O'Grady's PowerPage » Software

Radio Shack offering $50 discount, additional trade-in credit towards iPhone 3GS, 4 handsets

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 06:23
Category: iPhone, News, retail

The holidays are winding down but the deals are still there if you know where to look for them.

Per the mighty Boy Genius Report, Radio Shack is once again offering a US$50 discount on new 16GB iPhone 4 and 8GB iPhone 3GS units, bringing their prices down to US$149 and $49, respectively.

The deal is reportedly good for “new and eligible upgrade customers while supplies last.” The retailer is also offering boosted trade-in credit for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS units. “Qualifying iPhone 3G and 3G S handsets will have a guaranteed trade-in credit of US$75 and US$125, respectively,” reads an email received by BGR. To qualify, the iPhone must “power on, cannot be PIN locked and must be in fully functional, working condition without any broken components.”

This offer does not have a set end date and readers are encouraged to call their local store to check on availability.

Apple looking to hire two software engineers to expand iOS’ “cloud-based” features

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 29th, 2010, 04:05
Category: Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

When in doubt, there’s always cloud-based services to makes things nifty.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is looking to expand its iOS development team with new employees who will enhance the company’s cloud-based services for devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Just before Christmas, Apple posted two new job listings (1, 2) for the title of “iOS Software Engineer.” While the two full-time positions have different job descriptions, both describe an emphasis on remote storage for data access.

“Apple is hiring outstanding operations engineers to deliver and manage the next generation of hosted infrastructure serving Apple products and services,” one of the listings reads. The other says, “Apple is hiring experienced software engineers to work on distributed computing for data with non-trivial properties, and efficient online services for data access.”

One of the positions also seeks a candidate who has “experience developing large-scale offline or online storage systems.” Both positions are based at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus.

Some may view the hirings as further evidence of a cloud-based iTunes or other MobileMe-style services from Apple. The hirings could also be an effort by the company to bolster its new cloud-centric Apple TV, a device that also runs a version of the lightweight iOS operating system.

Numerous reports have indicated that Apple is interested in creating its own cloud-based iTunes service, which could allow users to stream their own music library from any Internet-connected device. It is believed that some of the functionality could come from Apple’s acquisition of Lala.

There’s also an e-mail allegedly sent by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs earlier this month, in which he purportedly said that his company’s MobileMe service would “get a lot better in 2011.” The US$99-per-year Internet-based service is an existing cloud venture from Apple, but a major portion of it, Find My iPhone, became free with the release of iOS 4.2.

Apple’s massive data center in North Carolina was set to launch this year, though Apple has not yet made any announcements for its potential use. But many have speculated that it will be used for cloud computing, perhaps via MobileMe, and streaming services, likely through iTunes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Desktop 6.0.11992.625164 released

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 27th, 2010, 11:41
Category: News, Software

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Parallels Desktop, the popular virtualization application that allows users to run the Windows and Linux operating systems simultaneously alongside Mac OS X, reached version 6.0.11992.625164 on Thursday. The new version, available here, sports the following major fixes and changes:

Parallels Desktop (build 6.0.11992.625164) improves the general performance, stability, and compatibility of virtual machines, including fixes that:

- Address problems with incorrect handling of HTML links and files.

- Resolve an issue with disk access errors in Boot Camp virtual machines.

- Resolve graphical issues in Need for Speed Hot Pursuit game.

- Resolve an issue with SATA virtual CD/DVD drives support in a virtual machine with more than 2 GB of memory.

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac retails for US$79.99 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 later to install and run.

Unofficial iPhone Dev Team releases redsn0w beta, offers initial iOS 4.2.1 jailbreak

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Date: Monday, December 27th, 2010, 07:28
Category: iPhone, News, Software

The Unofficial iPhone Dev Team has advanced to its next project, posting a beta of redsn0w, its jailbreaking utility for iOS devices. Per iPodNN, the release supports untethered operation in iOS 4.2.1, that is, jailbreaking without having to stay connected to a computer via USB during the process. So far only the iPad, the iPhone 4 and the fourth-generation iPod touch devices are compatible.

The Dev Team warns that because things can potentially go “very wrong,” the software is aimed strictly at beta testers. People are asked to back up any essential content, and avoid the beta entirely if they use the ultrasn0w unlock. The software also requires a separate install of usbmuxd, and that Cydia have v4.2b3 SHSH blobs saved.

