Transportation Security Administration pursuing $3 million in Apple hardware over next three years

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Date: Friday, May 25th, 2012, 05:50
Category: Hardware, News

Love or hate the TSA, they’ll be using some more Apple hardware over the next three years.

Per iPodNN, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may purchase up to US$3 million in Apple hardware over the next three years. Up to a thousand Macintosh and a thousand iOS mobile devices purchases are planned. The Apple equipment has been declared to be “critical to meet a variety of operational, programmatic, and mission-specific requirements” by the TSA.

Apple hardware has traditionally made few inroads in federal agencies, mostly due to the requirement that purchasing by government organizations must specifically allow for open contracting and non-specificity of hardware. For instance, if a computer is required, generally, the request isn’t allowed to specify branding such as “Dell Computer” or “HP computer,” and it must simply say “computer.”

The TSA argues that only Apple equipment will fit the need now, and since OS X and iOS are not available on other platforms, only Apple hardware can be used for the foreseeable future. The amplifying information attached to the justification also indicates that many of the 106 government-written mobile apps are only available on Apple’s iOS.

A similar request has been made for Android equipment, but no details are available. The TSA filing has listed the entire range of Apple offerings, including iPads, iPhones, iPods, Apple TVs, Macintosh computers, warranties such as AppleCare, and other materials needed to support Apple products in a production environment.

The equipment is primarily intended for media production, forensic information technology assessments, mobile usage, and software development. The request comes after reports from federal tipsters claiming fewer BlackBerry purchases, and employees and military personnel being allowed to use their own smartphones.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

“We Want a New Mac Pro” group page gaining traction/support

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Date: Friday, May 25th, 2012, 05:00
Category: Hardware, Mac Pro, News

Apple’s Mac Pro line really hasn’t been updated in a while.

Which is growing disconcerting to some users.

Per AppleInsider, a group of users has begun a “We Want a New Macpro” group page on the social networking site had garnered over 4,000 likes as of late Thursday and a number of comments from group members calling for either a Mac Pro update or concrete information from Apple about its plans for the high-end machine.

According to the page, the petition was started by Lou Borella, a self-described “professional editor and graphic animator” in the New York City area, earlier in May.

On May 9, Borella posted an open letter to Apple asking for “a little clarity” about the Mac Pro.

“Its been neglected for far too long. We realize all the success of the iPad and iPhone and we’re really happy with our new toys,” he wrote. “But unfortunately many of us need to make decisions on hardware for professional uses that allow us to make a living.”

The letter went on to say that professional software applications, such as Adobe Creative Suite 6, AVID, Pro Tools and Smoke, require “the most powerful hardware available.” In addition, creative professionals need configurable systems for their business.

“The iMac is not the answer for these situations,” he said.

Borella is seeking for a “timeframe” for a new Mac Pro update or official confirmation as to whether the line is “dead.”

“It’s not too much to ask. We cannot wait any longer and it’s really not fair to string us along like this,” Borella concluded, also signing the letter on behalf of the “Creative Community.”

According to an informal poll posted to the page last week, 267 people are willing to wait until “shortly after” the Worldwide Developers Conference in mid-June, while 47 people said they would wait until the end of this year. 143 respondents said they would wait until the Mac Pro was “officially discontinued” before taking the next step.

A second poll found that 197 people are willing to wait because their “current computer still works fine.” 131 others said they would build a “Hackintosh,” a custom-built computer running an unauthorized copy of OS X. Finally, 47 people said they would switch back to Microsoft Windows.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on both the petition and its plans for the Mac Pro.

Apple’s neglect of the Mac Pro was especially felt last year as all of the other Mac models received upgrades adding Thunderbolt and Sandy Bridge processors. Some have even suggested that Thunderbolt is Apple’s alternative to high-end workstations.

The Mac Pro’s important to Apple’s bottom line has diminished as the company’s profits have increasingly skewed toward mobile devices and the iPhone has come to account for the bulk of its revenue. Apple sold 1.2 million desktops in the second quarter of fiscal 2012, compared to 2.82 million notebooks during the period. Mac revenue for the quarter amounted to US$5.1 billion, much less than the US$22.7 billion in revenue from the iPhone and related products.

Though Apple has in the past been known as a niche hardware and software maker catering to creative professionals, the company has shown a willingness to adapt to better serve its mainstream customers. For instance, it announced plans to discontinue its Xserve server in 2010. Though the company redirected customers to its Mac Pro as a Mac-based server alternative, it has curiously not updated the Mac Pro since July 2010.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Aperture 3.2.4 update

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Date: Thursday, May 24th, 2012, 12:07
Category: News, Software

On Thursday, Apple released version 3.2.4 of Aperture, its pro-grade image editing application. The new version, which is available as a direct download or via Mac OS X’s Software update feature, is a 635 megabyte download and offers the following fixes and changes:

– Improves stability on Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

– Addresses an issue that could prevent the Viewer from updating correctly after editing a photo using an external editor.

