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SanDisk claims world’s smallest 128-gigabit flash chip

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Date: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012, 08:37
Category: Hardware, News

It may not change the world today, but it could lead to some pretty cool stuff.

Per Electronista, electronics maker SanDisk set a record today after the company claimed to have the world’s smallest 128-gigabit (16GB) memory chip. The 19 nanometer, three-bit-per-cell storage has a footprint of about 170mm square (0.26in square), or less than that of a penny. It’s also relatively quick for its capacity and size at 144Mbps (18MB) per second.

Chips built on the newer storage were considered ideal for smartphones, tablets, and solid-state drives for computers. Many such chips can be stacked on top of each other or side-by-side and give more reasonable capacities without having a physically larger device than they do now.

SanDisk has just recently started making 128Gb flash in large quantities on a basic level, although it has yet to say how quickly it expects the shrunken-down design to reach the market. Other companies have 128Gb chips in development, but these have been larger and usually haven’t reached into mainstream devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Hitachi announces 500GB, 7mm, 7,200 RPM Z7K500 notebook hard drive

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Date: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012, 07:22
Category: hard drive, Hardware, News

On Wednesday, Hitachi announced the release of its 500GB Travelstar Z7K500. Per Electronista, the drive is the first to hit a half-terabyte at the slimmer 7mm height while keeping a full 7,200RPM spin speed and just one drive platter. Along with being the first to have both a 6Gbps SATA3 connection and a 32MB buffer, it’s billed as being not just faster than other 7mm drives but faster than many regular 9mm drives as well.

The disk is intended both for thin regular notebooks as well as for ultrabooks. Although not fast enough by itself to match a solid-state drive, including an SSD as a cache theoretically offers a best-of-both-worlds design where the responsiveness of an SSD and the lower prices of a rotating hard drive are combined. It consumes more power, but at 1.8W peak and 0.8W idle is relatively efficient.

Hitachi has had test versions of its newer Z7K500 drives since January and is already expecting mass production for March, with 250GB and 320GB editions already available. It hasn’t named the customers that will be using it, although it conspicuously mentioned that “all major PC OEMs” had already qualified the pre-500GB drives and implied that Apple, Dell, HP, and others were either using or planning to use the new Travelstars.

Final pricing details for the Z7K500 drives also have yet to be announced.

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available.

Camino updated to 2.1.1

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012, 07:19
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, the Camino Project released version 2.1.1 of Camino, its free, open source web browser.

The new version, an 18.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Upgraded to version 1.9.2.27 of the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine, which includes several critical security and stability fixes.

– Blocked versions of Adobe Flash Player 10 older than 10.3.183.15 and Flash Player 11 older than 11.1.102.62 on Intel Macs due to severe security issues.

– Tweaked the autocomplete algorithm to reduce the weight of visit count.
Added a hidden preference to allow turning off autocomplete’s use of page titles in matches.

– The location sheet once again shows an autocomplete window.

– It is now possible to clear the “Recently Closed Pages” menu with the “Clear History…” menu item even when history is disabled.

– Improved the appearance of the bookmark toolbar in background windows on Mac OS X 10.7.

– On Mac OS X 10.7, Camino now appears in the “Productivity” category when sorting Finder windows by category.

– Camino now correctly checks for the presence of a Java plug-in on Mac OS X 10.7.

– The “open location” AppleScript command now supports optional “referrer” and “loading in background” parameters.

– Camino will now display an error message when the “open location” command’s direct parameter is empty or missing.

– A new “reload” command allows AppleScripts to reload browser windows and tabs.

– The status of Camino’s offline mode is now available to AppleScript, and scripts can toggle offline mode on and off using the application object’s “online” property.

– The AppleScript “visit count” bookmark property once again works correctly.

– Pressing Escape will now cancel Tab Overview.

– “Fill Form” no longer fills disabled hidden form controls.

– The “Block Flash animations” checkbox is no longer enabled if Flash is not installed.

– Camino now correctly resolves Bonjour services that do not include an initial forward slash in their “path” information.

Camino 2.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

If you’ve tried the new version of Camino and have any kind of feedback about it, let us know.

China Telecom announces iPhone 4S launch date of March 9th

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 21st, 2012, 08:02
Category: iPhone, News

If you’re overseas and have been waiting for the iPhone 4S, it’s almost here.

After months of ads, China Telecom has announced that it will begin sales of the newest iPhone on March 9, 2012. The company will begin taking reservations for the iPhone 4S on March 2 in anticipation of the rollout a week later according to MacStories.

