Apple Now Offering iPhone OS 3.0 Update to iPod Touch Users for Free

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Date: Monday, February 15th, 2010, 05:25
Category: iPod, News

When Apple first released the iPhone OS 3.0 firmware update and informed iPod touch users they’re need to pay for the upgrade, the user base went slightly nuts.

And for good reason, as a new accounting practice that no one really understood seemed to require this and Apple simply looked like they wanted a bit more money in their pockets.

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Apple appears to now be offering the iPhone 3.0 Software Update free to iPod touch users running the iPhone 2.0 Software Update.

According to Pocket Gamer, an older iPod touch updated without the request for a fee.

“Syncing a second generation iPod touch today with an older version of the software prompted me to accept the free upgrade. How exciting,” the author writes.

“Just as when asked to download and install the latest firmware on an iPhone, iTunes simply asks for confirmation – no signing in to pay for the software.”

As Pocket Gamer notes, this is good news for iPod touch gamers reluctant to upgrade due to the additional fee, which iPhone users didn’t have to pay.

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

MWSF: Worth Ave Group Now Offering iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple Notebook Insurance

Posted by:
Date: Monday, February 15th, 2010, 05:00
Category: iPhone, Macworld Expo, News

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If you meandered over to the Worth Ave. Group booth at Macworld Expo, you might have noticed their staff hammering on expensive gadgets. Per Macworld, the Worth Ave. Group is now offering notebook and iPhone insurance and invited Macworld Expo attendees to take a hammer to some of the MacBooks, iPhones and iPod touches they had on hand.

The Worth Ave. Group claims to be the only iPhone insurance company around and has stated that they’ll cover stuff that won’t be handled by your typical warranty from Apple. Whether your iPhone has been dropped, stolen, or damaged by liquid, you are covered. The annual premiums are pretty reasonable too, starting at US$55 for 3G/8GB or earlier models and going up to US$79 for 3GS/32GB models. If your iPhone encounters a fall into a toilet or falls out of your pocket at some juncture, they’ll buy you a new one.

The insurance plan seems fairly comprehensive and the company has stated that they’ll also cover cameras, game systems, and cell phones.

MWSF: DriveSavers Offering iPhone App to Simulate Solid State Drive Crashes

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 12th, 2010, 08:00
Category: iPhone, Macworld Expo, News

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If you’ve ever worried about your iPhone or iPod touch’s hard drive crashing, DriveSavers has once again proven useful.

Over at Macworld Expo, the company has announced that it will update its free DriveSaver app for the iPhone and iPod touch that can simulate solid-state drive failures.

Per Macworld, the Crash a Hard Drive feature educates users about how hard drives can crash and what you can do to ensure safe data storage. The new addition will now add a solid-state drive to the mobile app’s simulations of real-world drive failures.

To illustrate this feature, the data-recovery company posted a Flash-based version of the feature on its web site.

If you’re at Macworld Expo, you can see demonstrations of the app first-hand at both the Mobile Applications Showcase (Booth #1366) and DriveSavers’ booth (#1448).

Trading4u Web Site Offering Cash for MacBooks, Other Goods

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Date: Friday, February 12th, 2010, 05:33
Category: MacBook, News

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If you want to get rid of your old MacBook in a hurry, this may be for you.

According to Macworld UK, Trading4u has announced plans to offer cash for any old and unwanted MacBooks. Potential customers can receive a free estimate online, then arrange for pick up, if happy with the price quoted.

The company promises a quick turnaround from collection to payment, on average paying customers in just five days from receiving the goods. The site claims to buy and sell just about everything.

“We have a huge success rate of more than 90% – That’s 9 out of 10 items achieve a completed sale.
If you don’t set a reserve and your item doesn’t sell – You don’t pay a penny,” the company insists.

If you’ve tried this site and have any feedback about it, let us know.

MWSF: MacSpeech Offers Scribe, Upcoming Dictate iPhone App at Expo

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 11th, 2010, 16:47
Category: Macworld Expo, News, Software

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Longtime Mac software developer MacSpeech presented the first of its Macworld Expo goodies via the release of MacSpeech Scribe (which also arrives in both Legal and Medical editions) as well as introducing its Dictate iPhone extension app. According to the cool cats at the Mac Observer, Scribe produces a transcript from a spoken-word audio file in the .wav, .aif, .aiff, .m4v, mp4, or .m4a formats.

