O'Grady's PowerPage » News

Apple releases updated Epson, Lexmark printer drivers

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 23rd, 2011, 03:38
Category: News, Software

They’re not the most exciting updates in the world, but they help keep your print jobs running.

Per Macworld, late Thursday, Apple updated drivers aimed at hardware from Epson and Lexmark.

The Epson 2.7 Printer Drivers update installs the latest software for both printers and scanners from Epson. The 961.5MB download requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run and the driver release notes include a list of supported devices.

Likewise, the Lexmark 2.5 Printer Driver update installs new software for Lexmark-built printers and scanners—you can get a list of supported devices in the release notes. The file is a 147.5MB download that also requires Mac OS X 10.6 to install and run.

The driver downloads are available from Apple’s Support site or via OS X’s Software Update feature.

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

Mozilla releases Firefox 5.0 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011, 03:48
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 5.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as an 27.8 megabyte download offered the following fixes and changes:

- Added support for CSS animations.

- The Do-Not-Track header preference has been moved to increase discoverability.

- Tuned HTTP idle connection logic for increased performance.

- Improved canvas, JavaScript, memory, and networking performance.

- Improved standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas.

- Improved spell checking for some locales.

- Improved desktop environment integration for Linux users.

- WebGL content can no longer load cross-domain textures.

- Background tabs have setTimeout and setInterval clamped to 1000ms to improve performance.

- Fixed several stability issues.

- Fixed several security issues.

Firefox 5.0 requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Apple releases, 2TB, 3TB capacity Time Capsule units

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 21st, 2011, 06:02
Category: News, Time Capsule, wireless

Apple on Tuesday quietly released new models of Time Capsule, its combination backup drive and wireless base station.The new Time Capsules are available in 2TB and 3TB capacities—previously, Time Capsule had topped out at 2TB.

Per Macworld, the new Time Capsules still use the 802.11n Wi-Fi networking standard, with dual-band operation available for 802.11b/g devices like the iPhone and iPod touch. Other than the boosted hard drive capacities, it doesn’t appear the new Time Capsules boast any new features.

The 2TB Time Capsule retails for US$299 while the 3TB model sells for US$499; those prices are unchanged from the previous 1TB and 2TB offerings, respectively.

If you’ve tried the new Time Capsule units and have any feedback to offer, let us know.

Intel lists three new processors that could find their way into next-gen MacBook Air

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 21st, 2011, 05:56
Category: MacBook Air, News, Processors

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With everything that’s being said about Apple’s upcoming next-gen MacBook Air, it’s time to meet the potential processors for the notebook.

Per CNET, Intel has added three new high efficiency Sandy Bridge CPUs to its product catalog, likely representing the chips Apple will use in its next refresh of the light and thin MacBook Air.

The ULV (ultra low voltage) parts consume only 17 watts, making them suitable for the slim design of the Mac Book Air, as opposed to the mainstream Sandy Bridge chips Apple uses in its full size MacBook Pro lineup.

The standard Sandy Bridge chips in Apple’s Pro notebooks dissipate 25 to 35 watts, making them too hot (and too battery taxing) to use in the considerably thinner Air machines.

The new lineup consists of three part numbers:
- Core i7-2677M: dual cores running at 1.8 GHz (peaking to 2.9GHz), 4MB cache, listing for US$317

- Core i7-2637M: dual cores running at 1.7GHz (peaking to 2.8GHz), 4MB cache, listing for US$289

- Core i5-2557M: dual cores running at 1.7GHz (peaking to 2.7GHz), 3MB cache, listing for US$250

Intel sees a big market for notebooks similar to Apple’s MacBook Air, which the chipmaker calls “ultrabooks.” When Apple first released the Air, it was criticized for not being thin enough and giving up too many features while using a full sized keyboard.

Apple has since made the Air lineup thinner and reduced the price while retaining a full size keyboard and moving exclusively to SSD storage, which supports very fast booting, wake and program launching.

The report cited analyst Doug Freedman of Gleacher & Company, who refers to machines like the Mac Book Air as “SSD notebooks,” as commenting that “In the 4-year lifespan of [Apple's] iconic MacBook Air, units sold as a percentage of its total notebook supply was 8 percent in 2008, 9 percent in 2009, and 17 percent in 2010 to an estimated 48 percent in 2011.”

