Apple launches Beta Seed Program for consumers

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, 09:57
Category: Apple, Mac, News, OS X, Software

maverickslogoApple is trying something new with its prerelease versions of OS X, it’s letting everyone take a crack at it. Tuesday, Apple launched the OS X Beta Seed Program which allows anyone with an Apple ID to download and try out beta versions of OS X. A complete FAQ for the program can be found here.

According to AppleInsider;

“It appears Apple has been quietly working to implement the new open beta policy for at least a couple of months via a “Feedback Assistant” that turned up in build 13D38 OS X 10.9.3 earlier this month. At the time, the standalone app’s purpose was unknown, though it is now believed to be part of the Beta Seed Program.”

I can see the potential benefits of having a greater number of people testing out new beta releases of OS X to work out bugs faster, which could speed up the turn-around for OS updates. I even know a number of people, including myself, who are power users that would love to try out new versions before they were released. My question, and concern, about this new program is…how useful is it really? Of the people who download the betas, how many will follow through with providing feedback, and how many will simply mess up their system because they don’t know any better, requiring a trip to the Genius Bar. How many “consumers” have the ability to send useful feedback?

If you are reading this and plan to join the program, just remember to create a full up-to-date backup of your computer(s). If anything does go wrong, be prepared to wipe your hard drive and restore everything from your backup. If you plan to try out the program, let us know and tell us why you’re doing it. Do you plan to send Apple valuable feedback, are you trying to solve a problem, or are you just curious?

 

 

Older versions of OS X to lose AIM iChat login support

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014, 08:09
Category: Announcement, Apple, Lion, Mac, Mavericks, OS X, Software

ichat_logoIn a new support article, Apple has indicated its intention to remove the ability to use a mac.com or me.com ID to login to the AIM service via iChat on OS X systems older than 10.7.2 as of June 30th, 2014. To continue using the service, the article recommends either updating to 10.7.5 if you wish to continue using Lion, otherwise update to Mavericks using these instructions. If you can’t upgrade OS X, you can choose one of these methods to create a new AIM ID;

Creating a new AIM ID

  1. Create a new AIM ID from the AOL website.
  2. Add this new account to iChat by following the instructions in this article.
  3. Creating a new Apple ID requires you to re-add your buddies to your new buddy list. Re-add your buddies to your by following the instructions in this article.
  4. Remove your old mac.com account from iChat preferences.

 

 

Software Update Rundown for April 21st, 2014

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 21st, 2014, 09:54
Category: App Store, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Mac, OS X, Software

software-updateWe’ll be posting info on updates of some of our favorite software along with some high profile apps that are pretty essential to anyone on a Mac or iThing, just in case you missed them. This information is brought to you by updates I get from developers and my own software use, but mostly by MacUpdate, although not officially, because that is what I use to keep all my apps up to date. I also like to add some value by throwing in some extra notes from my experiences. So let’s get to it!

 

Mac

calibre 1.33.0

This app is great if you want to access PDF documents, ePub books, or other readable, in different formats. Excellent for managing books on a Kindle from your Mac.

New Features

  • Edit book: Add a tool to check spellings, access it via Tools->Check spelling…. The calibre book editor now has builtin spellcheck. You can install new dictionaries via Preferences->Editor->Manage spelling dictionaries. It comes with builtin dictionaries for English and Spanish. You can add OpenOffice dictionaries (in .oxt format). The tool checks spellings in all HTML/OPF/NCX files in the book, taking into account any language declarations in the book, so that it will work correctly on multi-lingual books as well. The code is very new, so there may well be bugs. As you type spell checking is not yet implemented.
  • Kobo driver: Support firmware version 3.3
  • Device driver for Tolino Vision on windows

Bug Fixes

  • Amazon metadata download: Fix Editorial Reviews not downloading into the comments section for some books
  • DOCX Input: Fix some text highlighting colors in the DOCX file not being correctly translated during conversion.
  • Wireless device driver: Fix incorrect syncing behavior when book matching is run for a second time while connected. This happens when the user changes the library or selects ‘Update cached metadata on device’.
  • Searching: Fix searching by date not using the system locale to interpret dd/mm vs mm/dd dates on windows

New news sources

  • Various new and updated Spanish news sources by Marc Busque

Improved news sources

  • Barrons
  • Creative Blog

 

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Apple sends out latest 10.9.3 seed to developers

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 16th, 2014, 16:55
Category: Apple, Developer, Mac, MacBook Pro, Mavericks, News, Software

maverickslogoOn Tuesday, Apple released the latest build of OS X 10.9.3, designated ‘Build 13D43′. For this build, developers are being asked to focus their efforts on testing Graphics Drivers, Audio, Mail, Contacts and Calendar sync over USB in iTunes, and Safari. 10.9.3 also adds support for 4K displays, which offers improved readability and 60Hz output from a Retina display MacBook Pro.

Build releases are appearing closer together now, this one only a week after the previous seed. This is typically a sign that Apple is close to locking the update down in preparation for its release, so be on the lookout for 10.9.3 showing up in the App Store soon. Per usual, we recommend  that you make sure to backup your Macs before applying the update, and running Repair Permissions from Disk Utility before and after the update is a good idea too.

