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Microsoft releases 14.1.2 update for Office 2011, 12.3.0 update for Office 2008

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Date: Wednesday, June 15th, 2011, 03:06
Category: News, Software

On Monday afternoon, Microsoft released version 14.1.2 of its popular Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac suite. The update, a 109 megabyte download, can also be located, snagged and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate program, offers the following fixes and changes:

– This update fixes critical issues and also helps to improve security. It includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code.

In an updated security bulletin, the company admitted that a “specially crafted” Excel file could allow unwanted access, thus leading to the updates.

Microsoft Office 2011 requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run and is available for US$149.99 and up depending on the suite purchased.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

In other news, Microsoft also released version 12.3.0 of its Office 2008 suite for Mac. The update, a 333 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Improves stability. In addition, it includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code.

Microsoft Office 2008 12.3.0 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and
Microsoft Office 2008 with Service Pack 1. The update can, of course, be located and installed with the Microsoft AutoUpdate tool.

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

Verizon adds 19 cities to LTE network

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, 14:55
Category: iPhone, News

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You’re hankering to get on an LTE network connection with an updated iPhone, so here’s some good news.

Per Computerworld, Verizon Wireless announced that the company will add 19 more cities that will get its faster LTE wireless network service starting Thursday, bringing the total to 74 metropolitan areas.

San Francisco and Detroit, already on Verizon LTE since last December, will also see the existing LTE network in those cities expanded, Verizon said in a statement.

The new 19 LTE cities include several state capitals such as Sacramento, Calif., Hartford, Conn., Boise, Idaho, Harrisburg, Pa., Indianapolis, Ind., Salt Lake City (with Ogden), Utah; and Madison (with Milwaukee), Wis.

The announcement comes as competitor AT&T is set to launch LTE 4G service in five cities in the U.S. this summer: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

Reports have also surfaced that Sprint will begin adding LTE service to its existing nationwide WiMax 4G capability, partly to support a future LTE-ready iPhone , although Sprint has not confirmed those reports.

T-Mobile USA, the fourth largest U.S. wireless carrier, has been promoting its HSPA+ network as a fast 4G technology. Meanwhile, AT&T is seeking to acquire T-Mobile but needs approvals from federal regulators.

The various 4G technologies are promoted as offering users download data speeds of up to about 10 Mbps, which is roughly 10 times what most users get over 3G downloads from the carriers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple begins selling unlocked GSM iPhone 4 units in online store

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, 06:24
Category: iPhone, News

Apple updated its online store on Tuesday to begin offering unlocked models of the iPhone 4, starting at $649.

Both the white and black versions of Apple’s bestselling smartphone are available, with the 16GB and 32GB versions selling for $649 and $749, respectively, in the U.S. Apple online store. The device is not eligible for international shipping.

Currently, the black versions of the unlocked iPhone 4 are estimated to ship within 1-3 business days, while white versions are listed as shipping within 3-5 days.

“The unlocked iPhone 4 requires an active micro-SIM card that you obtain from a supported GSM wireless carrier,” Apple notes on the product description page.

As with unlocked iPhones sold internationally, the device will work on all Apple-supported GSM networks around the world. Apple also takes care to note that an iPad 3G micro-SIM card will not work in the unlocked iPhone 4.

In the U.S., customers with unlocked GSM iPhones can choose from AT&T and T-Mobile, though data transmission on the T-Mobile network will occur over the slower EDGE protocol because the carrier’s 3G network is incompatible with the iPhone.

Over the weekend, reports emerged that Apple would begin sales of the unlocked iPhone 4 in the U.S., though the device went on sale a day earlier than sources had suggested. On Monday, various outlets noted that unlocked iPhones had been shipped to Apple Stores with a price tag of $649 and $749.

If you’ve been hankering for an unlocked iPhone, Apple seems to have come through.

Per AppleInsider, the company has posted an unlocked GSM iPhone 4 (available in both black and white) on its online store.

The release of an unlocked iPhone 4 comes as a blow to AT&T, which held an exclusive on the iPhone in the U.S. for more than three years, up until the release of the iPhone 4 on the Verizon network in February.

The handset is available for US$649 and “requires an active micro-SIM card that you obtain from a supported GSM wireless carrier,” Apple notes on the product description page.

As with unlocked iPhones sold internationally, the device will work on all Apple-supported GSM networks around the world. Apple also takes care to note that an iPad 3G micro-SIM card will not work in the unlocked iPhone 4.

