Adobe releases Acrobat Reader, Pro 9.3.3 versions, patches security holes

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Date: Wednesday, June 30th, 2010, 04:36
Category: News, Software

Late Tuesday, Adobe released a long-awaited patch that addresses a number of vulnerabilities in versions of its Acrobat Pro and Reader offerings.

Per Macworld, the fix addresses 18 different vulnerabilities, some of which are critical, are corrected by the update.

Adobe has released new versions of both Acrobat Professional and Acrobat Reader for Mac. The former comes in a Universal package, while the latter comes in separate packages for Intel and PowerPC architectures.

Both Acrobat 9.3.3 Pro and Adobe Reader 9.3.3 address what Adobe calls �critical vulnerabilities� in earlier versions of the software. According to an Adobe security bulletin, the vulnerability could cause either Acrobat or Reader to crash, potentially allowing an attacker to take control of your computer. Earlier this month, Adobe patched a similar vulnerability in its Flash software.

Acrobat Reader 9.3.3 and Acrobat Pro requires an Intel or PowerPC-based processor and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Carbon Copy Cloner updated to 3.3.3

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Date: Wednesday, June 30th, 2010, 04:51
Category: News, Software

carbon.jpg

Late Tuesday, Carbon Copy Cloner, the shareware favorite for drive cloning operations by Mike Bombich, reached version 3.3.3. The new version, a 3.7 megabyte download, adds the following changes:

- Fixed a “divide by zero” error that would cause backup tasks involving very few files to fail at the end.

- Fixed a bug that would cause CCC and the scheduled task helper application to crash when certain filesystems were mounted.

- CCC now enables ownership on the target volume regardless of the ownership setting on the source volume. Previously, clones made of Macs in Target Disk Mode would have incorrect ownership information on system files if the target volume did not have ownership enabled.

- Fixed an issue in which a scheduled task would fail to run properly if the user logged out and then logged back in.

- Fixed an issue in which a scheduled task would log many errors if the user logged out while the scheduled task was in the middle of a backup.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC would not run a “Backup everything” scheduled task that used the “Delete items from the target that do not exist on the source” option.

- Fixed an issue in which a scheduled task that was configured to back up to a disk image would not run if it was set to run “When the target volume is reconnected”. These tasks now run properly when the underlying volume is reconnected to your Macintosh, whether it is a local volume or a mounted sharepoint.

- Fixed an issue in which CCC would report minor errors if a directory disappeared from the source volume in the middle of a backup task.

- Fixed an issue in which preferences from a very old version of CCC would cause errors while trying to select a source volume.

- Fixed a memory leak related to files with Access Control Entries.

- CCC no longer creates the target folder on a remote Macintosh. This enforces the behavior of aborting the backup task if the backup volume is not available, or is not mounted at the expected mountpoint on the remote Macintosh.

- The CCC.log file is now properly created when CCC is run under a non-admin user account.
Minor interface enhancements, specifically around the presentation and content of the “bootability” checks.

- Minor bug fixes around the creation of encrypted disk images.

- If you checked the box to display the scheduled task “task finished” panel only when errors occur, this panel will no longer re-present itself after the scheduled task is reloaded on startup. The setting will only be reset when changes are made to the scheduled task’s configuration in the Scheduled Tasks window.

- CCC now saves only modified scheduled tasks when clicking the Save button in the Scheduled Tasks window.

- Updated the list of items that CCC automatically ignores from a backup set. See the documentation for complete details about this list.

- Fixed an issue in which Intel systems would be permitted to run portions of CCC using Rosetta, leading to reduced performance and potentially crashing behavior.

Carbon Copy Cloner 3.3.3 retails for a US$10 shareware registration fee. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

iPhone 4 proximity sensor under fire for dropped calls, other issues

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Date: Tuesday, June 29th, 2010, 04:24
Category: iPhone, News

As the iPhone 4 sells like hot cakes, there may be some additional issues to sort out. Per CNET, some users are citing proximity sensor issues when attempting to make phone calls.

