Microsoft announces October release date, pricing for Office 2011 suite

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Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010, 11:48
Category: News, Software

Microsoft Office 2011, which is expected to hit retail shelves in 2010, will sell for 20 to 50 percent less than Office 2008 per an announcement released by Microsoft on Monday.

According to Macworld, Microsoft Office 2011 will ship in two editions (a Mac Home and Student version and a Mac Home and Business offering) upon its release at the end of October.

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 includes the Word word-processing, PowerPoint presentation, Excel spreadsheet, and Messenger IM applications. It will retail for US$119 for a single license and US$149 for a family pack that allows for installs on three Macs.

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Messenger, along with Outlook for the Mac. Outlook replaces Entourage as Office’s mail client and is one of the centerpiece changes of the 2011 edition of the productivity suite. The Home and Office edition will cost US$199 for a single license and US$279 for a multi-pack that allows two installs on two machines.

The prices for the 2011 editions of Office compare to the current US$149 for the Home and Student Edition of Office 2008 and US$399 for Office 2008 for Mac Business Edition. Microsoft says the new prices for the Mac version of Office create more consistent pricing across platforms.

In addition to the two versions of Office for the Mac, Microsoft will offer an academic edition for US$99. The academic edition will feature Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and Messenger, Microsoft Office for Mac Academic 2011 will be available only to higher-education students, staff, and faculty.

Users who buy Office 2008 starting on Monday will be able to upgrade to the 2011 version for free. The offer runs through November 30th, 2010, and users can register for the free upgrade at Microsoft’s Website. Microsoft didn’t provide any other upgrade pricing details for existing Office users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts first Mac OS X 10.7 job opening, cites web technologies as integral to new OS

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Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010, 05:13
Category: News

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Hype from the computer industry always makes things a bit more interesting, but it’s sometimes informative.

Per CNET, an Apple job listing suggests something big will be coming to OS X 10.7.

The listing states the following:
“Are you looking to help create something totally new? Something that has never been done before and will truly amaze everyone? Are you excited by the prospect that what you helped create would be used every day by millions of Apple customers? Then come and work with the Mac OS X software engineering team to help build a new and revolutionary feature for Mac OS X.
We are looking for a senior software engineer to help us create a revolutionary new feature in the very foundations of Mac OS X. We have something truly revolutionary and really exciting in progress and it is going to require your most creative and focused efforts ever.”

The announcement goes on to further describe an ideal candidate having familiarity with HTTP protocols and other Web and Internet-based programming experience, suggesting the next version of OS X will be more integrated in the Web and networking.

Either way, it could be the start of something nifty.

Albeit Apple will now have to ponder what large and deadly cat to name Mac OS X 10.7 ever.

The best I can think of is “ocelot”…

iPhone Dev Team releases web-based hack for iPhone 4 handset

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Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010, 04:22
Category: Hack, iPhone, News

The iPhone Dev Team raised their hand on Sunday, releasing the first “jailbreak” for the iPhone 4, a browser-based exploit that allows users to run unauthorized code. However, some reported that the modification results in broken MMS and FaceTime functionality.

According to AppleInsider, “comex,” a member of the iPhone Dev Team, released the hack through a website, jailbreakme.com. Users can visit the site in their iPhone browser to begin the jailbreaking process.

The software modification is the first release for Apple’s latest handset hardware, the iPhone 4. Some users reported that the jailbreak managed to break FaceTime and MMS functionality on the device.

Comex announced via a Twitter post that he was able to reproduce the issues, and is working on a fix. The latest jailbreak does not work with iPads running iOS 3.2.1.

Unlike previous jailbreaks, which required users to run software on their Mac or PC and tether their iPhone to their computer, the latest hack is done entirely within the Safari browser. Users simply visit the URL to begin the process, which modifies the iOS mobile operating system found on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

The iPhone 4 jailbreak comes less than a week after the U.S. Library of Congress officially made it legal for users to jailbreak their iPhone to run unauthorized software. The government approved the measure as an exemption to a federal law which prevents the circumvention of technical measures that keep users from accessing and modifying copyrighted works.

