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Parallels released version 7.0.15104 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 306 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Run Windows 8, Ubuntu, and Fedora on the latest models of Mac computers (MacBook Air (mid 2012), MacBook Pro (mid 2012) , MacBook Pro with Retina display).

– Run Fedora 17 in virtual machines.

– Install Parallels Desktop on Mac computers running OS X Mountain Lion.

– Use IMG disc images for the virtual machine CD/DVD-ROM drive.

– Use USB 3.0 devices in virtual machines.

– Improved Parallels Mobile connectivity with Mac.

– Improved Linux distributions detection during Express installation.

– Enhanced Retina display support.

Parallels Desktop 7 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

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

Apple posts official list of OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)-compatible Macs

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Date: Thursday, July 12th, 2012, 06:38
Category: News, Software

If you qualify, you’ll try to high-five everyone you meet today and your friends will eventually want you to shut up about it.

If you don’t, well, you can meet me down at the corner pub for happy hour…

Per The Verge, Apple has posted a “How to Upgrade” page on its website that contains a list of Mac models with Intel chipsets that qualify for Mountain Lion:

– iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)

– MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)

– MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)

– MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)

– Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)

– Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)

– Xserve (Early 2009)

After verifying that a Mac is eligible for the upgrade, users are instructed to check that they have OS X Lion or the latest version of Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6.8) installed. The third step is simply to “download OS X Mountain Lion when it becomes available in July” and follow the onscreen instructions to install it.

Apple announced OS X Mountain Lion in February, specifically mentioning newer Macs as qualifying for the upgrade. At the time, it was suspected that Macs with Intel’s GMA 950 and GMA X3100 integrated graphics processors would not be capable of running OS X 10.8.

By distributing new versions of OS X solely on the Mac App Store, Apple has also drawn a line in the sand, since Macs not capable of installing at least OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8 won’t be able to access the App Store.

The Mac maker appears on track to release Mountain Lion this month as promised. Developers received the Golden Master version of the OS on Monday and an invitation from Apple to submit applications for the update to the Mac App Store. The US$19.99 upgrade contains over 200 new features, such as closer integration with iCloud, new security checks and voice dictation.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

And as much as I love my 2006 Mac Pro, maybe it’s time we started seeing other people…

Google Chrome updated to 20.0.1132.57

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Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012, 11:56
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 20.0.1132.57 for the Mac. The new version, a 40.7 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

– Along with security fixes, this build contains an update to Flash player, v8 (3.10.8.20) and couple of stability/bug fixes.

Google Chrome 20.0.1132.57 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 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.

Adobe confirms InDesign app crashes under 2012 MacBook portables

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Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012, 10:31
Category: News, Software

This is why they invented the software update…

Per AppleInsider, users running Apple’s latest MacBooks featuring Intel Ivy Bridge processors are experiencing system crashes with Adobe’s popular InDesign software.

The issue has been documented by InDesign users on Adobe’s official website where a forum thread has been growing since mid-June. The problem appears to be limited to users who are running just-released MacBook Pros or MacBook Airs featuring Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors and Mac OS X 10.7.4.

Adobe technical support employee Scott Worthington confirmed in the thread that the issue is related to a change made by Apple in OS X 10.7.4 The latest MacBook models, including the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, ship with OS X 10.7.4 preinstalled, making it difficult to “roll back” the operating system to a previous version.

“At this time it appears the update is removing an API we use to control our use of system icons,” Worthington wrote. “At present the solution appears to be to rollback the update for the software to continue to function as expected.”

Worthington added in a subsequent post that he’s unsure if the problem will persist when Apple releases OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion later this month. He did not attempt to explain why the issue appears to be isolated to new 2012 MacBook models with Ivy Bridge processors.

“We’re taking this issue very seriously,” he said. “I wish we had more to share at this time but I’ll be sure to share what comes down the line from the engineers relating to solutions or any workarounds they can find.”

User “arminvit,” who started the thread on June 15, found that they were able to address the problem by restoring their 2012 MacBook to factory settings and not installing the “MacBook Pro (Mid 2012) Software Update” available from Apple that includes OS X 10.7.4.

When running the latest version of OS X on their 2012 MacBook Pro, that user found that InDesign would crash when trying to delete a page that has content, and also when packaging a file. Users in the thread said the issue occurs with both Creative Suite 5 and Creative Suite 6.

When the crash occurs, InDesign attempts to post a warning box. However, the box is displayed blank except for the text “Warning,” and InDesign promptly crashes.

If you’ve seen this crash on your end, please let us know.

Java malware goes live, begins affecting, Mac OS X, Windows, Linux systems

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Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012, 10:47
Category: News, security, Software

On the plus side, this keeps a security department employed.

Per F-Secure, a new form of browser-based cross-platform malware can give hackers remote access to computers running Apple’s OS X, Microsoft’s Windows, and even Linux.

The multi-platform backdoor malware was disclosed this week by security firm F-Secure. It was originally discovered on a Colombian Transport website, and relies on social engineering to trick users into running a Java Archive file, meaning it is not likely to be a major threat.

However, its cross-platform design is unique. If users grant permission to the Java Archive, the malware will secretly determine whether the user is running a Mac, a Windows PC, or a Linux machine. When running on a Mac, the malware will remotely connect to an IP address through port 8080 to obtain additional code to execute.

Anti-virus maker Sophos said on Wednesday that the new malware has the potential to affect a higher number of people because of its multi-platform strategy. Typically, malware and viruses target Windows PCs, as they represent the overwhelming majority of computers.

“Once it has found out which operating system you are running, the Java class file will download the appropriate flavor of malware, with the intention of opening a backdoor that will give hackers remote access to your computer,” explained Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant with Sophos.

