Seagate announces 750GB Momentus XT hard drive, combines HDD, SSD features on same unit

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 29th, 2011, 08:11
Category: hard drive, Hardware, News

This could smack of the nifty.

Per Engadget, hard drive manufacturer Seagate has released its 750GB Momentus XT, a hybrid HDD/SSD unit with a conventional 742GB hard drive attached to 8GB of NAND flash memory. The unit boosts a speedy SATA III 6Gb/s interface and promises to cut boot-up and lag times compared to a standard laptop hard disk, by gradually learning which of your files are popular enough to deserve a spot in that solid state VIP lounge. The unit retails for US$189 and includes a five-year warranty.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you happen to snag one, please let us know what you make of it in the comments.

CrossOver updated to 10.2

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 29th, 2011, 03:41
Category: News, Software

CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 10.2. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Added a workaround for a bug in Mac OS X 10.7. Many games running in a virtual desktop cause a crash. This can be resolved by setting the CX_LEAK_XPLUGIN_SURFACES environment variable.

– Work around a bug in OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard. 10.6.8 generated corrupt icon files which caused occasional Finder crashes. Now we use a different API to generate icon files which bypasses the issue.

– Changed behavior of group permissions on certain files. Resolves an issue with .docx files on certain file systems.

CrossOver 10.2 retails for US$69.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Apple releases iOS 5.1 SDK beta, Xcode 4.3 preview, references upcoming iOS devices

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 29th, 2011, 03:29
Category: iOS, News, Software

The next major iOS update: it’s usually a pretty cool thing.

Per Electronista, Apple has released a new iOS 5.1 beta for developer testing on all iPad, iPod touch and iPhone models that support iOS 5.0. The beta contains references to next-generation iPhone and iPad models with references to a next-generation iPhone, “iPhone5,1,” as well as third-generation iPad models, “iPad3,2” and “iPad3,3” located via Twitter user Filippo Bigarella.

References to an apparent unreleased iPad 2 model, labeled “iPad2,4” have also been discovered in the beta release. Current second-generation iPad models range from “iPad2,1” to “iPad2,3.” It has been suggested that the unreleased version may have been developed for an additional carrier partner, such as Sprint.

The new build, designated as 9B5117b, must be downloaded from Apple as it is not yet available through over the air updates as previous developer builds have been.

The 5.1 software includes enhanced dictation support during text input “on supported devices,” something that has currently been limited to iPhone 4S, the only iOS device that supports Siri. Nothing in Apple’s notes to developers suggests that Sir will be expanded to other devices, but the phrasing leaves open the possibility that at least the speech recognition portion of Siri’s technology could be added to iPod touch, iPad and earlier iPhone models.

Adding basic speech recognition features across all iOS 5 devices would bring Apple’s offering into parity with Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, both of which include basic speech recognition features, although reviewers note that Apple’s Siri performs both more accurate recognition and far more sophisticated actions based on recognized speech.

Apple warns developers that the new build, once installed on a device, cannot be rolled back to previous versions of iOS, likely due to baseband firmware changes. The company also warns that unauthorized use of the developer beta could result (for the same reasons) in an unstable device, possibly necessitating repairs that are not covered under any iOS device warranty.

The latest version of iOS requires the use of the newest Xcode 4.3 developer preview toolset for building third party apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your hands on the new builds please let us know what you make of them in the comments.

Apple announces free shipping, free gift wrapping for online orders

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 28th, 2011, 13:11
Category: News, retail


You can’t argue with Cyber Monday.

Or free shipping.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday announced that all orders for any product placed at its U.S. online store through Dec. 22 will ship for free, while customers in other countries can also receive free shipping for one day only.

The announcement was made on Apple’s online store on Monday, also known as “Cyber Monday,” or the first Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. Apple does not have any Cyber Monday deals, though it did participate in Black Friday, the largest shopping day of the year, last week.

Apple’s free shipping promotion through Dec. 22 applies only to the U.S., but customers in other countries — including Canada, the U.K., France, and Spain — receive free standard shipping on all orders placed Monday. The free shipping offer in those countries does not extend beyond Monday.

Monday’s free shipping offer does not extend to all other countries. For example, Apple’s official online store in Australia simply advertises that customers can receive free gift wrapping on iPod and iPad purchases through Christmas, on Dec. 25.

Assorted resellers of Apple products also offer Macs and other products at discounted prices with free shipping, including MacMall, MacConnection, B&H, Amazon, Best Buy and DataVision.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked Intel documents present ideas for Thunderbolt-based docking components

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 25th, 2011, 12:39
Category: Hardware, News


This could turn into something nifty.

