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Rumor: Intel to bring Thunderbolt port to “first-tier” Windows PCs in April, 2012

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Date: Tuesday, December 27th, 2011, 10:50
Category: Hardware, News

You were wondering when that rather-nifty Thunderbolt port would make its way to Windows PCs and thus spread the use of the technology?

Well, now there’s something of an answer.

Per DigiTimes, Intel has begun notifying PC makers that it will “fully release” the high-speed I/O in April 2012, according to a new report.

Sources from within PC players have stated that “several first-tier” PC vendors are readying Thunderbolt-equipped motherboards, notebooks and desktop computers for release. Sony and Asus are expected to adopt the new technology, while Gigabyte technology will reportedly launch a Thunderbolt-capable motherboard in April of next year.

According to the report, Intel cooperated with Apple exclusively this year in order to “speed up the standardization of Thunderbolt.” As interest in the technology has continued to grow, Intel has readied the technology for “public use.”

Thunderbolt should see even further adoption in the second half of next year as related costs drop. Sources told the publication that the technology will be “standardized gradually in the future” as chip prices fall.

In June, Sony was originally thought to have developed the first non-Mac Thunderbolt PC with its VAIO Z laptop and Power Media dock. However, it was later revealed that the company had used an early version of Intel’s technology that did not match the Thunderbolt standard.

Apple partnered up with Intel to unveil the Thunderbolt I/O in its MacBook Pro lineup this February. The Mac maker quickly added the technology to its products, including the iMac, MacBook Air, Mac Mini and LED Display.

Thunderbolt combines Intel’s “Light Peak” specification with Apple’s Mini DisplayPort to support transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. The technology uses the PCI Express standard, allowing for a range of peripherals and functions.

The first Thunderbolt peripherals, such as RAID systems and external drives arrived on the market throughout 2011, but high costs have reportedly been a barrier to companies looking to make Thunderbolt accessories.

For its part, Intel claimed earlier this year that Thunderbolt has attracted “tremendous response from the industry,” touting more than twenty companies, including Belkin, Canon, Seagate, Western Digital and Adobe, interested in adding Thunderbolt support to their products.

Also affecting Thunderbolt adoption is the growing presence of USB 3.0. HP, the world’s largest PC maker, has decided to go with USB 3.0 after not finding a “value proposition” with Thunderbolt. Intel has said it will support USB 3.0 alongside Thunderbolt, which is meant to be “complementary,” but some PC industry insiders have claimed that Thunderbolt could “greatly affect” adoption of the competing standard.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Boxee updated to 1.5, sings swan song for Mac OS X, Windows versions

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Date: Monday, December 26th, 2011, 09:05
Category: News, Software

The good news: There’s a nifty new version of Boxee available for the Mac.

The bad news: This will be its final version for the Mac.

Per Electronista, Boxee marked a swansong for its desktop app with the launch of version 1.5. The new version, an 82 megabyte download, has a newly refreshed interface with quicker access to the browser and the menu appearing as an overlay with quicker search. Movie and TV sections have been given their own updates, such as easier navigation by genres and sources, more details, and a better way to check for unwatched video episodes.

The app requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run. Its release is the last official desktop version and will be pulled after late January, when the interface comes to Boxee’s own hardware with the Live TV Tuner add-on.

Andrew Kippen from the company explained the decision to axe the desktop app as a virtue of a widening gap between the software version and what the team was allowed to do with the Boxee Box. Limitations on certification and copy protection imposed by Netflix, Pandora, Vudu, and others prevented Boxee from offering much of what it wanted.

TV was also more likely to be driven by dedicated hardware, Kippen argued. Along with the Boxee Box, it saw Internet-aware Blu-ray players and TVs leading the charge as well as sharing-capable smartphones and tablets. Makeshift setups with computers hooked up to TVs were less likely to stay.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple kicks off 12 Days of iTunes giveaway in Canada, UK with the horror that is Coldplay

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Date: Monday, December 26th, 2011, 08:45
Category: iTunes, News

The 12 Days of Appmas has begun.

Per Pocketlint, Apple’s annual download giveaway began today and runs through January 6th. The free gifts kick off with some Coldplay tracks and videos from the band’s latest Apple-sponsored festival appearance and will feature additional music, apps, etc. with each one being available for just 24 hours.

Take a gander at the iTunes link and let us know what’s on your mind over in the comments section.

Interference testing casts doubt on whether iPads, Kindles actually cause significant interference for air travel

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Date: Monday, December 26th, 2011, 05:58
Category: iPad, News

There may be less of an actual reason to keep your devices off during a flight.

Per Electronista, both an Amazon Kindle and a Sony voice recorder tested around 30 microvolts, or well under the 100 volts per meter limit the FAA demands. While iPads weren’t measured, they too would be well under the limit.

FAA arguments that many more devices would cause dramatically more interference also didn’t hold up. CSI Telecommunications head engineer Bill Ruck noted that interference doesn’t scale directly and slows down as the number of devices goes up. If a full cabin interfered with an airplane, no one could safely enter an office building “without wearing protective gear,” EMT labs testing lead Kevin Bothmann said.

A Boeing engineer that co-authored a 2006 FAA report that enforced the device bans during takeoff and landing acknowledged that at least some devices, such as the voice recorder, didn’t cause interference. No explanation has been given directly responding to the challenges, however.

The new study isn’t definitive proof of a lack of issues. It may still point to the FAA rules being based more on stereotypes and early reactions than actual knowledge.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

NORAD releases updated Santa Tracking app for iOS

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Date: Friday, December 23rd, 2011, 10:16
Category: iOS, News, Software

The same organization that almost blew up the world in “War Games” knows exactly where Santa is this year.