Like MacSpeech Dictate, Scribe requires the user to create an individual speech profile by training the software to recognize their voice. Scribe recognizes 13 different English dialects and supports up to six speech profiles. If the user wants to ensure punctuation is included in the final transcript, they’ll need to speak it while creating their spoken-word audio file.

The Legal and Medical versions of Scribe are like their MacSpeech Dictate cousins in that they support over 30,000 legal words and terms and more than 54 medical and dental disciplines and specialties, respectively. Scribe Legal and Scribe Medical are available for US$99 to registered users of the respective MacSpeech Dictate versions and are only available as digital downloads from the MacSpeech web site.

In addition to Scribe, MacSpeech is showing a sneak peek of its upcoming via Dictate iPhone extension app, which functions as a remote extension of MacSpeech Dictate. The app will be free when it’s released. A date was not made available.

Scribe is available now to Macworld attendees and MacSpeech Dictate 1.5 users for US$99. The application generally retails for US$149 and requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

MWSF: Synology Introducts Two-Bay DiskStation NAS Units

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 11th, 2010, 15:51
Category: hard drive, Macworld Expo, News

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NAS units may be technical and slightly dorky, but you’ve got to admit: they come in handy.

Synology America announced the released of the company’s two-bay DiskStation line. The DS710+, is a scalable 2-bay NAS server that grows from 2 bays to 7 bays to offer a total of 14TB of storage. The unit includes built-in file sharing, automatic backup, remote access, web hosting, email hosting and media streaming with read speeds of 110+ MB/sec and write speeds of 100+ MB/sec under a RAID 1 configuration in a Windows environment.

The Synology DS710+ is equipped with the new Intel Atom D410 CPU, one Gigabit LAN ports, 3 USB ports and 1 GB DDRII RAM. Green features include lower power consumption, wake on LAN, scheduled power off and hard drive hibernation to ensure optimal energy conservation.

The DS710+ comes with Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) 2.2 with robust features and applications for business use and sports such bells and whistles as Volume Manager, Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) which optimizes the use of disk capacity with data protection when using hard drives of different sizes are used, share level encryption and backup to the cloud with Amazon S3 service.

MWSF: Microsoft Announces Office for Mac 2011

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Date: Thursday, February 11th, 2010, 09:10
Category: Macworld Expo, News

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With Macworld Expo underway, representatives from Microsoft announced Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, which should arrive in time for the 2010 holiday season.

Per Macworld, the new version focuses on better compatibility across platforms, improved collaboration tools, and a more refined user interface. Also, as Microsoft announced last August, the suite will include Outlook for Mac, which replaces Entourage as Office’s e-mail client. The new version of Office will also offer renewed support for Visual Basic, which was dropped in the 2008 version of the productivity suite.

“Nowadays, compatibility means more than just file formats,” said Microsoft’s Kurt Schmucker. “It’s also workflow, collaboration, and user interface.”

To that end, the new version of Office will incorporate document-collaboration features that take advantage of Microsoft’s online storage features. With Office for Mac 2011, Mac users will be able to share files and collaborate on documents with other Mac and Windows users via Microsoft’s SharePoint, SkyDrive, and Office Web Apps.

Those online tools will allow users to collaborate on documents with other Windows and Mac Office users in real time, similar to the features found in Google Docs. For example, users could create a document in Word on your laptop, save it to SkyDrive, then share it with others. A pop-up in Word will display who’s working on the document; click on that list, and you’ll be able to send them a message (as long as everyone is using Outlook or Microsoft’s Messenger IM application). The paragraphs your collaborators are working on will be locked out until they’re done. Users will also be able to edit those same documents from any computer, using Office’s Web apps. Mac users will have the same experience in the their versions of Safari and Firefox as Windows users get with their browsers, Schmucker said.

Microsoft also says it’s learned from user feedback about Office 2008 and has tweaked the user interface accordingly in Office 2011.

A new Ribbon at the top of each document window replaces Office 2008’s controversial Elements Gallery, which took some fire from Mac users for its size and inflexibility. This new Ribbon is designed to give users quick access to each program’s most commonly used tools. Unlike the Elements Gallery, the ribbon is customizable and, if you want more screen space, completely collapsible.

