Half-Life 2 for Mac OS X to hit Steam today

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Date: Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 04:18
Category: News, Software

Half-Life 2, the groundbreaking first-person shooter, will become available for Mac OS X today via the Steam digital storefront. The game follows the exploits of scientist Gordon Freeman as he fights through the dystopian world of City 17 in an effort to battle and interdimensional force known as the Combine.

Per AppleInsider, Valve, the developer of the Half-Life series, released a video Tuesday echoing Apple’s iconic “1984″ commercial, which introduced the Macintosh platform to the world in what many have heralded as the greatest television advertisement of all time.

To promote the release, Valve has offered the following commercial, the company’s own take on Apple’s legendary “1984″ commercial:



As part of the staggered rollout of Steam for Mac, Valve plans to release new titles every Wednesday, each designed to highlight specific functionalities of the Steam platform on Apple hardware. The first collection of titles included Portal, which was available to play for free for a limited time.

For users who’ve already purchased and activated Half-Life 2 on a Windows version of Steam, check in on Steam for Mac OS X today and you should be able to download and install this version of Half-Life 2 without charge.

Steam is digital game distribution platform which has more than 25 million users and offers access to 1,100 games on the PC. Valve has said it will treat the Mac as a “first-tier” platform, meaning new major titles developed for the PC will release day-and-date with the Mac.

SpamSieve Updated to 2.8.2

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Date: Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 04:26
Category: News, Software

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Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.8.2. The new version, a 5.9 megabyte download, makes the following fixes and improvements:

Improved compatibility with pre-release versions of Mac OS X.
- Added Dutch, Italian, and Swedish localizations.
- Made various code improvements and modernizations.
- SpamSieve is better able to recover from certain types of damaged corpus files.
- Updated the Setting up Eudora section of the manual.
- Improved the layout of the Software Update window.
- Adjusted the packaging of the disk image and the installation instructions.
- Fixed a bug that could cause a crash when parsing messages with an invalid Date header.
- Fixed a regression where SpamSieve would sometimes bring up an alert sheet to report that you already had the latest version.
- Fixed a crash in the software updater.

SpamSieve is available for a US$30 registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The new version can either be downloaded directly from the web site or brought up to the current version via the program’s built-in update feature.

VMWare Releases Fusion 3.1

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Date: Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 03:52
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 3.1 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, which can be found here, offers the following new features and fixes:

Improved Overall Performance – 35% Faster than VMware Fusion 3.0:
- Reduced time for suspending virtual machines.
- Faster Windows application launch times.
- Greatly improved scrolling speeds in Windows Vista and Windows 7 with Mac OS X 10.6.3.

2D/3D Graphics Improvements – Up to 5X Better 3D Graphics than VMware Fusion 3.0:
- OpenGL 2.1 for Windows Vista.
- OpenGL 2.1 for Windows 7.
- Greatly improved graphics performance.
- Aero is much faster on Windows Vista and Windows 7.
- Some games up to 10x faster than VMware Fusion 3.0 with VMware Fusion 3.1 and latest Mac OS X release.
- Greatly improved scrolling speeds in Windows Vista and Windows 7 with Mac OS X 10.6.3.

Unity Improvements:
- Minimizing Unity apps to the dock now shows app contents.
- Works with Exposé and Dock Exposé.

USB “EasyConnect”:
- Easily assign USB devices to virtual machine or Mac when connected.
- Remember USB device assignment between Mac and virtual machine restarts.

Bigger, More Complex Virtual Machines:
- 8-way SMP.
- 2 TB virtual disks.

PC Migration Improvements:
- Improvements to Migrate Your PC assistant, including better validation of names and better location prompt.
- Prompt user if Mac OS X guest account prevents guest access to shared folders instead of failing.
- Open new virtual machine upon successful migration.
- Enhanced user interface on PC being migrated including:
- New progress dialog on the PC being migrated as well as in VMware Fusion.
- Option to show converter logs and troubleshooting steps on PC if PC migration fails.
- Avoids port conflicts with Web server software installed on PC being migrated such as IIS, Tomcat, and Apache.