In the U.S., customers with unlocked GSM iPhones can choose from AT&T and T-Mobile, though data transmission on the T-Mobile network will occur over the slower EDGE protocol because the carrier’s 3G network is incompatible with the iPhone.

Over the weekend, reports emerged that Apple would begin sales of the unlocked iPhone 4 in the U.S., though the device went on sale a day earlier than sources had suggested. On Monday, various outlets noted that unlocked iPhones had been shipped to Apple Stores with a price tag of $649 and $749.

If you’ve snagged an unlocked iPhone, please let us know how it works for you in the comments.

Adium updated to 1.4.2

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 13th, 2011, 16:46
Category: News, Software

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Adium, the open source instant message chat client with support for multiple programs (including AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! Google Talk, Bonjour, etc.) has been updated to version 1.4.2.

The new version, a 22 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

Updated to libpurple 2.7.11. Highlights of applicable changes:

MSN:
– Fixed bug that prevented adding contacts to your contact list in certain circumstances. (#14965)

– Added support for MSNP16 including multiple points of presence (MPOP) which allows multiple simultaneous sign-ins and which should resolve connection problems involving the “Signed in from another location” error. (#13654)

– Fixed crash related to Direct Connections. (#14650)

ICQ:
– Fixed a bug where some contacts from your contact list might not show up. Affected non-English users the most. (#14901)

Contact List:
– Fixed tooltips not being updated when scrollwheeling through the contact list. (#3480)

– Improved readability of tooltips by making their contents opaque and only the background transparent. (#15050)

Logging:
– Added a “Log only certain accounts” setting to Adium’s “General” preferences. (#8, #14522)

– Added a “Log secure chats” setting to Adium’s “General” preferences. (#94)

– Renamed “Save opened chats when quitting” setting to “Reopen chats from last time on startup” for clarity. (#14651)

Message View:
– Only display focus indication for group chats. (#14420)

– Enable %service% keyword in header.

– Fixed issue where sections of conversations loaded from message history are repeated. (#13362)

– Fixed iChat emoticons in Snow Leopard on case-sensitive file systems. (#14936)minimal_mod

– Disabled consecutivization of actions to prevent overlapping icons. Fixed erroneous application of a grey dotted top border to a consecutive, unfocused action that follows a non-action. Fixed text wrap alignment issues on actions.

Mockie:
– New mention and focus indicators, and improved scaling at large font sizes. (#14420)

Renkoo:
– No longer scrolls to bottom on new content regardless of scroll position. (#14331)

Smooth Operator:
– Compact: Mentions in actions are no longer italicized. Sendercolor Adiumy is not displayed in IRC too. Fixed progressively increasing saturation of the sendercolor Adiumy on each consecutive message.

– Classic: Fixed slight misalignment between sender and message. Lightened the on-click shadow. The per-message marks in the classic variant now grow to the left rather than to the right where it can overlap message text.

– Dark: New variant!

– all variants: Improved the performance of all-by-sender-on-click javascript. Shifted the built-in buddy icons down a few pixels so they look more centered. Switched to more compact focus indication icons.
Stockholm

– Reverted to pre-1.4 layout for per-message timestamps (#14361). Per-message timestamps now display on the left when the message text is RTL (#10403).

yMous:
– Removed the per-message triangle, slimmed the area between the sender and message, and fixed more elements to scale with font-size. Improved the performance of all-by-sender-on-click javascript.

ICQ:
– Fixed ICQ disconnections going unnoticed. (#14229)

– Fixed hang caused by reading badly formatted transcripts from ICQ. (#14627)

– Switch to clientLogin authentication for ICQ and AIM, allowing SSL to be used if possible again. Change the options for encryption to “Require”/”Opportunistic”/”Disabled.” (#15000)

– Use the clientLogin key of the official ICQ Mac client instead of the AIM key we had which got banned. (#15244)
IRC

– Fixed a crash related to invalid UTF8 in nicknames on IRC. (#13351)

– Fixed a crash that occurred when opening irc://-links to new servers on ports other than 6667. (#15093)

MSN:
– Added a preference to enable/disable MSN Direct Connections. (#14602)

XMPP:
– Double confirmation is now required to delete and unregister an XMPP account. (#14357)

– Fixed xmpp:-urls without a user part opening chats with (null)@… (#14908).

