Google releases Picasa 3.9.13.29 update

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Date: Monday, January 7th, 2013, 06:26
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, software giant Google released Picasa 3.9.13.29, the latest version of its photo organization program for the Mac. Once installed, Picasa imports (without moving or copying) photos from the iPhoto library as well as other folders and external hard drives on your Mac. The program also includes assorted editing tools for straightening, text generation, red eye removal, collage creation and Photoshop-like effects and adjustments. The new version, a 34 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

Share to your Google+ circles: If you’ve joined Google+, you can use Picasa 3.9 to share directly to the circles you’ve created in Google+. They’ll see your photos and videos in their Google+ stream. People that don’t use Google+ aren’t left out. They’ll get an email to view your album in Google+, and they don’t have to join to do so.

Picasa name tags on Google+: If you’ve joined Google+, you may have noticed that name tags have become more social. With the release of Picasa 3.9, you can now upload and share your name tags on Google+. Note that if you choose not to join Google+, name tags won’t change at all.

New photo editing effects: We’ve added a plethora of new editing effects like Vignette, Duo-tone, Borders and more.

Side by side editing: Compare two different photos side by side. Or compare the original and edited versions versions of the same photo simultaneously as you apply edits in Picasa. Learn how to edit side by side.

Picasa 3.9.13.29 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.

Workaround discovered for poor graphics performance/frame rates on 15-inch MacBook Pro

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Date: Friday, January 4th, 2013, 08:54
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

In as much as you love your 15-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro notebook, there are times where things aren’t always perfect. Per CNET, some Mac users are finding that some of the latest MacBook systems from Apple are sometimes showing drastic drops in graphics performance, which are particularly notable when playing graphically intensive applications like video games.

The issue seems to be that while at first launching the game will show the expected smooth performance, it may suddenly drop to a very low frame rate and be essentially unplayable. Usually when systems drop to low frame rates it suggests they are being overworked for some reason and are struggling to make the computations necessary for smooth gameplay, and as a result will usually be relatively hot as the graphics card is taxed; however, in these systems this is not the case and in testing some users have noticed that various monitoring tools show the system at a relatively idle state, suggesting the system is not being taxed much and instead is just not performing the computations at hand.

Apple’s 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro systems ship with two graphics cards (a discrete Nvidia Geforce GT 650M for graphics intensive operations and an on-board Intel HD 4000 GPU for standard everyday tasks), which it switches between dynamically to get optimal energy savings and increase battery life. However, it appears that the problem at hand is with how the system is handling this switching behavior, where it will switch back to using the lower power Intel graphics and therefore not be able to manage the demands of fancier games.

The mighty Topher Kessler has listed how to reset the SMC and thus regain some of your graphics frame rate via the following steps:

– Shut down the computer.

– Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.

– On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.

– Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.

– Press the power button to turn on the computer.

After these steps have been performed, the system should perform as expected with graphics-intensive applications.

If you’ve tried this fix with your 15-inch MacBook Pro and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 could be en route to next-gen iOS devices

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Date: Friday, January 4th, 2013, 07:54
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

Glassmaker Corning on Thursday announced Gorilla Glass 3, a stronger, more scratch resistant version of the current substrate used in the display of Apple’s iPhone and iPad lines of mobile devices.

Per Engadget, Corning unveiled its latest glass technologies including Gorilla Glass 3 and optical cables for use in fiber-supported protocols like Thunderbolt.



As for the next-generation Gorilla Glass 3, Corning claims the material is three times more scratch resistant than the previous version thanks to “Native Damage Resistance” technology. The company also claims that of the scratches that do occur on the glass, 40 percent fewer will be visible to the naked eye.

Not much information was provided pertaining to the optical cables, but the fiber format promises enhanced speeds and longer cable runs compared to current copper-based solutions. When Apple first launched Thunderbolt-compatible Macs and the Thunderbolt display, the company promised increased performance when optical cables hit the market. Thus far, production of the expensive components has been non-existent, but that is expected to change in 2013.

Corning Glass Technologies President James P. Clappin is scheduled to be a panelist on in the “Disruptive Technologies Impacting the Future of Games and Video” session at 11 a.m. PST on Tuesday, Jan. 8, and will discuss the role of specialized glass in consumer electronics like high-resolution 3D, HD video, internet-connected TVs and tablets, among other devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple acquisition of Waze reportedly “not happening” according to multiple sources

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Date: Friday, January 4th, 2013, 07:07
Category: iOS, News, Software

It was an interesting rumor while it lasted.

Per TechCrunch, multiple sources have indicated that Apple will not buy Waze. Author MG Siegler was reportedly told by multiple sources that “there is no deal happening… now or anytime soon.”