Owing to sandbox problems, Bluetooth support is temporarily unavailable. redsn0w 0.9.7b3 is a Mac-only download; the untethered mode can be used by selecting the Jailbreak Monte option. Testers are urged to do a fresh restore before installation in order to rule out variables.

If you’re feeling brave, let too know how it went in the comments.

Mac OS X 10.6.6 update to include beginnings of Mac App Store integration

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Date: Friday, December 24th, 2010, 11:03
Category: News, Software

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This could be interesting.

Per MacGeneration, Apple plans to include some rudimentary integration between its upcoming Mac App Store and the next maintenance release of Mac OS X 10.6, according to discoveries made a MacGeneration forum member.

Mac OS X 10.6.6, due for release in the next few weeks, will offer users the option of searching the Mac App Store for applications when it runs into an unsupported file type for which no application has previously been assigned.

The Mac App Store — due to launch on January 6th — would return applications capable of opening the specific file.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts about the Mac App Store, please let us know.

Skype network recovering after Wednesday’s crash

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 23rd, 2010, 12:59
Category: News, Software

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There’s a downside to something being successful: eventually people come to rely on you.

Per Macworld, Skype is continuing to slowly recover after an outage caused by problems with its peer-to-peer interconnection system.

The latest estimates say that 10 million users are now online after a crash on Wednesday according to a blog post.

However, users able to get online can still expect that some features may not work as reliably as expected. For example, online statuses may be slow to update, and instant messages might not be delivered as quickly as they are normally, the blog post said.

Also, it’s currently impossible for Skype to predict when all users will be able to sign in and start making calls again, the company said. Around midday European time Thursday, almost 5 million users were back online, Skype said, which is around 30% of the number it would expect to see at that time of the day.

Skype at one point also disabled new downloads of its software, according to a Twitter message from a company spokesman.

Skype’s initial description of the problem said many of the “supernodes” that act as directories for Skype users to find one another were taken offline by a problem affecting some versions of the Skype client.

“Our engineers are creating new ‘mega-supernodes’ as fast as they can, which should gradually return things to normal,” the company blog post said.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you were affected by this crash, please let us know.

Apple updates Remote app to version 2.1, includes AirPlay features

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010, 13:25
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Sometimes it’s the little software updates that prove the coolest.

Per Macworld, Apple has released version 2.1 of the Remote application for its iOS-based devices.

The new version, which can be snagged via the App Store, includes the following fixes and changes:

- AirPlay video support to control iTunes on your computer to stream videos to an Apple TV.

- Internet radio control to play thousands of internet radio streams in iTunes on your computer.

- The ability to control iTunes on your computer to play Movies and TV shows that are rented from the iTunes Store.

- Addresses issues connecting to an iTunes library or Apple TV.

- Includes stability and performance improvements.

Remote 2.1 requires iOS 3.1.2 or later to install and run and is available for free.

How-To: Successfully sync multiple calendars in iCal

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Date: Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010, 06:48
Category: How-To, News, Software

If there’s anything that’ll send you screaming over the hills per your Mac, it’s the synchronization of multiple iCal calendars for different computers and mobile devices. Fortunately, the cool cats at CNET have posted the following guide as to how to deal with syncing problems and how to work around this:

“Log out of MobileMe:
Go to the MobileMe system preferences and click the “Sign Out” button on all Macs you sync with. Doing this will ensure that nothing gets synced when you clear or alter your calendars.

Clear out iCal:
Go to all but one device (the one you will use as a master device) and remove all calendars from them. Make sure they are completely empty, then set them aside.

Set up master calendar:
On the “Master” device, remove all duplicate calendars and clean up iCal as best you can, until you have it the way you want it.

Back up the system (Time Machine) once iCal looks the way you want it:
With the calendars set up, be sure to back up your system using Time Machine, so the current calendar configuration is saved in a restorable state.

Export all calendars individually and save them as .ics files in a safe location:
Now that the calendars are backed up, export them from iCal on the master device as .ics files in a safe location. This will save all events and reminders as you like them in a way that they can be easily imported again.

Clear iCal of all calendars:
With the calendars exported, remove the calendars on your master device so it is now empty. This will allow you to start from scratch when syncing to multiple devices, having cleared any hidden metadata and other items that the calendars may use.

Enable MobileMe and reset sync data for calendars, copying from the computer to MobileMe:
Be sure to sync from your computer to MobileMe and not the other way around.