Miscellaneous:
– Growl notifications for Group Chats now show the channel on the same line as the nick, instead of before the message. (#14890)

– Fixed a bug causing a switching of user profiles following Adium updates. (#14432)

– Fixed 1.4.1 regression of arrows not showing up in the Events tables of the Preference pane and the Get Info pane for active events. (#14629)

– Fixed a hang that occurred when required parts of loaded message styles were missing. (#7438)

– Fixed bookmark icons not updating when changing icon sets. (#13221)

– Fixed two memory leaks. (Adrian Godoroja) (#15047)

– Fixed “Remove Link” showing up twice in the input box’s context menu on 10.6. (Shawn Khan) (#14454)

– Fixed 1.4 regression where selection of the active voice in the “Speak Event” and “Speak Text” contact alert actions failed. (#14574)

– Fixed positioning of selected icon in Recent Icons not being reapplied when icon is reselected. (Adrian Godoroja) (#9908)

– Fixed an issue with adding URLs via copy/paste resulting in an invalid link. (#15229)

Localisation:
– Updated the Localizable.strings files, adding missing translatable strings/nibs. (#14588, #14582)

– Updated and improved localisations: British English (#15116), Catalan (#15231), Danish (#15160), Dutch (#15202), Finnish (#15211), French (#15198), German (#15204), Italian (#15224), Polish (#15230), Portuguese (Portugal) (#15223), Russian (#15246), Swedish (#15217).

– Fixed an issue in the Czech localisation. (#14586)

Adium 1.4.2 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to run. The program functions as a Universal Binary and runs at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

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

Apple to recall small number of Verizon iPad 2 units with duplicate electronic serial numbers

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 13th, 2011, 08:09
Category: iPad, News

Ok, this is a bit embarrassing.

Per AllThingsD, Apple has confirmed that an “extremely small number” of iPad 2 units for Verizon have been recalled because they were accidentally shipped with identical electronic serial numbers.

After reports emerged on Friday that a limited recall was taking place, an Apple spokesperson acknowledged the issue.

“Duplicate [Mobile Equipment Identifier] numbers were flashed onto an extremely small number of iPad 2 units for the Verizon 3G network,” an Apple representative said on Friday. Most of the devices had yet to reach the market, though a few had already been sold to customers. Apple declined to give more detailed information on the number of iPads recalled.

Apple announced this week that iPad sales had reached the 25 million unit milestone, which should result in roughly 8 million iPads shipped in the June quarter. That number would exceed analysts expectations, many of whom predict Apple will sell around 7 million units.

The iPad 2 has been wildly successful, with Apple selling the device as fast as it can make it. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said in April that the company faces “the mother of all backlogs” due to “staggering” demand for the iPad 2.

However, in spite of the sell-out iPad 2 launch, Wall Street was disappointed by iPad sales in the March quarter, which came to just 4.69 million as Apple drew down the original iPad and ramped up production of the second-generation tablet.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iTunes in the Cloud services allows for re-downloading of removed App Store programs

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 10th, 2011, 06:28
Category: iOS, News, Software

Ok, this is weird but interesting.

Per CDFXapps.com, with the new iTunes in the Cloud service, users can re-download all applications that were once purchased, including software that is no longer publicly available on the App Store.

Apparently, software that may have been removed from the App Store because of a variety of reasons can be accessed once again with the newly launched iTunes in the Cloud beta. The software can be found in the “Purchased” section of the “Updates” tab in the App Store.

For example, “Tris,” a Tetris clone that was removed from the App Store years ago, can once again be downloaded. The only requirement is that a user has ownership of the software connected to their iTunes account.

Another application that emulated a DOS prompt on iOS devices, dubbed “iDOS,” can also be once again be accessed, for those who once had the software installed on their device. “iDOS” was removed from the App Store after it was discovered traditional executable files could be loaded into the application and launched in the emulator.

The iTunes in the Cloud beta, the very first feature to be released of Apple’s newly announced iCloud, debuted on Monday. The “Purchased” section of the iOS App store offers a thorough list of all software that has been purchased on the authorized Apple ID signed in on the device.

Even if software is removed from the App Store, users are allowed to continue to run the application on their iOS device. But sometimes applications may be deleted without being backed up to a local computer through iTunes.

The fact that software no longer available in the App Store is stored through iTunes in the Cloud suggests that Apple’s backup functionality in iCloud will be very thorough. When introducing iCloud on Monday, the company touted its new half-billion-dollar server farm in North Carolina and how it would be the backbone for Apple’s new far-reaching service.

