VMWare releases Fusion 5.0.2 update

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Date: Monday, November 12th, 2012, 07:11
Category: News, Software

Late Wednesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 5.0.2 of its Fusion software for the Mac.

Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.

The new version, a 215.9 megabyte download, can be found here and offers the following fixes and changes:

– USB 3.0 stability improvements.

– Graphics improvements when running the Microsoft Office 2013 preview.

– Fixed an issue that caused the library and the Fusion start menu contents to get out of sync.

– Fixed an issue that caused Mac OS X (Mountain Lion) guests to see stale directory information when using HGFS.

– Fixed a multi-monitor behavior on Mac OS X (Mountain Lion) when Use All Displays in Full Screen is selected.

– Fixed an issue that caused the full screen short-cut key to intermittently fail when Caps Lock was on.

– Easy Install improvements for Microsoft Windows 8.

– Fixed key repeat behavior (typematic) on certain versions of Mac OS X (Mountain Lion).

– Fixed an intermittent problem that caused Fusion to quit when the network editor was opened.

– Fixed cancelling of the import of OVF virtual machines.

– Addressed graphics issues with Autodesk Inventor, Altium Designer, and Solidworks.

– Fixed an issue installing on Macs with a user or group named “0”.

– Fixed error compiling HGFS on Linux 3.6 kernels.

– Changed the selection color in the library icon view.

– Renamed the Pause key menu item to aid with accessibility and automation.

– Fixed an issue importing a Parallels virtual machine that has no network devices.

– Resolved an issue that caused the PC Migration Assistant to not complete when migrating a Windows PC.

Fusion 5.0.2 retails for US$49.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac, 2 GB of RAM, Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later (10.7 recommended) and a copy of Windows (if you’ll be installing Windows).

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

British Airways confirms support for iOS Passbook feature

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Date: Friday, November 9th, 2012, 11:44
Category: iOS, News, Software

If you can get the major partners, then a new technology comes closer to being a de-facto standard.

Per AppleInsider, British Airways has confirmed that it will be supporting Apple’s Passbook payment system.

“I’m pleased to confirm that the ba.com team are already looking into our website being able to work with the new Apple app, available with the iOS6 upgrade,” a company representative wrote in an e-mail. “Please be assured that we will get our Passbook-compatible functionality live on ba.com as soon as we can.”

British Airways already offers digital boarding passes through its official iOS application. But the carrier does not yet offer integration with Apple’s Passbook.

Passbook launched with iOS 6 in September featuring support from Delta Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Australia.

The addition of British Airways would be a major catch for Apple. The U.K.-based carrier has a fleet of 249 aircraft and serves 169 total destinations.

Just this week, Apple updated its own Apple Store application for iOS to add support for Passbook. With the new software, users can purchase gift cards and e-mail them to friends, and those cards can be stored as passes in the Passbook application in iOS 6.

Passbook is Apple’s first stab at offering digital e-wallet type services on the iPhone. Rather than relying on near-field communication technology for wireless transactions, Apple has instead focused on replacing items such as store cards, boarding passes, movie tickets and retail coupons.

One of the first adopters of Passbook was Major League Baseball, which offered digital tickets for four teams at the end of the 2012 season. The league’s digital ticketing operation was “floored” by the initial adoption rate for Passbook, as they found Apple’s service accounted for 12 percent of MLB e-tickets.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Initial tests show faster boot, read and write times under Apple’s Fusion Drive

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Date: Friday, November 9th, 2012, 08:59
Category: hard drive, Hardware, iMac, Mac mini, News

There may be ample reason to go with a Fusion Drive inside your Mac.

Per Techfast Lunch&Dinner, a series of tests run by the site found the Fusion Drive Mac mini started in just 15.7 seconds, while the 2012 Mac mini with a traditional hard drive took 34.1 seconds to start.

Major improvements were also found in a disk speed test, which revealed the Fusion Drive can achieve read speeds of more than 300 megabytes per second, and write speeds exceeding 400 megabytes per second. In comparison, the Mac mini with 5400-rpm drive couldn’t exceed 100 megabytes per second on either the read or write test.

Fusion Drive was unveiled by Apple last month and is an upgrade option in the company’s latest Mac minis and iMacs. Apple has said the feature offers nearly the same performance as a solid-state drive, but also allows considerably more storage at a lower price point.