“We expect total notebook SSD penetration at a conservative 5 percent in 2011 growing to 30 percent in 2014,” Freedman stated. He noted that Intel is planning to bundle its own SSD storage devices with its CPUs to sell PC makers packages of components, something the company already does with CPUs and chipsets.

However, Apple introduced SSD options for its latest MacBook Airs using specialized components rather than conventional SSDs built to fill the same space as a conventional notebook hard drive, such as those built by Intel. That has enabled the company to further reduce weight and thickness in the Air designs.

If you have any thoughts on the next-gen MacBook Air, let us know what you think in the comments.

Recently discovered FCC filing points towards upcoming AirPort Extreme device

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 21st, 2011, 04:11
Category: News, wireless

Sometimes it’s the FCC filings that give it away.

Per Engadget, A new filing with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has revealed an updated AirPort Extreme wireless base station from Apple is forthcoming.

The new hardware was outed this week by an FCC filing, made by Apple on June 16, which shows a 3×3 802.11n access point, dubbed model A1408.

The label includes mention of AirPort IDs in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz range, as well as an Ethernet ID. The hardware carries an FCC ID of BCGA1408.

The documents do not reveal what may have changed in the new hardware model, but it’s likely the new hardware is set for imminent release given the timing of the FCC filing.

Last week, Apple updated its AirPort Utility, and the software contains references to a new fourth-generation Time Capsule and fifth-generation AirPort Extreme. No mention of a new Time Capsule was made in the latest FCC filings, but given that stock of the hardware has run dry along with AirPort base stations, it’s a likely candidate for a refresh as well.

Various rumors have claimed that Apple may shift its base stations to run iOS. This transition could allow for more robust features, like print and media streaming services, integration with iCloud, and cached wireless software updates.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe releases Flex 4.5, Flash Builder 4.5, updates tools for building iOS apps

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 20th, 2011, 05:01
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Sometimes the Hatfields and the McCoys can put their differences aside and get along where the iOS platform is concerned.

Per the company’s official blog, Adobe this week released Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5, adding the ability to build and distribute iPhone, iPad and iPod touch applications on Apple’s official App Store.

The new functionality was announced on the company’s official blog, where Adobe Product Marketing Manager Puneet Goel revealed that App Store software could be created “using one tool chain, programming language and code base — a first for developers.”

The support for iOS applications comes in addition to the ability to create software for Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, also new features of Flash Builder and Flex 4.5. Initially, application support was only available for Android software.

Flash Platform evangelist Serge Jespers demonstrated the ability of Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 to build iOS software in a video accompanying the post. The same stock market tracking application was shown running on an iPad 2 and iPod touch, in addition to an Android-powered HTC smartphone and the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Jespers also showed off the ability of Adobe’s software to allow developers to quickly created tabbed applications, or add features like automatically rotating between portrait and landscape mode. By checking the appropriate boxes, developers can easily export their mobile software for Apple’s iOS alongside BlackBerry Tablet OS and Google Android.

A “Platform Settings” option also allows developers to select their target device when creating iOS software. Through this, software can be created specifically for the smaller screen sizes of the iPhone and iPod touch, the larger 9.7-inch display of the iPad, or both.

“When your application is ready, you don’t actually have to build the application separately for every single platform,” Jespers said. “You can actually do that in one code. It’s pretty amazing.”

Flash 4.5 and Flex 4.5 are offered as standalone products for developers to purchase, or are available through Creative Suite 5.5 Web Premium and Master Collection.

Last September, Apple revised its policy on third-party development tools for iOS, and decided it would allow developers to use tools like Adobe’s in order to create software made available to download on the App Store. That was a change from an earlier policy, when Apple’s iOS 4 software development kid license banned tools that would port applications from Flash, Java and Mono.

Controversy over Apple’s decision prompted CEO Steve Jobs to pen a letter in which he explained that allowing Flash conversion tools would produce “sub-standard apps” for the iPhone and iPad, hindering the progress of the iOS platform. Jobs said at the time that it was known from “painful experience” that allowing developers to become dependent on third-party tools is restrictive.

“We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers,” Jobs said in April 2010.

Though Flash remains banned on iOS devices, Adobe has continued to expand its support for the iPhone and iPad, and this march released a Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool. The “experimental” software called “Wallaby” allows for Adobe Flash Professional files with the .fla extension to be converted to an HTML format that can be opened in the Mobile Safari browser on iOS devices.