Per Macworld, NORAD, the Colorado Springs-based military organization responsible for the aerospace and maritime defense of the United States and Canada, has released the the NORAD Tracks Santa app available for free from the App Store and the Android Market.

According to Colorado Springs app maker Visionbox: “The NORAD Tracks Santa App is the official mobile app of the NORAD Tracks Santa program. Watch the days countdown to Santa’s flight, follow Santa’s progress on December 24, play ‘Elf Toss’ to help Santa’s elves deliver presents, and learn about NORAD and its mission.”

Santa can also be tracked via a second-by-second countdown on the NORAD website as well as in 3D via Google Earth. Last year, the NORAD site had more than 15 million visitors on Christmas Eve, according to USA Today.

LogMeIn iOS app now available for free on App Store

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Date: Friday, December 23rd, 2011, 07:16
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

You can’t keep a good remote app down.

Per MacNN, LogMeIn Ignition, a US$30 iOS app that allowed users to fully access and control unlimited numbers of Macs and Windows machines from their mobile device, has effectively been superceded by a new, free app simply called LogMeIn from the same company. However, Ignition users will now be automatically upgraded to the feature set of LogMeIn Pro, as well as enjoying a new HD streaming audio and video feature that is set to debut in early 2012.

The two programs allow remote access and full use of available Macs and PCs over Wi-Fi or 3G over an encrypted (AES 256-bit) connection, running applications and viewing documents just as though they were sitting in front of the target machines. Current LogMeIn Ignition customers will receive an upgraded version with the same name that now offers all the features of LogMeIn Pro, including support for Wake-On-LAN and AirPrint printing, My Cloud Bank cloud storage integration to allow moving files between iOS devices (also works with third-party cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Docs), and HD remote control and streaming video and audio to the iOS device from Windows machines (streaming from Mac machines will arrive early next year).

The price for LogMeIn Ignition has been raised from US$30 to US$100 in accordance with its increased abilities, though existing users will be upgraded without charge. LogMeIn Pro is also available as a US$40 per year in-app purchase from within LogMeIn. Users can make their Mac or Windows machines available by simply installing LogMeIn Free on their target computers. LogMeIn Ignition users (new and existing) will get the same features as the subscription upgrade, but without the subscription.

LogMeIn requires iOS 3.0 or later to install and run.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Intuit to revise Quicken 2007, add Lion compatibility in “early 2012”

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Date: Friday, December 23rd, 2011, 06:00
Category: News, Software

You either love or hate Quicken, but you’ve got to admit it’s useful.

Per AppleInsider, Intuit announced to customers on Thursday that it plans to release a “re-engineered” version of Quicken for Mac 2007 that will be compatible with the latest version of Apple’s Mac operating system, OS X 10.7 Lion.

A note from Aaron Forth, general manager of the Intuit Personal Finance Group, was sent out to customers Thursday, acknowledging that the company has “not always delivered” on its promise to deliver the best products to Mac customers. In particular, he was addressing the fact that Quicken for Mac 2007 does not have compatibility with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

“I understand the frustration this may have caused you and have put a team in place to address this issue,” Forth wrote. “I am happy to announce that we will have a solution that makes Quicken 2007 for Mac ‘Lion-compatible’ by early spring.”

Details on the forthcoming release are available on Intuit’s support website with a newly published list of questions and answers. There users can request to be notified when more information becomes available.

Forth told customers that the Quicken for Mac 2007 solution is “just a first step” in winning back the confidence of customers. Intuit is also expanding its development team to better support Mac users.

“I understand we have a way to go, but I wanted to start by communicating our commitment to Mac and look forward to sharing the details with you as they emerge,” he said.

Intuit last overhauled Quicken for Mac with Quicken Essentials, released in early 2010. But its latest efforts aim to support legacy customers, who have been locked out from Quicken for Mac 2007 since Apple launched Lion in July.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available. And for Mac users looking to motivate Intuit’s developers regarding the next version, you can always look up their headquarters and send them snacks and cocoa given the holiday season.

Mozilla releases Firefox 9.0.1 update

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Date: Thursday, December 22nd, 2011, 14:19
Category: News, Software


On Thursday, Mozilla.org released version 9.0.1 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as a 30.8 megabyte download (via MacUpdate) and adds the following fixes and changes:

– Added Type Inference, significantly improving JavaScript performance.

– Improved theme integration for Mac OS X Lion.

– Added two finger swipe navigation for Mac OS X Lion.

– Added support for querying Do Not Track status via JavaScript.

– Added support for font-stretch.

– Improved support for text-overflow.

– Improved standards support for HTML5, MathML, and CSS.

– Fixed several stability issues.

– Fixed security issues.

– Fixed add-on crashes.

Firefox 9.0.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Parallels Desktop updated to 7.0.15052

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Date: Thursday, December 22nd, 2011, 10:57
Category: News, Software


On Thursday, Parallels released version 7.0.15052 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 304 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Better compatibility with Mac OS X 10.7.2 Launchpad.

– Improves network stability.

– Addresses the issue of Linux virtual machine not resuming upon waking the Mac from Sleep mode.

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.

Google Voice updated, includes full Sprint network integration

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Date: Wednesday, December 21st, 2011, 12:49
Category: iPhone, News, Software


This could be useful

Per Electronista, Google on Wednesday quietly rolled an update to its Google Voice app for iOS with a major help to Sprint users. The app now lets iPhone owners on Sprint take full advantage of Google Voice integration on the network. All Google Voice calls on Sprint now get relayed to the native phone component and make it even more a part of Google’s service.

The app catches up to the Android version on any US carrier through support for multi-recipient text messaging that now auto-completes contacts. Messaging now gets a long-expected multi-line text field that tracks characters to avoid splitting messages. Dialing gets another boost through support for single-tap copying and pasting.

The app requires iOS 3.0 or later to install and run.

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