In a recent WWDC keynote, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs admitted that the company’s previous MobileMe service was not its “finest hour.” But he also presented iCloud as a new product that would “just work” as promised, without any thought necessary from users.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T to argue need for T-Mobile resources, spectrum, in merger deal

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 10th, 2011, 06:13
Category: iPhone, News, wireless

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You may not think too highly of wireless carrier AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA, but apparently it’s necessary for the company to move forward.

This was the statement from company officials on Thursday, who said the deal would allow AT&T to significantly improve its mobile network capacity and give better service to its customers.

Critics of the deal, including competitor Sprint Nextel, are incorrect in asserting that AT&T is sitting on mobile spectrum, said Bob Quinn, AT&T’s senior vice president for federal regulatory affairs in a Macworld article. The proposed US$39 billion deal, announced in March, is a “very clean and quick way to deal with some of the spectrum issues that are facing this country and this company in particular,” he said during a press briefing.

The deal is necessary because AT&T is facing a spectrum shortage as mobile broadband use continues to skyrocket, the company has argued. While critics have suggested AT&T is hoarding spectrum, the company is using its 700MHz spectrum, acquired in 2008 auctions, and its AWS (advanced wireless services) spectrum to roll out 4G LTE (long-term evolution) service, Quinn said.

Sprint has questioned why AT&T, with the largest spectrum holdings of any U.S. carrier, needs T-Mobile. “AT&T has repeatedly reassured investors that it has the spectrum and network capacity it needs to meet the growing demand for data services,” Sprint said in a May 31 filing at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. “If AT&T has capacity constraints, they are the result of its failure to upgrade and invest in its network. AT&T has lagged significantly in network investment.”

Dozens of groups have voiced opposition to the merger between the second-largest mobile carrier in the U.S. and the fourth-largest. The merger would reduce competition in the mobile market and likely drive up prices, said critics including Public Knowledge, the Rural Telecommunications Group and the NoChokePoints Coalition, a coalition of telecom customers, consumer groups and small carriers concerned with mobile backhaul rates.

The merged company would be “contrary to the express policies of Congress and the Commission to rely on competition rather than regulation to protect consumers and spur deployment of new services,” Public Knowledge and the Future of Music Coalition wrote in a May 31 filing to the FCC.

The combined company would be the largest mobile provider in the U.S. and would be able to assert control over mobile handsets, applications, equipment and protocol development, Public Knowledge and the Future of Music Coalition said in their filing.

But AT&T, in a response filing to be sent to the FCC on Friday, will argue the merger will be good for mobile customers. By combining networks, AT&T will be able to increase its mobile capacity by 60% in New York City in the short term, and by more than 80% in the long term, Quinn said.

Los Angeles and San Diego would both see short-term spectrum gains of more than 45%, Quinn said.

The merger would give AT&T more spectrum and cell tower coverage, giving customers better mobile data service, he said. AT&T has tried other ways to improve capacity, including distributed antenna systems and Wi-Fi hotspots, Quinn said.

“We are not stupid,” he said. “We’ve been in the wireless business for a long time. We’ve tried all of these as short-term methods … to fix and provide for more capacity. While they give you some short-term benefit, they’re not long-term benefits to address the kind of bandwidth demands that we’re seeing.”

AT&T, in its FCC filing, will also note support for the merger from dozens of groups, including 15 state governors, 10 labor unions, nine venture capital firms and several tech firms, including Microsoft, Facebook, Oracle and Yahoo, Quinn said.

Many groups supporting the merger see the potential for AT&T to bring mobile broadband to more corners of the nation, he said. AT&T has said it plans to cover 97% of the U.S. population with 4G service if the merger is approved by the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice. Right now, the company plans to cover 80% of the population with 4G service.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Samsung announces Spinpoint M8 1 TB internal hard drives for notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 9th, 2011, 07:22
Category: hard drive, News

You might just like this.

Per Macworld, Samsung this week announced the Spinpoint M8 internal hard drive with 1TB capacity.

The drive features two 500GB platters and is 9.5-millimeter (0.37 inches) high, so the drive can fit easily into laptop storage bays. The 5400-rpm Spinpoint M8 is priced at US$129, and available in the U.S. and Europe.

Until recently, the previous top capacity had been 750GB of storage, an option offered by companies like Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, which currently offers an option in which buyers can select two drives for a total of 1.5TB of storage on a notebook.

Companies such as Toshiba and Western Digital offer 1TB internal laptop drives, but top notebook makers are not yet offering 1TB drives as an option. Desktop hard drives with 1TB storage are now commonly available.

