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Google Earth released

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Date: Thursday, March 31st, 2011, 04:33
Category: News, Software


Late Wednesday, software giant Google released version of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 23.8 megabyte download, adds the following new features:

– Fixed a problem where we were over fetching certain kml layer data and running into issuing of using large amounts of memory and slowness during zooming in.

– Fixed an issue of ruler tool disappearing. In 6.0 beta, when measuring using the path tool, if you break to add a place-mark then you go back to the path and click “save” the path and ruler tool disappears all together.

– Fixed an issue with incorrectly measuring long distances. Improved navigation in Street View inside buildings.

– Fixed a crash with elevation profile if there was empty gx:value node in KML.

– Optimized amount of terrain and imagery data fetched while viewing photo overlays.

– Fixed an occasional crash while viewing 3D buildings. Fixed broken fly-to links within local kml files.

– Fixed an issue where new place-marks added were with absolute altitude instead of being clamped to ground.

– Fixed an issue where the title for panoramio pictures no longer appeared when hovering over panoramic icons with your mouse if scale legend was enabled.

– Fixed an issue when there was occasionally a missing wall in 3D buildings.

– Optimized amount of data fetched in Street View.

– Fixed an issue where tilt by holding “shift” and moving the scroll wheel only worked in one direction on Mac.

The new version requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Rumor: Apple looking to expand on voice commands in iOS 5.0

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Date: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011, 08:49
Category: iPhone, Rumor, Software

Because you don’t spend enough time talking to your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Per TechCrunch, Apple is rumored to be working on a means of vastly improving voice commands on devices like the iPhone and iPad with the anticipated release of iOS 5 later this year.

Apple’s “deeply integrated” voice control feature in iOS 5 is expected to be demoed at this year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference. The voice control will reportedly be a combination of artificial intelligence and assistance technology, and Apple’s team is said to be putting the “finishing touches” on elements that will be demonstrated at WWDC.

The new features are said to stem from technology and personnel Apple obtained through its acquisition of Siri in 2010. Siri is the developer of a personal assistant application for the iPhone, and it allows users to speak to the device in plain conversational English to find information and automatically accomplish tasks, like booking a reservation at a restaurant.

The advanced voice control technology owned by Apple and said to be coming in iOS 5 may even be opened up to developers for use in third-party applications. However, author MG Siegler cautioned that information “isn’t quite as concrete.”

The latest rumor corroborates a report filed that went public earlier this year which claimed that Apple is working on “voice navigation” features in iOS 5. It also builds on rumors that circulated in February that Apple hopes to improve operation of the iPhone through voice commands due to some users’ dislike of using a virtual keyboard.

Apple announced on Monday that WWDC will kick off on June 6 at San Francisco’s Moscone West, where the company plans to “unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS.” The annual developers conference sold out in a record 10 hours.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple looking to add alternate payment methods for MobileMe services

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Date: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011, 04:44
Category: MobileMe, Rumor, Software

You like your MobileMe account.

And there may be new ways to pay for it.

Per MacNews.de, Apple may be coming up with plans to implement alternative payment methods for MobileMe in the near future. Currently, users without credit cards are caught in a dilemma — they can’t renew their subscriptions electronically, but neither can they buy a retail “box” with the MobileMe activation or renewal code from a retail store (Apple has removed the MobileMe box from its retail stores, though some dealers may still have older stock available).

Rumors have swirled for months that the service is due to undergo a major revamp, spurred by an e-mail from Apple CEO Steve Jobs to a customer promising the service “will get better in 2011.”

The rumors have taken various forms, from making at least some version of the service available for free to adding a cloud-based “media locker” for a small fee — or changing, dropping or revamping existing services (which include website hosting, photo and video galleries, ad-free IMAP e-mail, account syncing, limited backup, equipment tracking, personal storage space and other features).

Last month, Apple made MobileMe only available as a free online trial offer, and the only way to buy or renew a subscription required a credit card — leading to speculation that the revamp could come soon (now currently believed to be in April).

The report that Apple is working on alternate payment methods would indicate that the company is still planning on charging for at least some of the services in an overhauled MobileMe offering.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on this, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Apple could release Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” in early summer

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Date: Monday, March 28th, 2011, 04:25
Category: Rumor, Software

Following the release of the Mac OS X 10.6.7 update, Apple’s Mac OS X 10.7 release could see the light of day a bit earlier than expected. Per TechCrunch, Apple could release the new operating system in the early part of this summer. If a new rumor is to be believed, it would appear that Apple should have no troubles meeting this deadline, as it appears the latest and greatest OS X could already be nearing “Golden Master” status.

