O'Grady's PowerPage » News

Apple snags Kevin Timmons from Microsoft to run data center efforts

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 15th, 2011, 03:57
Category: News

With Apple’s recent forays into data centers, they’re going to need qualified people to run them.

Per Data Center Knowledge, Apple has scooped up Kevin Timmons, general manager of datacenter services at Microsoft. Currently, Timmons’ position and responsibilities are not known, thought the report indicated that Timmons will not fill the position vacated by the passing of Olivier Sanche last year. Sanche, Apple’s global data center director, died suddenly last November. He oversaw Apple’s preparations for its US$1 billion North Carolina data center, which the company has said is on track to open this spring.

Timmons reportedly sought to drastically reduce data center costs by as much as 50% during his tenure with Microsoft. He also played a key role in the Windows maker’s latest data center in Quincy, Wash., which features a lightweight exterior filled with highly customizable containers that are packed with servers, storage, and power and cooling infrastructure.

“Timmons has forged a reputation for building efficient Internet-scale data centers on a budget,” author Rich Miller wrote. “At Microsoft, Timmons oversaw the deployment of massive new data centers in Dublin and Chicago shortly after his arrival in mid-2009, but then moved to streamline the company’s data center design and cost structure.”

Prior to working at Microsoft, Timmons was vice president of operations at Yahoo, where he also oversaw build-out of data centers and infrastructure.

Apple is expected to introduce a major overhaul of its MobileMe Internet application service this year. According to reports, the cloud-based service will add a digital “locker” that would store personal files such as photos, music and videos, and that content could be streamed to Internet-connected devices like iPhones.

In other news, Timmons is reported to be a pretty nice person who frequently tips 15% and above.

And a cuddler who listens.

Apple releases iOS 4.3.2 update

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 15th, 2011, 03:34
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released iOS 4.3.2, the latest update to its mobile operating system for its iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. The update includes the following fixes and changes:

- Fixes an issue that occasionally caused blank or frozen video during a FaceTime call.

- Fixes an issue that prevented some international users from connecting to 3G networks on the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G.

- Contains latest security updates.

The update is recommended for all users of the GSM and CDMA iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, iPad 2, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touches. To download and install it, connect your device to your Mac or PC and click Check for Updates in iTunes.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes (for better or for worse), please let us know in the comments.

Microsoft releases 14.1 update for Office 2011, 12.2.9 update for Office 2008

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 13th, 2011, 04:00
Category: News, Software

On Monday afternoon, Microsoft released version 14.1.0 (or Service Pack 1) of its popular Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac suite. The update, a 246 megabyte download, can also be located, snagged and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate program, offers the following fixes and changes:
- Security is improved. This update fixes vulnerabilities in Office 2011 that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code. For more information, see the security bulletin that was listed earlier in this document.

- Stability is improved. This update fixes an issue that causes Office 2011 applications to close unexpectedly when you open or use Office 2011 applications.

- Alt Text authoring is included. This update enables the authoring of Alt Text for objects, such as shapes, pictures, tables, charts, SmartArt, and movies in Office 2011 applications.

Improvements for Microsoft Excel for Mac 2011:
- The Solver add-in is included. This update includes functionality that lets you install the Solver analysis tools in Excel 2011.

Improvements for Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac 2011:
- Password protect functionality is included. This update includes functionality that lets you protect presentations in PowerPoint 2011 by using a password.

Improvements for Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011:
- Synchronization functionality is updated. This update increases support for Sync Services, and adds calendar, notes, and tasks syncing.

- Rules functionality is improved. This update introduces support for Microsoft Exchange-based Server-Side rules.

- Resend functionality is included. This update reintroduces functionality to resend an email message to the same or new recipients.

- Redirect functionality is included. This update reintroduces functionality to redirect an incoming email message to other recipients.

- Meeting invitation functionality is improved. This update improves creating meeting invitations by including a list of recently used locations.

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 12.2.9 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 12.2.9 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.