With the master calendar empty, re-enable MobileMe on the master device and then go to the “Advanced” section of the MobileMe system preferences and click the “Reset Sync Data…” button. Select “Calendars” and click the right arrow to move data from the Mac to the MobileMe “Cloud.”

Sync all devices to remove calendars on them, and ensure all calendar data on all synced devices is removed

With the cloud now reset with blank calendar data, re-enable MobileMe and syncing on all of your devices and synchronize to them. This should result in a blank calendar for all devices. If not, then remove any residual calendars and events that pop up, and sync again so all of your devices are blank.

Restore saved calendars to iCal, and check to make sure they are all intact and working.

Now go to your master device and import all your saved .ics calendar files to iCal. This should restore all of your calendars one-by-one to the master device. At this point, you can either manually sync to MobileMe or wait for the system to automatically sync, and the calendars on all of your synced devices should repopulate.”

If you’ve tried this, let us know how it worked for you.

And if you have any tips of your own on this, let us know what they are in the comments.

Apple releases iPhoto 9.1.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 21st, 2010, 19:07
Category: News, Software

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Apple on Tuesday released iPhoto 9.1.1, the latest version of its image organization and editing application. The update, a 62.1 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Adds a preference allowing photos to be emailed using an external email application.

- Adds “Classic” and “Journal” themes to email.

- Photos attached to an email can now be sized to Small, Medium or Large.

- Improves reliability when upgrading a library from an earlier version of iPhoto.

- iPhoto now correctly preserves the sort order of Events after upgrading a library.

- Event titles displayed in headers can now be edited in Photos view.

- Addresses a problem that could cause duplicate photos to be added to a MobileMe album.

- Scrolling overlay now correctly displays ratings when photos are sorted by rating.

- Photos are now sorted correctly when a rating is changed and photos are sorted by rating.

- Fixes a problem that could cause text formatting controls to become inaccessible when editing a calendar.

iPhoto 9.1.1 retails for US$49 as part of iLife ’11 and requires Mac OS X 10.6.3 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any changes, please let us know.

Apple to shut down Mac OS X Downloads web site on January 6th, 2011

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Date: Tuesday, December 21st, 2010, 14:06
Category: News, Software

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The Mac App Store is en route and things are changing in preparation for its launch.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has revealed to developers that it will be shutting down its Downloads page for Mac OS X on Jan. 6, the day of the Mac App Store launch, as it focuses on the Mac App Store as “the best destination” for Mac OS X apps.

The company announced last week that the Mac App Store will debut in 90 countries on Jan. 6. Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled the store at the October “Back to the Mac” media event, promising that the store would open within 90 days.

In an email to developers, Apple revealed its plans to remove downloadable apps from the company’s Mac OS X Downloads site, instead redirecting users to the Mac App Store.

“Thank you for making the Mac OS X Download site a great destination with apps that offer users new ways to work, play, learn, and create on their Mac.

We recently announced that on January 6, 2011, the Mac App Store will open to users around the world, presenting you with an exciting, new opportunity to reach millions of customers. Since the introduction of the App Store in 2008, we’ve been thrilled with the incredible support from developers and the enthusiastic response from users. Now we’re bringing the revolutionary experience of the App Store to Mac OS X.

Because we believe the Mac App Store will be the best destination for users to discover, purchase, and download your apps, we will no longer offer apps on the Mac OS X Downloads site. Instead, beginning January 6, we will be directing users to explore the range of apps available on the Mac App Store.

We appreciate your support of the Mac platform and hope you’ll take advantage of this new opportunity to showcase your apps to even more users. To learn how you can offer your apps on the Mac App Store, visit the Apple Developer website at http://developer.apple.com/programs/mac.”

For years, Apple’s Mac OS X Downloads site has served as a repository for Mac OS X apps. Though the site promotes a number of third-party applications, Apple also uses the page to feature several of its own Mac OS X applications, such as iTunes, Safari and iWork.

Like the App Store on iOS devices, developers will receive a 70% share of sales through the Mac App Store, with Apple keeping 30%. Unlike iOS, the Mac App Store will not be a “walled garden,” leaving developers free to offer their apps through other avenues. Developers have been encouraged to use their own websites for demos, trial versions, or betas of their software, since the Mac App Store will only accept “fully functional, retail versions” of apps.

Evidence of Mac App Store support has been found in developer builds of Mac OS X 10.6.6. The store will be available to Mac OS X Snow Leopard users as a free download through Software Update.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.