The new suite will also feel more Mac-like than Office 2008. For example, the Ribbon is built entirely using Apple’s Cocoa development framework, and takes takes advantage of Apple’s Core Animation system. (As a result, Ribbon tabs will slide smoothly when you rearrange them.) Click on Ribbon tools and they’ll expand smoothly into popovers that don’t obscure the document you’re working on.

Summarizing the interface changes, Microsoft’s Han-Yi Shaw likened Office 2008 to a teenager—“a little quirky”—but said the new edition is Office matured. “This is the version that everyone wanted,” he said.

Shaw added that the Mac team at Microsoft worked hard to adopt Apple technologies while also making sure their product was recognizably Microsoft Office. “We’re at a cross-section of Mac and PC, and because we’re die-hard Mac users, we look at the [Office] technology and try to translate it,” he said. “Following the Apple design philosophy really takes you in the right direction.”

The new Outlook will support PST imports (allowing you to move an Outlook installation, including all your old e-mails, from a Windows PC to a Mac) and will also support Microsoft’s Information Rights Management (IRM), which allows senders to specify what recipients can do with messages (print, forward, and so on). Previously-Windows only, IRM is required in some corporate settings. IRM support in Office 2001 is aimed at Mac users in cross-platform environments, Schmucker said: “It’s been a blocker for some companies because the Mac support was not there.”

The company has also re-engineered the Outlook message database system to be a series of small files, so it’s more easily backed up with Time Machine and searched in Spotlight. “Outlook’s new database is more reliable, faster, and fully supports Time Machine and Spotlight,” Schmucker said.

Finally, power users will be be able to make use of the Visual Basic macro language. Visual Basic was dropped from Office 2008 in part because it was to technically difficult to port it to the Mac’s then-new Intel CPUs. Microsoft says it began work on that port as far back as 2008, before the last Mac Office shipped. That work is now complete and the Mac suite will be using the most up-to-date version of Visual Basic.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple Releases 2009 Aluminum Keyboard Firmware 1.0 Update

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 11th, 2010, 04:16
Category: News, Software

On Wednesday, Apple released its 2009 Aluminum Keyboard Firmware 1.0 update for the 2009 Apple Wireless Keyboard. The update, a 1.1 megabyte download, improves battery performance of the device when used in combination with other Bluetooth devices. The keyboard must be connected or paired to perform this update. The update package will install an updater application into the Applications/Utilities folder and will launch it automatically.

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As always, the update can also be located and snagged via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

The updater requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later running on an Intel-based Mac to function.

Some Users Cite Erratic Battery Life, Syncing Issues Following iPhone OS 3.1.3 Update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, 08:40
Category: iPhone, News

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Despite Apple’s best intentions, the iPhone OS 3.1.3 firmware update may not have gone as well as the company would have liked.

Per iPodNN, a number of users over on the Apple Discussion Board have reported that issues such as erratic battery life have emerged.

In certain cases, the unit’s battery meter may potentially swing wildly, for instance going from 25 to 7 to 10 percent, then jumping back up to 24%.

Worst-case scenarios may see phones losing hours of power, and even running unusually hot. The v3.1.3 firmware was in part meant to correct battery meter trouble on the iPhone 3GS.

Another major problem involves iTunes playlists, which in some cases are failing to sync properly with the iPod touch. While files will copy over properly, playlists may be empty or simply absent. The glitch is believed to affect only smart playlists, and potentially only those with multiple criteria. Temporary workarounds may include reducing criteria to a single field, and/or deleting and remaking previous playlists.

Apple has yet to formally address or fix either of the cited errors.

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

Apple Releases Second Beta of iPhone SDK 3.2, Adds iPad Features

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, 08:39
Category: News

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The iPad is coming, so developers might as well be ready for it.

On Tuesday, Apple released the second beta version of its iPhone SDK 3.2 for the iPad. Per iLounge, the new version contains functions specifically designed for the iPad, including support for the unit’s 1024 x 768 resolution, other iPad-specific interface functions, and includes an iPad simulator application so developers can pre-test their apps in an environment similar to that of the final device.

It is currently unclear if any major changes were made in the updated version.

The new beta is now available for iPhone developers via the iPhone Dev Center.