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Intel announces 710 series enterprise-class SSD units, talks up endurance factor

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Date: Friday, September 16th, 2011, 09:09
Category: News

Solid-state drives: They’re getting prolific.

And that’s never a bad thing.

Per Macworld, Intel on Wednesday announced the new 710 series solid-state drives, the company currently pitching the units as a replacement to hard drives in enterprise servers.

The SSDs will come with capacities ranging from 100GB to 300GB and include features to protect data and enhance the life of the drives. The drives replace the previous X25-E SSDs, which were also targeted at enterprises, and have 30 times more endurance than conventional hard drives featuring moving parts.

The drives are priced starting at US$649 for the 100GB version to US$1929 for the 300GB drive, when purchased in quantities of 1,000.

The drives feature multilevel cell technologies, which store bits of data at multiple levels in each cell, but provide the endurance of typical single-level cell (SLC) SSDs, where a bit of data is stored per cell. SLCs are considered faster and more reliable than MLCs in terms of endurance cycles.

The SSD achieves a random write performance, measured in 4K blocks, of up to 2700 I/O operations per second (IOPS) and read performance of up to 38,500 IOPS. It has a write endurance of up to 1.1 petabytes.

The Intel SSD 710 includes a technology called HET (high endurance technology), which combines firmware enhancements, management features and algorithms to reduce data errors, Intel said.

The SSDs will be offered with Cisco’s UCS B230 M2 two-socket server starting in September, Intel and Cisco said in a joint statement.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Thunderbolt Software Update 1.0

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 16th, 2011, 09:22
Category: News, Software

Maybe it’s a good thing that the software patch arrived before the actual units did. On Friday, Apple released Thunderbolt Software Update 1.0, a 60.3 megabyte download that provides support for the Apple Thunderbolt Display and bug fixes for Thunderbolt device compatibility.

The update should also be available via Mac OS X’s Software update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.7.1 to install and run.

If you’ve received your Apple Thunderbolt Display yet and tried the update with it, please let us know what you make of it via the comments.

Apple begins shipping Thunderbolt-equipped Cinema Display units

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 16th, 2011, 06:36
Category: Hardware, News

Per AppleInsider, a number of users have reported that Apple has begun shipping LED Thunderbolt Displays directly to them.

The customers reported late Thursday that their Thunderbolt Display orders have shipped, with one Australian customer claimed that the display has already arrived.

Apple unveiled the new US$999 27-inch LED Thunderbolt Display in July alongside new Mac Minis and MacBook Airs, promising availability within 60 days. The new display is the first to support the Thunderbolt I/O technology. In addition to Thunderbolt, the display includes a built-in FaceTime HD video camera, a 2.1 speaker system, MagSafe charger, three USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire 800 port, and one Gigabit Ethernet port.

Reports emerged last week that Apple had begun shipping the new displays to its retail stores with plans to begin fulfilling individual pre-orders on Sept. 15.

Earlier this week, Apple released a MacBook Pro firmware update enabling support for the new display. Early 2011 Thunderbolt MacBook Pro models and other Thunderbolt-capable Macs with discrete graphics support two daisy-chained displays, though the new MacBook Air supports only one display.

Intel and Apple introduced the Thunderbolt technology in February. On Thursday, the chipmaker relayed its plans for the specification, which will eventually support transfer speeds of up to 100Gbps after the transition to optical cabling.

If you’ve received a shipping notice about your Thunderbolt-equipped display or the display itself and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Intel discusses Haswell achitecture, cites 24 hour notebook battery charge, 10 day standby, expected 2013 release date

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 15th, 2011, 09:43
Category: battery, Hardware, News

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Wait two years and your notebook’s battery life problems could get quite a bit easier to deal with.

Per Macworld, Intel’s next processor platform, code named Haswell, will offer more than 10 days of connected standby battery life and the ability to run your laptop for a full 24 hours on one charge.

Standby connected power will be decreased about 20 times over current Sandy Bridge processors. In real-life terms, this means you could put your laptop to sleep, unplugged, and it could still be working in the background, getting your emails and IMs, for ten days straight.

With 24 hours of battery life, those long-distance flights and day trips will no longer be a worry.

Intel also stated that this technology was slated for 2013, which means you have plenty of time to hanker for it.

For those looking to the more near-term, Intel is expected to released the Ivy Bridge chipset in 2012, which will use a new 22-nanometer architecture to replace the current Sandy Bridge architecture and help make laptops more power efficient in the process.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

China Mobile CEO hints at upcoming 4G technologies for Apple iPhone

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Date: Thursday, September 15th, 2011, 09:08
Category: iPhone, News

It’s the hints that make technology interesting.

The chairman of China Mobile, the largest wireless operator in the world, revealed this week that his company is hopeful it will collaborate with Apple to create a 4G LTE-capable iPhone model.

Per Bloomberg, Chairman Wang Jianzhou said in an interview on Thursday that China Mobile has been in talks with Apple about producing a high-speed 4G iPhone. The carrier has been working to launch its time-division long-term evolution, or TD-LTE, fourth-generation data network, and wants to see that Apple’s iPhone is compatible.