Apple’s Fusion Drives feature 128 gigabytes of flash storage paired with either a 1-terabyte or 3-terabyte 5400-rpm hard drive. Apple’s OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion operating system calculates which files and applications are used the most and automatically places them on the faster solid-state drive, while less frequently accessed software remains stored on the spinning drive.

Core applications and the operating system are permanently stored and accessed from the flash memory, while the leftover space is used for those frequently accessed files, folders or programs. File transfers between the drives take place in the background dynamically, so the system is seamless and unobtrusive to the user.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller last month compared the Fusion Drive to a baseline 1TB 7200 RPM HDD. He said the Fusion drive performs an Aperture photo import 3.5 times faster, a file copy of a 4GB folder 3.5 times faster, and system boot 1.7 times faster.

If you’ve gotten your mitts on a new Mac with a Fusion Drive and have any feedback to offer about it, please let us know in the comments.

Adobe offers Photoshop Lightroom 4.3 as release candidate, includes Retina Display support, other fixes

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Date: Friday, November 9th, 2012, 07:44
Category: News, Software

This could be nifty.

On Friday, Adobe sent version 4.3 of its Lightroom image editing software out as a candidate release via its Adobe Labs web site.

The new version, a 410 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
– Full support for HiDPI displays such as Retina Display units.

– Unable to upload a large panorama to Adobe Revel via the Revel Publish Plugin.

– Unable to add a second photo to a page layout in a Book. This only occurred when the “Show Unused Photos” filter is selected in the filmstrip.

– A photo can be flagged as both a “Pick” and “Reject” at the same time when using the Toolbar to apply flags.

– Using multiple fonts within the same text cell inside a Book can sometimes cause Lightroom to crash.

– Exposure becomes the active adjustment slider in the Basic panel (within Develop) when moving from image to image.

– Customers using Photoshop Elements 11 were unable to upgrade their catalogs in Lightroom 4.

– Custom Cell padding options in the Book Module reset in between Lightroom sessions

– 1080p video files shot on iPhone 4S flicker on replay.

– Leaving the Book Module after using multiple text colors in the same text cell can sometimes cause the book to be lost.

The latest Photoshop Lightroom 4 also expands camera support to include the following:
– Canon PowerShot S110

– Canon PowerShot G15

– Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

– Casio Exilim EX-ZR1000

– Casio Exilim EX-FC300S

– Nikon D600 (expanded to full support)

– Olympus PEN E-PL5

– Olympus PEN E-PM2

– Olympus STYLUS XZ-2 iHS

– Panasonic DMC-GH3

– Pentax K-5 II

– Pentax K-5 IIs

– Pentax Q10

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 was officially released earlier this year for OS X and PC. It’s available for purchase for US$149 for new customers, or US$79 for those upgrading from a previous version.

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

Apple notifies customers, announces that iPad mini with Wi-Fi + cellular support to ship on November 13th

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Date: Friday, November 9th, 2012, 07:45
Category: iPad mini, News

You know that nifty iPad mini with support for 3G and 4G LTE networks?

It ships in four days.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is notifying users that the new iPad mini with support for 3G/4G LTE networks will begin shipping on November 13th, and has posted new iOS 6.0.1 builds for the iPad mini and iPad 4.

Apple began delivering WiFi only iPad mini models around the first of November, after immediately selling out its initial inventory.

Three days ago, the company reported sales of three million new iPad mini and iPad 4 units over the first three day weekend of sales, but that only included WiFi models.

Mobile data versions of the two new iPads were expected to begin shipping in “a few weeks,” but Apple’s recent email updates forwarded by multiple users stating that initial shipments will begin in five business days, or late next week.

Apple has also make available four new iOS 6.0.1 firmware downloads available to support the new models today, which include two versions (GSM and CDMA) of both the LTE iPad mini and iPad 4.

If you’ve received word as to your iPad mini with Wi-Fi and cellular support being en route, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 2.0 for mid-2012 notebooks

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Date: Friday, November 9th, 2012, 07:27
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

It’s the firmware updates that really make a difference.