The jailbreak process, which also voids Apple’s warranty of the handset allows users to run software not approved by Apple, which has no plans to allow users to install third-party applications downloaded from outside its sanctioned App Store. Hackers have created their own custom applications (many free, and some for purchase) from an alternative storefront known as Cydia.

Jailbreaking can also be used to unlock a phone, allowing it to be used on carriers that do not have access to the iPhone.

In addition to allowing access to legitimate third-party software, both free and paid, through services like Cydia, jailbreaking can also be used to pirate App Store software, one major reason why Apple has fought the practice.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you decide to jailbreak your iPhone 4, please let us know how it goes.

iFixit completes full teardown of Magic Trackpad, reports findings

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Date: Friday, July 30th, 2010, 04:56
Category: Magic Trackpad, News

Yesterday, the cool cats at iFixit posted their complete teardown report of Apple’s new Magic Trackpad input device. The unit, which retails for US$69, is just 0.5mm thick and iFixit had to slice its way through adhesive to disassemble the hardware. Inside, the device includes a spacer, which prevents the lower panel from squeezing against the logic board and damaging it.

Removing the two ribbon cables that connect the capacitive touch pad to the logic board was said to be difficult, as the cables are very thin and are stuck to the underside of the touchpad.

Removing the outer touchpad from the device’s aluminum chassis required the use of a heat gun to warm up the adhesive that holds the hardware together.

“This is not for the faint of heart,” they wrote. “A copious amount of heat, guitar picks and plastic opening tools were required to make this thing bulge.”

iFixit also noted that the Magic Trackpad has a unique way of triggering the mouse button in which pressing down on the hardware actually clicks the two rubber feet on the front of the device. Pressing down pushes up on a hinged plate and set screw, squeezing an electronic mouse button switch and creating a familiar “click.”

Completely removing the logic board requires desoldering of the four wires that lead to the battery connector and status LED, as well as the removing of two Phillips screws. The logic board includes a Broadcom BCM2042 chip for its wireless Bluetooth connectivity (the same chip found in Apple’s multi-touch Magic Mouse).

In addition, the hardware’s multi-touch functionality is provided by a BCM5974 chip, the same found in the iPhone, iPod touch and MacBook Air. Finally, the SST 25WF020 has 2Mbit of serial flash memory.

If you’ve snagged a Magic Trackpad and have any feedback to offer about the experience, let us know what you make of it.

VLC 1.1.2 update released

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Date: Friday, July 30th, 2010, 04:36
Category: News, Software

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Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 1.1.2. The new version, a 39.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- TS and DVB demuxing fixes.

- Audio filters fixes to solve the “mono” bug.

- Fix of the direct3d output module that display nothing on older nVidia and ATI cards, when overlay was activated.

- Extensions and scrips updates.

- Miscellaneous fixes in interfaces.

- Updated translations.

- Various crashes and errors fixed.

VLC 1.1.2 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple looking into cause of iOS 4 slowness on iPhone 3G

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Date: Thursday, July 29th, 2010, 05:23
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple is reportedly investigating complaints from users that iOS 4 runs very slow on its iPhone 3G handset.

Per the Wall Street Journal, complaints from iPhone 3G users began to surface soon after iOS 4 was released, but those complaints were quickly overshadowed by the iPhone 4′s antenna woes. With the antenna crisis behind them, Apple is now investigating how iOS 4 runs on the iPhone 3G.

User complaints have ranged from slowdowns to having the iPhone 3G almost unusable after upgrading to iOS 4. A number of users have commented that they’re also tried a complete restore of the iPhone 3G, with varying results.

The problems with iOS 4 do not appear to affect the faster iPhone 3GS or the iPhone 4.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 4.1 beta 2, focuses on proximity sensor fixes

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Date: Thursday, July 29th, 2010, 05:46
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Apple released the second beta version of the pending iOS 4.1 firmware, although the company has not said when the firmware will be generally available for its iPhone and iPod touch products.