“We discussed this issue with Apple,” Wang reportedly said. “We hope Apple will produce a new iPhone with TD-LTE. We have already got a positive answer from Apple.”

Currently, the iPhone is exclusive to China Unicom in the nation of over a billion people. But China Mobile is the largest prize, with more than 611 million subscribers.

The iPhone currently operates on 3G data speeds, but newer and faster 4G networks are spreading across the globe. Apple has publicly downplayed the prospect of embracing LTE technology in the iPhone in the near future, as first-generation LTE devices available on the market have been plagued with poor battery life, among other issues associated with the still-early technology.

In April, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook indicated his company is in no rush to adopt 4G technology in its products. He admitted that Apple has explored LTE, but the company wasn’t ready to make the jump with the launch of a CDMA Verizon iPhone in February.

Before Apple creates a TD-LTE iPhone for China Mobile, it will likely first introduce a 3G-capable model compatible with its unique homegrown network. Wang revealed on Thursday that there are more than 8.5 million iPhone users on China Mobile, but those using unlocked phones are restricted to the carrier’s much slower second-generation network. Apple is rumored to release the its fifth-generation iPhone for China Mobile this year.

In March, Wang went on record as saying that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs had “expressed interest in an LTE iPhone” and was willing to start development “at an early date.” Wang also said in January that Apple has “made it clear” that future updates to the iPhone will support long-term evolution 4G technology.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases firmware updates for early 2011 MacBook Pro notebooks, 2011 Mac mini desktops

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 15th, 2011, 05:10
Category: Mac mini, MacBook Pro, News, Software

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On Wednesday, Apple released firmware updates for the latest Mac mini and MacBook Pro models to address issues with Lion Internet Recovery and Thunderbolt connectivity.

Per Macworld, like Monday’s MacBook Air update, EFI Firmware Update 1.3 (for mid-2011 Mac mini models) offers stability enhancements for Lion Internet Recovery and fixes an issue with Apple Thunderbolt Display compatibiltity as well as performance in Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode.

The patch for the MacBook Pro, EFI Firmware Update 2.2, provides similar Thunderbolt fixes, though unlike its newer cousins, the MacBook Pro does not ship with Internet Recovery; as such, this update actually enables the use of Internet Recovery on a MacBook Pro. Internet Recovery allows you to, in the event of a hard drive crash, reinstall Lion over the internet, without a physical Lion Recovery partition.

To update your Mac mini or MacBook Pro, you can snag the update via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature or from Apple’s Support website. From there, you’ll want to have your computer connected to power (or, in the case of your laptop, a working power adapter). Your computer will reboot to a gray screen to install the firmware; you’ll be able to track the progress using a status bar at the bottom of the screen.

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

Parallels Desktop updated to 7.0.14922.693916

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 15th, 2011, 05:35
Category: News, Software

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Updates: They tend to be useful.

Late Wednesday, Parallels released version 7.0.14922.693916 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 289 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- New interface languages, including Czech, Portuguese, Chinese Simplified, and Chinese Traditional.

- Option to choose Mac OS X Snow Leopard-style full screen mode instead of native OS X Lion full screen mode.

- Better compatibility with FileVault.

- Improved compatibility with FaceTime HD camera and other USB devices for virtual machines with more than 2 GB of memory.

- Resolves a problem with Mac slow boot time.

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.

Microsoft Office 2008 updated to 12.3.1, adds Word, Entourage changes

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Date: Wednesday, September 14th, 2011, 12:45
Category: News, Software

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Microsoft has posted an update to version 12.3.1 for Office 2008 for Mac. The update, a 333 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

Improvements for Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac:
Help works in all languages – This update resolves an issue that causes online Word Help not to display in some languages.

Improvements for Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac:
Time zone information is updated – This update provides updated time zone information.

Microsoft Office 2008 12.3.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and have anything to report back, let us know.

Verizon, AT&T announce updated prepaid mobile plans

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 14th, 2011, 06:11
Category: iPhone, News

As cool as mobile devices may be, it all comes down to how much you’re paying a month.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Verizon and AT&T on Tuesday announced new prepaid plans, just weeks ahead of Apple’s expected 2011 iPhone introductions.

Verizon unlimited:
Verizon will begin offering on Thursday a US$50 a month pre-paid plan for select phones, providing unlimited talk, text and data, according to the Wall Street Journal. Big-box retailers Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Target will partner up to sell the plan.

Verizon reported 4.4 million prepaid subscribers for the quarter ending in June, showing a 3.4% decline compared to the year ago period. On the other hand, postpaid subscribers amounted to 85.4 million, a 4.6% year to year increase.

The carrier’s main rivals in the prepaid business are Sprint, via Virgin Mobile and Boost, and MetroPCS. The former reported 13.8 million prepaid customers in June, with the latter amassing 9.1 million prepaid subscribers, a 23% and 19% increase for the period, respectively.