He suggested that the companies could have talked about a potential acquisition, but noted that larger companies talk with smaller companies about possible deals “on a daily basis.”

Initially, Mike Butcher reported on Wednesday that Apple was “sniffing around Waze.” A similar rumor also appeared on an Israeli website.

Waze is a popular iOS application that the company says has more than 30 million users. It allows users to share real-time information on traffic congestion, gas prices, accidents, speed traps, checkpoints and more.

The Waze application for iOS was highlighted by Apple in September as an alternative mapping option on the App Store. Apple began promoting competing applications after users complained that its new Maps application in iOS 6, which replaced Google Maps data with its own proprietary service, was substandard.

The poor perception of the new iOS Maps was originally believed to be a driving force behind Apple’s supposed interest in Waze, but with Thursday’s report it’s now said that such a deal will not be happening.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to hold Q1 2013 earnings conference call on Wednesday, January 23rd

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Date: Thursday, January 3rd, 2013, 07:39
Category: Finance, News

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It’s nice to get the numbers back and see how you’re doing.

Per AppleInsider, Apple announced on Wednesday that it will reveal results for the first fiscal quarter of 2013 on Jan. 23, which will be followed by an earnings conference call expected to cover initial statistics for the holiday season as well as performance numbers for the iPad mini.

The announcement was posted to Apple’s Investor Relations web site and noted the conference call will start on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 2:00 p.m. Pacific/5:00 p.m. Eastern. A live audio stream of the call will be available at this link.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple saw a 25 percent boost in profits thanks to strong sales of 44 million iDevices, including 26.9 million iPhones, for the three month period. Revenue for fiscal 2012 reached over US$156 billion on sales of more than 200 million iOS devices, 18 million Macs, and 35 million iPods.

For the upcoming report, Apple forecast revenue of US$52 billion and diluted earnings per share of about US$11.75 for the quarter ending in December. The multitude of new product launches and product line refreshes, like the iPad mini, iPhone 5 and newly redesigned iMac line, are expected to drive down gross margins that could equate to a decline of 400 basis points for the three month period.

Stay tuned to the PowerPage for up to the minute coverage on the earnings come the 23rd.

iOS 6 New Year’s Eve “Do Not Disturb” bug to auto-correct itself on Jan. 7th according to Apple

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Date: Thursday, January 3rd, 2013, 07:24
Category: iOS, News, Software

This is sort of an awkward thing, but Apple says it should resolve itself in four days’ time.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has posted a support document, informing users that a bug with the “Do Not Disturb” feature in iOS 6 will automatically be resolved after Jan. 7.

The document, published on Wednesday, acknowledges the “symptom” of the problem, in which the Do Not Disturb mode stays on past its scheduled end time. The bug went into effect with the start of the new year on Tuesday.

“Do Not Disturb scheduling feature will resume normal functionality after January 7, 2013,” Apple’s document reads. “Before this date, you should manually turn the Do Not Disturb feature on or off.”

Users can manually switch the automatic feature of Do Not Disturb on or off by opening the iOS Settings application, choosing “Notifications,” then “Do Not Disturb,” and switching “Scheduled.” Until next Monday, Jan. 7, the feature will not auto-enable or disable as it has done since the launch of iOS 6 in September.

The iPhone has a history of New Year’s bugs, with another issue arising at the start of 2011 that prevented non-repeating alarms from ringing. When the bug became known, Apple suggested that users set recurring alarms until Jan. 3 of that year, when the alarms automatically began working again properly.

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

TSMC to replace Samsung as A6X chip manufacturer for upcoming iPad devices

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Date: Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013, 08:14
Category: Hardware, iPad, News, Processors

The company may not have the prettiest logo in the world, but they DO have a killer Apple contract that a lot of people in their industry would love to have.

Per channelnewsasia.com, after years of rumors, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is said to finally begin trial production of A6X chips for Apple’s fourth-generation iPad this quarter, further marginalizing Samsung’s role in Apple’s supply chain.

TSMC has been contracted to manufacture the A6X chip found in the latest iPad. A report published on Wednesday said trial production of the mobile chips will begin in the first quarter of the year.

Apple has long been rumored to be interested in switching its mobile chip manufacturing from Samsung to TSMC. The iPad maker, which was once Samsung’s biggest customer, has been looking to remove Samsung from its supply chain as the two companies are engaged in a number of patent infringement lawsuits around the world.

Recent reports had indicated that Apple planned to have TSMC begin producing mobile chips in 2013. But some reports pegged a late 2013 start date as more likely.