VLC 1.1.9 update released

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 13th, 2011, 03:29
Category: News, Software

vlclogo.jpg

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 1.1.9. The new version, a 42.1 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Security update regarding a heap-based buffer overflow in mp4 demuxer.

- Update of libmodplug for security reasons in Windows and Mac versions.

- Major updates in most language translations.

- Numerous updates and fixes on the interface and look of VLC for Mac OS X.

- Growl on Mac OS X is now bundled.

- Many miscellaneous fixes.

VLC 1.1.9 requires 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.

Roxio Toast Titanium 11.0.2 update released

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 12th, 2011, 03:12
Category: News, Software

On Tuesday, Roxio released version 11.0.2 of its Toast Titanium authoring software. The new version, available here, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Resolves issue causing slow write speeds on some recorders.

- Audio effects applied to video projects can now be correctly previewed in the Edit window.

- Various localization issues addressed.

Toast Titanium 11 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and retails for US$79.99.

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

2011 MacBook Pro notebooks booting to gray screen, freezing, workarounds suggested

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 11th, 2011, 04:25
Category: MacBook Pro, News

el17.jpg

As nifty and drool-worthy as the 2011 MacBook Pro notebooks may be, there still may be issues to sort out.

Per MacFixIt, a number of owners have noted an issue wherein the machine will start up to the gray Apple logo screen without a progress indicator and freeze. Apple has also noted the issue, releasing a knowledge base article to help with the situation.

Apple Support Discussions forum user CoryCripita writes:
“So for the second time my Macbook Pro is stuck on the ****** gray screen and won’t boot. The first time this happened 2 days ago I HAD TO resort to Archive and install. The only thing that I can even think caused this was again the fact that I updated via Software Update then rebooted.”
One suggestion offered on the forum was to reset the PRAM. To do so, turn off your machine. While holding Command + Option + P + R, turn your Mac back on. Wait for the boot chime to ring three times and your machine will start normally.

Apple has released a knowledgebase article to address some causes of this problem. According to the article, the Mac booting to the gray logo screen “may happen if the computer starts up from the hard drive or from an external drive using the wrong version or build of the operating system.”

If this happens, reinstall the proper build of Mac OS X from your install DVDs that came with your Mac. Later versions of Mac OS X will also work, but the article notes that using a version of OS X that was released before the computer will likely cause this issue.

You can check and see which version of Mac OS X your machine is attempting to start from by booting your Mac in Verbose Mode. When starting up, hold Command + V. If a DOS-like white text on black screen pops up, you’ve done it correctly.

“If the computer has the wrong build of the OS installed, the startup process will stop. The following line of text will appear on the display: “Loading SystemLibraryCachescom.apple.kext.cachesstartupExtensions.mkext.””
Hold the power button to shut down and quit Verbose Mode. When you next power on your Mac it will start normally.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, let us know how it went.

German iPad 2 orders sped up, could show positive improvements for other markets

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 11th, 2011, 03:09
Category: iPad, News

A number of early German iPad 2 buyers are reporting that shipping times for their orders, placed on the first day of European availability (March 25th) but immediately slapped with a 2-3 week delay, are now shipping and expected to arrive faster than the company had previously estimated.

Per i4u, the actual duration of shipping has been reduced from 11 days to five.
Customers who ordered online from the first hours of European availability are seeing orders filled in exactly two weeks, but were quoted as having to wait another week or two beyond that for the order to actually arrive.

The reduction in the filling of online orders as well as shipping delay would suggest that Apple’s European distributors have refreshed their stock, though it’s currently unknown how this will portend for other markets.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if your iPad 2′s ship time has been dramatically reduced, please let us know.

2011 MacBook Pro-Specific Boot Camp 3.2 update appears to lead to brightness issues

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 11th, 2011, 03:44
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

Here’s the thing with updates: they’re great and generally resolve problems and turn a disaster around.

Then there’s the other 10% for whom they make the sky fill with brimstone, the seas boil over and cause your cat to start waltzing across the living room floor with your terrier.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s small Boot Camp update for the new 2011 Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Pro models appears to be causing problems with adjusting screen brightness for some users.