Late Friday, Apple released its MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update 2.0, a firmware update for its June 2012 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebooks. The update, a 76.6 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– This MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Update includes graphics performance and reliability enhancements and improves compatibility with some USB devices.

The update requires a Mac notebook introduced in June of 2012, Mac OS X 10.7.4 or higher and can be downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the firmware update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Cocktail updated to 6.2.1

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Date: Thursday, November 8th, 2012, 08:56
Category: News, Software

cocktaillogo.jpg

On Thursday, shareware developer Maintain released version 6.2.1 of CocktailCocktail (Lion Edition), the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests. The new version, a 5.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and features:

– Added ability to disable startup sound (System – Misc).

– Addresses compatibility issues with USB flash drives.

Cocktail 6.2.1 retails for a US$19.00 shareware registration fee and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

Apple patent shows interest in developing dual-function headphones

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Date: Thursday, November 8th, 2012, 08:28
Category: News, Patents

applelogo_silver

This could get really interesting.

Per AppleInsider, a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday shows that Apple presented an invention for a “dual-mode headphone” which can transform from a normal set of earbuds to a more robust speaker system.

First filed for in 2011, the proposed system incorporates the usual in-ear headphone arrangement with specialized position-sensing circuitry and a power amplifier, allowing a user to dynamically switch from personal listening mode to speaker mode.

From the application’s background:
“Users typically listen to content on their portable devices using headphones, although there are speakers available that can be connected to the portable devices to enable multiple users to listen in at the same time. This approach, however, may require a user to carry both a headphone and speakers, or may require the user to rely on speakers built into the device, which may not be as powerful or have as high a sound quality as external speakers.

In operation, the headphones can detect its position and output sound in “headphone mode,” where the amplifier is bypassed, or “speaker mode,” which passes the audio signal through said amplifier. To prevent a user from being harmed by inadvertently activating the speaker mode while wearing the headphones, a separate sensor can be employed to detect when the unit is near a user’s ears.

Any number of sensors can be implemented in the invention, including IR sensors, ambient light sensors, Hall effect sensors, and others. In one embodiment, a sensor that can detect contact with a user’s ears is integrated into the headphone to prevent hearing damage.

In addition to automatically detecting positioning, users can manually activate speaker mode with physical buttons. An articulating arm or other design component can also be used to prop the headphones up when in speaker mode. ”

Finally, one embodiment describes an implementation that allows the headphone to be used as an in-ear set as well as a speaker by positioning extra ports directed away from the user’s ears.

As with many patent applications, the fate of the dual-mode headphone remains uncertain, though Apple’s new EarPods illustrated the company is still researching new design techniques for its audio products.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Twitter sends out e-mails to significant number users needing passwords on “compromised accounts”

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Date: Thursday, November 8th, 2012, 07:40
Category: News, security, Software

If you found that your Twitter password was reset, there’s a valid reason for it.

Per CNET and the TweetSmarter blog, an unknown number of Twitter users have received a genuine e-mail from the company warning they should change their password as soon as possible.

In the e-mail, the microblogging company noted: “Twitter believes that your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter. We’ve reset your password to prevent others from accessing your account.”

The company did not say in the e-mail that there has been a hack, a breach of data, or anything out of the ordinary, however. At this stage, it’s unclear how many have been affected or what’s caused the mass e-mailing of its users.

A post on Wednesday noted that in some cases when “large numbers of Twitter accounts have been hijacked,” the company sends out these e-mails en masse, even sending messages to accounts that may not have been affected by any hack or hijack to err on the side of caution.

So far, a few high profile accounts have noted interference, including David Mitchell, who said:

“Got an e-mail from twitter telling me that my password had to be changed because they thought my account had been hacked,” adding in another tweet: “So I’ve changed it, but the only evidence of hacking I can find is that my tweet about my Observer column last Sun has disappeared. Weird.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Dropbox 1.5.46 beta goes live, now available for download

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Date: Thursday, November 8th, 2012, 07:18
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a decent public beta.

On Wednesday, Dropbox released a public beta of version 1.5.46 of its cloud-based storage client for Mac OS X. The new version, a 24.5 megabyte download, which adds the following fixes and changes:

– Fixed Web Login opening an HTML editor instead of a Browser in OS X.

– Other small fixes.

Dropbox 1.5.46 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.