 

 

Update Rundown for April 14th, 2014

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, 08:31
Category: Apps, Mac, Microsoft, Software

software-updateEvery so often we like to post info on updates of some of our favorite software along with some high profile apps that are pretty essential to anyone on a Mac. This information is brought to you by updates I get from developers, but mostly by MacUpdate, although not officially, because that is what I use to keep all my apps up to date. I also like to add some value by throwing in some extra notes from my experiences. So let’s get to it!

TaskTime4 5.1.5

This app for tracking your time and printing invoices has been my goto for my freelance work for years. It’s inexpensive ($20) and the developer is very responsive.

  • Interface tweaks
  • improved functioning of Category popup menu
  • fixed sorting project reports by clients
  • fixed pause button size problem with autopause enabled
  • fixed stop button issue (moved timing buttons to toolbar)
  • fixed reports bug

 

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WWDC confirmed for June 2nd-6th

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 4th, 2014, 09:59
Category: Announcement, Apple, conference, Developer, iOS, iPhone, Mac, OS X, Software, WWDC

wwdc14 crop

It was announced Thursday that Apple’s yearly developers’ conference will be held June 2nd through the 6th at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. However, this year Apple has decided to “think different” (I had to) with its handling of ticket sales. According to Engadget, Apple has already opened ticket sales on its website, but will now select attendees randomly instead of a first-come-first-served basis. The WWDC web site states;

“The opportunity to buy tickets to WWDC 2014 will be offered by random selection. Register by Monday, April 7 at 10:00 a.m. PDT for your chance to attend. We will let you know your status by email on Monday, April 7 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.”

Once selected and notified, you will then be able to purchase your ticket. Tickets are selling for $1599 and in order to be selected, you need to be a current member of the iOS Developer Program, iOS Developer Enterprise Program, or Mac Developer Program as of the announcement of WWDC (April 3, 2014 at 5:30 a.m. PDT).

Rumors have it that Apple plans to unveil iOS 8 at WWDC, but that seems a little soon to me. What do you think?

 

 

Ted Landau retires as expo speaker

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 4th, 2014, 08:24
Category: Announcement, conference, History, Mac

Ted-LandauIn a session entitled “Confessions of an Apple Writer”, Ted Landau recounted his career writing about the Mac, which has existed practically as long as the Mac itself. He began the session by announcing that he was retiring as a Macworld/iWorld speaker and cutting back on his writing duties. As he reason, he offered, “Well, it’s just that time in my life.”. Currently a Senior Contributor at Macworld Magazine, he talked about his first “article” which was a submission to a Mac newsletter in which he described how to change the “Welcome to Macintosh” startup message using software called ResEdit.

 

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Safari updated to version 7.0.3

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014, 15:04
Category: App Store, Apple, Mac, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, OS X, security, Software

safari_icoEarlier this week, Apple released an update to Safari bringing it up to version 7.0.3 for Mavericks and Safari 6.1.3 for Mountain Lion and Lion users. The updates are available through the OS X App Store application. You will need to quit Safari, if it is open, in order to complete the update. The following is the list of changes in the update:

  • Fixes an issue that could cause the search address field to load a webpage or send a search term before the return key is pressed
  • Improves credit card auto fill compatibility with websites
  • Fixes an issue that could block receipt of push notifications from websites
  • Adds a preference to turn off push notification prompts from websites
  • Adds support for webpages with generic top-level domains
  • Strengthens Safari sandboxing
  • Fixes security issues, including several identified in recent security competitions

Interesting to note is Apple’s nod to non-Apple sources for the security fixes, although the specify sources are not named.

 

 

Macworld/iWorld 2014 Session wrap-up

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014, 08:49
Category: Apple, conference, Features, iPhone, Mac, Meetup, Software

Macworld_sessionSessions have always been a big part of any Mac Expo, but especially in recent years in response to the absence of Apple’s Steve-notes and daily product demonstrations and tutorials. While I miss the Apple presence, as a power-user I welcome the fact that the bar for session topics has been risen. Past “standard” sessions (non-IT) focused primarily on the average consumer, giving tips on using iPhoto for organizing and improving the quality of photos, using standard utilities to execute basic maintenance, or creating ringtones with GarageBand. These are all worthy topics, and the average user is an important demographic for Mac, but it was frustrating that there were few opportunities for the average power-user to learn something new or push their learning experience to the next level. While there has been some improvement, I think there could be more done for power-user education, however, that is not to say there have not been some great additions to the session agenda to improve the experience for all types of Mac users.

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Macworld/iWorld 2014 Expo Hall wrap-up

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014, 09:01
Category: Apple, conference, Developer, iPhone, Mac, Software

2014-expo-floorLast week was a bit of a whirlwind as Macworld/iWorld took over a large portion of my week. Now that I’ve had some time to put together some of the things I saw, I thought I’d provide a brief recap. This year, the convention was held in Moscone Center’s North Hall. The first day, Thursday, was my traditional walk around the show floor which I always do on the first day so I can make some mental notes about what I want to go back and see later. This makes it easier to go straight to the important stuff when you only have about 45 minutes between talks and demos. There wasn’t much that was unique about the Expo Hall this year, except for possibly the two live stages (I only recall one in the past).

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