China Telecom is the second largest carrier in China, and uses a CDMA network as opposed to the GSM network run by market leader China Unicom (which has been selling the iPhone 4S since January). The iPhone 4S is the first iPhone that can run on both networks without requiring separate models.

As part of China Telecom’s rollout, the carrier will be offering the 16 GB iPhone 4S for free with a 2 year contract. According to a tweet from Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, China Unicom currently has 37 million 3G customers, with China Telecom adding another 33 million 3G users. That’s a huge potential iPhone 4S market for Apple, and one that the company is eager to tap.

During last week’s Goldman Sachs technology conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook made repeated references to the vast Chinese market and how the company is making that market a key target for its growth strategy in the future.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

“Working prototype” version of Office for iPad pictured, slated for submission to App Store soon

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 21st, 2012, 07:45
Category: iPad, News, Software

You’ve been hankering for a version of Microsoft Office for the iPad since, well, the release of the iPad.

And it could hit very soon.

Matt Hickey of The Daily was offered the first glimpse at a “working prototype” of Office for iPad on Tuesday.

“Word, Excel and PowerPoint files can be created and edited locally and online,” he said. “But it’s unclear if Microsoft will support other Office apps at launch or at all.”

The design side of the project is said to have already wrapped up, but an exact launch date remains unknown. It was said that the project “could be released in the coming weeks.”

Citing anonymous sources, the report added that Microsoft Office for iPad will “soon be submitted to Apple for approval.” No pricing or other details were provided.

The Daily first indicated last November that Microsoft was preparing a new version of its Office suite for Apple’s iPad. In addition, an updated version of Office for OS X Lion users was also revealed, and is expected to become available on Apple’s Mac App Store.

Apple currently offers its competing iWork productivity suite on the iPad as three standalone applications. Pages, Keynote and Numbers for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are each available for US$9.99 on the App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Mozilla releases Firefox 10.0.2 update

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Date: Tuesday, February 21st, 2012, 06:44
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Late Friday, Mozilla.org released version 10.0.2 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as a 31.4 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

– Fixed: Java applets sometimes caused text input to become unresponsive (bug 718939).

– NEW: Most add-ons are now compatible with new versions of Firefox by default.

– NEW: The forward button is now hidden until you navigate back.

– NEW: Anti-Aliasing for WebGL is now implemented (see bug 615976)

– NEW: CSS3 3D-Transforms are now supported (see bug 505115)

– HTML5: New element for bi-directional text isolation, along with supporting CSS properties (see bugs 613149 and 662288)

– HTML5: Full Screen APIs allow you to build a web application that runs full screen (see the feature page).

– DEVELOPER: We’ve added IndexedDB APIs to more closely match the specification.

– DEVELOPER: Inspect tool with content highlighting, includes new CSS Style Inspector.

– FIXED: Mac OS X only – after installing the latest Java release from Apple, Firefox may crash when closing a tab with a Java applet installed (700835).

– FIXED: Some users may experience a crash when moving bookmarks (681795).

– FIXED: Silverlight video may not play on some Macintosh hardware (715396).

Firefox 10.0.2 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 TV units disappear from Best Buy web site, speculation as to next-gen units ensues

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Date: Friday, February 17th, 2012, 05:39
Category: Apple TV, News

When an item disappears from a web site, things get interesting.

Per AppleInsider, retail chain Best Buy is no longer selling the Apple TV on its website, prompting speculation that a new model from Apple is soon to arrive.

Though BestBuy.com carried Apple’s set-top box as recently as the 2011 holiday season, the device was nowhere to be found on the retailer’s website as of early Friday.

When contacted for comment, a Best Buy salesperson was unable to say when exactly the device had been removed from the website’s listings. “I don’t recall seeing them for a while,” he said.

“At this point in time, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting [the Apple TV] back,” the representative said after performing an inventory check.

An user reported having a similar experience on Thursday, noting that a Best Buy employee checked inventory in all stores and found that they were all out of stock. Apple does, however, continue to list the Apple TV as “In Stock” on its website.

The disappearance of the Apple TV from Best Buy’s inventory comes as a surprise because the big-box retailer was one of the first to carry the device when it first arrived in 2007. The original Apple TV got off to a promising start, but the product has yet to become more than a “hobby” for Apple.