Over on the Apple Support Discussions forums, comments about the issue run twenty pages deep and counting. The details of this issue vary throughout the forum posts, but essentially the proximity sensor (the one that shuts down the screen functionality when your iPhone is close to your face or in your pocket) seems to be malfunctioning.

Some users have reported that the sensor does cause the screen to go black, as expected, but that the functionality of iPhone remains intact, causing anything from mid-call hangups to inadvertent three-way calling, accidental FaceTime initiation attempts, or muting calls.

So far, the best advice to come out of this is to sync your iPhone and backup your information. Perform a restore to your backup and see if that solves the issue. If it persists, do a restore and set your iPhone 4 up as a new phone. Keep in mind, this will not save your information (like text messages), so be sure to have them backed up elsewhere.

Should restoring your iPhone 4 not solve the proximity sensor issues, many users are reporting that contacting AppleCare (by phone at 1.800.APL.CARE) or visiting an AppleCare certified technician or the Genius Bar at an Apple Store to get their iPhone replaced has been a fairly painless process. iPhone 4 is still a new product and replacement supplies may be limited, so be sure to check your iPhone out quickly and take it in as soon as possible.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, let us know and hopefully an iOS 4.0.1 update will fix this. And make your new iPhone 4 paint the house as well.

iSuppli breakdown report arrives, estimates true cost of iPhone 4 components

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Date: Tuesday, June 29th, 2010, 04:37
Category: iPhone, News

Apple tends to sell a zillion iPhones and, once again, the question of cost versus profit has been looked into.

Per BusinessWeek, an iSuppli breakdown of the components that make up Apple’s iPhone 4 has found that the most expensive item in the device is its high-resolution Retina Display, with an estimated price of US$28.50.

In its recent report, iSuppli found that the components inside cost an estimated US$187.51. Apple’s latest phone starts at US$199 with 16GB of internal memory and a two-year service contract in the U.S. The cost breakdown applies to the 16GB iPhone 4.

The most expensive component is the highly touted Retina Display found on the iPhone 4. Supplied by LG Display, the component costs US$28.50, iSuppli said. The custom-built A4 processor, assembled by Samsung, cost an estimated US$10.75.

The newly added gyroscope in the iPhone 4 was said to cost another US$2.60, in addition to the 65-cent accelerometer found in the current phone as well as previous models. The new gyroscope is made by STMicroelectronics of Geneva.

Other suppliers of the internal hardware include touch-sensitive panels from Wintek and TPK, and chips from Skyworks Solutions and TriQuint Semiconductor.

Neither Apple nor its carrier partners would comment on how much is paid by wireless providers for the unsubsidized handset. Historically, the average selling price of previous model iPhones has been around US$600.

The total estimated cost is slightly higher than the iPhone 3GS, first released last year. The 2009 handset cost an estimate US$179 in parts for Apple.

In fact, the price of Apple’s phones has been steadily increasing over the years. In 2008, iSuppli found that the iPhone 3G carried a components cost of US$174.33.

Even so, there may be some room for error. The TechCrunch web blog noted in its coverage of the report that “iSuppli is well-known for low-balling these numbers in an effort to convince manufacturers to contact them in order to connect with their preferred suppliers, so grains of salt must be taken.”

Apple drops hint at iOS 4 for iPad in November, iWork for iPhone

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Date: Tuesday, June 29th, 2010, 04:04
Category: iPad, News, Software

When iOS 4 hit, I was a little disappointed to see that it had yet to arrive for the iPad.

This may change as Apple has quietly hinted at a launch window for iOS 4 on the iPad, while the company’s website has slipped another clue that iWork is on its way to the iPhone. An AdAge report suggests that Apple has been telling marketers that the iAd platform will extend to the iPad sometime in November.

Steve Jobs initially pointed to iOS 4 availability on the iPad sometime “this fall.” The iAd platform is known to be directly integrated with iOS 4.