MetroPCS has similar unlimited prepaid plans available for as low as US$40 per month, and Sprint’s Boost customers who pay on time can lower their bills to as little as $35 per month.

Verizon, however, will not lower unlimited plan prices below US$50 as to “prevent cannibalization of its postpaid subscribers,” said James Ratcliffe, a Barclays Capital analyst.

Verizon’s initial unlimited prepaid lineup will include four handsets from LG, Samsung and Pantech for new customers, though some older prepaid phones can be used for the plan.

Meanwhile, unlimited postpaid plans have become scarce as carriers have struggled to keep up with heavy data usage by customers. Earlier this year Verizon announced the termination of unlimited data plans for postpaid consumers purchasing smartphones, including the iPhone. AT&T has also capped new iPhone and iPad data plans at 2GB per month.

But, Sprint is still offering unlimited data plans with its smartphones, with a recent report suggesting that the nation’s third largest carrier won’t discontinue such plans in the event it launches the iPhone later this year, as has been rumored.

GoPhone:
AT&T will begin offering a new GoPhone plan on Sept. 18, along with the option of an international long distance package for prepaid customers. The national plan will cost US$25 monthly and include 240 nationwide voice minutes and unlimited, nationwide messaging, while the international feature will cost prepaid customers US$10 and include 250 minutes to over 50 countries for 30 days.

The carrier also announced that prepaid customers can now roam in Canada for US$0.39 per voice minute, US$0.25 per message sent and US$0.20 per message received.

The iPhone 5 is expected to be launched in early to mid-October, with a growing number of reports suggesting that Sprint will join AT&T and Verizon in offering at least one iPhone model to American consumers. On Tuesday, however, a new rumor surfaced indicating that the mobile operator may only launch the iPhone 4 this October, as Sprint sales associates were reportedly being briefed only on the launch of the existing handset.

It has been widely suggested that Apple will launch two distinct iPhone models this year, an entry-level, dubbed the iPhone 4S, and a high-end iPhone 5. The former has been rumored to be a cheaper iPhone 4, one that could potentially be sold by carriers with prepaid contracts instead of regular two-year agreements.

Commenting on the prepaid market and the possibility of a cheaper iPhone option, Tim Cook explained in February that Apple doesn’t want its products to be “just for the rich,” adding that the company is “not ceding any market” and is planning “clever things” to compete in the prepaid handset market.

Adobe Reader updated to 10.1.1

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 14th, 2011, 05:42
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, Adobe released version 10.1.1 of its Adobe Reader application. The update, which can also be snagged through the Adobe Update Utility, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Acrobat fails to display Rupee symbol.

- Unable to see the last item in drop down list when navigating through list with down arrow.

- Custom scan does not work with Acrobat X.

- Comments and Annotations do not work properly in Workspace launched via Safari on a Mac OS.

- A signed PDF can cause the viewer in a browser to crash.

- Submission of signed data in Acrobat X is slow.

- Unable to input using Japanese IME after using drop box with protected mode.

- Opening a PDF with “CR” in its name gives an error to accept license after disabling Protected Mode.

- Closing a form in a browser may cause the browser to hang.

- Protected mode on XP: IME mode remained Half-alphanumeric mode automatically and cannot change back to Hiragana mode again after move mouse focus from dropdown field to Japanese text filed.

- Form data cannot be exported to CSV in some cases.

- Portfolio behavior different from 9.x with respect to coversheets.

- formBridge events not firing in Portfolio loaded within Reader plug-in inside LiveCycle workspace.

- Touching up text causes ligatures to be dropped.

- IE 6 crashes with magnifier when filling out a text field of a table in a form.

- Reader X call to LiveCycle server fails when submitting an authentication call via SOAP.

- PDFMaker hangs while converting an attached Word file with hidden text to pdf.

- PDFMaker for Office 2007 duplicates headings when both normal and custom headings exist in the same document.

- PDFMaker for MS Office 2003: ES2 (LC 9.0) rendition removes spaces between the Kanji character and the English character while converting an MS word file to PDF.

- PDF was displayed in browser window directly instead of embedded in a ZCI html container when ‘Enable Javascript for this document one time.

- Acrobat Updater Resets “Adobe PDF” PostScript Printer Driver Instance Settings.

- The Share Pane has been renamed to “Tools Pane”. The Tools Pane has been renamed to the “Extended Pane” for Adobe Reader (this is only not for Acrobat). This change is designed to facilitate future additions and enhancements to the Tools area.

- The Welcome screen (with the recent file list) can be disabled via three methods:

- Improved stability and integration with MS Outlook on 64 bit systems. 8.x products redirect users to Reader 10.x downloads if new updates are available. Note that 8.x will be end-of-lifed in November, 2011.

- Major changes in the user JavaScript and global variables features as described in the Application Security Guide. If you use these features, you must make changes to your distributed products.

Acrobat Reader 10.1.1 and Acrobat Pro requires an Intel-based processor and Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new versions and noticed any differences, please let us know what you think.