On a Mac, the new malware is defined as “Backdoor:OSX/GetShell.A. According to F-Secure, it is a PowerPC binary, which means users running a modern, Intel-based Mac must also have Rosetta installed.

While rare, cross-platform malware attacks are not unheard of. In 2010, a Trojan known as “trojan.osx.boonana.a” was a Java-based exploit that affected both Macs running OS X, as well as Windows PCs.

As Apple’s Mac platform has grown in popularity and outpaced the PC market as a whole, the OS X platform has become a bigger target for hackers. Last month, Apple opted to tone down promotional language on its website that once claimed the Mac “doesn’t get PC viruses.” Apple’s website now says that OS X is “built to be safe.”

That change was made just a few months after more than 600,000 Macs were estimated to have been infected by a trojan horse named “Flashback.” More than half of the Macs believed to be infected by the botnet were found in the U.S. alone before Apple aggressively released a series of software updates to quash the malware.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

OS X 10.8 may not run on earlier 64-bit Macs

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Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012, 07:24
Category: News, Software

The good news: OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) has gone gold master and will probably arrive this month.

The bad news: It might not run on your older 64-bit Intel-based Mac.

According to Ars Technica, Apple has updated the upgrade page of its website, tweaking which models will be supported by the latest big cat.

Despite a few older Macs being otherwise 64-bit capable — a requirement for both the current OS X Lion and the upcoming OS X Mountain Lion — it appears that 32-bit graphics drivers may be to blame for Apple’s decision.

“While Mountain Lion is compatible with any Mac capable of running a 64-bit kernel, the kernel no longer supports loading 32-bit kernel extensions (KEXTs),” Ars Technica explains. “Since those older drivers are 32-bit, Mountain Lion won’t load them. We believe Apple decided it was better to draw the line in the sand for some older machines rather than invest the resources into updating the drivers for these older GPUs.”

As noted by Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion upgrade page, supported Macs now include the following:

– iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)

– MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)

– MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)

– MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)

– Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)

– Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)

– Xserve (Early 2009)

If you’re running close to edge of this cutoff, now might be a good time to consider a new Mac anyway, as Apple will chuck in a free copy of Mountain Lion with the purchase.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.2.3

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Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012, 06:56
Category: News, Software

On Tuesday, Microsoft released its Microsoft Office 2011 14.2.3 update. The update, a 110 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

– This update fixes an issue that causes Outlook not to display details for certain contacts when Lync or Communicator is running.

– This update fixes a problem that occurs when users reply to or forward Exchange email messages that were downloaded from Exchange 2007 servers. When this problem occurs, the Date field is missing from the body of the message.

– To correct email messages that have already been cached, right-click the folder that contains the email messages, select Folder Properties, and then then select Empty under Empty Cache. Or, you can delete the Exchange account and then add it again to resynchronize the account.

– This update fixes an issue where users may have duplication of mail when they use Gmail and connect with Outlook by using IMAP. This update fixes an issue where some users who have IMAP accounts intermittently receive a “Too many simultaneous connections” error. A setting is now available to control the polling interval that Outlook uses with IMAP servers.

– To adjust this setting, select Tools, select Accounts, and then select Advanced for the IMAP account. The setting defaults to synchronize all lMAP folders every two minutes.

– This update fixes a connectivity issue that occurs when Outlook connects through a proxy server that uses NTLM based authentication. Improvements to Word for Mac 2011
This update improves Full Screen View integration with Word.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.2.3 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and for the Service Pack 1 updater to have been previously installed.

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

Apple receives NFC-driven “iTravel” patent

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Date: Tuesday, July 10th, 2012, 08:49
Category: iPhone, News, Patents

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This could be interesting.

Per Free Patents Online, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday officially awarded Apple ownership of its “iTravel” concept for e-ticketing with an NFC-equipped iPhone.

U.S. Patent No. 8,215,546, entitled “System and Method for Transportation Check-In,” was granted to Apple this week. First filed with the USPTO in 2008, the invention describes a system for ticketing and identification via near-field communications on a portable device like an iPhone.

“The handheld device may store and transmit travel reservations and traveler identifications using a travel management application,” the patent reads. “Various methods may be employed to acquire the reservation and identification information on the handheld device.”

In one example, users can make travel reservations via the so-called “iTravel” application. Similar data can also be automatically retrieved from an e-mail, a website, another NFC-enabled device, or a carrier-provided confirmation number.

The system could also identify a user by scanning a radio frequency identification tag embedded in a government-issued ID, like a passport. An ID number can also be entered via the travel management application, prompting the “iTravel” application to download the user’s identification information from the issuing authority.

Illustrations that accompany the patent show an iPhone equipped with a near-field communications chip. The iTravel application is depicted with an icon of an airplane on the iOS home screen.

The iTravel concept is a more full-featured implementation of Apple’s new Passbook application, which will be part of iOS 6 when it launches this fall. Unveiled in June, Passbook organizes various items like movie or sporting event tickets, store membership cards, and airplane boarding passes.

Passbook will feature geolocation with the iPhone, allowing users to automatically have the appropriate card pulled up when they visit a specific location. For example, when a user goes to Starbucks, they will see their membership card available to scan.

The unveiling of Passbook has prompted speculation that Apple plans to add a near-field communications chip to its anticipated sixth-generation iPhone, expected to debut this fall. With wireless NFC capabilities, Apple’s next iPhone could serve as an e-wallet and e-ticketing device.

Apple has been rumored for years to include NFC technology in a future iPhone, but to date no iPhone models have included an integrated NFC chip. Competing handsets, like Google’s Nexus S, have included NFC chips, but e-wallet payments have yet to take off with services like Google Wallet.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.