Per VR-Zone, Intel is hoping to formalize a standard for docking on ultrabooks with Thunderbolt ports, leaked internal notes demonstrate. The implementation would combine the Thunderbolt port with a wider companion dock connector to handle other forms of data, such as Ethernet or USB, VR-Zone said. To keep the Ethernet connection alive for Intel’s vPro remote management or for Windows 8’s Connected Standby mode, however, the docking port would need to have direct access to the Ethernet chipset inside.

Intel also had suggestions for what the dock itself could have, including HDMI or Mini DisplayPort for video out, a USB hub, or even eSATA for fast external drives. Thunderbolt’s support for daisy chaining a total of six Thudnerbolt devices is an option, although it would require the widest bandwidth versions of Thunderbolt and may be rare.

Intel’s strategy would be primarily intended for business, where it’s expected that workers would dock the ultrabook at their desks and get an external display and desktop-like expansion with just one cable. It notably tries to downplay the use of USB 3.0, saying that the standard isn’t ideal for displays or certain kinds of links. Intel might have an economic incentive to discourage USB 3.0, however, since it can profit from its exclusivity on Thunderbolt controller chips where USB 3.0 is generic and won’t see Intel make much if any profit, even when its own hardware is in use.

Apple already has a form of Thunderbolt docking through its Thunderbolt Display and may end up having the superior option for simplicity: its lack of vPro lets it route audio, the display, Ethernet, FireWire, and USB through one cable. Intel’s approach would bring more of that experience to Windows users as well as provide some extras for the pro audience. Non-Mac systems with standard Thunderbolt aren’t due to show until at least early 2012, however, or roughly a year after Apple went first.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Additional Black Friday sales announced, Microsoft and Adobe put forth wares

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 25th, 2011, 05:46
Category: News, retail, Software

It’s Black Friday and there shall be savings.

Per AppleInsider, the shopping holiday has brought an assortment of discounts on essential Mac software, including up to 50% off Adobe’s products, Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 for US$69.99, and VMWare Fusion for US$29.99.

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011:
The best deals for Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac come from Amazon, MacMall and Amazon is selling Home & Student One Packs and Family Packs for US$50 off retail, US$69.99 and US$99.99, respectively. The site also has the Home & Business One Pack for the low price of US$151.99. is selling the Home & Business Multi Pack for US$180.94.

Mac Virtualization Software:
For Mac Virtualization software that lets Macs run the Windows operating system alongside Mac OS, Amazon has the best deal on Parallels Desktop 7 at US$44.99. MacMall has the lowest price for VMWare Fusion 4, selling the software for US$29.99.

Adobe Products:
Adobe is offering as much as 50 percent off on instant downloads of its software through Nov. 29, though individual products may need to be added to the shopping cart for the discounts in the chart below to appear. Creative Suite 5.5 is available to commercial customers with savings of 30 percent on upgrades and 10 percent on full purchases.

The software maker is also providing a discount of US$250 on the full version of Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended and US$150 off the full version of Photoshop CS 5, while those upgrading from an earlier version will save 30 percent. Commercial customers can get 50 percent off the entry-level Elements versions of the Photoshop and Premiere applications, as well as US$100 off Lightroom.

Meanwhile, qualifying education customers can save up to US$1800 on Student and Teacher Editions of Creative Suite from Adobe’s retail partners.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VMWare releases Fusion 4.1.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011, 17:48
Category: News, Software


On Wednesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 4.1.1 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, a 180 megabyte download, can be found here and offers the following fix:

– Corrects an omission from the Fusion 4.1.0 release that affects running Mac OS X in a virtual machine. (Removes the ability to use Leopard and Snow Leopard virtual machines.)

Fusion 4.1.1 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).

Microsoft looking towards digital delivery system for Windows 8 upgrades/installs

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011, 14:11
Category: News, Software


You may not be in love with Windows, but it does become handy from time to time.

Per the MSDN blog, Microsoft looks to be gearing up to release its next-generation Windows 8 operating system via digital release. In a post to the company’s official blog this week, Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows Division, detailed the setup experience users will see with Windows 8.

Sinofsky explained that Microsoft aims to satisfy two distinct types of customers in the install process: those who want to install with minimum hassle, and those who want to do a clean install with more options, control and customization. Microsoft’s simpler solution will allow users to simply launch a file that can be delivered via the Web, not unlike Apple’s Lion, which is available for purchase and install through the Mac App Store.