Apple has continued to work through many OS X Lion bugs and other performance issues as the stated summer release date draws ever closer. Just the same, if GM candidates are already nigh, then there should not be any cause to worry.

By comparison, with OS X Snow Leopard, Apple had released the GM edition to developers a few weeks for the actual public release. If there are no bugs in the first GM version, then Apple could see a similar timeframe with Lion. To give benefit of the doubt to Apple though, it would seem an early summer release may be likely and could be found at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco this summer.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on a Mac OS X 10.7 build, let us know what you think in the comments.

Rumor: Apple may be planning iOS 5.0 around a fall release

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Date: Monday, March 28th, 2011, 04:59
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Rumor, Software

Even if you’re still trying to figure out if Apple’s iOS 4.3.1 update provided any meaningful fixes, there’s still iOS 5.0 on the horizon. Per TechCrunch, iOS 5.0 may not see the light of day until this fall, the rumor mill stating that Instead of Apple possibly unveiling the latest version this spring, we may not see an official preview until summer, possibly alongside WWDC.

The current rumors have presented the following details:
-iOS 5 will launch in the fall and will be a major revamp of the OS.

-It could well be previewed at WWDC, but won’t be released then.

-The iOS 5 launch may coincide with the release of the oft talked about iPad 3.

-The new iOS would be built heavily around the cloud, and could see the launching of several new services by Apple that would take advantage of this.

-One of those said services would be a “music locker” service, which would see the aim for a fall launch, which is usually when Apple hosts their music-themed event.

-Much of the cloud information would first be covered at WWDC.

-The new cloud service element would include a location service for finding friends and family members.

-Some of the new cloud features could also make their way into OS X Lion as well.

Still, it could be interesting stuff, even if the usual timeline is thrown off a bit.

Stay tuned to PowerPage and we’ll bring you additional information as it becomes available.

Apple releases iOS 4.3.1 update

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Date: Saturday, March 26th, 2011, 03:35
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Apple on Friday released iOS 4.3.1, the latest update to its mobile operating system. The update includes a handful of bug fixes and security patches for iOS devices.

Per Macworld, the update centers around a pair of graphics-related fixes: one for an occasional glitch on the 4th-generation iPod touch and one for flickering problems when using the Apple Digital AV Adapter with some TVs. iOS 4.3.1 also resolves a problem with authenticating some enterprise Web services and some bugs experienced when activating and connecting to cellular networks.

The update is recommended for all users of the GSM 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.

Mac OS X 10.6.7 internal references point to widening graphics card support for future Mac hardware

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Date: Friday, March 25th, 2011, 04:13
Category: News, Software


Dig around inside an update’s code and you’ll find all sorts of interesting stuff.

Per the tonymacx86 Blog, the Mac OS X 10.6.7 update for early 2011 Mac Book Pro models features native graphics acceleration for some Radeon HD 5000- and 6000-series cards. The supported cards are off-the-shelf graphics processing units, not Mac-only cards as have been in the past.

It’s likely that at least some of the cards will be part of the new iMac refresh expected from Apple in the near future. A new rumor this week claimed that Apple plans to ship a refresh of its all-in-one desktop by early May, with Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors and a high-speed Thunderbolt port.

But the number of graphics cards natively supported by Mac OS X 10.6.7 has led “tonymacx86” to suggest that it could signal “the end of the Mac-only graphics card.”

“Could Apple be opening up the platform more?” he asked. “What happens to NVIDIA? Why support for cards that aren’t in Macs yet? Will the 2011 Sandy Bridge iMacs contain one or more of these new 6xxx cards?”

The Mac OS X 10.6.7 Snow Leopard build unique to early 2011 Sandy Bridge MacBook Pro models apparently contains native support for the following graphics cards:

– ATI Radeon HD 5630 Device ID 0x68D8

– ATI Radeon HD 5630 Device ID 0x68D9

– ATI Radeon HD 5670 Device ID 0x68D8

– ATI Radeon HD 5730 Device ID 0x68D8

– ATI Radeon HD 5770 Device ID 0x68B8

– ATI Radeon HD 5850 Device ID 0x6899

– ATI Radeon HD 5870 Device ID 0x6898

– AMD Radeon HD 6850 Device ID 0x6739

– AMD Radeon HD 6870 Device ID 0x6738

– AMD Radeon HD 6970 Device ID 0x6718

Apple also released a special build unique to the new MacBook Pros with Thunderbolt also addresses performance issues with FaceTime. It also improves graphics stability and external display compatibility with the new notebooks released in February.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VLC 1.1.8 update released

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Date: Thursday, March 24th, 2011, 03:12
Category: News, Software


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 1.1.8. The new version, a 25.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Security update regarding video width concerning some demuxers.