While Apple said the update addresses issues that existed with system shutdowns and resolves problems with Japanese and korean keyboard, users on the official Apple Discussions page have reported that new issues were created with the update. Specifically, numerous Boot Camp users have reported since Thursday that the 3.2 update mistakenly disables the ability to control screen brightness in Windows.

“Clicking the brightness buttons (fn + F1) causes the little brightness icon to come up and move up or down, but the actual screen brightness won’t change and stays at 100%,” user pwhe23 wrote. “I don’t remember this happening before I upgraded.”

A number of other users chimed in on the thread, reporting similar results, even with a fresh install of Windows 7. User ckahn said they managed to address the problem by installing the 32-bit version of Windows 7, rather than the 64-bit operating system.

And user Polytonic found a “temporary workaround” by setting the brightness in Mac OS X, then rebooting to Windows. The Mac will apparently remember the brightness setting applied in Mac OS X and it will carry over to Windows upon the system reboot.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Apple releases Boot Camp update for 2011 MacBook, MacBook Pro users

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 8th, 2011, 04:36
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

Per the cool cats at MacFixIt, Apple has released an update to the Boot Camp drivers for the latest MacBook Pro systems. This update addresses a couple of problems with Japanese and Korean keyboards in the system, and also fixes shutdown problems, according to the update’s download page. The update is specific for Windows 7, so if you are using an alternative version of Windows, this will not apply to you.

The update should be available for Boot Camp users via Apple’s Software Update utility, but it can also be downloaded and applied manually from the Boot Camp 3.2 Update web page. The update is 21.55MB in size.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know in the comments or feedback.

FCC vote could compel Verizon, AT&T to share data networks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 8th, 2011, 04:58
Category: iPhone, News

The US Federal Communications Commission narrowly voted to require big mobile carriers to contract with smaller competitors to share access to their mobile data networks, as they are already compelled to do for voice service.

According to Businessweek, the FCC’s 3-2 vote, the vote mandates that leading carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless must reach “commercially reasonable” agreements with smaller carriers.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said the new requirement would promote competition and investment, noting that “roaming deals are simply not being widely offered.”

Wireless carriers AT&T and Verizon opposed the measure, complaining that they have scores of roaming agreements and that there’s no need for regulation. AT&T executive Robert Quinn said in a statement that “a data-roaming mandate is unwarranted and will discourage investment,” and complained that proponents of the new regulation were not just seeking to foster roaming agreements but to “regulate rates downward.”

AT&T’s vocal opposition to the measure is ironic given its interests in seeking approval of its mega-merger acquisition of T-Mobile, which competitors are complaining will reduce competition and reduce choices for consumers.

If AT&T is legally compelled to resell access to its data network, the merger becomes far more attractive to all parties involved, as it puts T-Mobile’s underutilized public spectrum licenses to better use while supporting more avenues for competition, not fewer.

AT&T has indicated that it wants to eventually turn off T-Mobile’s non-standard 3G service and repurpose the smaller firm’s AWS bands for 4G LTE service, ostensibly supporting high speed data service roaming with carriers such as MetroPCS, which already use AWS for LTE data.

In addition to MetroPCS, the report also noted Sprint Nextel, Leap Communications, and other independent carriers as being potential beneficiaries of the new ruling.

Steven Berry, president of the Rural Cellular Association that represents nearly 100 small American mobile carriers, said in a statement that “consumers will benefit from a more competitive marketplace, and carriers will be encouraged to invest in advanced networks.”

For hardware makers such as Apple, the ruling encourages the development of compatible, standardized networks that facilitate roaming, and enables consumers greater choice in mobile providers rather than being locked to a specific carrier as Apple’s iPhone has been for the last four years due to technical incompatibilities that prevented roaming agreements between carriers.

The buildout of new, next generation LTE networks by both AT&T and Verizon and smaller regional carriers promises to finally return the US back to the potential for inter-carrier roaming once common under the old AMPS mobile networks in place before the last decade of incompatible barriers arose between the digital networks of GSM, CDMA, and iDEN mobile carriers.

Stay tuned for additional news as it becomes available.