Many of Apple’s international online stores posted a “Learn more” link for iPhone AppleCare warranties, which includes software support for “iWork for iPhone” among other topics. The iOS 4 pages briefly included an iPhone interface image showing an option to open an attachment in Keynote, although the company quickly replaced the iWork reference with an iBooks selection.

Cool stuff either way and you have to wonder what iOS 4 will bring for the iPad.

iPhone 4 sells record-breaking 1.7 million units in three days, also blends

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Date: Monday, June 28th, 2010, 08:58
Category: iPhone, News

Following 600,000 pre-orders and impressive lines, Apple today announced that the companyt had sold over 1.7 million iPhone 4 units. In other words, since releasing the iPhone 4 to customers on June 24 (and including the pre-orders that were delivered in the mail), the device was selling at a rate of nearly seven per second.

“This is the most successful product launch in Apple’s history,” Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, said in the press release. He also apologized to customers who have been turned away because Apple is having trouble meeting demand.

As of Monday morning, an iPhone 4 ordered from Apple’s U.S. Website won’t ship for three weeks. If you’re trying to find one, Apple retail stores are probably the best bet, as they should receive steady trickle for customers on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In other news, Techxilla is hosting a fairly impressive cache of iPhone 4 destruction videos, including the following snarky-but-clever video from the cool cats at Blendtec…



iPhone 4 “Death Grip” analyzed, iOS 4.0.1 update expected this week to resolve issue

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Date: Monday, June 28th, 2010, 04:36
Category: iPhone, News

Following reports of reception issues observed by new iPhone 4 owners (tagged the “Death Grip” across the Internet), additional insight reveals that this may actually be a software issue that could be cleared up in the near future.

In terms of identifying the problem, clear observations of mobile signal strength and how they are affected by the placement of users’ hands are difficult to perform in part because there are multiple factors involved in receiving a mobile radio link, including outside interference and the conductivity or mass of different people’s hands.

Additionally, cellphones in general (and in particular the iPhone) have always only presented a very rough approximation of signal strength in the signal bar display, averaged over time. It appears that iOS 4, more so than previous iPhone software, presents a less accurate signal meter, showing less signal at times than an iPhone 3GS while still being able to achieve the same or better call quality.

Per AppleInsider, this has led some to jump to the conclusion that the reception problems noted by some iPhone 4 users are the sign of a hardware design flaw related to its stainless steel band antenna design. Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs stoked a whiplash of blogger frenzy when he reportedly responded that users “were holding it the wrong way,” blocking the signal with their hands.

A variety of people have demonstrated identical problems with other phones, from the Android based Nexus One to the iPhone 3GS. However, the fact that problems observed in the iPhone 3GS are much more pronounced when the device is upgraded to iOS 4 indicate that there is also a software issue involved in the matter. iPhone 4 users can’t downgrade to earlier versions of the core software, making it impossible to compare its relative performance.

According to the article, several messages have arrived from Apple’s tech support forums confirmed that a iOS 4.0.1 software fix addressing the issue would ship early next week (as early as Monday).

The fix is expected to address a issue in iOS 4 related to radio frequency calibration of the baseband. Readers who saw the original forum discussions say that the issue is believed to occur when switching frequencies; because the lag is allegedly not calibrated correctly, it results in the device reporting “no service” rather than switching to the frequency with the best signal to noise ratio.

iOS 4 introduced some enhancements to how the baseband selects which frequencies to use, so it makes sense that the error may have crept into those changes. Additionally, this explains why iOS 4 has also caused similar problems for iPhone 3GS users.

The core software problem is likely augmented by hand placement, as Jobs noted in pointing out that holding the new phone (or any mobile device) in such a way that attenuates the signal should simply be avoided.

If you’ve seen the “Death Grip” issue on your end or have anything to add, let us know.

Mozilla releases Firefox 3.6.6 update

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Date: Monday, June 28th, 2010, 04:54
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Over the weekend, Mozilla.org released version 3.6.6 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, an 18.7 megabyte download, sports the following major change:

- Firefox 3.6.6 modifies the crash protection feature to increase the amount of time that plugins are allowed to be non-responsive before being terminated.