If you’ve had a chance to play with the new versions of Flash Builder or Flex, let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple Changes Promo Code Terms In App Store

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 17th, 2011, 15:06
Category: App Store, Apple, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Review, Software

This isn’t exactly new information. It was reported as far back as May 3rd by Mac Rumors, but somehow I missed it until now. Apple has changed the functionality of the iOS App Store (unconfirmed whether this affects the Mac App Store) so that if you use a developer promo code to download an app, you will not be able to submit a review for the app; you will be “locked out”. Here is a blurb copied from an exchange with iTunes Store Customer Support:

Thanks for writing back and letting me know your concern. I understand that you are still not able to write a review. I know how disappointing it can be when things don’t work out the way they should. I am sorry to inform that it is no longer possible to rate or review an app if it was downloaded using a developer’s promotional code.

The crackdown is apparently in response to complaints that reviews were being skewed as a result of developers giving codes in exchange for favorable reviews. I’m not sure how widespread this issue is, and I’m sure the ones perpetrating the review stacking will find another way to do it, but for the most part it seems like a good idea. No worries about that here; regardless of how I get ahold of an app, if it’s crap I’ll tell you.

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.6.8 build 10K540 to developer community

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 17th, 2011, 05:08
Category: News, Software

snowleopard

In other news, Apple has released a new Mac OS X 10.6.8 build marked 10K540 to the developer community. Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, sources familiar with the update have stated that no known issues are listed, and the focus areas of Airport, Networking, Graphics Drivers, the Mac App Store, QuickTime and VPN remain the same.

The first build of Mac OS X 10.6.8 arrived in May with no indication of any changes. Release notes accompanying subsequent betas detailed the addition of fixes for the MacDefender malware scam and support for Mac App Store installation of the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

Lion sports more than 250 new features and is due out in July. The upgrade will be an approximately 4GB download and will sell for the low price of US$29.99.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VLC 1.1.10.1 update released

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 17th, 2011, 04:54
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 1.1.10.1. The new version, a 31.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Small fixes for the Mac OS X port such as disappearing repeat buttons and restored Freebox TV access.

- The installation size was reduced by up to 30 MB.

VLC 1.1.10.1 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, let us know in the comments.

Apple patent describes additional security/data scrambling features for lost iPhone handsets

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 16th, 2011, 05:11
Category: iPhone, News, Patents

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If you’re hunting for your lost iPhone, you might have some additional features to work with before long.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has shown interest in giving users the ability to scramble or delete specific data, or even record audio or visual information in the event that an iPhone is lost.

Apple’s new potential security options are detailed in a patent application made public this week. Entitled “Proactive Security for Mobile Devices,” the feature would offer extremely flexible, custom options for security measures on an iPhone.

For example, with specific data such as e-mail, contacts and stored passwords, users could selectively choose to either scramble, delete or ignore the information if the handset is reported stolen or missing.

Users could even choose to deny a potential thief access to certain features of the iPhone, including the ability to make phone calls or access Wi-Fi. Users could also prevent a security breach to a corporate network by having their iPhone automatically change VPN settings once a security risk has been detected.

But a user may also decide to continue to allow some features on a missing device, such as Wi-Fi or GPS, to help track down the handset and identify its location. Keeping that functionality active allows the rightful owner of the device to determine its place on a map.

In one example included in the application, the missing iPhone displays an alert that a secure password must be entered within 60 seconds or location data associated with the handset will be transmitted back to the owner.

If a correct password is not entered in time, the location data will be sent, and the device can also be locked and restricted only to the functionality chosen by the original owner. For example, the device could become password locked, and the only available activity would be to contact the original owner of the iPhone.

Apple’s solution could also utilize the sensors inside of an iPhone to record unusual activity, and alert users that their handset is at security risk, potentially preventing it from being lost forever. Such a system could detect suspicious activities like calls or texts to an unknown number.

If an iPhone is reported stolen, the device could record images and ambient audio. This data could be provided to investigative authorities to help track down the hardware.

These options are more powerful and flexible than the existing Find My iPhone functionality, which late last year Apple made free for all iOS devices. The current service allows users to identify the location of their device, display a message on it, set a passcode lock, or remotely wipe it.

But in its patent application, Apple notes that features like the remote wipe command are an all-or-nothing approach that can be frustrating for users. If a remote wipe is conducted, the user is forced to restore all of the deleted information, which can be inconvenient and time consuming.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.