Aperture 3.2.4 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or Mac OS X 10.7.3 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.

Recently published Apple patent shows interest in developing stylus for iOS devices

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 24th, 2012, 07:14
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

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It never hurts to have different options for your user interface.

Per Engadget, an Apple patent application for an optical stylus has turned up on the United States Patent Trade Office website.

Although late Apple CEO Steve Jobs had derided the stylus as an input method for the iPhone and the iPad once famously saying that ‘If you need a stylus, you’ve already failed,’ Jobs was well known for throwing the opposition a curve ball from time to time speaking out against an idea, only to have been developing a concept behind the scenes. One example was when he said that consumers liked having a separate iPod while also carrying their phone, only to reveal the ultimate convergence device in the iPhone a couple of years later.

The Apple patent application describes a stylus that incorporates image capture along with an on-board image processor, while also capable of sensing pressure. It would include an accelerometer and an antenna to help relay the relative position of the stylus in relation to the device. Apple is also known to file patents for products, or technologies, that may never see the light of day. However, creative professionals, and other users would probably welcome an Apple stylus if it was released. The aftermarket stylus ecosystem the iPad and the iPhone, along with an interesting stylus project at Kickstarter and the forthcoming Adonit Jot Touch suggests that the demand is indeed there.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Chrome updated to 19.0.1084.52

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 24th, 2012, 07:46
Category: News, Software

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Sorry for the lack of updates yesterday, I was flying across the country and the plane lacked Wi-Fi. During the flight, “The Vow” with Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams happened to be the in-flight movie, should you choose to plug in headphones and listen to it. During this time, I desperately wanted there to be a director’s cut where the characters are slathered in salmon juice and attacked by irate grizzly bears in every scene…

Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 19.0.1084.52 for the Mac. The new version, a 38.6 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

– [117409] High CVE-2011-3103: Crashes in v8 garbage collection. Credit to the Chromium development community (Brett Wilson).

– [118018] Medium CVE-2011-3104: Out-of-bounds read in Skia. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (Inferno).

– [$1000] [120912] High CVE-2011-3105: Use-after-free in first-letter handling. Credit to miaubiz.

– [122654] Critical CVE-2011-3106: Browser memory corruption with websockets over SSL. Credit to the Chromium development community (Dharani Govindan).

– [124625] High CVE-2011-3107: Crashes in the plug-in JavaScript bindings. Credit to the Chromium development community (Dharani Govindan).

– [$1337] [125159] Critical CVE-2011-3108: Use-after-free in browser cache. Credit to “efbiaiinzinz”.

– [Linux only] [$1000] [126296] High CVE-2011-3109: Bad cast in GTK UI. Credit to Micha Bartholomé.

– [126337] [126343] [126378] [127349] [127819] [127868] High CVE-2011-3110: Out of bounds writes in PDF. Credit to Mateusz Jurczyk of the Google Security Team, with contributions by Gynvael Coldwind of the Google Security Team.

– [$500] [126414] Medium CVE-2011-3111: Invalid read in v8. Credit to Christian Holler.

– [127331] High CVE-2011-3112: Use-after-free with invalid encrypted PDF. Credit to Mateusz Jurczyk of the Google Security Team, with contributions by Gynvael Coldwind of the Google Security Team.

– [127883] High CVE-2011-3113: Invalid cast with colorspace handling in PDF. Credit to Mateusz Jurczyk of the Google Security Team, with contributions by Gynvael Coldwind of the Google Security Team.

– [128014] High CVE-2011-3114: Buffer overflows with PDF functions. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (scarybeasts).

– [$1000] [128018] High CVE-2011-3115: Type corruption in v8. Credit to Christian Holler.

Google Chrome 19.0.1084.52 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.

Apple releases Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.13

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Date: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012, 14:49
Category: News, Software

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On Tuesday, Apple posted its Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.13, an update designed to extend RAW image compatibility for the Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11 applications.

The update, an 8 megabyte download, adds support for the following cameras:

– Canon EOS-1D X

– Nikon D800E

– Nikon D3200

– Olympus OM-D E-M5

– Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF5

– Sony Alpha SLT-A57

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and is also available via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new Digital Camera RAW update and noticed any changes, please let us know how it went.

CrossOver updated to 11.1.0

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Date: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012, 09:05
Category: News, Software

CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 11.1.0. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following fixes and changes:

New Game Support:
– Support for Diablo III.