Many have speculated that Apple’s plans for expanding its Apple TV platform involve a full-fledged television set. Multiple reports have suggested that the company has begun building prototypes for a connected TV, with one even claiming that Canadian telecoms Rogers and BCE are testing the set in their labs.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe releases Flash Player 11.1.102.62

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Date: Thursday, February 16th, 2012, 07:11
Category: News, Software

adobelogo

Late Wednesday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.1.102.62 for Mac OS X, a 14.1 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version includes the following fixes and changes:

– Security enhancements.

Flash Player requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please feel free to hurl your two cents in via the comments.

Apple releases Canon Printer Drivers 2.8 update

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Date: Thursday, February 16th, 2012, 07:17
Category: News, Software

It’s not the most exciting update in the world, but it doesn’t hurt.

Late Wednesday, Apple released its Canon Printer Drivers 2.8 update. The update, a 328 megabyte download, offers the latest printer drivers for Apple’s Mac OS X 10.6.x (Snow Leopard) and Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) operating systems where Canon’s printers and multi-function devices are concerned.

The update can be located, snagged and installed via the built-in Mac OS X Software Update feature and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Apple announces Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, developers granted access to preview

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Date: Thursday, February 16th, 2012, 07:18
Category: News, Software

Remember how you sort-of-recently upgraded to Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)?

You’re about to upgrade again this summer.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday announced Mac OS X 10.8, dubbed “Mountain Lion,” the next major release of its Mac operating system, set to launch on the Mac App Store this summer, with a preview now available for Mac developers.

A developer preview of the forthcoming operating system update was released to developers on Thursday, and Apple has boasted that Mountain Lion packs over 100 new features, including many brought from the iPad and iOS mobile operating system.

New features introduced with Mountain Lion include Messages, which replaces iChat, as well as Notes, Reminders and Game Center for the Mac. In addition, Mountain Lion will also feature Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration, and AirPlay Mirroring.

Mountain Lion will also be the first OS X release with iCloud for easy setup and integration with applications. The developer preview also includes Gatekeeper, which helps keep users safe from malicious software by giving control over what applications are installed on a Mac.

The preview of Mountain Lion is available to Mac Developer Program members starting Thursday. Mac users will be able to buy the upgrade from the Mac App Store in late summer 2012.

An in-depth preview of Mountain Lion was provided by the mighty Jim Dalrymple at The Loop who has had his hands on a copy of Mountain Lion for the past week. He said that the latest operating system is “packed with new features that existing Mac users and iOS users will enjoy.”

“If there was a theme in Mountain Lion, I’d have to say it’s familiarity,” he wrote. “Apple brought many new features into the new operating system from IOS, so millions of users will recognize the names of the apps and features.”

Mountain Lion also features tighter integration with iCloud, connecting it with Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Messages, FaceTime, Notes, Reminders, Game Center, the Mac App Store, Documents & Data, and Bookmarks. By simply entering an iCloud user ID and password, users will have many features automatically set up for them on their new Mac.

Mountain Lion also brings Notification Center from iOS to the Mac. It can be accessed by choosing a circle button on the top right of the screen. With a gesture of two fingers sliding from the right edge, the Notification Center can be pulled from the right side of the screen.

Reminders and Notes will help users create and track to-do lists across all of their devices. And Game Center lets users personalize their Mac gaming experience, find new games and challenge friends to play live multiplayer games, whether on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

AirPlay Mirroring is also coming to the Mac, allowing users to wirelessly send a secure 720p video stream of what’s on their Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV.

New Twitter integration also allows users to sign in once and tweet directly from Safari, Quick Look, Photo Booth, Preview, and third-party applications. The new system-wide Share Sheets also makes it easy to share links, photos and videos directly from Apple and third-party applications.

Mountain Lion also features enhanced support for Chinese users, including the option to select Baidu search in Safari. It also sports “significant enhancements” to the Chinese input method, Apple said, along with connectivity for Contacts, Mail and Calendar through top e-mail service providers QQ, 126 and 163, and Share Sheets connectivity with Youku and Toudou.

For developers, there are hundreds of new APIs that allow access to core technologies and enhanced features in OS X. The new Game Kit APIs tap into the same services as Game Center on iOS, allowing developers to create cross-platform multiplayer games for iOS and Mac. There’s also a new graphics infrastructure underpinning OpenGL and OpenCL and implementing GLKit, first introduced in iOS 5, making it easier to create OpenGL apps.

Also found in Mountain Lion are enhanced multi-touch APIs that give developers double-tap zoom support and access to the system-wide lookup gesture. Additionally, kernel ASLR improves security through enhanced migration against buffer overflow attacks.

Pricing on Mountain Lion has not yet been announced, but the new operating system will only be available via the Mac App Store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the developer preview, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.