Per Cult of Mac, this beta release of the iOS 4.1 software development kit, available at Apple’s iPhone Dev Center, comes about two weeks after the first one and arrives with speculation that the 4.1 software will fix some glitches for the iPhone 4 proximity sensors and introduce Apple’s promised Game Center social service.

The initial report states that the proximity sensor issue seems to have been fixed. “Previously, the iPhone was plagued with proximity sensor issues,” writes Jose Gutierrez. “It would constantly hang up calls when I held the phone next to my cheek. But after installing the iOS 4.1 beta 2 update this afternoon, I couldn’t force the iPhone to hang up calls when lifting it up to my face, no matter how hard I tried.”

He also says the new beta release includes a baseband update, “which seems to fix HSUPA upload speed issues, which slowed video and photo uploads to a crawl.”

According to several online accounts, the newest beta still does not support the iPad touch tablet. The iPad is running an earlier version of iOS.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

CrossOver updated to 9.1

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Date: Thursday, July 29th, 2010, 04:41
Category: News, Software

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CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 9.1. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following fixes and changes:

Application Fixes:
- Improved installation of Office 2007 service packs.
- Fixed product registration of Office 2007 and Office 2003.
- Fixed some unimportant errors during installation of some versions of Office 2003.
- Improved several connection and importation issues with Quicken 2010.
- Fixed product registration of Project and Visio 2003.
- Fixed Excel 2007 hyperlinks.
- Fixed document saving in Publisher 2003.
- Fixed playing of mp3 files in Media Player 9.
- Fixed custom installs of Office 2007.
- Improved print to PDF in Office 2007.
- Some minor improvements to IE6 and IE7.

CrossOver Fixes:
- Improved proxy handling on the Gnome desktop.
- Fixed a Mac upgrade problem related to the CD-helper being in use.
- Fixed full-screen mode for Macs with auto-switching GPUs.
- Fixed Menus and Associations for Pardus Linux.
- Updated Dutch and French localizations.
- Made several application profile tune-ups.
- Merged with Wine version 1.2. Many improvements and bug fixes.

CrossOver 9.1 retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Apple releases Magic Trackpad Bluetooth input device

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Date: Wednesday, July 28th, 2010, 07:34
Category: Accessory, News

On Tuesday, Apple released the Magic Trackpad accessory, calling it “…a multi-touch Bluetooth trackpad meant to work with your desktop computer.” Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, the unit resembles an oversized MacBook Pro trackpad (except about 80% larger) perched atop the same battery case that’s on Apple’s Bluetooth keyboards.

When paired with an Apple desktop, it offers the same multi-touch gestures that laptop owners enjoy. Use it to swipe, pinch and scroll. Inertial scrolling on the Magic Trackpad reacts to the pressure and speed you use.

The surface is made of wear-resistant glass and also functions as a giant button, so you can click away as you would with a mouse.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve picked one up, let us know what you make of it.

Apple releases Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0, adds gesture support to some additional notebooks

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Date: Wednesday, July 28th, 2010, 06:48
Category: MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Apple on Tuesday issued an update to a number of recent notebooks, including the MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, bringing inertial scrolling and three-finger drag gesture support to some trackpads.

Per AppleInsider, the Magic Trackpad and Multi-Touch Trackpad Update 1.0 was released Tuesday afternoon by Apple. The file is a 75.09MB update that requires Mac OS X 10.6.4 to install and run. In addition to adding inertial scrolling and three-finger drag in recent MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks, it also adds support for Apple’s newly released US$69 Magic Trackpad.

Per Apple, the following MacBook and MacBook Pro models now have both inertial scrolling and three-finger drag gesture:

MacBook (13-inch, Early 2009)
MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009)
MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008)

MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2010)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.53 GHz, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2009)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2008)

Inertial scrolling, but not the three-finger gesture, is offered in four additional models:

MacBook Air
MacBook Air (Mid 2009)
MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2008)
MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2008)

The new three-finger gesture was first discovered earlier Tuesday with hands-on tests of the Magic Trackpad. The capability allows users to quickly drag windows around. At the time, the feature was exclusive to the new hardware.

If you’ve tried the file and can offer any feedback, please let us know