“In the past, if you wanted to buy an upgrade for Windows, it involved purchasing a boxed product from a retail outlet, taking it home, (sometimes being infuriated while trying to open the box,) and inserting a DVD,” Sinofsky explained. “However, buying boxed software is quickly becoming the exception rather than the rule, with more and more software being purchased online as broadband penetration increases and large-size media downloads become more common.

“While we will continue to offer boxed DVDs, we are also making it easier than ever to purchase and install online. This includes starting the setup experience online as well, and having one continuous integrated experience from beginning to end.”

Microsoft’s Web setup will allow the company to “pre-key” the setup image that is downloaded to a unique user. This means users won’t need to enter the 25-digit product key that is currently necessary to install existing versions of Windows.

Sinofsky stopped short of saying that the Web install method will be the preferred way for users to install Windows 8, though the simplified process will likely make it ideal for most users. Through one application, Microsoft will scan a user’s system for compatibility, download Windows 8, and then install the operating system.

Apple has made it clear that the Mac App Store is the preferred way for users to upgrade to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, though the company has made Lion also available on a USB thumb drive. But while Lion costs US$29.99 on the Mac App Store, its US$69 price tag when bought on a USB drive is more than double the price of the digital download.

Of course, Microsoft’s digital delivery method for Windows 8 is very different from Apple’s approach, in that Microsoft does not have a centralized software storefront akin to Apple’s Mac App Store. Users will have to load the dedicated Windows 8 Setup application to make the upgrade on their system, while the Mac App Store is available on all up-to-date systems running Apple’s previous-generation operating system, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Beyond digital delivery, Microsoft has made a number of other changes to help simplify and speed up the Windows 8 install process. Through a number of modifications to the upgrade engine, Microsoft says it has reduced a clean install time from 32 minutes for Windows 7 to 21 minutes with Windows 8.

The greatest improvement will be seen for power users who complete a “super upgrade,” which, in Microsoft’s tests, includes 1.44 million files and 120 installed applications. While a Windows 7 upgrade under that scenario would have taken 513 minutes, Windows 8’s advertised upgrade time is just 52 minutes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple specifies discounts for 2011 Black Friday sales

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011, 03:01
Category: iPad, iPod, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, retail


As mentioned yesterday, Apple will be planning assorted discounts for this year’s Black Friday shopping holiday.

Per 9to5Mac, the discounts are in-line with last year’s prices with only modest discounts on their products. Price drops for their core products are as follows:

iPad 2: US$41 to US$61 Off

iPod nano: US$11 off

iPod Touch: US$21 to US$41 off

MacBook Air: US$101 off

MacBook Pro: US$101 off

iMac: US$101 off

Meanwhile, 3rd party accessories are also seeing some small discounts ranging from US$11-US$101.95 in savings for accessories such as iPad Smart Covers, iPhone battery packs and external hard drives.

These prices should be available for both online and local retail Apple store locations. For those who were planning to purchase from Apple retail anyway, it makes sense to wait until Friday. For those looking for more savings, other online retailers frequently their own Black Friday sales on Apple products as well. Depending on your location, those other online retailers may provide the added advantage of not charge sales tax on online orders. Apple’s online store does charge local sales tax on all orders due to its local presence in every state.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts Black Friday savings teaser, leaves iPhone out of potential deals to be had

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011, 08:16
Category: iPad, iPhone, MacBook Pro, News, retail


Come Friday, there shall be savings.

And probably shoving to get to those savings.

So, look, try to be polite and don’t shove other people for the savings, all right?

Per MacStories, Apple has placed a teaser on its web site, saying that it will be holding a “special one-day Apple shopping event” on Friday. Apple plans to offer discounts on iPad, iPod, and Mac lines. It made no mention of iPhone deals.

The teaser appears to show Apple offering the deals worldwide. As of this writing, the Black Friday deal teaser is being displayed on Apple’s Australia, Italy, and U.K. online stores.

However, there are a few caveats you should keep in mind. For one, Apple says that the deals will be available on its “Online Store,” seeming to indicate it might not offer the same discounts in its retail outlets. The company is also waiting until Friday to unveil the deals it will offer customers that day.

Apple has been holding special Black Friday events for years. But its offers haven’t always been so exciting. In 2009, for example, it took just US$101 off its MacBook Pro models and US$31 off its iPod Touch.

Apple product discounts don’t come along too often and those who want to save a few bucks might want to head back over to the Apple online store later this week to see what’s offered.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.