Firefox 3.6.6 is available in more than 70 different languages and requires a G3, G4, G5 or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later and 128MB of RAM to install and run. If you’ve snagged the new version and have any feedback to offer about it, let us know in the comments.

How-To: Work around Mail program errors in Mac OS X 10.6.4

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Date: Friday, June 25th, 2010, 03:50
Category: How-To, News, Software

snowleopard

Following the update to Mac OS X 10.6.4, a number of users are experiencing an error where Apple’s Mail email client will not open. Per CNET, when the application is launched, a message stating “Mail version 4.3 (1081/1078) cannot be used on Mac OS X Version 10.6.4″ is displayed and the program shuts down.

The version of Mail that is included with OS X 10.6.4 is 4.3 or build 1081, which can be found by right-clicking the Mail application, choosing “Show Package Contents”, opening the /Contents/version.plist file, and checking the version string. Apple purposefully prevents some builds of Applications from running on different versions of OS X, and this type of error will be presented if you try to do so.

One reason this may happen if the OS X update did not complete properly and the system detects the version of Mail as being the older one. The following are a few approaches you can try to fix the problem:

“Reapply the combo updater:
If this problem happens to you, the first thing to try is to reinstall the OS X 10.6.4 update using the “Combo” updater. Download the updater, boot into Safe Mode by restarting and holding the Shift key at bootup, and then run the installer. As an extra safeguard, you can run general maintenance routines beforehand to ensure permissions and caches are in order.

The OS X 10.6.4 Combo updater can be found here: http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1048

Downgrade Mail and then reapply the combo updater:
Since the Combo updater may not have a full version of Mail included, and instead may only have updated components for Mail, you can try putting a previous version of Mail on the system and then running the combo updater to update it to the latest version. Older versions of Mail can be found in the following locations:

A Time Machine backup:
On the Snow Leopard installation DVD (use Pacifist to extract it)
From another computer running OS X 10.6.3 or earlier

Copy from another system:
Lastly, if you have access to another system that has a properly functioning version of Mail, you can copy the program from that computer to your OS X 10.6.4 installation. You can use a USB flash drive or copy the program over the network and replace the one on your system, but after doing so be sure to run a permissions fix on the boot drive.

Archive and Install:
As a last resort, if the update did not work you can either restore your whole system to a previous version by using Time Machine and then upgrading again with the “Combo” updater, or you can use the OS X 10.6 installation DVD to reinstall OS X. By default the installer will run an “Archive and Install” method, which will replace your system components and Apple-supplied applications with those that are on the DVD. From here, immediately update the system again using the “Combo” updater.”

If you’ve seen this issue on your end and have any fixes or workarounds of your own, let us know.

iPhone 4 yellow tint could fade after a few days of use, source says

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Date: Friday, June 25th, 2010, 02:31
Category: iPhone, News

Following up on yesterday’s story regarding a yellow discoloration found on some of the iPhone 4 screens, this may be a temporary problem at best. Per the AppleInsider forums, a user posted yesterday that Apple’s component manufacturers are involved in pitching the Z-6011 bonding agent to Apple that is found in the iPhone 4. The material is used to bond the layers of glass in the device during the assembly of the hardware.

“Apple is using a bonding agent called Organofunctional Silane Z-6011 to bond the layers of glass,” austingaijin wrote. “Apparently, Apple (or more likely Foxconn) is shipping these products so quickly that the evaporation process is not complete. However, after one or two days of use, especially with the screen on, will complete the evaporation process and the yellow ‘blotches’ will disappear.”

Users began to report on Wednesday that the Retina Display on their new iPhone 4 has a discoloration in the bottom corners of its screen. On those affected units, the screen’s corner has a warm yellowish tint to it.

An issue that could go away after a few days…not the worst thing ever.

If you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.