Application Enhancements:
– Smoother installation process for some versions of Microsoft Office.

– Printing fix for Project 2007.

– Fixed an error saving certain documents in Excel 2010.

CrossOver Enhancements:
– Printing how honours duplex settings.

– Printing fixes to non-letter sized paper.

– Improvements to Spanish-language translations.

– Fixed an error where IE6 in a Win98 bottle would complain it was not registered.

– Fixed an error which would cause CrossOver’s ‘Welcome’ screen not to appear in some situations on Mac OS X Lion.

– Fixed a problem which caused Windows applications to have slightly (four) fewer graphics shaders available than they could have, which could produce graphics glitches in games.

CrossOver 11.1.0 retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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

Hulu releases version 2.5 of iOS app, adds Retina Display support, other features

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Date: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012, 08:42
Category: News, Software

Never mock a good software update.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Hulu released version 2.5 of its iPad app that adds support for the Retina Display of the third generation iPad. The latest version has a new look and feel as well as an enhanced video playback engine. Hulu also has improved AirPlay mirroring and HDMI support, so you can watch your content on your HDTV.

In addition to the software update, Hulu launched ten new original series that’ll help you make it throughout the summer doldrums. These new shows include basketball comedy We Got Next and Spoilers, a movie “revue” series from Kevin Smith. The ten new shows are listed in the press release below. You can download the Hulu app for free from the iOS App Store. It requires a US$7.99 monthly subscription to Hulu Plus.

Hulu 2.5 for iOS requires iOS 4.0 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.

Apple begins to include Automatic Downloads alert feature to recent Mountain Lion betas

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Date: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012, 08:56
Category: News, Software

Apple is going to make sure you’re up to date, no matter what.

Per a tweet by the mighty Zach Kahn, Apple’s previously announced Automatic Downloads feature is slowly coming together in the latest developer preview of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, which features a new Notification Center alert for Mac App Store purchases.

Automatic app installs were touted earlier this year as one of the many new features coming to Mountain Lion. Like on iOS devices, it allows users to have App Store software automatically installed on iCloud-registered Macs.

Automatic Downloads are not yet fully functional in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, but when users purchase content from the Mac App Store, the OS X Notification Center posts an alert to “Turn on Automatic Downloads to always install new purchases.”

The alert features an “Enable” button, which will allow users to quickly turn on the Automatic Downloads feature of Mountain Lion. However, in the current pre-release build, the feature is not yet operating properly, as software does not automatically install.

Apple debuted the “Apps in the Cloud” feature on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with the release of iOS 5 late last year. It allows users to shop for apps on one machine and have the same titles automatically download on the rest of their devices with the same iCloud account.

Similar functionality is already available in OS X 10.7 Lion with the latest version of iTunes. Apple’s “iTunes in the Cloud” gives users the ability to automatically download iTunes Store content to their machine when it is purchased through their account on another device.

Previously, the option to turn on “Auto Download Purchases from Other Macs” was available in developer preview builds of Mountain Lion. But with last week’s release of a new version of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Developer Preview 3, users are now prompted with a notification when App Store content has been purchased through their account.

The latest pre-release build of the Mac operating system update hit the Mac App Store last Wednesday, identified as build “12A206J.” The final release of Mountain Lion is scheduled to go on sale to the public this summer.

Apple has promised to offer a closer look at Mountain Lion at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference, which kicks off June 11 in San Francisco, Calif. WWDC 2012 is also expected to feature the introduction of iOS 6, Apple’s next-generation mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Onyx updated to 2.4.6b3

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Date: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012, 08:06
Category: News, Software

onyxicon

Onyx, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.4.6 beta 3. The new beta, an 18.2 megabyte download adds the following fixes and changes:

– New version integrates 3.7.12 of sqlite3.

– Changes the background image of login window and also works with OS X 10.7.4.

– Changes the logo of login window.

– Modifies the automatic display delay of the Dock.

– Deleting the kernel cache improved.

– Deleting the applications cache improved.

– Deleting the logs improved.

– Deleting the diagnostic reports improved.

– Emptying the Trash improved.

– Trash tab moved in the Cleaning pane.

– Clean Trash option added in the Automation pane.

– Show/hide the warning when changing the file extension.

– Hide the logo in the login window.

– Add Recent/Favorite items Stack in the Dock.

– Deleting the Apple Double files added (Utilities pane.)

– Brazilian Portuguese translation added.

– Some modifications and improvements.

– Help improved, updated, and reindexed.

Onyx 2.4.6b3 requires Mac OS X 10.7 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.