Boot Camp Improvements:
- Up to 5x disk performance in Boot Camp virtual machines.
- New option to minimize prompting for password (authentication dialogs) when using Boot Camp virtual machines.
- Handle Mac OS X disk changes better to avoid multiple references to Boot Camp partition in the Virtual Machine Library.
- Support for Office 2010 activation in Boot Camp virtual machines.

OVF Tool 2 Comes with VMware Fusion 3.1:
- Directly convert between any vSphere, VMX, or OVF source format to any vSphere, VMX, or OVF target format.
- Deploy virtual machines to vSphere using OVF Tool.
- Import and export of OVF packages into a vApprun 1.0 workspace.

User Interface Enhancements:
- Drag a disk image or virtual disk to the installation media pane of the assistant.
- Add shortcut for opening a virtual machines configuration file in default text editor for VMware Fusion (Hold down option and right-click in Virtual Machine Library).

User Interface Enhancements:
- User Experience Improvement Program.

New Guest Operating Systems Supported:
- Ubuntu 8.0.4.4: 32- and 64-bit.
- Ubuntu 10.04: 32- and 64-bit.
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 Service Pack 1: 32- and 64-bit.
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 1: 32- and 64-bit.
- RHEL 5.4: 32- and 64-bit.

Fusion 3.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and retails for US$79.99.

Walmart drops 16GB iPhone 3GS price to $97 with contract

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, 03:47
Category: iPhone, News

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Retail giant Walmart on Monday announced that the chain would be selling Apple’s 16GB iPhone 3GS model for US$97.

Per The ToyBox, the new price, which becomes effective on Tuesday, May 25th, is for new phones purchased with a two-year contract.

Walmart chalks the price reduction up to its “ongoing aggressive savings announcements,” although a fourth generation iPhone to be released next month. That model was accidentally leaked in April after an engineer for the company left a disguised prototype in a bar.

It’s possible that the price will stick after the official announcement by Apple, which has previously reduced the price of the previous model to $99. (Currently, the iPhone 3GS retails for US$199; the 2008 iPhone 3G sells for US$99.)

Moreover, reports have come in suggesting that Apple is no longer accepting orders for the iPhone 3G, a move that typically paves the way for a new model.

“American Beauty” director to create iPhone ads demonstrating video chat feature

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, 03:49
Category: iPhone, News

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This could be nifty.

Per Engadget, “American Beauty” director Sam Mendes is in the process of putting together a series of commercials for Apple’s next iPhone, which according to a tipster is being referred to internally as the “Mammoth/N90″.

Along with this tip, a source has confirmed to us that the ads will feature at least one spot where a mother and daughter are having a video chat conversation using the new front-facing camera that’s been spied on the face of that iPhone floating around Vietnam and Northern California.

Finally, a quick search on Twitter revealed that there’s at least one actress who is up for a role in the “f***ing apple commercial” in New York, and a tweet from another actor reveals that he will be auditioning for spots in California.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Fourth-gen iPhone video conferencing screenshots surface

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 24th, 2010, 04:17
Category: iPhone, News, Pictures

Ok, this is interesting.

The cool cats at Boy Genius Report have just dug up the following screenshots sent in from an Apple engineer who was part of a field testing effort for the fourth-generation iPhone.

The photos seem to confirm that video conferencing will be available as an option on the new handset:

As always, let us know what you think in the comments!

AT&T raises early termination fee to $350, Verizon rumors abound

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Date: Monday, May 24th, 2010, 03:13
Category: iPhone, News

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AT&T appreciates your business.

And just made it that much pricier to leave early to do business with anyone else.

Per the Dow Jones Newswire, beginning June 1st, new AT&T iPhone customers who wish to cancel their contract with the wireless carrier will need to pay a US$325 early termination fee, up from the existing US$175 fee.

The new fee will apply to all smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone, as well as connected netbooks. For feature and messaging phones, the fees will drop to US$150.

Though change comes on the heels of speculation that AT&T could lose exclusivity of Apple’s iPhone over the next year, though an AT&T spokesperson reportedly said that the increase in the early termination fee to US$325 was not related to one specific device.