– Support for a new Dirac encoder based on libschroedinger.

– Package of the new VP8/Webm encoder ‘Bali’.

– Notable updates in .mp4, .ogg, .ape demuxers.

– Major updates in most language translations.

– Fixes in skins2 supports of Winamp2 skins.

– Upgrade on the look of VLC for Mac OS X.

– Auto-detection for .txt subtitles is fixed.

– Fixes on Windows integration, notably regarding volume keys.

– Codecs updates.

– Many miscellaneous fixes.

VLC 1.1.8 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.

Apple TV 4.2.1 update released, addresses “HDTV flicker” issue

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Date: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011, 03:52
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

Apple on Tuesday released a minor update for its second-generation Apple TV set top box, with software version 4.2.1 addressing an issue that caused screen flickering on some older high-definition TVs.

Per AppleInsider, the Apple TV Software Update 4.2.1 can now be downloaded directly from the device. It applies only to the second-generation Apple TV, released last year. The new version’s fixes and changes include the following:

– TV compatibility: Addresses issues that may cause the screen to flicker or display incorrect color on some older TVs.

– Wake from sleep: Addresses an issue where Apple TV may not wake from sleep.

– Audio: Addresses an issue where audio may not be heard on some TV models after switching from another input.

– Stability and performance: Apple TV software Update 4.2.1 includes stability and performance fixes for Apple TV.

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

Mozilla releases Firefox 4.0 web browser

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Date: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011, 03:52
Category: News, Software


Late Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 4.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version stands as an 26.8 megabyte download offered the following fixes and changes:

– Firefox 4 is available in over 80 languages

– Uses JägerMonkey, a new, faster JavaScript engine that is up to six times faster than Firefox 3.6

– Support for the Do Not Track (“DNT”) header that allows users to opt-out of behavioural advertising

– Firefox Sync is included by default, allowing you to securely synchronize between multiple computers and mobile devices

– Certain graphics rendering operations are now hardware-accelerated using Direct3D 9 on
Windows XP, Direct3D 10 on Windows Vista and 7, and OpenGL on Mac OS (OpenGL on Linux will be supported in the future)

– Direct2D Hardware Acceleration is now on by default for Windows 7 users

– WebGL is enabled on all platforms that have a capable graphics card with updated drivers

– Native support for the HD HTML5 WebM video format, hardware accelerated where available

– Firefox button has a new look for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users

– Tabs are now on top by default on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux

– You can search for and switch to already open tabs in the Smart Location Bar

– The stop and reload buttons have been merged into a single button on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux

– The Bookmarks Toolbar has been replaced with a Bookmarks Button by default (you can switch it back if you’d like)

– Crash protection for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X when there is a crash in the Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugins

– You can turn any tab into an “App Tab” by right-clicking on it and selecting “Make into App Tab” from the context menu

– The default homepage design has been refreshed

– Overhaul of the bookmarks and history code, enabling faster bookmarking and startup performance

– Per-compartment garbage collection is now enabled, reducing work done during complex animations

– Additional polish for the Firefox Add-ons Manager

– Improved web typography using OpenType with support for ligatures, kerning and font variants

– Web developers can animate content using CSS Transitions

– Responsiveness and scrolling improvements from the new retained layers layout system

– HTML5 Forms API makes web based forms easier to implement and validate

– Support for the new proposed Audio Data API

– Support for HSTS security protocol allowing sites to insist that they only be loaded over SSL

– A new feature called Panorama gives users a visual overview of all open tabs, allowing them to be sorted and grouped

– An experimental API is included to provide more efficient Javascript animations

– Firefox now supports the HTML5 video “buffered” property

– Changes to how XPCOM components are registered in order to help startup time and process separation

– New Addons Manager and extension management API (UI will be changed before final release)

– Significant API improvements are available for JS-ctypes, a foreign function interface for extensions

– CSS Transitions are partially supported

– Core Animation rendering model for plugins on Mac OS X. Plugins which also support this rendering model can now draw faster and more efficiently

– Web developers can update the URL field without reloading the page using HTML History APIs

– More responsive page rendering using lazy frame construction

– Link history lookup is done asynchronously to provide better responsiveness during pageload
CSS :visited selectors have been changed to block websites from being able to check a user’s browsing history

– New HTML5 parser

– Support for more HTML5 form controls

– Web authors can now get touch events from Firefox users on Windows 7 machines

– A new way of representing values in JavaScript that allows Firefox to execute heavy, numeric code (used for things like graphics and animations) more efficiently

Firefox 4.0 requires an Intel-based Mad and Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, let us know.