With the latest rumor pegging TSMC’s deal as only for trial production of the A6X, it’s still unclear exactly when TSMC-produced chips could begin appearing in Apple’s iOS devices. Currently, all of the mobile processors used in the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV are built by Samsung at its chip fabrication plant in Austin, Tex.

Switching its chip manufacturing from Samsung to TSMC is expected to be a complex transition that could take Apple as long as 18 months to complete.

Rumors that surfaced last month pegged TSMC has the most likely company behind a mysterious “Project Azalea” that numerous states are competing to win. The secretive project involves an unnamed semiconductor manufacturing company considering a new chip fabrication plant in four potential states: New York, California, Texas and Oregon.

The chip manufacturer behind the “Azalea” project is said to have ties to Apple, which has led numerous reports to suggest TSMC as the most likely company behind the mystery project. The states bidding for the contract have signed nondisclosure agreements, making the company unknown.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Metropolitan Transit Authority releases train-locating app for iOS devices

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Date: Monday, December 31st, 2012, 08:10
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

If you live in the greatest city in the world, this can only help.

Per the Wall Street Journal, the Metropolitan Transit Authority on Friday released an iOS app that will let riders of seven train lines plan their trips to the minute, a first for the largest subway system in the U.S.



The official MTA Subway Time app uses train location data to provide iPhone and iPod touch owners with up-to-the-minute arrival times for seven of the system’s 24 lines.

The MTA spent 11 years and over US$228 million to install digital train-tracking sensors and relevant equipment required to serve up real-time location data. The iOS app taps into the system and feeds commuters with arrival times, though the service is available mostly aboveground as cellular extension networks planned for underground stations have yet to be completed. A large portion of the subway’s train location sensors date back fifty years, just before the proliferation of microprocessors and digital communications.

Among the first lines to get support for the new free service are Nos. 1 through 6 and the 42nd Street Shuttle. Two more lines, the L line between Brooklyn and Manhattan’s 14th Street and the No. 7 line between Queens and Midtown Manhattan, are currently being upgraded to be compatible with the new system. Updates to the L line are expected to be completed in six months to a year, while the No. 7 won’t be ready until at least 2016.

According to the app’s description, users will also be notified of service delays and reroutes prior to fare payment, a useful tool for on-the-go commuters.

Android and Windows Phone versions of the app are in the works, but unlike the iOS app, those will be built by third-party companies. The agency is also allowing developers access to the sensor data feeds, allowing app makers to build real-time tracking programs with more robust features than those offered by the official app.

MTA Subway Time for iOS is available now as a free download through the App Store and requires iOS 5.0 or later to install and run.

Apple, Samsung come to terms over Galaxy S III Mini, remove it from forthcoming patent infringement case claims

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Date: Monday, December 31st, 2012, 08:47
Category: Legal, News

Not that this is going to entirely alleviate the ongoing conflict between the Hatfields and the McCoys, but it’s a small step in the right direction.

Per AppleInsider, a court document filed on Friday revealed that Apple is dropping all claims against Samsung’s Galaxy S III Mini smartphone after the Korean company said it has no plans to formally import and sell the handset in the U.S.

In Apple’s filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, a reply in support of a November motion to amend its claims against Samsung, the company agreed to drop the Galaxy S III Mini from the suit in response to the Galaxy maker’s opposition of adding new products to the upcoming case.

Apple looked to broaden assertions with a proposed Nov. 23 motion which added the Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S III with Android 4.1, Galaxy S III Mini, Rugby Pro, Galaxy Tab 8.9 Wi-Fi and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 to a suit scheduled to be heard in 2014.

Samsung countered by saying it is not “making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing the Galaxy S III Mini in the United States,” and opposed the inclusion of the Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, and Galaxy Rugby Pro, because “Apple did not serve its claim charts for these products until November 30, after the November 23 date identified by the Court.”

According to Friday’s filing, Apple will not contest the partial opposition and claimed it misunderstood a Nov. 15 court order regarding a limitation on assertions, a stipulation Samsung pointed to in its retort. If the Court agrees with Samsung’s reading of the order, which concludes that all new contentions made after Nov. 23 are invalid, Apple “will of course voluntarily withdraw any infringement contentions” made after that date.

As for the Galaxy S III Mini, Apple noted that the handset can be purchased at retail outlets like Amazon.com’s U.S. storefront, but agreed to withdraw its claims as long as they can be reinstated if the device was to see official sale in America.

The case, which involves the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III flagship smartphones, is set to start hearings on Mar. 31, 2014.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Dropbox updated to 1.6.11

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Date: Monday, December 31st, 2012, 07:57
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a decent update:

On Friday, Dropbox released version 1.6.11 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 23.1 megabyte download, which adds the following fix:

– Fix a hang that affects a handful of people.

Dropbox 1.6.11 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.