“The changes come amid increased regulatory scrutiny and class-action lawsuits over the issue,” the report said. “The Federal Communications Commission has expressed concern that onerous fees make it difficult for consumers to switch their service. Wireless carriers argue the fees are necessary to recoup the costs incurred by the subsidies they provide to lower the initial cost of the handset.”

The change follows a previous move by competitor Verizon, which began charging a $350 early termination fee for smartphone users. Google and T-Mobile also charged a combined US$550 fee for those who canceled their contract on the Nexus One. Both of those recent developments have brought early termination fees under scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T and Apple offer the iPhone at a subsidized rate, starting at US$99 for the iPhone 3G, with a two-year contract for the device. Starting in March, Apple began selling contract-free iPhones at a much higher price, as it has done in previous years, to help clear out inventory before the launch of new hardware.

In addition to recouping lost money from a canceled contract, the fees are also designed to deter customers from jumping to another network. The timing of the early termination fee increase will undoubtedly result in speculation about the potential of the iPhone becoming available on a carrier other than AT&T.

Apple is expected to introduce its next-generation iPhone when it kicks off the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 7th while rumors of a Verizon iPhone have been persistent since March.

Strange Knowledge Base article points to potential Boot Camp update for mid-April MacBook Pro

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Date: Friday, May 21st, 2010, 04:48
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

This is interesting.

Per CNET, Apple has released a knowledge base article outlining a Boot Camp update for the 2010 13″ MacBook Pro notebook. The update is for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of windows, and addresses a problem where the Boot Camp Control Panel would display warnings when changing the display brightness, as well as problems with no audio for headphones.

The 2010 MacBook Pro models were released in mid-April, and since then there have not been any Boot Camp updates so this is the first mention of one for these machines and perhaps a sign of fixes to come.

The update should be available through Apple’s software update utility in Windows, and is currently unavailable as a standalone download. When you install the update it should show the Boot Camp build number as 2354 when you select “About Boot Camp” when clicking the Boot Camp tool in the Windows task bar.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple rescinds no-cash policy for iPads

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Date: Friday, May 21st, 2010, 04:31
Category: iPad, News

As much as Apple may make you want to storm the gates of 1 Infinite Loop, blazing pitchforks in hand, the company sometimes listens.

Per KGO-TV, a San Francisco-baed woman who was denied the ability to purchase an iPad with cash managed to push Apple to reverse its policy and rewarded the woman by giving her the hardware for free.

Diane Campbell lives on a fixed income, and saved up money to buy an iPad from an Apple store in San Francisco. But when she attempted to purchase the device with cash, she was denied, based on an Apple policy designed to ensure the product is fairly distributed as the hardware is in short supply.

“Mr. Jobs, give a sister a break, OK?” she told the KGO-TV San Francisco news station. “I’m not going to go sell my iPad.”

After the station featured Campbell’s story, Apple responded. Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, spoke with the newscast to reveal that Apple would no longer continue its credit-only policy.

“It came to our attention that Diane, through your story was very interested in buying an iPad with cash,” Johnson said. “And we made a decision today to change that.”

Apple’s original intent was to make sure that its policy restricting iPad preorders to two per customer was properly enforced. Apple has faced strong demand and limited supply of the iPad since it first launched in the U.S. on April 3rd.

The previous policy has been rescinded and anyone can pay for an iPad with cash, as long as they set up their Apple account at the store. The iPad must first be connected to a PC or Mac with iTunes to be activated regardless.

Apple also sent two employees to Campbell’s home to personally deliver her an iPad, free of charge.

Latest iPhone OS 4.0 beta points toward customizable user dictionary

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Date: Thursday, May 20th, 2010, 04:48
Category: iPhone, News

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Yesterday, we mentioned that Apple’s newest beta of its iPhone OS 4.0 operating system included reference to tethering via AT&T. The cool cats at Gizmodo have apparently located a custom dictionary that will allow users to add their own words and unique spellings, and will automatically recommend those words as users type them.

The new option, “Edit User Dictionary,” can be found in the Keyboard section of the handsets Settings application in beta 4 of iPhone OS 4.0. There, users can press the plus button and add their own words.

This will allow users to bypass the “learning” feature found in previous versions of the iPhone OS, where the software will remember when the user chooses to discard a recommended spelling from the built-in dictionary.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.