The Spinpoint M8 drive is denser than earlier models as it can store more data per unit area, Samsung said. The drive is also more power efficient as it carries fewer components like heads to seek and access data.

The disk is about 7% faster than its predecessor and uses 8% less power, Samsung said.

The drive operates on the 3gbps SATA interface and has 8MB buffer memory. It generates less noise and an overall redesign of the drive structure protects the disc from physical fracture and data loss, Samsung said.

As always, let us know what you make of this in the comments.

Apple patent reveals efforts to create application that combines movie times with calendar scheduling

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 9th, 2011, 06:27
Category: News, Patents

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If you’re looking for a movie ticket application that checks against your calendar and tries to find showings that are convenient for you, Apple may already be working on it.

Per AppleInsider, a patent application that went public this week proposes an idea that would link with the calendar data stored on a user’s iPhone, as well as location-based data for nearby theaters. The proposed invention was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in a patent application entitled “Systems and Methods for Providing Context-Based Movie Information.”

Apple’s solution would obtain showtimes from multiple theaters, but would take care not to inundate the user with too many showtimes. Instead, movie times would be presented in time slots, and user would be presented with a series of time intervals that fit their schedule and location.

Even if a user were to manually select an unavailable time slot, the movie application could prompt the user to view information associated with a scheduled calendar event. From there, users could be presented with the option to cancel the event listed on their calendar, and the application would adjust accordingly, presenting new available showtimes.

In addition to showtimes and calendar conflicts, movie times and locations could also be recommended based on current traffic conditions. With this, users could determine which theater and showtime would be ideal after a scheduled event, like dinner at a restaurant.

Apple’s proposed iPhone software also has social elements integrated. The movie application could access a user’s list of contacts, and shared contacts would be able to see when and where their friends are seeing a movie.

Users could also choose to actively send their movie plans to friends. For example, if a calendar entry were to include the names and contact information of dinner participants, once tickets are ordered the appropriate information could be sent to those contacts.

The movie application could also include links to purchase tickets, as well as movie trailers. Apple already offers a similar set of features on its website, with movie locations and showtimes provided in an iOS-friendly HTML5 site.

Apple’s patent application, made public this week, was first filed with the USPTO in December of 2009. The proposed invention is credited to John Louch and Todd Ditchendorf.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple revises App Store guidelines to reject apps that focus on DUI checkpoint avoidance

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 9th, 2011, 06:48
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Apparently, there are some apps that just won’t fly on the App Store.

Per Macworld, Apple has quietly updated its App Store Review Guidelines to effectively ban apps that warn drivers of nearby police checkpoints. The move comes after members of Congress had put pressure on both Apple and Google to remove such offerings from their respective mobile app stores.

The update to Apple’s guidelines, which was posted on June 6, and verified by an Apple spokesperson, includes a new entry in Section 22: Legal requirements. The last subitem on that list, number 22.8, now reads as follows:

“Apps which contain DUI checkpoints that are not published by law enforcement agencies, or encourage and enable drunk driving, will be rejected.”

Apple’s change of heart comes more than two months after four U.S. Senators sent a letter to Google and Apple asking that DUI checkpoint apps—which include programs like Buzzed, DUI Dodger, and Fuzz Alert Pro—be removed from the iOS and Android app stores. Congress ratcheted up the pressure even further last month during a hearing on location data. While that hearing ostensibly focused on privacy issues, Senator Charles Schumer of New York used his time on the floor to ask Apple executive Bud Tribble why Apple hadn’t removed or rejected apps that help drives avoid DUI checkpoints.

Tribble, Apple’s vice president of software technology, told Schumer:

“One of the things we found is that some of these apps are actually publishing data on when and where the checkpoints are [using information] published by the police departments. In some cases, the police department actually publishes when and where they’re going to have a checkpoint… They believe that these checkpoints provide a deterrent effect.”

Apple’s updated policy singles out apps that share unpublished DUI checkpoints, but seemingly leaves wiggle-room for Apple to ban apps using public data—when that data is couched in terms of avoiding detection for driving under the influence. It seems likely that existing apps that do not follow these rules will be removed from the App Store as well.

A check of the App Store Wednesday revealed that Fuzz Alert Pro has removed all mention of DUI checkpoints from its marketing, and the app no longer offers DUI data. At this writing, however DUI Dodger and Buzzed both remain in the App Store with their more singular DUI focuses intact.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and above all…drive safe!